It seems almost impossible that the main card of UFC on Fox 7 could have even hoped to maintain the energy of it's insane prelim run. While the action made a slow downward trend to the headlining fight, I wouldn't say it disappointed on any level. Here's a quick look at the fights that made up the main card, minus the headlining fight.
Matt Brown, I take my hat off to you, sir. You have been underrated to an almost criminal degree, and yet you never disappoint. Matt Brown has been on a hell of a tear lately, and is quickly earning the reputation of welterweight's most overwhelming striker. Jordan Mein is a very good technical fighter. He showed that side of his game on Saturday, tagging Brown repeatedly with hard shots, and putting him in danger on multiple occasions. But Brown rallied, and once he realized that he could bully Mein into a brawl and out match him punch for punch, that's exactly what he did. His finishing elbows to the kidneys were devastating and go way up on my list of things I'd never like to get hit with.
I know it seems like outright favoritism to hope that the UFC keeps Matt Brown on the striker diet straight to the top of the division, but I do. I want to see him get exciting standup fights and win his way to an unlikely title shot. In that vein I humbly offer a matchup with Thiago Alves when he returns from injury. On the other side, Jordan Mein has had his ceiling marked early, and it's right between Dan Miller and Matt Brown. He's young, so that may change, but it feels like a mental cap more than one of technical skills. He can easily dominate fighters who don't want to stand with him, but becomes incredibly flighty when confronted with superior aggression. Set him against the loser of Erick Silva vs. John Hathaway and see who comes out a rejuvenated prospect.
Just yesterday Nate Diaz had a place among the division's elite. Now he's back to clawing his way out of the lightweight (or welterweight, if he moves) mire. It's not so much the KO that damned him, although it's the first of his career, but the tenor of this fight as a whole. Josh Thomson battered Nate Diaz for a round and a half and then knocked him out viciously. If Thomson and Henderson represent the top end of the lightweight division, Nate Diaz isn't even close. He may have to undergo some major career reorganization if he doesn't want to take on permanent gatekeeper status.
At this point Thomson needs to continue pushing towards the top of the division. He represents a new face at 155, someone who many of the UFC's current top fighters haven't faced. I'd ask for the winner of Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy. I don't think I'd recommend a quick turnaround for Nate, but if he feels like he wants to get back into the cage and prove something a fight against Joe Lauzon makes all kinds of sense.
Frank Mir looked reborn after his stint at Jackson's MMA, the operative word here being "looked." He fought like he always does, lethargic, and content to let his opponent have his way, occasionally flashing something impressive before lapsing back into an underwhelming stupor. Cormier fought the fight he needed to to win and work his way into a new division. He controlled Mir against the fence throughout the fight, landing hard punches and knees from the clinch. Mir proved hard to take down, and edged Cormier slightly when they exchanged openly, but he was way too content to grab Cormier and attempt to out grapple him, leading to a decent but slightly dull fight.
For Cormier it's hard to see his future at heavyweight. He looked in better shape than ever tonight in preparation for an eventual drop to light heavyweight. And If Cain Velasquez wins next month I fully expect Cormier's next announcement to be a change in weight class. For Mir, he's lost two in a row to the very top of the division. It's time for a step back down in competition, where he'll most likely prove that he's still better than 80% of the heavyweights on the planet. Give him Matt Mitrione, once Meathead's suspension is up.