Seth Baczynski had made a name of late, introducing new fighters to the welterweight division. Victories over Simeon Thoreson, Lance Benoist, and Clay Harvison showed that he was getting pretty good at it, a victory over showed that he may have a pretty high ceiling down the road. Following a loss to Mike Pierce he was back in his familiar role against UFC newcomer and Strikeforce product Brian Melancon.
Few gave Melancon a chance here, but right from the start it was apparent that he was going to show a lot more than anyone, Baczynski included, had anticipated. Using decisive, bullish movement, he popped in and out of range delivering a series of hard left hooks to Baczynski's head and body. He was closing out a thoroughly dominant round when Baczynski waved him on, from his back, right as the ten second signal clapped. That was all the impetus Melancon needed as he shucked the legs and dove in for a devastating series of punches that left Baczynski out cold at the bell.
What was the high point?
Everything! From start to finish this was a great fight. Melancon showed Baczynski that his striking has a long way before he can compete with a good kickboxer. His shocking power established him early, and from there he never let up, right up until the brutal last second (or maybe a little later) finish.
What was the low point?
None, unless you had some money on Baczysnki here.
Where do they go from here?
For Melancon this was a great introduction. Hopefully he gets some careful handling, as we didn't get to see much of his ground game, but a fight against a good, but multidimensional striker would make for a good next step. Robert Whittaker would make for a great next fight and a guaranteed thriller.
For Baczynski, it's a big setback, much worse than his loss to Mike Pierce. It will take another strong run of dominant perfromances before he gets another big fight. He shouldn't get cut here, but a fight against Colton Smith or Marcelo Guimaraes would be good to see if he can get back on the right track quickly.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Watch it now, no question. It's a rare treat to see a relatively unknown fighter deliver a breakout performance. This shouldn't be missed. If it weren't for Chris Weidman on the card this would have easily been the night's biggest upset.