UFC Fight Night 27 is in the books, and I was very impressed by the show overall. A few unknown fighters made themselves known with solid wins, and some guys that have had TV time on The Ultimate Fighter moved their standing up a notch with their own good performances. When a 12-fight card only has one dud, it's hard to complain. And I'm not even going to try. I'll just move on to the winners and losers instead because that's what you're here for, right?
Nick Diaz, that he's constantly going to provide entertaining fights. Condit is a guy that I would pay to watch and as I've said a few times in the past, that's the highest compliment I can pay a fighter.- The Natural Born Killer accomplished a few things last night in Indy. He put the boots to a losing streak. He showed some improved takedown defense (after an awful first round at least). And he proved that, besides a one-off against
Rafael dos Anjos - I didn't see that coming. He game-planned really well and didn't stay in Cerrone's range, moving inside and busting him up. Cerrone didn't even see the shot that dropped him, which should tell you something. He let off the gas a bit in the third which is never a good idea, but that was one of the best performances of RDA's career and he is creeping up towards the top five in a stacked lightweight division.
Kelvin Gastelum - I'll be honest here - "TUF winner" means absolutely nothing to me nowadays. How many have there been now? 143? I don't exactly get excited when I see them on a card, but Gastelum impressed me tonight. He looks very comfortable at 170 pounds and mixes up his striking and grappling well. I didn't like how he decided to end the fight (taking the sub attempt over finishing a hurt opponent), but you can't argue with success. I look forward to his next fight.
Brandon Thatch - He came in with some hype and he definitely lived up to it. I'm not ready to proclaim any fighter with one UFC win a "contender" as some already are, but he seems like a really legit prospect right now at least. I'm going to need more than a win over Justin Edwards before I fully jump onto the war wagon though.
Jason High - A loss might have meant the end of his UFC career, and I think he knew that. He went right at James Head and got the (nice) finish. You can't ask for much more than that. I still think he can be a top-20 guy at 170, he just needs time and a platform to prove it.
Martin Kampmann - The first round was good, but it was all downhill after that. Kampmann said at the post-fight press conference that he felt gassed out after the first and was just fighting for survival. That's not surprising, because it certainly looked that way. He still tried takedowns when he could, but he didn't have the same emphasis behind them. Once he was cut up, it was pretty much over. Just like his hopes for a title shot.
Donald Cerrone - Well, that was an ugly performance. Props should go to RDA for a smart fight, but Cerrone just didn't look like himself until it was way too late. Slow starts are one thing, but that doesn't explain 13 minutes of relative inactivity. Maybe it was just an off night, who knows. But he's now in danger of falling out of the top 10, and that's not good for his future prospects.
Erik Perez - I know it was probably a learning experience and he isn't a prime candidate for this list, but it's hard to not include him. His "top prospect" status was just erased, and Mizugaki exposed a few holes in his game. His striking is still pretty wild and he left himself exposed to counterpunching. He also went back to wrestling too much when it was pretty clear that Mizugaki wasn't going to end up flat on his back. It certainly wasn't a horrible performance, but some of the shine is definitely off.
Papy Abedi - I suspect that he'll be unemployed soon, and it's hard to find any issue with that. He did a decent job of winning the first two rounds against Andrews, but then he just got smoked. He doesn't have the gas tank to go 15 minutes at 170 or 185, and I just don't think he's UFC-caliber. Such a waste of talent though.
Hatsu Hioki - Does Hioki get bounced from the UFC? The fight with Elkins was fun and I think he's still a talented fighter, but he just doesn't fight smart. Staying on your back for the entire last round of an even fight looking for a sub that isn't coming? It didn't make any sense. I would like to see him fight again, but I have a feeling it's going to be in One FC or something.