I don’t want to say it was a bad night of fights. It really wasn’t. Sure, the main event had very little drama and there was only one fight that really captured the audience’s attention, but the rest of the fights were alright. Unfortunately, a constant stream of “alright” just isn’t very satisfying. Thus, fans walked away from UFC Vegas 20 feeling unsatisfied. So… I guess it was a bad night of fights.
Nonetheless, every card deserves scrutiny, even in the manner of unorthodox awards. So, here it goes….
Biggest Jump in Stock: There’s several reasons Alexis Davis gets this boost. First, she snapped a three-fight losing streak upon returning to the women’s bantamweight division, where she once upon a time fought for the title. Not only did she snap her own losing streak, she did so by snapping a three-fight winning streak of the promising Sabina Mazo. And for the final reason, women’s bantamweight is in desperate need of quality competitors. Davis’ successful return to the division might launch her into the top ten. Thiago Moises made a hell of a case with an emphatic performance, but Davis helped her cause more than anyone.
Biggest Fall in Stock: Everyone knows Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a patient striker. He’s got the power to make that strategy work. However, if he doesn’t land that haymaker – something he didn’t do in the main event against Ciryl Gane – he’s one of the least entertaining fighters to watch. It’s not to say he needs to revamp everything, but some tweaks here and there could prove to be beneficial beyond words. He’ll probably get an opportunity to do so against a significantly lower level of competition as it’s going to be hard to promote someone off of an inactive performance like Rozenstruik had. In the end, the fall won’t be reflected so much in the rankings, but in his push.
Best Newcomer: After several cancellations that would have added to the total of newcomers, Ronnie Lawrence was the lone newcomer left standing. Fortunately, it was a debut to be proud of. Lawrence got a finish midway through the third by beating incessantly on Vince Cachero on the mat, but his Brock Lesnar impression that caught everyone’s attention, taking Cachero to Suplex City on several occasions. Hell, it even picked him up a Performance Bonus. Bantamweight has another young talent to watch out for.
Start Typing a Resume: It’s not a guarantee the next time Cachero fights will be in a different organization, but he’s the most likely candidate to be doing so. In recent years, the UFC hasn’t made a habit of releasing fighters off two losses in their first two appearances, especially when the debut isn’t in their native weight class. However, it isn’t unheard of and Cachero wasn’t close to winning either of his UFC contests.
Saved Their Job: Part of the reason Davis got such a big boost in stock was it very well could have been the end of the line with a loss. It didn’t matter her three previous losses were to three consensus top ten women’s flyweights. Davis doesn’t bring extra intangibles the way others in a similar situation would, making a win imperative. She delivered.
Biggest WOW Moment: Umm… was there a wow moment? Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera put on a hell of a show, but I don’t know if there was a singular moment that dropped the jaw. Maybe when Rivera dropped Munhoz off the bat, but that wasn’t a clean knockdown. Yeah… not really a wow moment.
Cure for Insomnia: Many feared the main event between Gane and Rozenstruik would involve a lot of staring between the heavy hitters, but those fearmongers – myself included – thought we would get an explosive conclusion. It didn’t happen. There’s no doubt in my mind that many who started watching the fight had to wake up later to find out who emerged the winner. Not saying I don’t understand the caution of both fighters, but that isn’t the way the UFC wants to end a card.
Never Seen That Before: Maybe I saw it wrong, but did Alex Caceres let go of a deep triangle choke for no good reason? Maybe he felt he didn’t have it, but it appeared to be a dumb move upon first glance. At the very least, it was a curious move.
Best Callout: It’s been frustrating as of late as there haven’t been many quality callouts as of late, but Munhoz delivered, offering to welcome back TJ Dillashaw back from his 2-year suspension. Many have been asking for a piece of Dillashaw, but Munhoz might be the perfect fit. Dillashaw doesn’t get a title fight right away – no one wants to see that coming off a PED suspension – but Munhoz is hardly a warm up for his return. Munhoz is a legit challenge for anyone.
Best/Worst Referee Call: One of the most frustrating things with MMA is the reluctance of referees to take points for blatant violations of rules. Jerin Valel didn’t bother with the warning, immediately taking a point from Mayra Bueno Silva for a blatant fence grab. However, rather than putting Bueno Silva on her back after Montana De la Rosa would have finished the takedown, Valel stood them up. Perhaps it truly was the best and the worst call of the night.
Theme of the Night: Given there were only three Performance Bonuses given out – as opposed to the usual four – it should be a strong indication that the evening was extremely blah. Aside from the main event, none of the fights were really terrible. Most of them were competitive and had swing moments, but they lacked that extra oomph that makes fights intriguing. So aside from Munhoz and Rivera – and Lawrence – it was all blah.
Best GIF Moment: The curtain jerker between Dustin Jacoby and Maxim Grishin was a close contest with Grishin having the most dominant round. Perhaps that was why he was so shocked when the decision was read and he came out on the wrong end. It wasn’t a robbery by any means, but the reaction from Grishin was priceless. I won’t be surprised to see it turn up randomly on Twitter at some point.