It was an up and down week for the global stock market, and the fighters of UFC 114 followed suit at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Let’s dive in to take a look at whose stock notably went up and those that held or lost ground Saturday.
Rashad Evans: It was a disappointing bout that didn’t live up to lofty expectations, but Evans got the best of his rival to take the grudge match with lopsided scores. A shot at Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s 205-pound title awaits. Will the challenger be the betting favorite? I’d have to think so.
Michael Bisping: Outclassed Dan Miller on the feet for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision win. Bisping may never possess knockout power in his repertoire, but his excellent footwork and jab are a tough puzzle for any middleweight to solve. A showdown with Alan Belcher would be both sensible and pay-per-view worthy.
Mike Russow He fought exclusively with his chin for 17 minutes, doing little except surviving until he executed his very own “Rocky” moment against Todd Duffee. Surely down on the scorecards after being dominated for two and a half rounds, Russow found an opening in Duffee’s attack and made him pay dearly. The Windy City native is now 13-1 (1 NC), with his lone loss coming in a controversial bout against Sergei Kharitonov.
John Hathaway: Made it look easy against a man that just competed for the 155-pound title in Diego Sanchez. Next for the Brit? A well-rounded banger like Mike Swick sounds like a proper test.
Cyrille Diabate: Once written off on the heels of four straight defeats earlier in his career, the Frenchman came up big in his UFC debut with a shocking knockout of top 10-ranked Luis Arthur Cane. Dana White and company love competent strikers (don’t we all?), so I expect Diabate’s next bout will be of the televised variety. Keep in mind that Diabate has pieced together six consecutive victories since being stomped out by “Shogun” in a 2006 Pride duel.
Dong Hyun Kim: Absolutely mopped the floor with a respected opponent in Amir Sadollah and upped his UFC record to 4-0 (1 NC) in the process. Kim showed that he is ready to take the leap into the division’s deeper waters with his next appearance.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson: It was his first bout in 15 months. Ring rust was visible, and he reported to training camp north of 250 pounds. Don’t fret Rampage fans; he’ll be back in force sooner than later. I’d love to see Jackson take on Lyoto Machida late this year to find a challenger for the winner of Evans-Shogun.
Todd Duffee: This may be the first time a knockout victim made the hold list, but the still green Duffee showed a lot of substance before succumbing to a Russow right hand. This loss can be pinned on cardio, as Duffee was slow and predictable a minute into the final round. Duffee will recover from this setback in his next bout. Don’t bet against an athlete of his caliber.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Jason Brilz:The razor-close first round made the difference in official scoring, but in a fight this hotly contested there is no loser. I saw the first and second rounds for Brilz, but it would be hard to argue giving the opening frame to Nogueira on the strength of the stinging knees to the body he delivered early in the stanza. A rematch is in order, but extremely unlikely. The UFC has a light heavyweight contender in both athletes; there’s no reason to justify sacrificing the street cred of one of them just to settle the score when they can both move on to fight upper-level 205-pound fighters.
Melvin Guillard: The seasoned veteran did what he was supposed to do against Waylon Lowe, an upstart making his UFC debut. Guillard respectfully called out Jeremy Stephens following the win, which could be a likely matchup for both fighters.
Aaron Riley: The Hoosier bounced back from a one-sided beating at the hands of Ross Pearson to pick up a much-needed win against Joe Brammer. Riley may never be a contender in the lightweight division, but he can hold down the fort as a gatekeeper if he can continue to ward off newcomers.
Dan Miller: Widely regarded as one of the better middleweights on the floor, Miller instead chose to get outboxed for two rounds before feeling the need to push his tempo with takedowns with minutes left in the final round. All of this is just one bout removed from getting outpointed by Demian Maia on the feet. Poor gameplan + lack of execution = three straight losses and a questionable future.
Diego Sanchez: Was dominated from the opening bell by a much less experienced fighter in his return to 170 pounds against Hathaway. Since leaving the Greg Jackson camp in Albuquerque, N.M., Sanchez’s striking has regressed to a near one-dimensional state. Sanchez won’t find the competition at 170 any easier, so I don’t feel that calling his move up in weight a mistake is jumping the gun.
Amir Sadollah: It was Sadollah’s first real test against a competent ground fighter since his meeting with C.B. Dollaway (a 29-second knockout to Johny Hendricks not withstanding), and he failed miserably. Kim put Sadollah on like a jersey in the summertime and wore him out for 15 minutes in every position imaginable. It’s back to the drawing board for the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner.
Dan Lauzon: An 0-3 history in the UFC and alleged rumors of a poor work ethic do not translate well for a career on the sport’s premier stage. The good news: At only 22 years old, there’s plenty of time to turn it around for “The Upgrade.”
Luis Arthur Cane: Even in our turbulent times, few stocks have dropped as low as Cane’s has in the last six months. The Brazilian has fell prey to two knockouts in just more than four minutes of combined action against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Diabate. “Banha” will be dismissed from the light heavyweight rankings for the foreseeable future and will likely need time to recover from two stinging knockouts in a short span.
Joe Brammer: Following a 7-0-1 start to his career, the Iowan dropped his second straight contest in a lopsided decision loss to Riley. The disappointing outing follows a first-round submission loss to Mark Bocek, which could signal the end of Brammer’s employment with the UFC.
Jesse Forbes: The Arizona native is now 0-2 in his second unsuccessful stint in the big show. Following the quick submission loss to Ryan Jensen on Saturday, Forbes has likely seen his last action in the UFC.