If you're someone like me, you were up at the crack of dawn to watch the UFC's first foray into entering the Chinese MMA scene. Unlike previous years, the UFC opted to show all international events live.
And people used to complain about tape delay and spoilers? HA!
The undercard was pretty forgettable. Sure, Alex Caceres looked good and Motonobu Tezuka made me laugh, but it was very underwhelming by and large.
That's actually the theme for the entire card, save for the co-main and main events. Those two fights ended in spectacular fashion and redeemed what I felt was a card that was dragging.
After finally being rested after an incredibly long night and morning, let's go ahead and grade the performances of everyone on the main card.
In my opinion, Jeff Houghland had the worst performance of the morning.
His only real path to victory was to get Mizugaki to the ground and work from top control. Unfortunately, Houghland spent the majority of the fight on his back eating heavy punches from Mizugaki.
It was a terrible performance without a positive moment.
Takeya Mizugaki put on a fabulous performance in what was likely a "must-win" fight.
He continued to use the body lock takedown and batter Houghland's face with punches on the ground. On his feet, he looked great and moved well when throwing strikes.
I wish Mizugaki was able to put some sort of a winning streak together because he's obviously talented. Hopefully he's able to find some momentum and pick up another win soon.
The UFC Macau card was the exact reason why Tiequan Zhang continues to hold a spot on the UFC's roster. He's obviously not ready to face any UFC-level competition and honestly shouldn't even have been in the WEC.
With the UFC planning more shows in Asia in 2013, he'll have a job. It doesn't mean that he deserves it though.
I don't know much about Jon Tuck, and to be honest, I didn't learn much after the fight with Tiequan Zhang. Yes, he's very active on the ground and works well creating sweeps and scrambles. But there's concerns about his striking game and chin.
Zhang landed several hard punches whenever Tuck went back to the well for that flying knee. That's to say that Zhang landed often as Tuck continued to throw a flying knee.
It's a nice win, but I need to see more from his fight IQ before I can really be impressed.
I thought heading into this bout that Mac Danzig had the advantage anywhere the fight took place. He's an underrated grappler, and his stand up is far more technical than what we've seen from Takanori Gomi in the past.
I didn't actually think that Gomi won the fight while doing the live play-by-play, and still after rewatching, I'm unsure what the judges saw.
He needs to start transitioning better between striking and grappling. If he can figure that out, he could be a player in the lightweight division.
I'll be the first to say that I underestimated Takanori Gomi. I had every reason to believe that he lacked passion and was no longer motivated to get in shape to fight.
That's not to say that I was overly impressed. But I recognize that Gomi had a game plan and was able to execute it about as well as he could have hoped.
Hopefully this is a new Gomi. Only time will tell.
Yikes! That was an awful performance by Paulo Thiago.
There's really not much to say. He wasn't able to get any offense going and spent the whole fight on his back. His worst performance in the UFC.
He needs to refocus and rebound. Hopefully his confidence isn't shook.
I was very impressed by Dong Hyun Kim's efforts against Paulo Thiago. That means a lot because I've never really been that big of a fan of Kim's fights in the past.
Kim used the clinch about as well as he could have hoped and absolutely owned Paulo Thiago on the ground. If there's a perfect game in MMA, Kim had it today. Just outclassed his opponent everywhere.
I have no idea what Stanislav Nedkov's game plan was. I mean, I do. It was apparent from the start that he hoped to wall and stall his way to a decision. But I don't know what he was thinking when it was clear that Thiago Silva was landing more significant strikes.
He completely gave up on that arm-triangle and found his way out of the fight. He's obviously unable to compete with the best of the division. Does that mean he's relegated to the role of "warm body," which is used when a fighter needs a win?
Where to begin with Thiago Silva's performance?
I'm concerned with his inability to control the clinch. Had he not been throwing strikes with his back against the fence, he would have been on his way to a unanimous decision loss. However, it showed that Silva was the better fighter.
I also have concerns about his chin. While he's not getting knocked out, he's getting dropped in pretty much every fight. It may be time to reevaluate striking defense and figure out head movement.
Also that arm-triangle and then celebration were totally boss.
Rich Franklin has come full circle since he recorded a highlight reel knockout over Nate Quarry to retain his middleweight belt. Tonight he was on the receiving end of one of the most memorable knockouts in UFC history.
He looked good early on and landed punches and kicks on the elusive Le. Most felt that he was on his way to recording the expected TKO victory.
Unfortunately, Franklin made a mistake after throwing a kick and was put out with a right hook.
I'm sure that it's hard for Rich to accept, but it may be time to hang it up. He doesn't have anything left to prove and has cemented a legacy as one of the best middleweights ever.
Jeez, I didn't expect that from Cung Le. I saw Le as an aging fighter who was thinking about his future as he's slowly transitioned from the gym to the movie set.
This morning he looked like the Cung Le of old. That knockout will be shown on highlight reels pretty much forever and cements Le as one of the best middleweight fighters to compete in the sport.
I'm someone who believes that's it's always good to leave on a high note, and for Le I believe this should be the approach. He isn't going to make a title run, so why not walk away after a great knockout win?