Another night of fist punching is in the books, and I'm not really sure what to think about UFC Fight Night 29 overall. The fights that were supposed to be fireworks didn't really deliver at all - in fact, pretty much everyone gassed out. The co-main event was great, but it didn't turn out the way that anyone likely would have guessed. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the main event, it feels like I'm the only one that did. After all that, it doesn't feel like there were many winners at all. With all that in mind, let's get to the winners and losers.
Jake Shields - This was a huge win for Jake. It erases any doubts of his status as a top-10 welterweight for the time being, and offers him a nice blanket of job security. I know a lot of people were not impressed by his work tonight and they think he was boring, but I was extremely impressed with him. He hung right in there with an elite grappler and ended up beating him. His win certainly didn't help the UFC's welterweight division, but he did his job. And he did it well.
Dong Hyun Kim - I'm still in shock about his knockout victory. His striking looked kind of ugly early - he was missing very badly. He did outgrapple Silva though and easily won the first. When a firefight opened up in the second, I didn't like Kim's chances and he got clubbered a few times. But then he scored with that picture-perfect left and picked up one of the best, and most improbable, knockouts of the year (his first in over half a decade). He's now 9-2 (1 NC) in the UFC and creeping up on the top ten, if he's not there already.
Raphael Assuncao - I was impressed with the first two rounds of his bout with T.J. Dillashaw, even though he probably lost one of them. His counterstriking was solid and he packed a lot of power. I honestly thought Dillashaw did enough for the victory overall, but Assuncao was given the nod and he's right in the running for a title shot at 135 pounds.
Demian Maia - Even though he fell short by the closest of margins, the loss was devastating for his welterweight run. He looked human for the first time at 170 pounds and a title shot is a long way off now. He's still a handful for any top welterweight, but some of the newly-found luster is gone once again.
Erick Silva - He frustrates me. I don't know if he's just cocky, or his perceived arrogance in the cage was a way to catch Kim coming in. But turning his back on Kim or standing sideways in an attempt to bait him just didn't seem right from the start. Silva clearly has a boatload of skill and athleticism, but it looked like he was choosing to rely solely on those attributes against Kim instead of fighting smart as well. And because of that, all of the hype surrounding the prospect went down the toilet faster than Kim's left hand sent him to the mat.
Thiago Silva - When Dana White is making fun of you being fat on twitter, that's not a good look. Neither was gassing after four minutes and not being able to finish a man that could have been knocked over by a strong breeze. A win is a win, but none of this was a good thing for Silva's career.
Matt Hamill - A tale of two fighters. For the first round, I felt his striking looked better than ever and he had thrown aside the label that he was shot. But then his tank ran out, and he turned into a comedy figure. The last time I remember a referee almost stop a bout due to exhaustion was Renzo Gracie when he fought Matt Hughes. It was sad to see then, and it was sad to see last night too. Hamill is such an inspiration to a lot of people, and it was just depressing to see him go out like that.
Rousimar Palhares - Picking up a submission win in 31 seconds over a guy that has never been submitted before? Good. Holding the sub well after the fighter tapped and well after the referee asked you to let go? Not good. That extra few seconds turned a huge win into a huge calamity for a guy that can't seem to avoid controversy. He's likely out 50k due to his stupidity, and the commission might impose further punishment. And he deserves it. As much as I like Toquinho and waffled about it a bit at first, I came to the conclusion that what he did was very, very bad. And there's no defending it.
Ildemar Alcantara - What happened to the guy that submitted Wagner Prado two weight classes about his natural habitat? He looked pretty horrible against Araujo tonight and it made for a bad fight. Other than one cool sub attempt, he brought nothing to the table. And that's not the way to impress the bosses.