Two of the UFC's best lightweights squared off to see who would rejoin the top contenders in the division at UFC on FX 4. Fans were ready for an awesome fight.
Sadly, they were disappointed.
While the main event did not deliver in the cage, it will certainly give the media a lot of talking points moving forward. And the rest of the main card gave the fans what they wanted: action.
Overall, UFC on FX 4 was a success, bringing multiple exciting fights with excellent finishes.
Who really came out on top? Who squandered their opportunities? Let's break down the real winners and losers from the fourth installment of UFC on FX.
Miller made a successful welterweight debut by submitting Ricardo Funch in the third round.
After much publicized family issues outside of the cage, fans began to rally around the New Jersey native. Despite fan support, his future with the UFC had to be questioned after dropping his previous two bouts at middleweight.
Miller looked solid at 170 and finished the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt to go over .500 for his UFC career.
Persistence paid off as he attempted the guillotine time and again until he secured it for the finish. The crowd was elated by the result. Fans can universally agree it is nice to see something good happen to Dan Miller.
It is great to see Miller get back on the winning side of things and make a fresh start at welterweight.
Brown continued his excellent 2012 run by taking out Luis Ramos via TKO in the second round. Brown was a late replacement for the injured Matt Riddle.
The “technical brawler” finds a way to get his opponents to brawl with him. Ramos was no different. Ramos took the first frame with his grappling and by not throwing with Brown. In the second round Ramos slowed and got dragged in to a typical Matt Brown type of fight.
Winner of three straight, Brown will continue to move up the ladder in the UFC’s welterweight division. Brown continues to prove his doubters wrong and win inside the Octagon.
UFC on FX 4 was not a good card for Brazilians. Both fighters picked up their second consecutive loss.
Funch moves to an unimpressive 0-4 inside the Octagon. Despite going up against good competition in each of his UFC bouts, Funch desperately needs a victory to right the ship.
Ramos started well enough against Matt Brown before tiring and being finished by the mid-level welterweight. The Nova União product entered the UFC as a potential prospect. After being decimated by Erick Silva and stopped by Brown, that may have been a premature tag to place on him.
Both Brazilians could be on their way out of the UFC. If they are cut, it may serve both men well as they can hone their skills on regional cards and get back on track before making another bid to return to the UFC's dangerous welterweight division.
With the focus on hot prospect Joey Gambino coming in to the fight, Steven Siler put on a dominant performance to extend his UFC win streak to three.
Siler's performance showed his March victory over Cole Miller was no fluke. In just under three minutes Siler finished Gambino with a guillotine choke.
Fighting out of The Pit under John Hackleman, Siler's performances continue to go under the radar to many fans. After another strong showing, Siler will surely earn himself a bigger fight in his next outing.
Don't be fooled by "Super" Steve's boyish looks, he is a threat in the division. The 25-year-old moves up the featherweight ladder with the stoppage.
Story was on the brink of moving in to the title discussion at welterweight, but after two straight losses he desperately needed a win.
It was not the best performance of his career, but Rick Story prevented a third straight loss with a solid outing against Brock Jardine.
The victory puts Story back on track in the division.
Story controlled the pace of the fight and made it a grind. It wasn't a pretty fight but it was what Story needed. Three rounds without being in any kind of danger in route to picking up a much needed win. A new chapter in his career has begun.
Lamas put on a gutsy performance and came away with the victory over potential top contender Hatsu Hioki. The unanimous decision marks his third straight win.
Hioki took the first round with solid grappling but Lamas rebounded in the second. From the second frame on, Lamas utilized good variety in his striking and threatened with multiple guillotine chokes. Lamas scored with leg kicks, body shots and a few clean strikes to Hioki's dome. More impressive was his ability to stifle Hioki's famed guard passes and look for submissions of his own.
With the win Lamas takes Hioki's spot toward the top of the division. The Illinoisan may be one fight away from fighting for the championship belt.
Hioki was one of the remaining top Japanese fighters. Now, Lamas may have provided the death knell.
The prospects coming from the land of the rising sun continue to be few, and those who do appear often disappoint.
Hioki lost to Lamas, Shinya Aoki was destroyed by Eddie Alvarez and Tatsuya Kawajiri was battered by Gilbert Melendez. The lone bright spot for Japanese MMA was Yushin Okami, who was stopped in incredible fashion by Tim Boetsch in his homeland at UFC 144.
