UFC on Fuel 3: What's Next for the Winners and Losers
Tuesday night's UFC on Fuel event showcased the ever-improving featherweight division with a main event matchup between Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung. "The Korean Zombie" was able to emerge victorious in a very entertaining scrap between two of the division's top contenders.
Also on the card, former WEC title challenger Donald Cerrone returned for his first fight since losing to Nate Diaz late last year to take on a power puncher in Jeremy Stephens. "The Cowboy" was able to work his way to a unanimous decision win.
The televised card also featured a fan-friendly bout between Fabio Maldonado and Igor Pokrajac. Both stood and traded combinations for the better part of 15 minutes until Pokrajac was declared the winner.
This is what's next for all of the night's winners and losers.
Francisco Rivera Defeats Alex Soto by Unanimous Decision
Francisco Rivera returned to the UFC for a second go-around in the first preliminary bout of the evening, defeating Alex Soto by unanimous decision after three rounds. All three judges scored the bout 30-27.
It was a must-win fight for Rivera, who had previously been cut by the UFC for going 0-2 and made a quick return after a KO victory at a recent Tachi Palace event. With the win, he finally establishes his momentum in the bantamweight division.
Also on the card, Johnny Eduardo made it past Jeff Curran with 29-28 scorecards across the board. A fight between him and Rivera is what will probably be next.
If the UFC decides to keep Soto around for a third fight, he can take on Curran.
Rafael Dos Anjos Defeats Kamal Shalorus by Rear-Naked Choke
It didn't take very long for Brazilian lightweight Rafael dos Anjos to get a submission on a very tough opponent in Kamal Shalorus during the preliminary card.
After landing a head kick that dropped his opponent, Dos Anjos got the hooks in and applied the rear-naked choke, forcing Shalorus to tap.
It was a rebound fight for Dos Anjos, who was last seen losing a close decision to Gleison Tibau. With the win, a fight versus T.J. Grant, who defeated Carlo Prater on the card, is a good fight considering where each fighter is at in the division. Overall, Dos Anjos is 5-4 in the UFC, while Grant is 5-3.
Shalorus is now 0-3 in his UFC career. It's hard to see the UFC keeping him around for another fight.
Brad Tavares Defeats Dongi Yang by Unanimous Decision
It was a contentious decision, but Brad Tavares was awarded a 29-28 unanimous decision victory over Dongi Yang after three rounds of middleweight fighting.
The fight was contested on the feet, and despite both fighters being poked in the eyes and being hit low, they made it to the final bell.
Tavares didn't look too impressive in victory, but he did do enough to earn the win in the judges' eyes and get back on the winning track. A fight with Karlos Vemola would be good.
For Yang, he is now 0-2 in his last two fights and will have to be matched up with a fighter in a similar position. A fight with Kyle Noke will put both into a position where a win will save their UFC careers.
Cody McKenzie Defeats Marcus LeVesseur by Guillotine Choke
Late replacement Marcus LeVesseur stepped up to face former Ultimate Fighter competitor Cody McKenzie, but he fell victim to the guillotine choke expert in the very first round.
After two back-to-back losses, McKenzie needed to look impressive in this bout and he did. It only took three minutes for him to get the victory.
If the UFC wants to set up the original fight with Aaron Riley again, that would be a bout that could be very exciting.
For LeVesseur, a fight versus Carlo Prater, who lost to T.J. Grant on the undercard, is going to be the type of bout he gets.
Tom Lawlor Defeats Jason MacDonald by KO in Round 1
Tom Lawlor came back from a loss against Chris Weidman to stop Jason MacDonald with strikes 50 seconds into the first round.
Both had something to prove in this bout, and with the loss, MacDonald falls to 1-5 in his last six UFC fights. It's unlikely the UFC keeps him around.
Lawlor is a fan favorite and is guaranteed to stay around, especially when he can win in this type of fashion. A fight with the winner of the upcoming bout between Nick Catone and Chris Camozzi might be next for Lawlor.
Igor Pokrajac Def. Fabio Maldonado by Unanimous Decision
After three action-packed rounds of light heavyweight action, Igor Pokrajac earned a hard-fought decision against former professional boxer Fabio Maldonado.
Two judges scored the bout 29-28 while the other had it 30-27. Many thought Maldonado deserved the victory, but Pokrajac had his moments on the ground and while standing throughout the bout.
Pokrajac definitely will get another main card fight next time around, and so may Maldonado.
A fight with the winner of Kyle Kingsbury and Glover Teixiera could be very intriguing for Pokrajac, who is now riding a three-fight winning streak. Maldonado can take on the loser of that bout as long as it's not Kingsbury, whom he already fought and lost a very close decision to.
Yves Jabouin Defeats Jeff Hougland by Unanimous Decision
Canadian fighter Yves Jabouin picked him up his third consecutive UFC victory with a unanimous decision victory over Jeff Hougland in a bantamweight bout.
It was a dominating performance for Jabouin and began with a bang when he dropped his opponent with a spinning back kick in the first round. In the end, the judges saw it 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Jabouin can take on Ivan Menjivar if Renan Barao is moved into the interim title fight. Hougland can take on the loser of John Albert and Byron Bloodworth.
Donald Cerrone Defeats Jeremy Stephens by Unanimous Decision
Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone had an impressive 2011 that ended with him losing to Nate Diaz, but the former WEC title challenger was focused more than ever to get past the power of Jeremy Stephens.
It took three rounds, but Cerrone did enough to win the decision and get back on the winning track. He was able to utilize his kicks and straighter punches to keep Stephens at range for most of the fight.
A lot of fans are calling for Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis, and that fight is definitely worthy of a co-main event or even a main event on a future fight night card. Stephens can take on Jim Miller, who was last seen losing to Nate Diaz.
Amir Sadollah Defeats Jorge Lopez by Split Decision
In another very close fight that went to the scorecards, Ultimate Fighter winner Amir Sadollah defeated Jorge Lopez by split decision after three rounds.
Lopez was able to get some takedowns, but Sadollah attacked with submissions and had enough offense to take the fight with two 29-28 scorecards.
It wasn't a standout performance for Sadollah, and it has been a while since he has had one. With a 6-3 record in the UFC, he has made his entire MMA career fighting in the Octagon.
A fight between Sadollah and James Head is a good step for both fighters.
Chan Sung Jung Defeats Dustin Poirier by D'Arce Choke
Chan Sung Jung and Dustin Poirier were fighting for a chance at the featherweight title, and "The Korean Zombie" gave the performance of his career before submitting his opponent in the fourth round with a D'Arce choke.
It was all action for four rounds and it was all Chan Sung Jung, who now moves himself into a position to fight the winner of Jose Aldo and Erik Koch. Poirier, who entered the bout as a heavy favorite, can take on the loser.