Taking a confident step on the comeback trail, Alaskan specimen Cody McKenzie (15-4-0) fought for the first time since his release from the UFC last December. True to form, the submission specialist wasted little time in putting the rear-naked choke to Mark Dobie (5-7-0), eliciting the tap mid-way through the first. McKenzie, who is undefeated outside the Octagon, went 3-4 during his UFC tenure, with three of those losses coming to stalwarts Yves Edwards, Sam Stout, and Chad Mendes. I think McKenzie arguably exceeded expectations during his time with the promotion but, given his bizarre final appearance (which left Dana White pretty, uh, flummoxed, if you will) he's more likely to appear in Bellator or One FC than on a Fight Night card.
McKenzie vs. Dobie, complete with sea-sickness-inducing camera work and an announcer who sounds like Yosemite Sam, can be found here.
And, fighting in his hometown of Owatonna, Minnesaota, UFC, Pride, Bellator, and IFL veteran Travis Wiuff (70-18-0) employed a healthy dose of ground and pound to earn the first round TKO of Terry Davinney (10-7-0). Wiuff, who defeated then-Bellator champion Christian M'Pumbo in a 2011 non-title affair, and who has frequently served as a gatekeeper into the UFC, suffered a nigh-unprecedented losing streak from 2012 to 2013, in which he dropped four straight (including three by (T)KO). Undaunted, Wiuff righted ship last New Year's Eve and, as of last Saturday, is now up two in a row.
Finally, a fond farewell to the retiring Vladimir Matyushenko, whose savvy, well-rounded approach made him one of MMA's most reliable, enduring competitors. Dubbed "The Janitor" because he loved hopping into buckets and propelling himself around with a mop like a gondolier (maybe), Matyushenko fought with a rare consistency of concentration and professionalism, whether in the UFC or in a regional show. He retires with a record of 27-8-0, having lost with small exception only to the top 10 of his division. His career encompasses two tours in the UFC (4-3 most recently, 7-5 overall) and a dominant run in the IFL, where he went undefeated en route to capturing the promotion's light-heavyweight title. Debuting back in 1997, Matyushenko is one of the last of MMA's old guard and among the strongest of his generation. His IFL title fight with Jamal Patterson can be found here.