The search for the next great Japanese prospect continues, but it may be time to begin etching the country's name on a tombstone in the MMA graveyard.
Unfortunately, FuelTV is not available everywhere, leaving a lot of UFC fans reading play-by-play reports just to keep up with the organization. And worse, they miss out on some quality fights.
As Fuel fights to be picked up by more cable providers around the country, fans are left out.
Each fight on the undercard delivered something different. Including several fun scraps. The niche network is using the UFC to promote its brand, and it is working. UFC events and prelims are getting networks high ratings.
The flip side to that is that the network's high ratings are still low due to the availability of the network.
Hopefully, FuelTV gets picked up by more providers in the future so MMA fans are not left out in the cold for these exciting fights.
With a clean left hook that floored Ross Pearson, Swanson makes a statement that he is finally on the right path in his career.
After an up and down beginning to his Zuffa career, Swanson has shown he is reaching his potential in his last two outings in the Octagon. The often exciting Jackson product has back-to-back knockouts in the UFC.
With the featherweight division light on title contenders, 23-year-old Erik Koch is the next title challenger, and Swanson puts himself in the discussion as to who could be the next title contender. Swanson met Aldo in the WEC in a lightning quick fight that saw Aldo end it with a jumping knee just :08 in.
If Swanson can remain healthy he may get the rematch in the near future.
In a fight with little implication, Ebersole and Waldburger delivered one of the more exciting technical battles of the year.
Waldburger dropped Ebersole in the first and attempted to finish, but the crafty veteran survived the round. Ebersole rebounded in the final two rounds to take the 29-28 unanimous decision.
The fight was very close. Waldburger continued attacking off of his back with multiple submission attempts in the later rounds, but Ebersole was up to the task and responded with big ground and pound.
Even though the fight will not have substantial ramifications, it was a great fight on free TV. It showcased high-level MMA grappling to the FX viewing audience. And with such a tightly contested fight there is no loser here.
The ever-lovable Guida suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Gray Maynard; and to the fans as well.
At 30 years of age and competing in a stacked division with young talent, he is now multiple fights and most likely years away from reaching that top contender spot. Moreover, when he fights a contender, he often finds himself on the losing end.
It will take an impressive streak from the fan favorite just to be considered for a contender's fight. He is capable of accomplishing this, but it is not likely.
Guida now faces being the 155-pound gatekeeper. While it is not where he wants to be, it is a necessary position in the UFC. Being able to beat a competitor like Guida means you are ready for the next level of lightweight.
Most importantly, he lost the fans, entering to a big ovation only to receive a multitude of boos for his backpedaling in the fight. With a lot of movement producing very little offense, the crowd was fed up. Losing in the UFC is bad enough, but doing so in a lackluster showing that loses you fans is even worse. It was not a good night for The Carpenter.
Forget the outcome of the fight, Maynard won over the crowd. That is a big plus for his career.
Labeled as a boring fighter early in his UFC career and still struggling to get mainstream acceptance after two fight of the year contenders with Frankie Edgar, the crowd finally showered Maynard with love.
Picking up another big win in the division launches Maynard back to the top of the rankings. He wants a contender in his next fight and he deserves one.
Maynard pulled in the crowd in the fourth round by channeling his inner Diaz brother. Dropping his hands and yelling at Guida to fight. Showing that he wanted to scrap and battle endeared him to the Atlantic City crowd.
A split decision victory was not what he was seeking, but he got something much more valuable in the fan's adoration. A big night for The Bully.
Both the judges and referees were on their game.
Referee Gasper Oliver made a great stoppage in the Brown vs. Ramos fight, the commission doctor made the unpopular but correct call in the Camozzi vs. Catone bout and judges nailed the Lamas vs. Hioki decision.
While some may disagree with the Catone stoppage, the cut was in a bad place and a licensed doctor made the call. Fighter safety is not to be booed or taken lightly. As much as we want a fight to continue, sometimes the hard call is the right call.
The good decision making was not limited to the preliminary card. In a tight battle between Ebersole and Waldburger, the judges came away with the right call there as well.
And then came the main event. While we have seen other commissions be deceived by movement without offense, two of the three New Jersey judges delivered the correct scores to award Gray Maynard the split decision.
Bad calls will be made from time to time, but it is rare that we see an event where we applaud the overall job of the athletic commission. Fighters never want to leave it in the hands of the judges, but this time the scorers were competent.
New Jersey did the sport proud tonight.