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UFC Austin: Cerrone vs. Medeiros - Winners and Losers

Everything is bigger in Texas as Derrick Lewis and Nate Diaz’s blunt can attest to. But not everyone in Texas can be a winner. Who walked out of the Lone Star State with their head held high?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Austin ended up being one hell of a wild night. We had a one round barnburner in the main event. The co-main event was about as sloppy as it gets, but it still produced a brutal KO and a classic Derrick Lewis interview. And of course, there’s Nate Diaz stealing the show without even stepping into the cage… or uttering a single word.

As with any event, not all winners were actually winners and not all losers were actually losers. Perhaps more hindsight would give us more clarity on the results of this event, but let’s be honest with ourselves. We’re all impatient buggers and we want our analysis NOW. So I’ve got your winners and losers right here, right now.


Donald Cerrone: In terms of remaining a viable part of the UFC picture, there may not have been a single fight more important in Cerrone’s career. Having lost three fights in a row coming into the contest, there were whispers Cerrone’s days as a headliner were over. Then he comes out and delivers a brutal boxing combination to put Yancy Medeiros out right before the bell. The jury is still out whether Cowboy is going to return to the lightweight division as he declared he would be right before the fight with Medeiros was made, but here’s hoping he does. Let’s not forget how small he looked in comparison to Darren Till.

Derrick Lewis: Let’s be honest: that was not a great performance from Lewis. Marcin Tybura was winning that fight before Lewis’ ham hocks connected cleanly midway through the third round. Nobody is clamoring for the Lewis to be getting a title shot any time soon after that performance. But if there isn’t anybody else more apt at pulling off the come from behind victory than the Black Beast….

The one thing Lewis does better than anyone else: he leaves us wanting more of him on the mic. Mentioning Bellator on a UFC broadcast? Big no-no, but Lewis does what Lewis wants. That includes him telling his wife to get ready for him to “go deep” when he gets home. If you don’t know what that means, I sure as hell am not going to be the one to explain that to you.

James Vick: I’m always reluctant to put Vick in the winner’s column given his association with Lloyd Irvin, but he continually proves himself to be a legit threat at lightweight. He made great use of his length to pick apart Francisco Trinaldo with jabs and front kicks to minimize the danger and walk out the victor. It’s crazy to think Vick is now 9-1 in the UFC. I will criticize his mass callout though. Focus on a single opponent and let them know you have them – and only them – in your targets. You’re much more likely to get what you REALLY want that way. Provided you aren’t asking for Conor McGregor of course....

Curtis Millender: It’s rare you see a newcomer to the Octagon perform with the poise Millender did. Even more rare is when you see such a poised performance feature so much violence. He picked apart an established and durable veteran in Thiago Alves and looks like a serious threat to make a move up the welterweight ladder in a hurry. Between Millender and Israel Adesanya, it’s hard to say who has had the more impressive debut for 2018. I’m leaning towards Millender.

Brandon Davis: Remember how flat Davis looked against Kyle Bochniak last month? Well, he’s completely redeemed himself by going to war with Steven Peterson. It was bloody, it was sloppy, and it was fun. Despite the sloppiness, Davis was the more technical fighter and that made all the difference in the world. Glad to see the youngster rebound as quickly as he did.

Geoff Neal: Very simplistic approach for Neal, but it did the trick against Brian Camozzi in addition to entertaining the crowd. Plus, his bulldog choke may not have been very slick – bulldog chokes never are – but it was there for the taking and produced some excellent violence. The Texas native appears to have a bright future.

Roberto Sanchez: After his poor showing in his UFC debut, very few had confidence in the man known as Little Fury. In his sophomore effort, Sanchez made quick work of the younger Joby Sanchez, scoring a fast takedown and taking the back with lighting speed to get the RNC. Doing in his home state only made the accomplishment that much sweeter for the 31-year old.

Lucie Pudilova: Given her low profile, most fans aren’t aware of the young Czech. They should be very soon as she is one of the most consistently exciting fighters on the roster. She escaped from a VERY tight armbar in the first round and brawled her way to a win over Sarah Moras. If she continues to improve, the UFC could have a marketable figure in a division desperate for a notable name.

Alex Morono: Morono may have been stretching the truth a bit when he called Josh Burkman a legend, but there is no doubt securing his first UFC finish over a guy he remembered watching in high school in his home state is a pretty damn good feeling. Morono called out Diego Sanchez. Should he get his wish and secures a win, what are the odds he calls out Royce Gracie?

Oskar Piechota: One hell of a way to open up the card! Piechota ate a hard shot from Tim Williams early, but ate it and stuck to his game plan. Piechota landed a brutal right hand that sent Williams crashing to the mat. Given Piechota is best known for his ground game, that’s a hell of a message to be sending to the rest of the middleweight division. Given his post-fight interview, he also appears to be one of the ultimate nice guys. There is yet to be a reason to root against the Pole.

Nate Diaz: It usually isn’t a memorable occasion when the UFC cameras pan over fighters in the crowd. Diaz found a way to make the most of those five seconds by faux-lighting up his blunt and give UFC officials a heart attack. Somebody in the UFC and FOX offices has to realize how good he is for their bottom line. Seriously people, let Diaz do his thing and enjoy the money he rakes in for you.

UFC: They may not be happy with Diaz’s actions or Lewis’ interview, but those are the actions that makes stars and the UFC needs as much star power as it can get. Millender looks like he could be a future star. Cerrone getting a win helps him remain a viable draw, so they win there too. Plus, Vick has more marketability than Trinaldo… provided they can find a way to keep the majority of the public oblivious to Vick’s association with Irvin. About the only thing that didn’t go in the UFC’s favor was Sage Northcutt’s fight… and he still walked out with a W. It was a good night for the organization.


