As a business proposition, I don't feel great about UFC 150. Frankie Edgar has never connected with UFC fans, at least not the kind of connection that inspires fans to buy pay-per-views.
Worse still, at least for the UFC's bank balance, Strikeforce star Ronda Rousey stole some of the spotlight from Edgar and opponent Benson Henderson, sneaking in like a particularly beautiful thief in the night.
We'll let the accountants sort out the actual bottom line. Our bottom line involves the fights. And they were amazing. Starting with Nik Lentz and ending with the showdown for the lightweight title, it was another special night for the UFC.
As always the real winners and losers aren't obvious by a cursory look at the results. The real winners and losers follow—and they may not be exactly who you think they are.
"That is a close fight ladies and gentlemen...that is a 'who knows?'"
-UFC color man Joe Rogan
After 10 rounds, it is still impossible to say who is better, Frankie Edgar or Benson Henderson. The UFC lightweight champion has taken both decisions, but the difference between the two men is measured in the smallest of increments.
For Henderson, Nate Diaz is next. And before that bout, I hope he will take the time to cut his hair. This is not a scientific figure, but Henderson fixes his hair roughly 712 times during the course of a five-round fight.
It's ludicrous. Cut your hair hippy! And congratulations on your win.
"I thought I brought it to him," former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar said after the fight. "...I'm upset man. But what are you going to do?"
Edgar won the fight on one of the three judges' scorecards and on our own Matt Roth's unofficial card. It didn't quite cut it. Henderson did just a little more, enough to win the bout, and he walks away from the battle as the undisputed champion.
It's hard to call Frankie a loser after that fight, especially since I thought he won the bout. But the universe is sending him a clear message."You are barely 155 pounds soaking wet Frankie," the universe is whispering. "Why are you fighting these behemoths?"
Edgar will hate this suggestion, but he's consistently undersized at lightweight. It's time to drop down and give 145 pounds a try. His time as lightweight champion, it seems, is officially over.
The real winner of his war with Melvin Guillard was Cerrone's chin. He improbably survived a brutal left hook and Guillard's sustained assault that followed.
He managed, in the midst of what looked to be a Guillard highlight film, to score with a head kick that just clipped Melvin's temple. It cost Guillard his equilibrium and Cerrone finished him with a hard punch.
A straight shooter, Cerrone was asked by announcer Joe Rogan when he recovered from Guillard's punch. The answer ticked the crowd. "Just now," Cerrone said.
What a fight. What a man.
I picked Guillard to win, suffering much mockery from friends and readers as a result. The "Young Assassin" was a decided underdog. Cerrone was thought to have too many tools, too much flexibility, too well-rounded a game for Melvin.
While it ended up being true, for a moment I allowed myself to hope I had been right. Guillard clocked Cerrone with a left and followed with some punches that would have dropped any other man in the division.
Guillard has nothing to be ashamed of. He gave his best. It wasn't enough. But boy, was it ever close.
Some fights are so great they make you wish they would go on forever. If they are three rounds, you pray for five. If five, you find yourself hoping for seven.
The fight between Jake Shields and Ed Herman was not one of those fights. I was actually hoping they'd call it quits after two rounds. After all, that's about when Shields' cardio ran out and he stopped fighting hard anyway.
Shields had his hand raised, and years from now when people ponder his record he will be considered the winner. But no one won that fight.
Some people don't believe in booing fights. I do. I was booing loud and I'm not embarrassed. That fight was repugnant.
Before they signed on a UFC sponsor, I had never heard of Corn Nuts. Now, considering how much UFC I watch live rather than on DVR, they are one of the most ubiquitous commercial products in my life.
That's a good thing for Corn Nuts.
The bad? Well, they give out Corn Nuts to the media at UFC events. And Corn Nuts taste like what I imagine a German sweat sock would taste like. Corn Nuts are the worst.
Sorry, Corn Nuts.
What can you say about Yushin Okami? The former middleweight challenger is a great fighter, too good a talent, honestly, to be fighting a guy like Buddy Roberts.
Okami was supposed to win. He was predicted to win. He won the first round definitively, then stopped the bout with ground and pound in the second. That's a winner in my book.
The UFC brass was grooming Justin Lawrence, a former standout on The Ultimate Fighter, to be a star in the featherweight division. Instead, Max Holloway used Lawrence as a stepping stone.
Holloway dropped Lawrence with a body shot in the second round and pounced, ending the fight with hard ground and pound. For Lawrence, it's a ticket back to the prelims. Holloway will take Justin's spot on the main card on the strength of this performance.
Nik Lentz wasn't the only one who made his mark on the prelims. Michael Kuiper wrecked Jared Hamman, and Dennis Bermudez pulled off a slick standing guillotine.
Most impressive, however, was Erik Perez. It took him just 17 seconds to knock out Ken Stone, dropping him with a right and sealing the deal with four hard punches on the ground.
All said, it was another good night of preliminary action—and another big win for the FX network.
Nik Lentz did pretty well for a guy living in a van down by the river. After consecutive losses at lightweight, Lentz got rid of his whole team, moved to Florida and dropped a weight class to featherweight. He lived in a dingy hotel and left it all behind.
This was a pivotal fight for his career. Another loss would have resulted in Lentz being dropped from his UFC contract. Instead, Lentz easily dropped Eiji Mitsuoka, a pretty good Japanese fighter. All told, you'd have to say the sacrifice was worth it.