UFC on FX 8 didn't have a ton of interest going in, and most of it was related to three little letters - TRT. Well, you can say what you want about Vitor Belfort's supposed fountain of youth, but his spinning kick knockout of Luke Rockhold in the main event was one of the best big-fight finishes you're ever going to see. I'm still having problems understanding how in the world that happened. I can't say that I've ever seen Belfort throw a spinning kick before, and when he threw the first one I chuckled a bit.
I wasn't chuckling after the second one.
When that connected and Rockhold fell, I just stared at the TV open-jawed, like a kid watching animals fight at the zoo. The fact that Rockhold was still conscious after the kick was amazing in itself. But it didn't take long for Belfort to pound him out and take his place as the top contender for the UFC middleweight title once again. Seriously, how can you deny him a second shot at the title after that? Combine it with the Bisping knockout and he definitely has the best claim to it. I think the next time you see Vitor Belfort, he'll be standing across the cage from Anderson Silva or Chris Weidman. And I'm 100% okay with that after what I saw tonight.
The winner of the co-main event, Ronaldo Souza, turned in an awesome performance as well. His submission finish of Chris Camozzi was just beautiful. I love a lot of things about MMA, but I rarely find a single athlete worth the price of purchase. I don't order pay per views to watch the best in the world (Jon Jones, Anderson Silva) fight lower-level competition just because they're in the cage. But guys like Jacare and Demian Maia are different. I would pay to watch them fight sheep. They're just so technically amazing that it's a treat to see them compete. And what Jacare did to Camozzi tonight was a perfect example.
Jacare asked to fight the winner of the Belfort/Rockhold fight, and I certainly like the idea of Jacare/Belfort. But I think Vitor will have bigger fish to fry and Jacare needs a legit top 10 win in the UFC first.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham didn't turn out to be the insanely awesome fight that I hoped it would, but it was still very, very good. I'm sort of surprised that everyone is up in arms about the decision though. I saw a very close, competitive fight that I barely gave to Dunham. I had no issues at all with RDA winning, but apparently everyone else does. I don't think it was hometown cooking, being that the event was in Brazil. I just think that Dos Anjos definitely has a case for the first and third rounds. It wasn't a robbery, it was just two evenly matched lightweights going to the wire. They're lightweights. It happens. Look no further than the last few lightweight title fights for proof.
- Rafael Natal got the win, but he just didn't show any killer instinct at all. Half the time he looked like he was sparring. Joao Zeferino put in a good performance early, but he totally gassed and was ripe for the taking. Natal took way too long to try and end it, and he ran out of time. I just was not a fan of his performance at all.
- 50/50 guard in MMA? Cool. The reaction to it was amusing though. Grappling aficionados obviously loved it. But more than a few thought it was ridiculous, the loudest of which was TUF winner Michael Chiesa. His twitter feed was full of insults for the guys ending up there, and he threw in a bunch more going after Sapo. They were amusing, but I doubt they're going to make him many friends.
- Hacran Dias almost finished Nik Lentz in the third round, but Lentz held on for the win in a good fight. Francisco Trinaldo finishing an arm triangle choke from half guard was pretty crazy, and Gleison Tibau's guillotine is just a scary thing.
- Paulo Thiago pulled out the win, but he looked shot. I hate saying that about fighters, but it seemed pretty obvious that he's on the downside of his career. His real job is probably pretty draining, so it's not surprising.
- I believe that Yuri Alcantara will get a bantamweight title shot one day. He's that good.
- Fabio Maldonado was pretty funny in his win over Roger Hollett. That spinning back kick he took to the frank and berries was brutally awkward, but him complaining about the clinching and begging Hollett to actually fight him was amusing. He's not an elite fighter, but he sure is entertaining.
- John Lineker is a bad man.
- The fight of the night might have been one that very few people saw. Lucas Martins and Jeremy Larsen beat the crap out of each other for 10 minutes, with Larsen having the advantage. It was sloppy at times, but a lot of fun. Then Martins came out and blasted Larsen just 13 seconds into the third. Great finish to a great fight.