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UFC Fight Night 99 & 100 - Winners and Losers

A long day of fights leads to some fun action, but ultimately a bit of fatigue

UFC Media Tour Berlin Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

And so, it became a familiar cliché - a tale of two cards.

UFN Belfast was a decent affair. An event with plenty of mid-carders and some fighters near the bottom of their respective divisions attempting to scale their way up the rankings. And ultimately, that’s what both of these events are for! As I’ve said ad nauseam, this is where the sausage is made. This is how to keep divisions living and breathing, making fighters stay busy, show their development and push further ahead in their careers.

Yet for various reasons, the Belfast event had some moments of fun and a real sense of quality with the stylistic matchups for most of the fights. The pacing for Fight Pass always helps, and more of the names on the card seemed more relevant to the divisions the fighters were in.

On the other hand, the São Paulo card was plagued by the usual horrid FS1 pacing, bad reffing, and (at least for me) a degree of burnout from having to watch so much in one day. While I do make a point of not complaining about pacing for free cards or those on basic cable, this felt like punishment. While most of us have accepted the reality of having non-PPV cards means shoehorning tons of commercials for ad revenue, this felt especially cheap and absurd given the amount of finishes on the card. We had only 4 out of 12 fights go to a decision, and the card still felt like it was dragging.

Some that have been reading these posts for a while will also note that I try not to be too hard on the referee work, given the difficulty and pressure of the job. Generally, I like to show praise for the job done right, but some of what we saw was inexcusable and irresponsible. Perhaps the UFC can express their concern with the commission with an aim to improve the situation, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Winners

Gegard Mousasi - Moose has to be the biggest winner here. Not only does he avenge his loss to Uriah Hall, he does so with an exclamation point and makes a strong claim to have a spot in line for a title shot. Four consecutive victories with three consecutive finishes is very good, but made even bigger by the way he’s finishing these fights and making it look easy. Sure, his opposition hasn’t been on the highest level (Leites, Hall), or in the best part of their career (Belfort), but one or two big wins and there’s no denying him. An injury to the winner of Rockhold/Jacare could see him jumping the line. Middleweight is entirely unpredictable in the top five right now, and Mousasi could very well earn himself a spot that will see him primed to a shot at the crown.

Ryan Bader - I dunno, guys. Sure doesn’t look like the easiest fight in the division to me. Granted, he fought an older version of a fighter he had already dismantled before. Still, it’s another statement win that may not be as big as his rebound win over Ilir Latifi (in which the god himself generously allowed Bader to win), yet it shows not only that Bader still has a lot to give, but he’s still a very smart fighter when he’s in top position and one of the best pure athletes in his division. He was ranked at #4 coming in, and could very well move up past Gustafsson to get to #2.

Thomas Almeida - The potential for beautiful violence is always alive when Almeida fights, and crumpling Morales with that final body shot shows he’s still continuing his growth. That was a great performance and his confidence didn’t seem impacted from the devastating loss to Cody Garbrandt.

Stevie Ray - This was a big step up, and Ray absolutely gains a lot here. Pearson’s been on a slide (more on that later), but he’s a tough out for anyone. This fight does him a few favors and it will be interesting to see how they match him up next.

Krzysztof Jotko - Another fighter that quietly took a pretty big step up, defeating Thales Leites and earning a five-fight win streak in the process. Still not enough to earn a top ten spot or anything, but he’s moving up and this is a great sign for his development.

Brett Johns - Johns came in with the confidence of a true veteran and took on a very tough first fight against another fighter making his debut. This fight showed some aspects of his game that are going to make him a true asset for the UFC, because he’s dynamic and has a great style. He’s only 24 and still undefeated, so there’s a lot of potential for a great career here.

Kevin Lee - A fantastic finish that extends his streak to three consecutive fights, Lee is a remarkable athlete capable of doing amazing things in the sport. His callout game isn’t that strong, though. That applies to Twitter (seriously, that “beef” with Will Brooks... wow) and his verbal skills, but his actions in his fights are going to carry him pretty far no matter what.

