Another night of professional fighting is over with, and it was one for the history books. For the first time in UFC history the ladies took center stage, and it seems pretty obvious that they delivered. I wasn't a fan of being asked to pay a good chunk of change for such a lopsided fight and I'm still thinking that the PPV buyrate will be nothing to write home about, but the fight and card did exceed my (admittedly low) expectations. Anyway, let's take a look at the real winners and losers from last night's card in Anaheim.
Ronda Rousey - There was a metric ton of pressure on Rousey going into this card. Dana White made it quite clear that she was carrying WMMA on her back and she had to win or the house of cards might have tumbled before it was even fully assembled. Well, she delivered. It wasn't a complete blowout that made her look invincible, but that might be better in the long run because there will be more interest in her next defense. The Honda Center was fully behind her, and it's clear she's a star. Not bad for a fighter's UFC debut.
Liz Carmouche - Carmouche deserves to be called a winner for a few reasons. She may have lost her bout, but she made it an exciting fight. She was an excellent representative of WMMA all the way through this, even down to the post-fight press conference. And she cemented her spot as a top contender for a rematch against Rousey down the road. Forget making history for a second - she made a lot of fans last night. And I'm one of them.
Urijah Faber - Maybe the whole "job on the line" thing was overblown. Maybe not. It doesn't matter now, because Faber turned in an excellent performance that has him right back in the middle of the bantamweight title picture. People can complain about him getting a lot of title shots but when he beats all the contenders put in front of him, how can he be denied? There's still a market there for Cruz/Faber 3 and I think we'll see it immediately after Cruz fights Barao, regardless of the outcome.
Robbie Lawler - I'm very surprised that I'm writing this. I fully expected to be throwing Lawler in the other category and talking about him getting released. Instead, he just took out a top ten welterweight and is right in the thick of things again. Every time I think he's done, he pulls out a big win and stays relevant. I highly doubt he'll be facing off with the likes of Georges St. Pierre anytime soon, but there are a few interesting fights for him in the welterweight division at least.
Matt Grice and Dennis Bermudez - That might have been one of my favorite fights ever. It had a little bit of Zombie/Garcia and a healthy dose of Cyborg/Manhoef. Both men showed unbelievable heart and I still can't quite believe that both guys survived to hear the final horn. I'm also glad that the UFC elected to give them the fight of the night checks over Rousey/Carmouche, and that Dana said Grice didn't have to worry about being cut. A mid-level FW fight with no hype stole a tiny bit of the spotlight from a bunch of main card superstars. That's one of the reasons I like MMA so much.
Dan Henderson - Any hope of a UFC light heavyweight title shot for Hendo is probably gone now. He did his best to press the action, but Machida's style was just something he couldn't solve well enough to do any serious damage. Even if he somehow took the decision, it wasn't the kind of performance that would put him at the front of the line to fight Jones. Which leads us to...
Lyoto Machida - Does anyone want to see Machida/Jones 2? Especially after that? Dana White said that Machida was the number one contender now, but Alexander Gustafsson must understand that the door is wide open for him and a dominating performance in his bout with Gegard Mousasi will probably put him at the front of the line. Machida just needed to do more for people to get behind him. And he didn't.
Josh Koscheck - What happens with Kos will be pretty interesting, and I firmly believe he's going to be joining his friend Jon Fitch on the unemployment line after the loss to Lawler. There's nothing left for him to do in the UFC, and two losses in a row and a semi-large salary aren't going to help. Dana White was noncommittal in regards to Kos after the fight, but things aren't looking good for him in my eyes.
Brendan Schaub - Yes, he beat Lavar Johnson. But he did it in the most boring way possible, and had trouble passing the guard of a guy who has little to offer on the ground. All the win did was lower his stock even more in the eyes of fans and while he should be happy he still has a job, he's not going to be gracing a main card anytime soon. I'm all for fighters fighting smart, but I guess I just prefer them to...you know, actually be good at it.