After The War – Return of the Dragon!
In a card where the Brazilians allegedly had favourable matchups, seven of the ten Brazilians faced against foreign competition prevailed and none was bigger than Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida’s scintillating destruction of C.B. Dollaway. Former champion, Renan Barao also returned to action in a hard-fought battle with the rising Mitch Gagnon. All-in-all, a very good showing from the Brazilian crop with a humongous upset going for them. Here is a quick rundown of the biggest winners and losers from the event.
Knocked out C.B. Dollaway in a minute; has now won 3 of last 4 fights
In one minute and fifteen seconds, “The Dragon” perfect encapsulated what was so amazing and addictive about the sport of mixed martial arts: the sheer unspeakable unpredictability. Machida let loose a perfectly timed and placed kick that cracked Dollaway in the ribs prompting a very quick stoppage. Machida may have just lost his last title shot but with performances like these, it’s not ludicrous to consider giving him his second shot already.
Should Fight: Luke Rockhold: already booked unofficially; Rockhold is coming off three impressive finishes since losing to Belfort and this fight could determine the next contender outside Jacare Souza and Yoel Romero
Submitted Mitch Gagnon; first win since losing Bantamweight title in May
Barao got back on the win column, choking out the red-hot Mitch Gagnon in the third. It was a much-needed win for the Nova Uniao fighter who had gone from penthouse to doghouse following a shellacking at the hands of T.J. Dillashaw and a botched weight cut a night before the weigh-ins. Barao did not look overly impressive in the win though, looking a bit lackluster and gun-shy but still got the job done. The much-anticipated rematch should be next.
Should Fight: T.J. Dillashaw: with injuries to Dominick Cruz and Raphael Assuncao, Barao is the clear-cut contender to Dillashaw’s belt. Here’s hoping no weight cutting fiasco arises
Defeated Antonio Carlos Junior; has now won three in a row
Ten months ago, Patrick “Durkin” Cummins was a running meme among MMA fans when the former barista was wrecked by number-one contender Daniel Cormier on UFC 170 in a fight he took on a very late notice. With two wins in a row after that, Durkin survived multiple submission attempts from the former BJJ World Champion to win decisively. Only way to go is up for Durkin who is ready to seriously contend in a division hungry for new blood.
Should Fight: Rafael Cavalcante: Durkin is on a roll and a fight with a top-15 guy is likely next; Cavalcante is coming off a loss to Ryan Bader and this fight likely determines who’s moving on to the top ten or dropping out of the rankings altogether.
Finished Mike Rhodes in a minute; has now won five UFC fights in one round
Erick Silva may be the greatest fighter in MMA history… if fights lasted two minutes. “Indio” made very quick work of Mike Rhodes, taking him to the ground, cutting through his guard and sinking in the arm-triangle choke all in one swift beautiful motion. Whether he’s a contender or not is debatable but Silva will always be an entertaining staple to any UFC event.
Should Fight: Brandon Thatch-Stephen Thompson Winner: if the trend with Silva continues, he’ll get a big step up in competition again. A Fight of the Year contender awaits when he faces the winner of Thatch and Thompson, two explosive strikers on the rise.
Knocked out by Lyoto Machida in one minute
Have to feel for Dollaway; the former NCAA Division I wrestler was an 8-1 underdog against Machida and was outmatched but very few envisioned him getting finished in a minute. One vicious kick to the ribs and that was all she wrote for Ohioan. The loss to Machida hardly diminished his stock but it sure destroyed his momentum.
Should Fight: Gegard Mousasi-Dan Henderson Loser: a fight with a ranked fighter should still be next for C.B. The loser of Mousasi and Henderson would be logical based on such
Lost to Renan Barao; four-fight win streak snapped
Not many gave the Canadian a hair of a chance against the former champion. Gagnon was a 6-1 underdog and his bout with Barao was his first against a ranked fighter since his loss to Bryan Caraway in his UFC debut. Still, Gagnon surprised a lot by aggressively attacking Barao though an ill-advised takedown ultimately led to his submission loss; a moral victory at least.
Should Fight: Michinori Tanaka: Gagnon put up a fight and if anything his stock rose; Tanaka is another prospect coming off a loss and it would be a fantastic stylistic fight for both.
ANTONIO CARLOS JUNIOR
Lost to Patrick Cummins in Light Heavyweight debut
For the first few minutes, “Cara de Sapato” looked as if he would pull off an impressive submission win over Cummins. He would later lose his leglock/toehold and be grinded out by Cummins who won the grappling affair en route to a clear-cut win though Sapato did mount Cummins in the dying minutes. Not exactly a deflating loss but a lost opportunity for sure.
Should Fight: Nikita Krylov-Stanislav Nedkov Loser: losing to Durkin simply means Sapato is just not ready for top-fifteen fights just yet. Krylov and Nedkov are two other light heavies knocking on the rankings and Sapato could be meeting either one for the next Brazilian card.
Submitted by Leandro Issa despite being 5-1 favourite
Sasaki was coming off a stunning one-minute submission of Judo black belt, Roland Delorme and looked every bit like the Japanese phenom he was pegged to be. Leandro Issa was coming off a lackluster win over Jumabieke Tuerxun (0-3 in the UFC) and on paper this was all-but a squash fight. Unfortunately the Japanese youngster was outgrappled by Issa and eventually submitted ending his 12-fight unbeaten streak and handing him first loss in the UFC.
Should Fight: Tim Gorman: it’s back to the drawing board for Sasaki who may have overlooked Issa; Sasaki could find a grinder-type of undercarder like Tim Gorman as his next scrap
WHO’s UP NEXT FOR THE DRAGON? LUKE ROCKHOLD?
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— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) December 22, 2014