UFC on Fuel 6 Results: Post-Fight Stock Report
Heading into UFC on Fuel TV 6, Rich Franklin and Cung Le were at a point in their careers where every fight could end up being their last. That is why it was so critical for both fighters to find a way to win in the first ever UFC main event to be contested on Chinese soil.
The former champions were hoping to make one last run toward the top of the middleweight division, so a setback would only lead to contemplation of retirement.
With another event in the books, let's take a look at which direction Franklin, Le and the rest of the UFC on Fuel TV 6 competitors are headed after their Saturday bouts.
Despite losing to Cyrille Diabate in his UFC debut, Tom DeBlass was very competitive and looked like a fighter who could get things turned around quickly for his second Octagon appearance.
At UFC on Fuel TV 6, though, DeBlass took a step backward after making the move from light heavyweight to middleweight. The 30-year-old had difficulty dealing with the forward-moving Riki Fukuda, who scored multiple takedowns and faced little threat of submission, despite DeBlass being a jiu-jitsu black belt.
With losses in his first two UFC bouts, DeBlass may already be facing release from the world's premier MMA organization.
With Steve Cantwell gone from the UFC roster, Riki Fukuda entered UFC on Fuel TV 6 without a win over a current UFC competitor. Against Tom DeBlass, Fukuda was able to change that, avoiding a second straight loss.
Fukuda utilized his wrestling to take away DeBlass' boxing, and the Japanese middleweight did not have any problem on the ground. While it wasn't a highlight-reel performance, Fukuda got himself back on track and should receive a step up in competition as a result.
When former Shooto champion Yasuhiro Urushitani joined the UFC's new flyweight division, many thought he would be a title contender for the foreseeable future. However, the Japanese fighter has already fallen out of contention two bouts into his UFC career.
A knockout loss to Joseph Benavidez didn't come as a complete shock, but Urushitani's problems against John Lineker showed the 36-year-old may never compete for a UFC championship.
Being one of the bigger names in the flyweight division, Urushitani should receive one more opportunity to prove himself inside the Octagon, but few thought we'd see him in this kind of position so soon.
John Lineker had a strong showing in his UFC debut against Louis Gaudinot. Losing to an unproven The Ultimate Fighter contestant didn't leave many believing Lineker could become a flyweight contender any time soon, though.
After a win over Yasuhiro Urushitani at UFC on Fuel TV 6, though, Lineker is now a 125-pound fighter to watch.
No longer is Lineker just a fighter with an exciting style and knockout power. He's now a win away from being considered a serious title threat.
Before Saturday, Motonobu Tezuka was an unknown commodity. After, he looks to be a solid addition to the UFC's bantamweight division.
Tezuka entertained, and not only because he walked to the cage with a mask on. The 135-pound Japanese fighter also fought a very promising Alex Caceres to a split decision in what had to be a nerve-racking Octagon debut.
Right now, Tezuka still has some proving to do, but it's a safe bet he won't be a bottom-dweller in the bantamweight division for long.
Alex Caceres picked up a second straight win at UFC on Fuel TV 6, but it wasn't a victory that moves him closer to the top of the 135-pound division.
No, coming off of a submission win over Damacio Page, much more was expected from Caceres against a UFC newcomer and late-notice replacement in Motonobu Tezuka.
A split decision against Tezuka doesn't do anything to move Caceres forward, and it might even set him back a step or two for now.
I'm not sure why the UFC decided to match Jeff Hougland against Takeya Mizugaki after he was dominated by Yves Jabouin, but they did, and it resulted in an equally lopsided bout—as was expected.
Because the outcome was so predictable, it's hard to say this loss really hurt Hougland. He should get a chance to compete inside the Octagon at least one more time, as the UFC can't have really expected him to win this fight or face release from the organization.
Takeya Mizugaki's win over Jeff Hougland was a good way for the Japanese fighter to get back on a winning track, but it doesn't really change his standing in the bantamweight division.
The 28-year-old should look to build off of this dominant win and look to pick up back-to-back victories for the first time since December 2008, but Japanese MMA fans certainly aren't dancing in the streets over this fight outcome.
Still, it's an important win for Mizugaki, as the alternative would have been devastating.
The only Chinese fighter competing in the first Chinese UFC event, Tiequan Zhang came up short of pleasing the fans in attendance at Cotai Arena in Macau, China.
Though known for his dangerous guillotine choke, Zhang had little success on the ground against Jon Tuck at UFC on Fuel TV 6. The Chinese lightweight gave up his back multiple times and was forced to fight off a number of submission attempts.
