I really dig these UFC on Fuel cards. Sure, they lack the big name value and you'll never see a GSP or Anderson Silva compete on them, but you get to see the top young fighters in the UFC fight in super exciting matchups.
That's what we got this afternoon with UFC on Fuel 5, a.k.a UFC Nottingham. A card headlined by a matchup between two up and coming heavyweights, it was the type of card that was booked to build future meaningful matchups.
That's not to say this lacked significance. There are several fighters who impressed so much that they may be on the fast track towards title contention. At the very least, they'll be facing stiffer competition on their way to the top.
As with every card, there were some big winners and some big losers. Let's see who walked away with their heads held high and who walked away one step closer to the regional scene.
I can't really say much about this because the fight ended on what can only be described as a freak injury. Duane Ludwig didn't look good when he was on his feet and I believe he blew out his knee on a grappling exchange.
I don't want to call him a loser because that's a terrible way to lose a fight. But he lost in a way that may have long term repercussions on his overall health.
A kickboxer without legs isn't much of a kickboxer.
What the heck was that? Seriously, what the heck was that?
That surely wasn't a highly touted welterweight putting on an impressive performance. Maguire was unwilling to close the distance and let Hathaway pick him apart from range.
Then, in between the second and the third, he asked his corner to tell him when there was a minute left so he knows when to shoot a takedown? Dude, you lost the first two rounds.
That fight was the kind that sucks all emotion and electricity out of an arena. Just terrible. Major loser tonight.
Matt Wiman is possibly one of the most underrated and under appreciated fighters in the UFC lightweight division.
He's never going to challenge for a title, but he showed that he's definitely one of the better fighters in the division.
The arm bar was super slick and he beat one of the most dangerous ground fighters at his own game.
I hope that Wiman can start fighting on a more regular basis. I believe he has what it takes to really make an impact in the division.
I don't know what happened to Paul Sass, but I didn't expect him to lose how he did.
That was as surprising an outcome to a fight that I've seen in the UFC. He had Wiman in his world and should have been the one scoring that armbar victory.
That's not to say he's hit his peak or this is the end of Paul Sass, but it may be time for him to really show that he has more skills than just submissions.
I joked about Brad Pickett's nickname and apparent lack of "one punch" knockout power.
Historically speaking, I was totally correct.
Pickett is a heck of a boxer, but he always seemed to lack power in his hands.
Tonight, he showed that I may have been wrong and that maybe he really can stop a fight with his hands.
He may need to still work on his striking defense, as he left his chin wide open numerous times, but all in all, that was a great performance from the ATT product.
Dan Hardy has been the punchline to many jokes lately. He's been incredibly inconsistent in his UFC career and hasn't really been able to put together a string of impressive wins. Even when he does walk away victorious, he's never really memorable.
That changed with his bout with Amir Sadollah.
Hardy started slow and took a round to really find his rhythm before opening up with punches and kicks. We even saw that he added takedowns to his skill set.
I hope that Hardy is able to continue to develop because I think he's an extremely likable fighter with the ability to speak comfortably on camera.
What an awesome win for Stefan Struve.
Struve has been one of the most frustrating fighters to watch, as he has incredible physical gifts that he never takes advantage of using. He's all but ignored a jab in the past and just doesn't fight to his height.
So, that makes tonight all the more surprising as he looked to finally put it all together and fight like a 7'0" fighter.
The ending sequence was brutal.
The more that I see from Struve, the more I'm impressed by his killer instinct. He said he's interested in a bout with Werdum and I love that fight.
Make it happen, Joe Silva.