What a night!
I sit here in the UFC media room waiting for the post-fight press conference to begin and I'm still trying to take it all in. I'm both emotionally drained and riding a high right now because of how great the fights were.
MGM Grand Garden Arena was absolutely electric on Saturday. I've never actually understood that phrase. I finally get it. The fans were incredible, and at some points it was deafening.
The night may have gotten off slow with the prelims but once the pay-per-view started, it was almost impossible to think the crowd was so loud.
Anyway, enough about me, let's get to the grades.
I don't want to talk about this fight. He looked better than Ivan Menjivar but still looked terrible. Yes, a win is a win but that did absolutely nothing to advance his career in the UFC.
I'm hoping that Ivan Menjivar has an excuse lined up for that performance. It's too bad that Ricardo Arona used Dengue fever. Maybe he can say Bubonic plague? I wouldn't be surprised if that fight had him relegated to the undercard for the remainder of his tenure in the UFC.
This was a great performance for Chad Mendes, who apparently was the only member of Team Alpha Male without any issues with Cody McKenzie. That changed at yesterday's weigh-ins when McKenzie tried to do his best Diaz impression by mean mugging and going forehead to forehead.
Nice stoppage. Let's see what he does next against a higher level of competition.
Awful, but that's to be expected when you only have one way to win. I figured that he wouldn't be able to get that guillotine and it turned out I was right. Maybe it's time to work on the other facets of MMA like stand up?
That was one of the weirdest finishes and I have no idea how to even look at this loss. Apparently he broke his rib? I dunno, weird finish. I'm not going to hold it against him.
Like Kim, I'm not sure how to grade this performance. He looked faster than he did against Chris Weidman and it's nice to see him go back to his jiu-jitsu roots. I don't know what else to take away from it as his opponent broke his rib from falling weird.
The jury is out is what I'm saying.
I may be in the minority, but I was very impressed by Patrick Cote's performance. I thought he measured distance very well and landed better in the exchanges. He definitely took the second round in my opinion, where he landed better in the clinch.
It's a tough loss, but the take away should be that he showed improvement as a fighter. I look forward to his next fight.
It may just be a personal preference, but while Le's San Shou trips and flashy kicks are pleasing, they don't really do all that much damage. He keeps distance incredibly well and has ridiculous speed in his attacks.
I'd like to see him actually fight in the UFC when he can train full time and not focus on a movie career. Tonight, though, he's the winner and that's all that matters.
It wasn't the best looking performance, but it was the one he needed. He and Tito have had a long and storied rivalry and the honest truth is that Forrest is right. It very well could have been three draws.
I'm not sure where this leaves him or what he does next, but Forrest Griffin was an absolute class act when interviewing Ortiz after the fight. He definitely has a future in broadcasting if he wants one.
Tonight was the last time we'll ever see Tito Ortiz enter the UFC Octagon. Let that set in for moment. A fighter who was there since the beginning, Ortiz ends his storied career with a fantastic performance. The first-round takedown was vintage Tito Ortiz.
He dropped Forrest twice and looked as good as ever. Part of this grade is because of how good he looked. The other part is because he went out on such a high note.
I hope he continues his involvement with the UFC in some capacity. I'd love to see him around in the future.
I said before this fight that Chael Sonnen couldn't afford another loss to Anderson Silva.
I'll be completely honest and say that after the first, I thought it would be the same fight as the first. He arguably won that round 10-8 and looked good in the second before stupidly throwing that spinning back fist that ultimately ended the fight.
What does Sonnen do now? He spent two years talking about how he was the best fighter in the world and how Anderson Silva was a coward (h/t Ben Fowlkes, SI.com).
He's obviously the second-best middleweight, but as long as Silva is champion, Sonnen's legacy will be "the guy who came up short twice."
Yep, he's the best fighter in the world. Arguably ever. I'm not just talking in MMA. I'm saying in the history of people punching each other in the face. He's that good.
I couldn't believe that Sonnen looked so impressive in the first round, but Anderson didn't become champion by losing his composure.
While that knee on the ground was questionable, his aggression to finish the fight was not. He looked awesome and the post-fight interview was hilarious. He got the final word in when he trolled Sonnen and invited him to a BBQ.