UFC 131 Results, Recap and Thoughts
Although the city of Vancouver has other things on its mind right now, the UFC makes its second appearance there in as many years, and despite a rash of injuries and late changes a few intriguing fights and story lines remain.
The biggest thing to be determined tonight is the next challenger for Cain Velasquez’s Heavyweight title. Junior dos Santos, who many already feel is the rightful number one contender, is taking on Shane Carwin. Carwin, due to some fortuitous circumstances, is one fight away from another UFC title shot, despite being zero fights removed from his first shot at the belt. Originally, this was supposed to be a showdown between dos Santos and Lesnar, but due to Brock’s well-documented health issues, Carwin stepped into the main event slot.
The next interesting dynamic to me is the changing face of the Featherweight division. Kenny Florian makes his debut at his fourth weight class in the UFC, and sets out to prove what some have said for a long time now; that the Lightweight division is miles ahead of Featherweight. Personally, as a fan of the lower weight classes, I hope he doesn’t find the success expected of him (that and I don’t want any more Florian title shot soundbites). Standing in his way is Diego Nunes, another Nova Uniao standout in the lighter divisions who looks to act as a roadblock to his teammate Jose Aldo. This fight will go a long way to determining how current Featherweight division competitors are looked at, and how likely other Lightweights are to drop down in the future.
Stay tuned for results and thoughts as the fights progress.
Darren Elkins vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Result: Darren Elkins def. Michihiro Omigawa via Unanimous Decision
Honestly, Elkins did less than nothing to win this fight. Omigawa was the unanimous choice on the twitterverse, and inexplicably one judge even scored it 30-27 for Elkins. Great way to start off the card.
Aaron Rosa vs. Joey Beltran
Result: Joey Beltran def. Aaron Rosa via R3 TKO
I used to write a series over at FightLockdown.com called the Sloppy Slugfest (complete with a Frye/Takayama picture rating system and everything). This fight was the epitome of that.
Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young
Result: Dustin Poirier def. Jason Young via Unanimous Decision
This was a very entertaining fight. Hopefully this much more technical, competitive affair gets the Fight of the Night award over the Beltran/Rosa train wreck. Poirier tired late, but showed a more diverse skill set than the surprisingly effective Young, and is probably glad he got a step back in competition rather than a step up from Grispi (although what constitutes a step up from Grispi is anyone’s guess at this point).
Nick Ring vs. James Head
Result: Nick Ring def. James Head via R3 Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Ring finally looked healthy, and despite some rockiness in the first round, where Head had him hurt, he put on a very nice performance, finishing Head with a no-hooks RNC. Being from Calgary I can only assume he learned that sleeper in the Dungeon.
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Mike Massenzio
Result: Krzysztof Soszynwki def. Mike Massenzio via Unanimous Decision
Chris Weidman vs. Jesse Bongfeldt
Result: Chris Weidman def. Jesse Bongfeldt via R1 Submission (Guillotine)
Yves Edwards vs. Sam Stout
Result: Sam Stout def. Yves Edwards via R1 KO
Not sure anyone expected Stout to one-punch Yves like that. Stout just usually doesn’t have that kind of power. Stout will do what he always does now, and lose to someone who is a solid fighter in his division.
Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha
Result: Donald Cerrone def. Vagner Rocha via Unanimous Decision
Pretty much went down as expected. Cerrone was vastly superior on the feet and avoided the ground game with ease to garner a decision even these judges couldn’t mess up.
Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz
Result: Mark Munoz def. Demian Maia via Unanimous Decision
Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman
Result: Dave Herman def. Jon Olav Einemo via R2 TKO
Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes
Result: Kenny Florian def. Diego Nunes via Unanimous Decision
Shane Carwin vs. Junior dos Santos
Result: Junior dos Santos def. Shane Carwin via Unanimous Decision
Overall, a very entertaining night, despite the lack of finishes on the main card.
- dos Santos was very impressive in making Carwin look utterly helpless in there. Still, I favour Cain in their upcoming bout even considering the injury, and I would favour Cain heavily if there was no injury to speak of. Junior doesn’t have the elite stopping power that everyone thought he did early in his UFC run, and the longer a fight goes against Velasquez the more it tips in the champion’s favour.
- Diego Nunes acquitted himself and the Featherweight division as a whole very, very well. I don’t expect to see the Lightweights just dropping down and rolling over Featherweights as many had predicted. I also see Florian, while being a top 145er, to struggle to become truly elite, just like at 155. He beat Diego Nunes with his wrestling, which is nothing that someone like Chad Mendes would be unable to do.
- There’s not a lot I have to say about Munoz/Maia. Munoz’s inability to translate his tremendous wrestling to MMA is still worrisome, and against some of the better strikers in the division he’ll be exposed, as he’s very hittable on the feet.
- It seems like I was in Dave Herman’s head. I said being in the UFC would motivate him, and in a spot that he likely would have quit in earlier in his career, he battled back and scored a TKO over Einemo in a highly entertaining bout.