UFC Fight Night 31: Fight for the Troops 3 is in the books, and the card generally delivered overall. Most of the bouts were pretty good and there weren't any stinkers. It certainly wasn't the most relevant event in terms of contenders, but it likely raised a lot of money for a good cause and gave a lot of troops a good night of entertainment. It's easy for people to go after the UFC for some of the things that we don't think they do very well, but what they did last night was a very good thing and they deserve props for it. Onto the winners and losers.
Tim Kennedy - He was the centerpiece of this Fight for the Troops card and he delivered exactly what everyone wanted. He also knocked someone out for the first time in forever and has been very impressive in his two UFC bouts thus far. Not bad for a night's work on a military base.
Alexis Davis - Many fans dismissed her striking because of the way she looked in her bout with Rosi Sexton, but Davis really brought it tonight. She used perfect strategy with the kicks and she fought her way through some blood to basically dominate Carmouche. At 2-0 in the UFC now, she's potentially in a position to be a fight or two away from a title shot.
Rustam Khabilov - Everyone expected suplexes and they got crazy spinning kicks instead. Khabilov showed that he's well-rounded and he can hang with a very tough opponent in Masvidal. The grappling portions of the fight were great, and Khabilov connected with his looping right hook a bunch of times. But that kick. That kick was the best.
Michael Chiesa - After a disappointing loss to Jorge Masvidal in July, Chiesa needed to bounce back with a strong performance. And that's exactly what he did. Despite almost getting submitted in the first round, he came back in the second hit a beautiful throw and sunk the choke just like that. He's 3-1 in the UFC now and could be one of the few recent TUF winners that's actually going to be effective in the octagon.
The Troops - How great was that crowd last night? I don't have any real patriotic ties to the whole thing because I'm Canadian, but it doesn't get any better than that. Counting down the 10 seconds at the end of each round, never booing once, and then they top it off with the best reaction of the year when Kennedy got the knockout? I hereby vote that every UFC crowd should be just military members. They added a ton of energy to the show, and it was awesome.
Liz Carmouche - Because she came into the UFC in the main event against Ronda Rousey, I think a lot of fans have higher expectations of Carmouche than they should. But everything she did right in her fight against totally disappeared last night. She didn't put Davis on her heels, she didn't try to outmuscle her, and she let herself get kicked to death. It was not a good performance, and it was a huge step back for her standing in the division.
Colton Smith - Will the UFC cut a TUF winner after getting finished twice in a row? I don't know. He did have one thing going for him last night - he wasn't a boring, plodding wrestler. He grappled well, almost finished the fight, and brought it the whole time. He just didn't have enough to beat Chiesa, and I'm not sure he has enough to beat many guys in the UFC.
James Krause - Was it really another brutal shot to the nether regions or a little bit of failed gamesmanship? John McCarthy said that the last shot from Bobby Green was above the belt, and Dana White agreed with him. I do too. After you get clubbed in the stones a couple of times, even a shot to the belly is probably going to hurt. But in my eyes, Krause went down a little too easily. And that was confirmed when McCarthy ruled the shot was legal. He immediately went from rolling around in pain to jumping up and protesting the decision. Regardless of the circumstances though, Krause is now 1-1 in the UFC. Will he get a rematch with Green? I'm sure we'll find out soon.
Germaine de Randamie - Nunes isn't exactly known for her ground game, but she fought the smart fight and took the striker to the ground. And that proceeded to totally own her. GDR looks pretty talented in a striking battle, but she doesn't appear to have much balance to her game. And until she develops some chops on the ground she's not going much of anywhere in the women's division.
Yves Edwards - I hate putting Yves here. I really do. He looked really good for the first few minutes, striking with precision and frustrating Medeiros with some stinging shots. But he got caught by a big uppercut and it basically put him right away. That's three losses in a row for him now and he's just 2-5 in his last seven. And this reminded me of when he got slept by Sam Stout two years ago. I certainly don't think he's done or it's time to retire or anything like that. But this loss really hurt his chances of ever seeing another fight in the octagon. And that's a shame, because Edwards is a legend.