If you thought that the Thursday show in a weekend of fights was the appetizer for UFC 200, then you left feeling unexpectedly full after watching the event. The violence levels were high, with 8 finishes on the card and a thrilling finish in the main event championship fight. Here are your winners and losers for UFC Fight Night: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez.
Eddie Alvarez had one of the toughest roads to a title shot in recent memory. The former Bellator Lightweight Champion battled tough competition for years outside of the UFC. When he finally moved to the organization, the UFC pitted him against the best Lightweights in the world. Now after years of grinding away, he finally had the chance to show that he was the #1 Lightweight in the world. In brutal and spectacular fashion, Alvarez put away dos Anjos in under one round with his relentless aggression and accurate striking. I don't think you'll find a bigger winner this week than Alvarez.
Joseph Duffy made ridiculously quick work out of Mitch Clarke, so quickly that there isn't much to say. He landed a hard punch that had Clarke in all sorts of trouble and jumped on him, securing the rear naked choke. After a long, tough fight against Dustin Poirier where he came out the loser, it must have been a huge relief and a big win for Duffy to come out of the fight unscathed.
Alberto Mina had the most devestating finish of the night, putting Mike Pyle away in the second round with an incredible flying knee. The 34 year old is now a perfect 13-0 in professional MMA competition and has won three straight in the UFC. A win over a veteran and notable name in Mike Pyle is the win Mina needs to take a next step up in competition. At his age, Mina will need to continue to put on great performances against whoever the UFC pits against him.
Alan Jouban and Belal Muhammad put on a war of a fight, with Jouban laying out Muhammad twice in the first round. Jouban looked incredible with his striking, but the debuting Muhammad showed that he had an iron chin and will, surviving the round. Jouban continued his dominance in the second round with Muhammad still barely hanging on. In the third round, momentum changed and Muhammad came out on top of several exchanges that hurt Jouban. It was a thrilling fight with a deserving winner in Jouban.
Raphael dos Anjos had a great run as Lightweight Champion, but just like other champions this year, that run came crashing down in emphatic fashion. Dos Anjos was successful in the early stages, landing hard punches on Alvarez early. He does retain most of his dignity by not being knocked out cold and looking as though he still had some fight left in him. Other champions have fallen much harder against weaker competition. It's a hard loss for dos Anjos though, and proof that the Lightweight Championship is one of the toughest titles to defend in the sport.
If I told you that Roy Nelson landed 4 significant strikes in a fight, you'd assume that the 4th one was the knockout blow for a quick 1st round win. Instead, those 4 strikes were spread out over the course of a 15 minute fight that he was on the losing end of. Although the fight was very close on the scorecards and could have gone in Nelson's favour, the 40 year old Heavyweight has shown in his last couple of performances that not only will he not be a contender in the Heavyweight division, but that he won't be putting on exciting fights. That's not a good place to be, especially with Nelson's troubled relationship with the UFC brass.
For Mitch Clarke, there aren't many positives you can take out of a 25 second loss. Clarke will likely shake his head and ponder of what could have been had he lasted in the cage longer. Any fight that ends in under 30 seconds will usually leave the loser in disbelief to how it all happened so fast. For Clarke, the loss puts his record to 2-4 in the UFC with back to back losses. Having only fought 6 times in his 5 years with the UFC, the loss could mean the end for Clarke's UFC career.
Mike Pyle was finished by strikes for the 6th time in his career last night. Pyle got caught by a flying knee from Alberto Mina that he couldn't recover from. When a fighter with as much experience as Pyle turns 40 years old and gets his bell rung, the initial feeling is that the fighter should retire. Although I doubt that is where Pyle is headed, that will likely be the narrative for the rest of Pyle's fights until he finally decides to hang up the gloves. For now, Pyle will have to dust himself off after his fourth loss in his past six fights.