When you get an opportunity in life, you have to seize it. Rafael dos Anjos earned his lightweight title shot and he made the most of it, putting it on Anthony Pettis for 25 minutes and taking his title. Pettis did have his moments so it might be a stretch to say he was totally dominated, and yes, he did sustain an apparent eye injury early. Despite that though, what RDA did tonight was truly special. He made Showtime look human, and totally shook up the division in the process.
Is there a fighter that has improved more over his time in the UFC? RDA started off back in 2008 with two straight losses and looked to be just another guy in the division. But he has gotten better and better over time, to the point that he's now a champion. Not bad for a guy that wasn't even originally included in the UFC's video game.
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk beat the holy hell out of Carla Esparza. There's no other way to put it. Esparza was completely outclassed on the feet and when she couldn't get a takedown, it was only a matter of time before she got busted up. Jedrzejczyk was landing shots so hard that I was wincing, and I was yelling at the TV for the referee to stop the fight. I don't remember the last time I did that. It's really early in the evolution of the division, but she looks like she's going to be tough to topple. Joanna Champion, indeed.
- Johny Hendricks the striker is pretty good. But Johny Hendricks the wrestle-boxer is a beast. He easily handled Matt Brown. It was extremely one-sided. I feel that he has the ability to do the same thing to Robbie Lawler if he brings the same kind of gameplan. I know many won't agree with that, but I personally believe it to be true.
- When Alistair Overeem is on his game, there aren't many people I enjoy watching more. His striking is so different from most MMA fighters and he possesses such power in his kicks that it's almost scary. He had Roy Nelson as red as a radish from those kicks and knees. He did get chin-checked at the end, but that was still a very nice win for the big guy. Is it finally time for him to fight Junior dos Santos? I'd like to see that.
- Henry Cejudo looked excellent in his flyweight debut, outclassing Chris Cariaso and cruising to a decision win. His striking isn't amazingly technical, but it gets the job done. But people need to slow down the hype train a bit - he's not ready for champion Demetrious Johnson yet.
- Is Sam Stout done as an upper-middle class UFC lightweight? The shot from Ross Pearson that dropped him was undeniably beautiful, but Stout used to be able to take those punches. This is the second fight in a row that he got knocked out, and despite only being 30 (somehow), his history of wars seems to be catching up with him.
- Man, that Elias Theodorou has some awesome hair.
- Beneil Dariush looked excellent against Daron Cruickshank. The Detroit Superstar looked like he gassed out quickly and Dariush busted him up with kicks. He also tapped the millisecond that Dariush got his arm under his chin. He already knew it was a wrap.
- The heavyweight bout between Jared Rosholt and Josh Copeland was a slow, plodding affair that was mercifully brought to end when Rosholt finally turned up the volume a bit to get the TKO. The less said about this fight, the better.
- Ryan Benoit was the next biggest surprise of the night. Sergio Pettis was putting it on him, but he landed a massive left hook that sent Pettis flying. He was a big underdog, around the +450 mark, and the win was massive for him. I do think that Joe Rogan made too big a deal of Benoit kicking Pettis in the butt after the ref stepped in though. Yes, it was bad sportsmanship. But it was pretty funny.
- Joseph Duffy looked excellent in his UFC debut, taking out Jake Lindsey pretty easily. I was a big fan of him going to the body right away after cracking Lindsey with the head kick. Hopefully he can make a name for himself in the UFC so we don't have to hear the endless "last guy to beat Conor McGregor" talking point.
- Germaine de Randamie does have a pretty strong striking game, but Larissa Pacheco didn't really have much of anything for her. It's well-known that GDR's ground game is suspect but Pacheco never even really tried to grapple. At 20 years old, her time in the UFC may have come too soon. De Randamie could be fun to watch if she's given some striker vs. striker matchups.