UFC 145: What's Next for the Winners?
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones hoped to capitalize on what was a very impressive 2011 in his first fight of 2012 against a former champion in Rashad Evans.
He did so with a unanimous decision victory after five rounds. Utilizing his range and unorthodox skillset, Jones was able to keep Evans at bay and adapt to his style to defeat his former teammate in a battle contested mostly on the feet.
In the co-main event, Rory MacDonald walked through Che Mills to earn a second-round TKO victory. It was his third win in a row.
Other winners on the card include Travis Browne, Michael McDonald, Ben Rothwell and Mark Bocek. This is what's next for the winners.
Matt Brown Defeats Stephen Thompson by Unanimous Decision
Matt "The Immortal" Brown handed Stephen Thompson his first professional loss in MMA, and it came by way of unanimous decision after three rounds.
Thompson, a standout karate-oriented fighter, was able to have success in the second round, but a lack of killer instinct kept him from taking advantage of his hurt opponent.
Brown was able to obtain dominant positions on the ground to secure the decision win in the first and second rounds.
With wins over Thompson and Chris Cope, Brown is beginning to get himself back into the division. A fight with the winner of Duane Ludwig and Dan Hardy is one that could offer something fun to watch.
Anthony Njokuani Defeats John Makdessi by Unanimous Decision
Standout strikers Anthony Njokuani and John Makdessi fought for three rounds before Njokuani walked away with a well-deserved unanimous decision victory.
Makdessi, who came into the fight overweight, wasn't able to walk down his bigger opponent for the majority of the bout. Looking for the one strike to get the job done, he left himself susceptible to being countered at range with more strikes.
The Nigerian might get matched up with another good striker next, and it should come against Takanori Gomi, who recently defeated Eiji Mitsuoka at UFC 144. That is one fight that fans can get behind.
Travis Browne Defeats Chad Griggs by Submission in Round 1
Heavyweight prospect Travis Browne picked up his fourth UFC victory after submitting Chad Griggs in the first round on the preliminary card.
It was easy work for Browne, who got his opponent down before moving into full mount and to side control after locking in an arm-triangle choke. Griggs had no choice but to tap at 2:29.
Browne's next fight could come against another heavyweight who looked impressive tonight in Ben Rothwell, who stopped Brendan Schaub in the first round on the main card.
Mark Bocek Defeats John Alessio by Unanimous Decision
Mark Bocek secured a unanimous decision win over John Alessio in the opening bout on the pay-per-view. His record extends to 11-4 with the victory.
Bocek utilized his grappling skills to control Alessio for the majority of the fight. He also out-landed his opponent in total strikes after three rounds.
With the win, Bocek is now riding a two-fight win streak with his other win having come against Nik Lentz. His only losses in his last eight fights have come against Benson Henderson and Jim Miller.
A possible bout with the winner of Evan Dunham vs. Edson Barboza could give fans a lot of answers as to where their ground game is against a very quality grappler.
Eddie Yagin Defeats Mark Hominick by Split Decision
The bloodiest fight of the night was contested between featherweights Eddie Yagin and Mark Hominick.
Yagin nearly stopped Hominick in the first round, but the Canadian fighter battled back to almost steal the fight on the judges' scorecards in the second and third rounds.
In the end, both fighters' faces were covered in blood.
Considering his underdog status heading into the fight, Yagin impressed a lot of people tonight. For his next fight, he can take on Marcus Brimage, who defeated Maximo Blanco on the undercard.
Michael McDonald Defeats Miguel Torres by KO in Round 1
Michael McDonald picked up the biggest win of his career when he knocked out former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres in the first round.
McDonald found a home for his right uppercut early in the fight and landed it flush on the chin of Torres at 3:18. A few follow up blows were added until the ref jumped in.
At 21, he is one of the UFC's best young stars, and a fight with Brad Pickett or Brian Bowles could be next, considering how tied up all of the division's top fighters are.
Ben Rothwell Defeats Brendan Schaub by KO in Round 1
Ben Rothwell got a much-needed win over former TUF finalist Brendan Schaub in the very first round of their heavyweight bout.
Schaub came out fast and landed a spinning back elbow that stunned Rothwell. Schaub jumped on his opponent but was met with a huge left hand that put him down and out just one minute into the fight.
With the win, Rothwell gets back on the winning track after a loss to Mark Hunt set him back. As previously mentioned, a fight vs. Travis Browne could test both fighters while making a very exciting fight for the fans.
Rory MacDonald Defeats Che Mills by TKO in Round 2
After a dominating performance against Che Mills in tonight's co-main event, Rory MacDonald takes another step towards the top of the welterweight division at the age of 22.
Some people criticized the matchup when it was announced, but the UFC is looking to give MacDonald development fights to keep him busy without forcing him towards a title shot too quickly.
His wins in the UFC include those over Mills, Nate Diaz, Mike Guymon and Mike Pyle.
If the UFC decides to put him in there with a top contender, a fight versus the loser of either the Johny Hendricks-Josh Koscheck or Jake Ellenberger-Martin Kampmann bouts could be next.
Jon Jones Defeats Rashad Evans by Unanimous Decision
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones defended his title with a unanimous decision victory over former champion Rashad Evans in tonight's main event.
Jones went the five-round distance for the first time in his career, winning with two 49-46 scorecards and one 50-45 scorecard.
Jones' next fight will come against former two-division Pride champion Dan Henderson, who is currently riding a win streak with victories over Fedor Emelianenko, Mauricio Rua, Rafael Cavalcante and Renato Sobral.