UFC 155 Superlatives: Best and Worst of the Fight Card
Cain Velasquez is once again UFC heavyweight champion following a dominant performance against Junior dos Santos at UFC 155.
The first time Velasquez faced off against Dos Santos in November 2011, he was dethroned in a first-round knockout loss. That made Velasquez's lopsided win on Saturday all the more impressive.
While he certainly took the headlines, Velasquez was not the only fighter to turn in a great showing at UFC 155. Let's take a look at the best and worst from the UFC's final event of 2012.
Best Fight: Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon
The co-main event bout between Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon had everything one would expect from a great MMA bout.
Miller and Lauzon exchanged on their feet, attempted some flashy submissions and showed a ton of heart while spilling blood. In the end, Miller was the better fighter in all areas, but Lauzon still found a way to prove he's one of the best lightweights out there by giving his opponent all he could handle.
It was a series of standing elbows that caused a nasty cut above Lauzon's right eye early in the fight. However, Lauzon battled through one of the bloodiest fights in recent memory and nearly locked up a flying scissor heel hook in the closing moments of the fight.
Worst Fight: Derek Brunson vs. Chris Leben
In many cases, the best way to beat Chris Leben is to take away his ability to brawl and make fights exciting. To the dismay of fans in attendance at UFC 155, that is exactly what Derek Brunson was able to do in his UFC debut.
Brunson took Leben down in each of the three rounds they spent inside the Octagon. On the ground, Leben was completely shut down by the former Strikeforce fighter who joined the UFC roster as a result of the organization being closed in January.
Best Performance: Cain Velasquez
Aside from some early troubles in taking Junior dos Santos to the ground, Cain Velasquez was essentially flawless in the UFC 155 main event.
The American Kickboxing Academy product won every round on the scorecards and regained the heavyweight title definitively.
Given their ages, it's inevitable that Velasquez will have to meet Dos Santos in a rubber match some time in the future. However, for now, Velasquez is undoubtedly the best heavyweight in the world.
Worst Performance: Michael Johnson
Considered a heavy favorite heading into his UFC 155 bout against Myles Jury, Michael Johnson disappointed in a big way on Saturday.
Johnson was taken down by Jury in every round and controlled rather easily. Throughout the 15-minute bout, Johnson was only able to land six significant strikes (via FightMetric.com).
The loss put an end to Johnson's three-fight winning streak and will force him to start climbing the lightweight ladder all over again.
Best Striking: Cain Velasquez
Junior dos Santos was previously viewed by many as unbeatable on his feet.
If someone was going to find a way to beat Dos Santos while standing, it was supposed to be with leg kicks to take away his boxing.
However, Cain Velasquez shocked everyone by dropping the Brazilian with a right cross in Saturday's heavyweight title fight.
That alone would have been enough for Velasquez to be considered the best striker at UFC 155, but the heavyweight titleholder continued to display excellent striking throughout the fight, out-landing Dos Santos by a 111-57 margin (via FightMetric.com).
Worst Striking: Phil De Fries
Phil De Fries had some brief moments of success at UFC 155 when he was able to take Todd Duffee to the ground. However, when the fight was standing, De Fries looked like a fish out of water.
The Englishman had no answer for the speed and power of Duffee, who was able to finish the fight in slightly more than two minutes.
When able to score multiple takedowns in a fight, De Fries has looked like a UFC-level fighter. Though, when forced to stand, the British heavyweight doesn't appear to be a competitor who will remain with the world's top MMA organization for long.
Best Grappling: Cain Velasquez
It took some trial and error, but Cain Velasquez finally found a way to drag Junior dos Santos to the canvas. Once he did, Velasquez was able to find repeated success with his takedowns throughout the five-round fight.
In all, Velasquez took Dos Santos to the ground 11 times (via FightMetric.com), surpassing his personal best of seven takedowns in a fight against Cheick Kongo.
Considering he had Dos Santos rocked, Velasquez may not have even needed to use his wrestling to regain the heavyweight championship, but it certainly ended up playing a big part in his lopsided decision win.
Worst Grappling: Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson spent almost the entirety of his UFC 155 fight against Myles Jury on his back, and he was not able to attempt one submission during that time.
Jury was successful on half of his takedown attempts and passed Johnson's guard seven times once on the ground (via FightMetric.com).
For a fighter who trains with some solid grapplers at the Blackzilian camp, it was nothing short of an embarrassing performance for Johnson.
Best Moment: Todd Duffee
Two years ago, Todd Duffee was surprisingly released from the UFC and found himself acting as a punching bag for Alistair Overeem in Japan.
After a long layoff and a win over Neil Grove, Duffee was able to jump at the opportunity to return to the UFC as a replacement opponent for Phil De Fries.
Duffee made the most of his chance, knocking out De Fries in the opening round and picking up his first UFC win since a seven-second knockout of Tim Hague in August 2009.
Worst Moment: Adalaide Byrd
The third round of a bout between Jamie Varner and Melvin Guillard saw the former score four takedowns and out-land his opponent by 12 total strikes (via FightMetric.com). The first two rounds of the fight were much closer, though two judges also saw them in Varner's favor.
Inexplicably, the third judge for this lightweight bout awarded Guillard all three rounds. Adalaide Byrd tallied the bout 30-27 for Guillard. The other officials gave 30-27 scores in Varner's favor, leaving Varner with a split-decision win.