As I wake up and still deal with the haze of unconsciousness it's time to take a look at the winners and losers from UFC 142 on Saturday night. It was the UFC's return to Rio after a successful event in 2011. Headlined by Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes, the card was the UFC's first of 2011 and showcased some of the best young talent in the UFC. So without further ado and hopefully before I wake up completely, let's take a look at the fights.
Jose Aldo: The obvious choice for biggest winner. There were questions this week regarding his ability to still be exciting after a dominant WEC run. Well that was a crazy finish. Before the fight Joe Rogan stated that Aldo had the second best takedown defense in the UFC. He kept Chad Mendes at bay and then finished with an incredibly well-timed knee. The celebration in the crowd was fantastic.
Vitor Belfort: I doubt that the old Vitor is back but he definitely can still compete. Anthony Johnson entered the cage last night as a heavyweight and Vitor still took him to task. He out landed Anthony Johnson 34-5 and limited the amount of damage when Rumble got the fight to the ground. Nice win and nice story after some controversy at the weigh ins.
Rousimar Palhares: Like Ryu's hadouken, the man everyone calls Paul Harris has a super move called the heel hook. If there was anyone who thought he wouldn't go home with one of Mike Massenzio's limbs they were quickly silenced. He's quietly moving up the rankings and he's doing it one leg lock at a time.
Erick Silva: I'm not sure if I should consider him a winner or a loser because he technically lost but everyone knows he won. I'm saying he's a winner because that's the second fight in a row finished in the first round and I don't agree with Mario Yamasaki's call to disqualify Silva for a single strike to the back of the head. That's crazy.
Edson Barboza: One of if not the most impressive win of the night, he finished Terry Etim with a "Leko Buster" and recorded possibly the most impressive highlight reel knockout in company history. People are a bit premature with talk of him in the top 10 though. It was only Terry Etim.
The UFC Rio Crowd: Last night reminded me of a soccer game with all the chanting and singing. Aldo's celebration was magical and I don't believe any other crowd would react the same way to a fighter running out of the cage and into the stands.
Dana White: The fact that Anthony Johnson lost the way he did makes cutting him an incredibly easy decision. He won't have to justify it to anyone. May this be a lesson for everyone else going forward: DO NOT come in 11 pounds OVERWEIGHT!
Losers and Other Thoughts after the jump....
SBN coverage of UFC RIO 142: Aldo vs. Mendes
Anthony Johnson: What is there to say about a man who went up in weight only to screw up his cut and come in 11 pounds over after the doctor told him to rehydrate? Is it that he needed to finish Vitor in two minutes before his legs cramped up and he gassed out? Dana White cut him after the event and AJ has a long flight back to Boca to think about his future. Hands down biggest loser on the night.
Chad Mendes: The first real credentialed wrestler to fight Jose Aldo and he failed on every takedown attempt. There was a single fence grab but I don't see that changing the course of the fight. Losing is a bitter pill to swallow but he still has plenty of time to improve. It just has to be hard knowing that there is someone head and shoulders better than you in the division.
Mike Massenzio: Literally the most predictable loss of the entire card so at least it doesn't hurt as much as an upset right? Right? Just kidding, his leg is killing him right now.
Terry Etim: The good news for Terry Etim is that he'll be included in the opening vignette for every future UFC as well as the Baba O'Riley. The bad news is that he's the guy getting knocked out by a spilling wheel kick and landing hilariously.
The Referees: This was an incredibly off night for the UFC's referees. Between Mario Yamasaki's botched ending to Silva/Prater and "Tan" Dan constantly standing up Anthony Johnson on the ground, it was just a bad night for the third men in the cage.
- Carlo Prater will go home with a win but I think everyone in attendance and watching live knows that he didn't win that fight. He'll get another shot at the UFC but he's not even close to the same level as a lot of the prospects out there.
- It was nice to see Gabriel Gonzaga return to the UFC with a big win over a highly touted prospect. Hopefully he can make another run because he's definitely got the skills to be dominant in the heavyweight division.
- It's time to cut Michihiro Omigawa. The man just can't find a way to win in the UFC and he's sporting a 13-11-1 record in the UFC. That's grounds to be released. Shame because he entered the UFC with people thinking he was a challenge to Jose Aldo.
- Seriously, Aldo's celebration in the crowd was so fun. The wide shot of him just partying with everyone at 3:00 AM (local time) immediately after that huge win made it all the sweeter. Too bad security kept trying to hold him back.
- The FX undercard was great. There was definitely value added to both the production. Only small complaint is that the levels for Rogan and Goldie's microphones were kept changing from super loud to almost inaudible. Loved the FOX sports theme. Hopefully it continues to evolve but I'm sold on this partnership.
- I thought Sam Stout got jobbed last night but after rewatching the fight he just didn't do enough to win. Awesome takedown defense but that means that the fight is happening on his terms and he still didn't do enough to win. Awesome final flurry though.
- The post-show on FUEL was pretty interesting with Kenny Florian in the booth. I have mixed feelings on his performance though. Part of me feels he was trying to fill the role of "cliche intense sports commentator guy" while the other part of me feels that his analysis was fantastic. Either way I hope that the show will continue to evolve instead of running on an endless loop.