UFC on Fox 4 Results: The Real Winners and Losers
If a UFC card goes down in Los Angeles and everyone misses it because the Olympics are on NBC, did it really happen at all?
Having had my fill of Michael Phelps, I had my dial turned to Fox. And it did, I assure you.
Hopefully MMA diehards tuned in for what was a great night of action on Fox and Fuel TV. Bleacher Report was on the scene at Staples Center where four of the best light heavyweights in the world were battling for a shot at Jon Jones and his championship belt.
UFC President Dana White told the world whoever looked the most impressive would get a title fight, so the stakes were high, not just to win, but to win in impressive fashion.
You can find the official results here. But sometimes the list of winners and losers doesn't tell the whole story. In MMA, you can win by losing, if the fight is good enough, or lose ground with fans and promoters by winning a boring fight.
Who were the real winners and losers? Read on to find out.
Loser: Mauricio Rua
It took longer than expected, but eventually Mauricio "Shogun" Rua came through with the result everyone in the sport anticipated, knocking a game Brandon Vera out with a series of punches in the fourth round.
Rua found himself in deep water with Vera, who he was expected to dismantle easily, winning the first three rounds, but by the slimmest of margins. Vera was able to connect regularly with short elbows and kicks from distance, forcing Rua to dig deep and survive some tough situations.
A win is a win. But in a battle for a potential title shot, Rua was the clear loser. He was given a chance to make a statement against an overmatched Vera and couldn't make the most of it, losing a title shot in the process.
Winner: Brandon Vera
Brandon Vera wasn't supposed to be competitive against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. By fighting hard and exceeding all expectations, Vera shocked the world. It would have been better to win, but sometimes just showing up and putting in work when no one expects it from you is a true victory.
Despite losing, Vera showed guts and determination and proved he belongs in the UFC. For the embattled light heavyweight, who was actually booted from the promotion after his last loss, that has to mean everything.
Winner: Lyoto Machida
"When you rush Lyoto Machida, it's like running into a wood chipper," UFC announcer Mike Goldberg said.
It may not be poetry, but hey, it beats his catchphrase "It's all over" doesn't it?
Lyoto Machida toyed with Ryan Bader, making the former The Ultimate Fighter winner look like a rank amateur. It's hard to prepare for Machida's karate-based style, and Bader looked confused throughout.
Eventually, a frustrated Bader ran directly into Machida's right hand. Machida barely even had to move—he simply held his hand up and Bader collided with it. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Machida, who many had written off after a loss to champion Jon Jones, showed the world he is still arguably the second-best light heavyweight in the game. He'll get a chance to prove it—Dana White awarded him the next shot at the title immediately after the main event.
Loser: Ryan Bader
Bader isn't the first fighter to look foolish against Lyoto Machida. There's a reason, after all, that Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg used the word "elusive" approximately 600 times to describe the former light heavyweight champion during the broadcast.
Few, though, have looked quite as bad against the "Dragon" as Bader, who charged forward like the clumsiest bull in the world's smallest china shop. Bader threw hard punches, but they can best be described as lumbering.
Machida was practically rolling his eyes and saw them coming a mile away. Bader never even came close and it was just a matter of time before he was finished in dramatic fashion. With this loss, a win over Rampage Jackson will fade slowly from memory banks as Bader sinks back to the middle of the pack in the light heavyweight rankings.
Winners/Losers: Jamie Varner and Joe Lauzon
What a great fight! The two men showed what mixed martial arts is capable of producing as a sport, engaging competitively standing, in the clinch and on the mat. It was beautiful violence, two men trying to hurt each other and having a blast doing it.
This was clearly the best fight of the night, but I can't let their bro hug go unpunished. It's one thing to celebrate a fight together after the bout is over. But to hug while the fight is still going on, while the clock is running? Sorry, I can't co-sign that:
The bro hug. It's a product of the times - softer, friendlier, more tolerant. In the midst of combat, two men aren't afraid to come together in the middle of the cage and awkwardly embrace. Some might call it progress. I call it an abomination before God and Rocky Marciano.
