The televised preliminaries for UFC 149 got off to a rough start for the Canadian fans, as their countryman Mitch Gagnon lost to Bryan Caraway via rear-naked choke in the third round.
It was a back and forth battle that saw Gagnon dominate much of the first round, but he eventually tired himself out attempting to finish the fight with ground and pound.
Caraway took advantage of his opponent's fatigue, out-grappling him from then on and eventually locking up the submission.
What we'll remember about this fight:
Probably the finish.
Caraway used an interesting strategy to lock in the choke, covering Gagnon's mouth with his hand. As a result, Gagnon was forced to try to move the hand so that he could breath and opened himself up to the rear-naked.
What we learned about Bryan Caraway:
He's a reasonably well-rounded guy with good composure.
Caraway had success in all areas of the fight and showed that he can keep his calm by weathering Gagnon's storm in the first round.
What we learned about Mitch Gagnon:
He's a scrappy kid, but he hasn't put it all together.
Gagnon fought with everything he had, but his endurance wasn't there and that is unacceptable at this level—especially at 135 lbs. He has a lot of work to do if he wants to stay in the UFC.
It may also have worked against Gagnon that he was performing in his home country. It looked at times like he was more concerned with putting on a fun fight than doing what was the smartest.
What's next for Caraway:
That was a decent showing from Caraway in his UFC debut. He'll face another bantamweight with a similar UFC record. Possibly Johnny Bedford.
What's next for Gagnon:
I don't know if the UFC will bring Gagnon back. He put on a good show, but also didn't look great in terms of skill. There's a chance they just brought him in because he's a Canadian and the card is in Canada.