Thiago Alves: There was a time when you could have told me Alves would lose to a debuting fighter and I’d be laughing hysterically at you. That day became a reality, much to my chagrin. Alves didn’t have an answer for Millender’s long reach, eating jab after jab when the Brazilian did try to pressure. When he gave Millender room, he ended up getting buried. For those of us who remember the whirling dervish Alves was heading into his contest with GSP at UFC 100, this was a very sad day.

Thibault Gouti: I did score Gouti’s fight with Sage Northcutt in Gouti’s favor, but I also don’t feel too bad for him losing as he fought a very dumb fight. He rocked Northcutt on the feet on two separate occasions and resorted to following those moments up with takedown attempts. Dude, you clearly had the advantage on the feet. What the hell? Watching the fight, I may not have felt he lost the fight, but he deserved to.

Jared Gordon: First, Gordon eats two kicks to the nuts from Diego Ferreira within the first two minutes. Then, after Ferreira’s low blows go unpenalized, Gordon gets rocked and his arm held behind his back on the ground in a hammerlock -- in what Jimmy Smith referred to as second grade jiu-jitsu -- as Ferreira pounds away on him. Given the way he lost this contest, Gordon’s stock may have taken the biggest hit. How can you tout a guy as an up-and-comer who lost that way? Horrible night for Gordon.

Brian Camozzi: Chris’ little brother should have felt fortunate getting this third chance in the Octagon. He blew the opportunity by being finished faster than ever as his first two losses at least occurred after he’d completed a round. Don’t expect to see Camozzi in the UFC anymore.

Joby Sanchez: Already on his second chance in the UFC, Sanchez didn’t do himself any favors by failing to last a mere two minutes in his return contest. He’s not a great athlete and you aren’t going to find a much easier test in flyweight division than the opponent he had here. Even though I have no doubt Sanchez will get another chance, things don’t look good for his future.

Josh Burkman: Burkman is now 1-7 in his latest UFC stint. Let me say that again: 1-7. The last three losses have all come in the first round. Can we please pull the plug on the longtime veteran now? Burkman was a tough test back in his day. His day is long gone.

Tim Williams: He didn’t get a shot to fight in the UFC after his stint in TUF. Then he finally gets a chance in the Octagon almost four years later and he doesn’t even last for two minutes. He’ll probably get another chance in the UFC, but nobody is expecting anything out of him moving forward.

FS1 Pacing: I know I’ve bitched about FS1 pacing many times. Hell, so has everyone else! But you mean to tell me you don’t have anything better planned than a plethora of commercials when a glut of contests end in the first round? They did show the Fight Pass prelims to help sop up some time, but you don’t think the decline in the UFC’s popularity doesn’t have anything to do with the insufferable commercials fans are forced to sit through?


Yancy Medeiros: Medeiros was going into the loser’s column as I struggle to see him getting another main event opportunity following this loss. Then he turned in what of the better moments of the evening when he approached Cerrone’s grandma following the loss and was consoled by her. Very cool moment. Medeiros looked like he belonged with Cerrone up until the final ten seconds. Still, those ten seconds were the most important of the fight….

Marcin Tybura: It’s hard not to put Tybura in the loser’s column as he ate some MASSIVE punches from the Black Beast, but he put on a quality performance. He was winning the fight up until the moment he wasn’t as he was largely controlling Lewis over the final round and a half. Not an easy task to accomplish. If Tybura and Lewis were to fight 10 times, I could see Tybura winning five of them. He isn’t title material, but Tybura has proven himself to be a legit addition to the heavyweight division.

Francisco Trinaldo: He may have come up short on the scorecards, but it was a quality performance from Trinaldo. You’d think he’d begin to look less athletic given his 39 years, but that wasn’t the issue for the Brazilian at all. He landed some hard body shots and appeared to have the advantage on the ground, but he couldn’t overcome the volume of his longer opponent and the fight wasn’t on the ground very much. His stock shouldn’t take a hit at all.

Steven Peterson: Admittedly, it wasn’t the most technical performance from Peterson. But DAMN!!! That dude is TOUGH. Peterson performed one of the most profound stanky legs I’ve ever seen and somehow remained on his feet, only to start throwing haymakers of all sorts in hopes of securing a late finish. It may cost him some brain cells, but the MMA community will always have major respect for stupid-tough dudes like Peterson.

Sage Northcutt: The youngster didn’t win his fight with Gouti no matter what shows up in his official record. However, I’m reluctant to say he lost it too, being saved only by Gouti’s poor fight IQ. Keep in mind there is a difference between being reluctant and not saying it. Northcutt is making progress. It may be slow progress, but it is there. Nonetheless, there isn’t anyone who had a more neutral night than Super Sage.

Diego Ferreira: It was very hard not putting Ferreira in the winner’s column as the finishing sequence against Gordon was incredible. But those two low blows that went unpenalized? I can’t in good conscious call the Texas native a winner no matter how dominant he looked pounding out Gordon.

Sarah Moras: Her brawl with Pudilova wasn’t FOTY caliber, but it was good enough that it could have taken home FOTN and there wouldn’t have been an argument. Moras’ stock went up in the eyes of most. She showed plenty of toughness and a willingness to throw down. Being unable to walk out with a W hurts, but leaving everything in the cage the way she did was enough for me to say she wasn’t a loser.

Texas Athletic Commission: Given there is still time for drug tests to come back and there was one questionable decision, I can’t label them a winner. However, nobody is screaming for their heads on a pike the way they have after some of the previous events held in the Lone Star State. Their job is to not be noticed… and for the most part, they weren’t.

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