MMA fans and media will get to pick apart the ratings for tonight's UFC on Fox show in the coming days. They will be what they will be, good, bad or otherwise.
But, what should be appreciated is how fantastic the card was from the opening fight to the main event. It was a truly great night of fights, capped off by Fabricio Werdum's statement performance against Travis Browne.
Many, including myself, thought this was Browne's fight to lose. If he could stay off the ground, he likely had the striking to pull off the stoppage win. Instead, it was quickly clear that Browne didn't have an actual advantage on the feet outside of pure punch-for-punch power.
Werdum's constant improvement finally has moved him to a UFC world title fight. His striking was crisp tonight and compliments his well known grappling game to make him a legitimate threat to unseat Cain Velasquez as heavyweight champion.
- Miesha Tate got what appeared to be a bit of a gift win over Liz Carmouche. Her threatening for a small portion of round two was enough to edge out the scorecards, not surprising in MMA, and certainly not surprising in MMA in the state of Florida.
- Edson Barboza appeared to be clearly better than Donald Cerrone through the early stages of their fight, but that all changed so quickly. Barboza's hand speed was clearly bothering Cerrone, he was getting in clean with combinations and was able to do more of less whatever he wanted. Until Cerrone landed a jab right on the button and dropped Barboza. Being the veteran finisher that he is, Cerrone pounced and spun to the back, sinking in the finishing rear naked choke. The man simply exists to be in memorable fights.
- Speaking of memorable, Yoel Romero is one of the scariest guys in MMA. He has moments of offensive exposions that are breathtaking. He wasn't able to get the stoppage over Brad Tavares, but he made it very clear that he is out of Tavares' league, win streak coming in or not.
- Speaking of win streaks, Khabib Nurmagomedov ran his career record to 22-0 with a clinical dismantling of Rafael dos Anjos. Dos Anjos is no easy out, so it was impressive to see Khabib just smother him while outworking for a clear decision. I need to see another few fights before I'm ready to say he should get a title fight, but he's on his way.
- Thiago Alves may have had the most impressive performance I've ever seen from a guy coming off a more than two year layoff. Veteran savvy and solid striking allowed him to take Seth Baczynski apart for the clean sweep decision.
- Jorge Masvidal looked solid against the always tough Pat Healy tonight. It wasn't a performance that inspires a lot of reaction, but it was a workmanlike approach to beating a guy who always employs...a workmanlike approach.
- Alex White destroyed Estavan Payan in a win for a guy with one of the better stories in the UFC. White almost died as a small child after drinking gasoline. The disabilities that resulted didn't stop him from getting to the point of picking up a thrilling UFC win.
- Again, simply one of the best UFC cards in a very long time.