Zhang will continue to receive chances in the UFC, as he's sadly the face of Chinese MMA right now, but he really does need to get back in the win column eventually.
With his win over Tiequan Zhang at UFC on Fuel TV 6, Jon Tuck remained undefeated and picked up his first victory inside the Octagon.
From competing in the Philippines to winning on the MMA's biggest stage, Tuck is obviously on the rise, but he'll need to work on his conditioning and striking technique if he wants to continue on his current trajectory.
A fight with Takanori Gomi gave Mac Danzig the chance to make a big move up the lightweight ladder. While Danzig didn't make the most of that opportunity, he was competitive with Gomi, and it appeared UFC president Dana White even believed the American won.
Danzig's ground game was expected to give him the best chance at securing victory on Saturday, but Gomi did well to shut down a number of his opponent's takedown attempts.
After losing three straight in 2008 and 2009, Danzig has slowly been climbing his way back up the lightweight rankings. This loss to Gomi slows that climb even more, but at least it doesn't knock him back down the ladder much.
Takanori Gomi has not made quite the impact in the lightweight division that the UFC was hoping for when he was signed. However, Gomi now has as many wins as losses inside the Octagon and doesn't appear to be fading at 34 years old.
The former Pride champion showed improved conditioning and wrestling at UFC on Fuel TV 6. While a narrow decision win over Danzig won't turn heads, those advancements could paint a bright future for the heavy-hitting 155-pound fighter's future.
If you own stock in Paulo Thiago, now is not the time to sell. Having lost four of his past five fights, the Brazilian has never been at a lower point in his MMA career.
Thiago was completely outclassed by Dong Hyun Kim on the ground, and he was coming off of a brutal knockout loss to Siyar Bahadurzada prior to Saturday's bout, so the 31-year-old has a lot of work to do in order to remain on the UFC's welterweight roster.
With wins over Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick, Thiago has the skill to return to relevancy at 170 pounds, but he'll need to do so quickly.
Dong Hyun Kim
We knew Dong Hyun Kim's grappling would be an important part of his game plan for Paulo Thiago, but few could have predicted the Korean would make it look as easy as he did against a fellow judo black belt who also holds a black belt in jiu-jitsu.
Still, for three straight rounds, Kim took Thiago down and took the Brazilian's back. It was a very impressive win that puts Kim back into the mix of fighters on the verge of becoming contenders in the welterweight division.
Kim had lost two or his previous three fights, but those defeats came against top-level opponents in interim champion Carlos Condit and Demian Maia. This win over Thiago showed that Kim still deserves to receive chances against elite 170-pound fighters.
Stanislav Nedkov remained competitive with UFC veteran Thiago Silva through the first two rounds of their fight at UFC on Fuel TV 6, but he did so mostly by forcing stalemates along the fence.
The Bulgarian did drop Silva with a right hand in the second round, but that was quickly erased from the minds of MMA fans when the Brazilian took Nedkov down early in the third frame and locked up an arm triangle choke.
Nedkov has the potential to be an exciting and dangerous light heavyweight, but his loss to Silva showed he's not quite ready for the higher-ranked fighters in the division.
It was a slow start for Thiago Silva against Stanislav Nedkov, but the longtime UFC light heavyweight eventually got the job done with a third-round submission.
This win over an opponent with one UFC victory doesn't do much for Silva in terms of his ranking in the light heavyweight division, but it gives the Brazilian his first victory since an August 2009 knockout of Keith Jardine.
If Silva can remain active over a long period of time for once, he could become a contender in the 205-pound division. With only one appearance in each of the past three calender years, though, that could be a big if.
The knockout loss Rich Franklin suffered against Cung Le was the type of loss that prompts speculation of retirement for a 38-year-old fighter. Franklin didn't say as much in his post-fight interview with UFC commentator Jon Anik, but he'll certainly be facing some decisions once his mind clears.
A win over Wanderlei Silva, who was coming off of a win over Le, led Franklin to hope for a middleweight title run. However, after losing to Le like he did in the UFC on Fuel TV 6 main event, the chances of that happening for Franklin are very slim now.
Franklin has had an excellent MMA career, but it could be all downhill from here.
After losing to Wanderlei Silva in his UFC debut, it looked as if Cung Le's stay with the UFC would be a short one. However, the former Strikeforce champion has stormed back with renewed focus on fighting and could become an unlikely contender despite turning 40 years old in May.
Le has now defeated a former middleweight title challenger and former middleweight champion in back-to-back fights. With one more win, the fighter/actor could start receiving some consideration for a 185-pound title shot.
I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, but Le's brutal knockout of Franklin was certainly cause for excitement.