UFC 145: The good, the bad and the ugly.
Jon Jones: While the main event lacked n the explosiveness we would have expected from a grudge that seems so serious in all the build-up, Jon Jones has effectively cleared out the top of the Light-heavyweight division. Defeating the quadrumvirate of Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio Rua and now Rashad Evans has put Jones in a bit of a strange situation however as there really aren't any relevant challenges left for him after Dan Henderson and an Alexander Gustaffson who won't be ready for a title shot no matter how much time you give him. People are quick to point out that Rashad made Jones ‘look human' at certain points in this fight, but he is human and he still won comfortably. The hype is justified and I for one am done picking against him.
Ben Rothwell: Even after seeing how lean ‘Big' ben looked at the weigh ins I still couldn't envision him winning this fight. Seventy seconds in to the first round however, and Brendan Schaub was on his back wondering how he got there. A huge left hook from the former IFL champion put the Ultimate Fighter runner up on his arse and a huge career turn around for Rothwell, who'd taken hard losses to Cain Velasquez and Mark Hunt following several bad knee injuries, was complete. With cardio added to his granite chin and terrifying power we may have a future contender on our hands, I'd like to see him fight Travis Browne next.
Michael Macdonald: Having watched ‘Mayday's' first few UFC fights I was very impressed with his skill and tenacity for one so young. I also thought Miguel Torres was a step up too far for him. I was proven wrong once again by the determination of youth however, a huge uppercut starched former Bantamweight champion Miguel ‘Angel' Torres and some terrifying follow up punches put the stamp on the envelope. The UFC has another Bantamweight contender to sit alongside Renan Barao, and while I think it would be awesome to see them fight, it would be too soon to give either man a loss, particularly against each other.
Eddie Yagin: Seemingly brought in to get Mark Hominick's flagging career back on track, Yagin was a huge 6-1 underdog. He won a close fight with some powerful punches and dropped the former featherweight contender several times. A huge and impressive win.
Travis Browne: While moving from Cheik Congo and Stefan Struve to Rob Broughton and Chad Griggs is a strange career trajectory, Travis Browne certainly looked the real deal last night. A thunderous flying knee, that was terrifying to see coming from a 6'7, 250 pound man, rocked his mutton chopped opponent before he locked in a fight ending arm-triangle choke that won him the ‘Submission of the night' award.
Rashad Evans: He did better against Jones than anyone else, but in the end the Champion was too much once more. It was sad because Evans seemingly let Jones dictate the pace and length the fight was fought at, never once did he blend his quick striking with his explosive take downs, instead he seemed content to try and land the home run right hand, which he did, but it's time to accept Jones has a good chin to go with his good everything else. This leaves Evans in an awkward position as he has stated he doesn't want to go down to middleweight (which I think he could and should) but has already fought and beaten most of the top contenders at Light heavyweight. A fight with Mauricio Rua and a rematch with Lyoto Machida could be viable however. I honestly think Rashad will be kicking himself this morning for playing in to Jones hands and not using his speed to his advantage.
Brendan Schaub: I have disliked Brendan Schaub strongly since his unnecessary post KO punch on Mirko Cro-Cop. I thought he got his come-uppance for calling out aged veterans when Big Nog knocked him out. I honestly thought he'd be too much for Ben Rothwell but ‘ The Hybrid's' (what a stupid nickname) chin failed him once more and he went down from what seemed quite a perfunctory left hook. This should be the end of his hype, any man with power will be a threat to Schaub from now on and sadly that's all he'll find in the heavyweight division.
Mark Hominick: The UFC's hype machine did Hominick no favours when billing him as a legitimate contender to Jose Aldo's Featherweight crown. Expected to be a huge favourite against any one but the champion his last two fights have brought him crashing back to earth. A seven second KO at the hands of The Korean Zombie and a mauling from Eddie Yagin, who was brought in as a whipping boy, may signal the end of Hominicks top flight career. Sadly the years of gym wars, MMA bouts and kickboxing fights seemed to have caught up with his chin.
Stephen Thompson: Another victim of the hype machine. Following a spectacular KO in his UFC debut, kickboxer ‘Wonderboy' Thompson was given a huge step up in competition in Matt Brown. Both men gassed badly in the second and it was the iron chin and grappling skills of Matt Brown that prevailed. This may be the best thing to happen to Thompson, who was undefeated in over 60 fights, and it will be very interesting to see how he rebounds as he certainly has the skills and drive to make it to the top.
The UFC's matchmaking: As much as I love Joe Rogan, I found his attempts to convince me Che Mills deserved to be in the octagon with Rory Macdonald quite patronising. I don't think I have ever seen a more obvious mis-match since I started watching the UFC. It was a waste of time and a fight that never needed to happen. Neither did it do anything but show us Rory Macdonald is very good, something we discovered when he almost beat current champion Carlos Condit. I hope to see Che Mills come back strongly and Rory Macdonald fight someone more deserving, maybe the winner of Koscheck and Hendricks.
The fight card: I understand that Jones VS Evans was a huge fight, but when you build a whole card around one fight that fails to deliver it leaves quite a bitter taste. Especially considering the quality of the undercard on the next PPV, almost every pre-lim at UFC 146 could have been on the main card of this event. Is Joe Silva being worked too hard?