There was an era when we wanted to believe athletics were life and death - and the athletes believed it too. I would have loved to see someone try to hug Bill Russell in the middle of a tense fourth quarter, the Celtics only up 26 on some wayward foe. It's rumored a man once hugged the Chicago Bears' Dick Butkus, but that man and everyone who witnessed it were never heard from again. In baseball you couldn't even celebrate with your own team, let alone members of the opposition. Pitchers saw to that with the high hard one. Hell, it's believed Brooks Robinson shanked no less than three sluggers who celebrated home runs a little too hard as they rounded third and headed for home.
So for men of the old school, men who feel the only appropriate time for men to hug is when a close relative dies or your alma matter makes the final four, you can guess MMA's constant display of love is more than a bit off putting.
Winner: Mike Swick
Mike Swick missed more than two years of his career to illness and injury. When he made his return tonight, it looked like he intended to make up for all those stolen moments in the first the minute of his fight with DaMarques Johnson.
Swick was swinging punches with wild abandon, but Johnson was able to weather the Swick-storm and ended the round in firm control of the bout. He nearly finished the bout with a D'Arce choke and left Swick's face bruised and battered.
Swick was undeterred and, despite warnings from his corner not to brawl with the hard-punching Johnson, he came out swinging wildly again. This time he caught Johnson flush, following a takedown with a brutal right hand, putting Johnson's lights out early in the second round.
"Hey guys," an emotional Swick said after the fight. "Remember me?"
Winner: Fuel TV
Talented analysts don't grow on trees. So for Fuel to have identified two really good ones, Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen, so early in their broadcast contract with the UFC is a great thing.
Evans and Sonnen understand exactly what a fighter goes through and, more importantly, are able to articulate it. They are also pretty good at explaining exactly what went on during a bout, making the pre- and postfight shows on Fuel must-see TV for MMA fans.
Winners: Nam Phan and Cole Miller
In a bout contested entirely on the feet, Nam Phan and Cole Miller went after it for 15 thrilling minutes.
Miller was unable to take advantage of his significant reach advantage, allowing Phan to get inside and land a succession of thundering hooks to the head and body. Miller, to his credit, refused to quit, staying in the fight and ending strong with a varied offensive attack that included elbows, knees and kicks.
Phan won a split decision and had his hand raised, but Miller has nothing to be ashamed of. Although he's lost three of his last four, I hope Miller gets another shot to entertain in the Octagon.
Winner: California State Athletic Commission
I know Wagner Prado was upset when his fight with Phil Davis was stopped early in the first round. He didn't exactly keep his feelings close to the vest, screaming in frustration when the referee signaled the bout was over.
Fighters want to fight, whether they should continue or not. But, in this case, the end was preordained. Prado couldn't see after an unintentional eye poke and he was going to get knocked out by Davis.
There was no other possible outcome. No one can fight with just one eye, no matter how much courage or fighting spirit they have. The Commission stepped in and Prado will survive to fight another day.
Losers: Phil De Fries and Oli Thompson
Technically De Fries won by submission. In reality everyone watching was a huge loser. For most of the fight the two stood pressed against the cage, breathing hard and sweating. A lot.
Thompson, apparently, was a British Strongman champion. Unfortunately for him, De Fries fought back and he couldn't toss him overhead like a human beer keg. Too bad. That would have been fun.
Loser: Mike Goldberg
I don't expect Mike Goldberg to be an expert in all forms of combat. But after more than a decade as the UFC's lead announcer, is it too much to ask that he understand the distinctions between Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling?
Goldberg told the viewers at home that Manny Gamburyan was using his judo in a "Greco style" because he took opponent Michihiro Omigawa down with a double leg. The problem? Greco-Roman wrestling doesn't allow holds below the waist.
While Gamburyan may have been utilizing wrestling, it certainly wasn't Greco-Roman wrestling. Goldberg's job is to make the viewer smarter about what they are watching. He missed the mark here, badly.
Winner: John Moraga
Before the fight all anyone could talk about was the UFC debut of Ulysses "Useless" Gomez. A Twitter favorite and Tachi Palace Fights champion, Gomez was considered by many to be one of the best flyweights in the world. But instead of making his mark in the big time, Gomez was beaten easily and brutally by Moraga's strong striking.
Although he dominated Gomez with his standup, Moraga's background is actually wrestling. A three-year starter at Arizona State and a Rage in the Cage veteran, Moraga looks ready to make an immediate splash in the UFC's newest division.
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