Their first match, a draw in Australia that put the flyweights on the map, immediately set high standards for the new weight class. Could Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson live up to high expectations in their much anticipated rematch?
In a single word: yes. For fifteen minutes, the two men gave it their all, going back and forth in a tremendous display of technique and heart. This time, when Demetrious Johnson had his hand raised, it stayed up.
Beyond the headliner, the main card on FX was packed with great action. Erick Silva showed he had the Vitor Belfort gene, impressing with his anti-wrestling and lightning-fast attacks. He beat Charlie Brenneman in a spirited affair that saw Silva vault from prospect to potential contender in one long leap.
Who else made the most of his night? Who failed, whether epic or otherwise? Read on.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall
Johnson defeats McCall by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28).
Erick Silva vs. Charlie Brenneman
Silva defeats Brenneman by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:33 of the first round.
Mike Pyle vs. Josh Neer
Pyle defeats Neer by knockout (punch) at 4:56 of the first round.
Eddie Wineland vs. Scott Jorgensen
Wineland defeats Jorgensen by knockout (punches) at 4:10 of the second round.
Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Pierce defeats Rocha by split decision (27-30, 30-27, 30-27).
Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist
Baczynski defeats Benoist by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28).
Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice
Grice defeats Garcia by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian
Pague defeats Papazian by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:21 of the first round.
Tim Means vs. Justin Salas
Means defeats Salas by technical knockout (punches) at 1:06 of the first round.
Buddy Roberts vs. Caio Magalhaes
Roberts defeats Magalhaes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Henry Martinez vs. Bernardo Magalhaes
Martinez defeats Magalhaes by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29).
Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson
Pierson defeats Hecht by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
While Johnson had his hand raised and will go on to fight Joseph Benavidez for the flyweight title, both men have plenty to be proud of. In a closely contested bout, the difference was Johnson's ability to adjust to McCall's strong wrestling game. This time when McCall took him down, he was able to pop right back up and control where the fight took place.
McCall apologized to the fans after the fight, but there was no need. The crowd gave him a round of applause and he deserved it. Another excellent fight between two miniature maulers.
Bad Boy has pegged Erick Silva as the next Brazilian MMA superstar. His win over Charlie Brenneman shows why. Silva refused to let a great wrestler ground him for long, and as soon as he had his chance, when the slimmest window opened, Silva was there to finish the fight.
It's early in his career, but Silva has the look of a champion.
Josh Neer, who was ousted from the UFC in 2009 after consecutive losses, was building a nice little streak. He had won six in a row, two of those in the UFC. A fight on the main card of a PPV was in his grasp.
And then Mike Pyle's right hand crashed into his jaw—and those dreams of glory crashed right alongside it. Pyle, for some reason sporting Miguel Torres's mullet, improved to 23-8-1.
Wineland followed a left hook with a hard right hand. Scott Jorgensen, red mohawk and all, dropped to the mat like he'd been shot. And just like that, Wineland earned his win bonus for the first time since joining the UFC. One silver lining for Jorgensen—at just 5-4, at least he didn't have too far to fall.
The knockout fueled some excitement as the two fighters' frantic motion blew some fresh air into a crowd that was quickly losing steam. Wineland, a self described "corn-fed hillbilly from Indiana," can compete with anyone in the world at 135 pounds.
We all love Leonard Garcia for his incredible slugfests with guys like the Korean Zombie. But the painful truth, and don't we all hate the truth, is that Garcia is an aggressively average fighter.
Matt Grice didn't want to play Garcia's game and took him to the mat with ease. From there it was an easy win. Leonard Garcia is a fun fighter to watch, but his 1-3 UFC record shows we should be watching him in Bellator, not the UFC.
Training under Robert Follis, the same coach who took Randy Couture and Dan Henderson to the top, Pierce's win over a tough Carlos Rocha further establishes what he proved against Josh Koscheck—he's a top-10 talent at welterweight.
Pierce has been on quite a run in the UFC, a better run than his 5-3 Octagon record indicates. His two most recent losses, split decisions that went the wrong way against Koscheck and Johnny Hendricks, were both razor close. I had them both for Pierce.
That's what's so interesting about Pierce. His name has been built almost entirely in his losses. His wins, coming against a host of unknowns, did little for his reputation. Going the distance with two NCAA champions earned him plenty of respect.
First, Adams lets Tim Means nearly beat Justin Salas to death. Later on, he watches Lance Benoist illegally knee Seth Baczynski in the face, not once, but twice. Why didn't he deduct a point? Who can say? At least it didn't cost Seth the fight.
Normally, a ref performance this bad is only possible for the Mazzagattis and Winslows of the world. Who says Florida's Athletic Commission isn't up to Vegas standards?