Here I dissect the entire card from Saturday night and run down through who impressed and who didn’t and see where they lay heading into the future.
Benson Henderson def. Brandon Thatch via submission (rear-naked choke), round 4.
Henderson: The former champ needed a win badly and few were expecting him to get it against the much bigger and powerful Brandon Thatch. The victory here has done so much for Henderson. Many thought he had become stale and boring to watch but this is after breathing fire into him as will a resurgence in interest from fans in seeing him fight. His stock goes through the roof.
Thatch: Coming back after a year out through injuries, third fight in the UFC being a main event, first five round fight, facing a former champ…when looking back on it things seemed stacked against Thatch but everyone was focusing on his size and power and that has become detrimental as now he “lost to a much smaller guy” etc. Thatch’s stock goes down but he will be a welcome addition to the mid-card of a future UFC event and will no doubt work his way back up, something that probably should of happened from the beginning.
Max Holloway def. Cole Miller via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Holloway: What can we say about Holloway here other than he continues to rise and prove himself as one of the brightest prospects in the sport. At 23-years-old he is still learning and growing but after winning his past five fights one must assume he is ready to take on the top 10.
Miller: Not what we wanted from Miller. It is hard coming back from a year long layoff and facing a guy with such momentum behind him. The 18-fight-UFC-veteran goes down the pecking order and now finds himself needing to start from the bottom once more.
Neil Magny def. Kiichi Kunimoto via submission (rear-naked choke), round 3.
Magny: Another great win and another notch on the current streak which now stands at 6 fights. The foundations are built, his stock is slowly rising but is evening-out, needs to start getting a step-up in competition to solidify himself as one of the rising stars.
Kunimoto: A loss to Magny isn’t something to ashamed of but he never looked too impressive during this fight and gassing in the third round doesn’t add anything to his perception. Stock goes way down and should be utilized on Asian UFC events in order to build himself up and get a bit of run again before tackling North America again.
Rest of the Results:
Daniel Kelly def. Patrick Walsh via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Sloppy fight that gains neither man any fans. Walsh missed weight and looked very mediocre at best in this fight. One must admire 37-year-old Daniel Kelly being 2-0 in the UFC.
Kevin Lee def. Michel Prazeres via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Domminent performance by Lee, looked very good and I am excited to see where he goes from here.
Ray Borg def. Chris Kelades via submission (kimura), round 3.
Borg displayed some good offence on a very tough Kelades. The flyweight division is so thin that his rise to the top could be quick if given the right fights.
Efrain Escudero def. Rodrigo Lima via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Veteran Escudero’s experience was too much. However, until he gets a good run going he will remain on the lower end of the cards.
Chas Skelly def. Jim Alers via TKO (strikes), round 2.
Unfortunate ending to the fight although I did believe Skelly was going to get the win regardless. Both men showed some great offense. Skelly moves up and Alers remains at entry level on the UFC’s ladder.
Zach Makovsky def. Tim Elliott via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Great fight. Makovsky showing some great veteran savviness while Elliot was relentless and entertaining throughout.
James Moontasri def. Cody Pfister via submission (rear-naked choke), round 2.
Moontasri looked dangerous with his strikes, especially those knees. Pfister looked like a fish out of water with his awkward striking but showed some great heart to survive the first round.