UFC on FX 3: The Aftermath
Welcome to the first installment of what will be my regular post-event feature here at The Roar.
It’s not a statistical breakdown of fights; nor a detailed play-by-play account. That’s not what you come here for, right?
What I will do, however, is give you my take on the fights: why the played out the way they did, who impressed me most, and which, if any, fighters came up short and why.
Without any further explanation, welcome to The Aftermath.
It will be Demetrious Johnson facing Jospeh Benavidez for the UFC flyweight title later this year, as “Mighty Mouse” emerged from his rematch with Ian McCall with a unanimous decision win, earning scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 29-28 from the three judges.
You knew small adjustments were going to be the key to this fight, and Johnson did the better job of making the necessary changes coming out of their first encounter. He revamped his weight cut to avoid gassing like he did in March, and did a much better job of nullifying McCall’s wrestling, while doing a better job of keeping “Uncle Creepy” off balance with feints throughout.
Additionally, McCall just seemed flat-footed in the cage throughout, and Johnson took advantage as much as he could, dropping the former Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champ in the first, and consistently getting the better of the exchanges on the feet.
This is far from the end for McCall in the UFC. He remains one of the elite flyweights in the sport, and was simply beaten by the better man this time around. I thought he looked drawn out and tired at the weigh-ins, and wonder if he didn’t have a more rigorous cut this time around.
He needs to work on starting a little more quickly, but he’s wildly popular, and immensely talented, so we should see plenty more of “Uncle Creepy” in the future.
Erick Silva looked good earning his third consecutive first-round victory in the UFC, choking out Charlie Brenneman. It was the kind of solid performance Silva needed against a tough and durable wrestler, but he’s not yet ready for prime time in my opinion.
For one thing, there’s already enough of a bottleneck at the top of the welterweight division that we don’t need to be rushing a still somewhat unproven prospect into that mess right now.
Additionally, Brenneman is more of a “low-end gatekeeper” in my estimation, so this win moves Silva into range of guys like Mike Pyle (more on him shortly), Rick Story, John Hathaway, and Mike Pierce, not the Josh Koschecks and Rory MacDonalds of the world as some people were calling for on Twitter following the fight. I think Silva has top-of-the-division potential, but there is no need to rush him up the rankings just quite yet.
Mike Pyle scored a nasty walk-away knockout win against Josh Neer, continuing what has been a nice little “late 30s” run for the long-time veteran.
Just as Neer started to get comfortable in the stand-up with Pyle backed in the cage – BOOM! – right hand meet chin, and that was that. Pyle is a tough out, and makes for an excellent gatekeeper in the welterweight division. He halted John Hathaway’s unbeaten run, and his only two UFC losses are to Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald.
With a very well-rounded skill set and all the savvy that comes with being a 12-year veteran of the sport, Pyle should be the guy to match up against one of these up-and-coming welterweight prospects like Silva or Siyar Bahadurzada in the future.
Eddie Wineland looked like he caught a hatchet with his face, but that didn’t stop him from blistering Scott Jorgensen with a right hand midway through the second round to pick up his first win in the UFC.
The first bantamweight champion in WEC history, Wineland showed the kind of power we don’t often see from the ’35s, as he dropped Jorgensen in the first, and peppered him with shots that snapped his head back throughout. With the win, Wineland inherits Jorgensen’s place in bantamweight purgatory – a notch below title contention (especially having already lost to Benavidez and Urijah Faber last year), but safely inside the top 10, and capable of putting forth a good scrap with anyone in the division.
Here are some quick thoughts on the rest of the fight card from Sunrise, Florida:
- The UFC should never go back to Florida again. The officiating and judging was awful, and yesterday’s weigh-ins were shaky too.
UFC President Dana White voiced his displeasure after the event, so don’t expect to see the Octagon back in FLA any time soon.
- Mike Pierce is destined to remain on the preliminary card until he (1) starts finishing guys or (2) beats someone significant in the welterweight division. I love quality wrestling, and have always liked Pierce’s brand of grinding, but he did very little in his victory over Carlos Eduardo Rocha, and surely didn’t win any points with the boss or the audience.
- Leonard Garcia should probably get cut, though he won’t, because White and Lorenzo Fertitta “love guys who WAR!” Sadly, Garcia has now officially lost three straight, and should really be on an 8-to-10 fight losing streak. I’m not even joking. Matt Grice was 1-4 in the UFC coming in, and looked like a monster in dominating Garcia.
- I’m intrigued by Tim Means, who scored his second consecutive impressive win in the UFC with a first-round TKO win over Justin Salas. Lightweights who stand 6’2″ and have some pop in their hands are very interesting to me, and while getting a couple of wins at the bottom of the division is no reason to get too excited, I look forward to seeing him fight again, hopefully soon, and that’s something I can’t say for many guys at the lower end of the totem pole as of late.
- The Bernardo Magalhaes Era in the UFC is probably going to come to a close. “Trekko” dropped a unanimous decision to Henry Martinez, and is now 0-2 in the UFC. A move down to featherweight might make sense, though he doesn’t look overly small for ’55 to me, so we’ll see.
- While the main card delivered, the prelims were average at best, and showed just how thin the UFC is spreading the roster these days. It’s not like this card was bitten by the injury bug either.
Next up: UFC on FX 4 and UFC 147 back-to-back on two weeks. I’ll be back tomorrow with more UFC goodness, right here on The Roar!
Follow The Roar’s UFC Expert E. Spencer Kyte on Twitter (@spencerkyte).
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