Velasquez vs. Silva 2: Post UFC 160 Fight Card Stock Report
UFC 160 has passed us by, and it gave us a good look at a number of fighters.
The 12-fight card delivered several fantastic battles and performances. Two fighters you won't see on this list are top heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. Their stock has stayed the same. Nothing changed at UFC 160.
As for others on the card, there was definitely some movement on their stocks.
Take a gander at the post-UFC 160 stock report to see who has risen, and who is seeing their stock plummet after Saturday's action.
Stock Up: Jeremy Stephens
Jeremy Stephens' stock had fallen quite a bit by the time 2012 came to a close. He entered Saturday having lost three straight fights, and he was dropping to featherweight in the hopes of avoiding a fourth loss.
And he did.
Stephens looked great at 145 pounds.
He pummeled Estevan Payan. He opened a big gash on his head and the blood poured. Stephens didn't seem to tire, and he kept a strong pace throughout. He still has good power at the weight, and he will be one of the strongest in the division.
Stephens needed the win, but it helps that he looked like a quality featherweight in the process.
Stock Up: George Roop
George Roop returned to the bantamweight division earlier this year after having a rough go against some of the featherweight elite. He won a decision against Reuben Duran at UFC 158.
At UFC 160, Roop was pitted against the return of No. 8 Brian Bowles.
Roop looked outstanding. He avoided big power shots from Bowles, and eventually put together strikes of his own to earn the TKO victory. This win could vault him in to the top 10 of the division.
Roop's return to 135 pounds was definitely the right career move. He is quickly establishing himself as a top-tier bantamweight.
Stock Down: Brian Bowles
The last time we saw Brian Bowles in action, he was taking on Urijah Faber in 2011. He still entered as the No. 8 ranked bantamweight.
He simply did not look good in his return.
Perhaps it was cage rust, but that cannot be an excuse. The bottom line is his stock fell on Saturday.
The former WEC bantamweight champion faltered. He failed to show he was worthy of his ranking in any way. He will fall out of the top 10. Hopefully, Bowles will look better in his next outing and look like his old self.
Stock Up: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov may have come in overweight, but he still showed he is a fast-rising lightweight.
Nurmagomedov dominated Abel Trujillo. Takedown after takedown after takedown. Twenty-one in total.
He is a fantastic grappler, and he controlled his opponent with ease. He will rise up the lightweight ladder, and one can only hope he'll get a bigger fight soon. Let's just hope he comes in on weight.
The former Sambo world champion is clearly one of the best grapplers in the division, and no lightweight will want engage in a ground war with Nurmagomedov.
Stock Up: Robert Whittaker
Robert Whittaker, The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes winner, took on Colton Smith, The Ultimate Fighter Season 16 winner.
Whittaker fought most of the fight with one hand down, and one hand up. He was confident in his speed to catch Smith. He was right.
Whittaker looked like a quality welterweight prospect in the win. Fast and powerful. The 22-year-old has a lot to work on, but he has plenty of time to improve. He is a good prospect in the division.
There weren't a lot of fans that knew who he was, but after Saturday, they certainly do.
Stock Up: Max Holloway
Max Holloway lost a split decision to Dennis Bermudez, but it was a contentious one that many felt like he won.
Holloway has primarily been a one-dimensional fighter. What the young fighter proved on Saturday is that he is growing other aspects of his game while being true to his strengths. He looked excellent against a fighter who excelled at one of his weaknesses.
Holloway threw a variety of techniques on the feet, stuffed takedown attempts and even threatened with his own.
The young featherweight wants to be a threat in the division, and more performances like the one at UFC 160 will go a long way to making other fighters realize he is one.
Stock Up: Steve Mazzagatti
Steve Mazzagatti isn't known for being one of the best MMA referees out there, but he did quite well at UFC 160.
There is no better example than Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story.
Story leveled Pyle with a punch, and pounced. It looked like the fight was over, but Mazzagatti moved in to the right position to see that the follow-up shots were being blocked. Pyle used his legs to create a bit of distance, and then eventually tied Story up.
Mazzagatti gave Pyle the chance to defend himself and show that he was alert.
Pyle went on to win a split decision.
Stock Down: K.J. Noons
K.J. Noons was supposed to be a striking threat in the lightweight division, one that could give Donald Cerrone a run for his money.
That didn't happen.
Noons was outclassed.
The former Elite XC standout was picked apart on his feet, taken down and bloodied. Cerrone dominated the fight. Noons did not look like he was ready to take on the upper echelon of UFC lightweights.
If Noons wanted to prove himself, he failed. He has a lot to improve upon if he wants to make a run up this division's ladder.
Stock Up: TJ Grant
TJ Grant entered UFC 160 with a perfect 4-0 record at lightweight. He was taking on a former title challenger in Gray Maynard for a shot at Benson Henderson's crown.
Grant was still largely unknown. He put on a clinic and ushered Maynard out of his ranking in just 2:07 of the first round.
Grant looked every bit like a top lightweight contender. He may be a legitimate threat to dethrone Henderson.
Grant has a very good submission game, but his recent outings have all been about his ferocious stand-up. Taking out Maynard very quickly highlighted his improvements. Henderson has been put on notice by the Canadian.
Stock Down: Gray Maynard
Gray Maynard is a strong wrestler, and he is a powerful striker. However, losing quickly to TJ Grant will not help him realize his goal of becoming a champion.
This is a significant setback in the division.
Maynard needs to become more dynamic. In the post-fight interview with Grant, he mentioned that he knew exactly what Maynard was going to throw and that he was flat-footed with his strikes. Maynard has become predictable. That's not a good sign.
He is still a very good lightweight, but he has a lot of work to do to earn his way back up the rankings.
Stock Up: Mark Hunt
Mark Hunt had won four in a row coming in to UFC 160, but he wasn't supposed to go three rounds with the former champion.
Hunt wasn't supposed to go two rounds with the champion. Hunt wasn't even supposed to hit the champion. But he did. Frequently.
The former K-1 champion held his own against Junior dos Santos, and even in a loss he earned a lot of respect for his performance. Hunt may not ever become the UFC heavyweight champion, but he will go down as one of the most fun heavyweights to watch.
This was a career-defining performance for Mark Hunt in this sport. To show the UFC audience his skill and heart was a major thing. Now the MMA audience at-large knows why the hardcore fanbase had loved Hunt for all these years.