Tonight, the UFC finally returned to PPV after a 6 week hiatus. And they definitely returned in style. The feature bout, Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans has been building for about a year now and the UFC marketing machine has been seriously hyping up the drama between the two former teammates. The co-main event, Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills seemed specifically designed to highlight the skills of the rising prospect. Since the event was finalized it has received a fair amount of criticism about being top heavy. Despite that, I thought it was a highly enjoyable event overall after some lackluster prelims.
Throughout the fight Alessio looked out of his depth on the ground and Bocek made sure to take advantage of that weakness. Repeatedly, Bocek was able to secure relatively easy takedowns and punish Alessio once he got him to his back. Alessio had some success on the feet, but his inability to keep the fight standing led to a unanimous decision loss.
We really didn't see a lot here that showed anything new for either fighter. Alessio had been racking up wins on the regional circuit, but didn't show anything that indicates he'll have a successful run in the UFC. Bocek showed that he's a talented grappler, but we already knew that.
When this fight was announced it appeared to be a squash match to highlight Hominick's "elite striking" and if you only listened to the commentary you'd have thought it was a one sided victory for Mark. However, Yagin displayed legitimate power and solid technique in the first two rounds and looked like a he might finish Hominick in dramatic fashion on more than one occasion. Instead, he was able to score the upset victory via split decision despite a broken nose and blood coated face.
Personally, I was really impressed by Yagin here. Thoughout the fight he was able to counter Hominick's jab with a powerful left hook and rocked the former title challenger in both the first and second round. He obviously has cardio issues and paid for that in the 3rd, but, with that kind of power, he's going to be a hard fight for anyone in the Fetherweight division not named Jose Aldo. Hominick, on the other hand displayed some serious defensive issues in his striking and did not at all look like a future contender. He has solid technical striking skills, but lacks the power to seriously punish his opponents. He's good enough to keep his place in the UFC, but look for him to top out as a Kongo-esque gatekeeper to the elite of the division.
I think a lot of people were sleeping on this fight, but it delivered in spades. Miguel Torres has long been considered one of the top fighters in the Bantamweight division and was expected to return to the title picture with a win here. Apparently Mayday McDonald didn't get the memo. From the opening bell, McDonald looked like the crisper striker and was able to capitalize with two extremely powerful uppercuts leading to a TKO victory in the first round.
This was a huge fight for the future of the Bantamweight title picture. After a long streak of dominance, Dominick Cruz has been severely lacking in new challengers. Although not officially announced, this fight could very well indicate the champs next contender, if Cruz is able to defeat Urijah Faber again.
Check out the rest of my thoughts at HeadKickLegend