Kamaru Usman - With 8 consecutive wins, he’s showing a lot of maturity in the cage. This time around he had a more dominant performance than perhaps a lot of us expected, and it was mostly standing. This fight will do him some serious favors. He’s not just a wrestler that blankets opponents, and he’s putting together a great overall MMA game while working on flaws.

  • Losers

Uriah Hall - Not totally sure where we are here. See, normally three straight losses get a lot of fighters cut from the UFC. Hall’s a different case, because the UFC has invested quite a bit in him and changed their approach in how he’s matched in an attempt to gauge where he is and where he’s going. He wrecked shop on The Ultimate Fighter, then lost in the finale, and dropped another bout to Doomsday Howard. Then it was a nice little run until losing a frustrating bout to Rafael Natal, a brutal win against Bamgbose and a big step up against Mousasi in which he capitalized big time. Anyone wondering whether or not it was a fair assessment of where he was overall as a fighter had their answer tonight. The first fight was a stellar win, but the reality is that Mousasi was the better fighter from the outset. It’s fair to ask if he even should have gotten this fight (considering two losses between both Mousasi fights) or if this was a bout that Mousasi had requested. Either way, he’s not a young prospect and all of those people still (STILL!) asking themselves if he is can stop now. He may not be done as a fighter, but he’s not the championship caliber fighter we expected or wanted him to be. Somewhat cruel, but that’s the fight game.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - In what is perhaps an attempt to prove that the universe is a cold and uncaring place devoid of any mercy or a god of any sort, Rogerio refuses to retire. A man that at age 40 looks considerably older and is infamous for pulling out of fights due to injuries, still thinks he can hang with younger fighters, or at least the top of the division. It needs to end. Perhaps some fans don’t like it when people tell fighters to retire, but Rogerio’s loss to Rumble and this fight against Bader saw him take some pretty ugly damage or just look utterly defenseless. No good reason to keep this thing going. Retire like your brother did and spare yourself more unnecessary brain trauma.

Ali Bagautinov - While still 4-3 in the UFC, he’s probably guaranteed to get cut with another loss. Flyweight may be a thin division, but they’ve cut people before. His style hasn’t translated to the kind of results the UFC would like, and it’s hard to make inroads to Russia with a fighter that isn’t winning consistently. He still has options like fighting in Russia if he continues to pursue fighting as a career.

Ross Pearson - Pearson’s generally regarded as one of the nicest guys in the sport, and he has a bit of effortless charm that a lot of fighters don’t seem to have. That and the fact that he’s been in some true wars and always strives to improve between fights make it hard to look at his current situation and not think if this loss means he gets cut. This was his fourth fight this year (!!), but he lost 3 out of those 4. I’d be surprised if he didn’t get his walking papers here.

Francimar Barroso - Barroso now drops to 3-3 in the UFC, but the last two were consecutive finishes. At 36 years of age and with performances like these, he could get be on the chopping block as well.

  • Neither

Claudia Gadelha - Yes, she won the fight against a tough opponent. Yes, the kick to a grounded Casey’s head should have been at the very least a point deduction that never came. No, it would not have affected the decision on the scorecards. That aside, the biggest problem is that she won the fight but Joanna Champion is still... champion. We all know that something extraordinary needs to happen for you to get a shot at the title when you’ve lost twice to that champion already. Despite how good she looked for so much of that fight, it was marred by a terrible foul and the knowledge that it won’t help her cause from a big picture perspective.

  • Notable Mentions

Kyoji Horiguchi notched a decent win, and could get another shot at the title after the Ultimate Fighter winner takes on current king Demetrious Johnson. Pedro Munhoz gets two straight guillotine choke wins, and they both looked fantastic. Cezar Ferreira extends his win streak to 3 and earns his first finish since 2013. Jack Marshman also repped Wales extra hard with his UFC debut win by taking on a very tough Cedenblad and continuing his current momentum with seven straight wins, six of them being finishes.

Finally, big ups to Manny Gamburyan. Two straight TKO losses, but he’s calling it a career and walking away on his own terms. Manny has had some fun performances and never seemed like he was half-stepping it in his fights, even in cases where it was to his detriment. Good on him, and we should wish him nothing but there very best from here on out.

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