6 MMA Fights That Needed Do-overs
First of all, what the heck is the difference between a rematch and a do-over?
Rematches are bouts in which the same two combatants lock horns for a second time. These are usually rivalries built upon one fighter's thirst for revenge or need to settle some score.
On the other hand, a do-over represents a hypothetical situation because it presupposes that the first fight didn't happen. So, a do-over is more about replaying a fight again to see if the outcome would be the same.
These are six fights that truthfully could have gone either way. They're toss-ups. If these bouts were played out several times in a row, the win-loss split would probably be pretty even between the two fighters.
Sure, some of these fighters may eventually get that rematch, but others will be left only to contemplate what could have been.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner
UFC on FOX: Shogun vs. Vera – Los Angeles – Aug. 4, 2012
Joe Lauzon was originally supposed to take on Terry Etim, but an injury forced him off the card. Jamie Varner, fresh off a spectacular knockout of Edson Barboza, was tapped to be the late replacement for Etim. Varner took the fight on short notice and didn't have the luxury of a full training camp.
The fight was a back-and-forth affair, a true war of attrition. Varner was visibly exhausted in the third round and Lauzon was able to lock up a triangle choke at the 2:44 mark. Varner was most likely ahead on the scorecards, but his lack of prep time may have resulted in his petering out in the final round.
The finish earned Lauzon Submission of Night honors. Both fighters were awarded Fight of the Night bonuses.
Varner and Lauzon are still surging in the stacked lightweight division and it is very likely that they will meet again inside the cage sooner rather than later.
Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry
UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry – Pittsburgh, Pa. – June 26, 2011
There was a lot of bad blood between Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry leading up to their fight. The staredown at the weigh-ins served to light the fuse on this powder keg.
The two fighters went at each other from the opening moments of the first round. Barry tagged Kongo with a hard right that dropped him. He swarmed, but somehow Kongo survived the onslaught and was able to get back to his feet.
Referee Dan Miragliotta could have stopped the fight here and no fans would have batted an eyelash; however, he let it continue and Kongo, still on wobbly legs, floored Barry with a devastating right uppercut.
Kongo's come-from-behind victory earned him a Knockout of the Night bonus. The finish was also named the 2011 Knockout of the Year.
Since Kongo's release from the UFC, it remains unclear whether he and Barry's paths will ever cross again, but this is one fight that "HD" would probably love to get a do-over on.
Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson
UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson – Chicago – Jan. 26, 2013
In his first title defense, UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson took on The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winner John Dodson. This bout was blisteringly fast with the two fighters moving around the cage like jack rabbits.
Dodson is the hardest-hitting fighter in the flyweight division and he displayed his power in the early rounds of this championship tilt. He was able to drop "Mighty Mouse" on a couple of occasions, but the champ showed a high level of composure in these situations.
In the fourth round, Johnson landed an illegal knee to the head of a "downed opponent." Dodson had his hand on the mat in a three-point stance. The foul prompted "Big" John McCarthy to stop the action and give Johnson a warning, but he did not deduct a point.
Ultimately, Johnson's conditioning was the difference-maker in the fight. He was able to assert his dominance in the later rounds. Johnson even almost finished Dodson in the fifth.
The fight went to the judges' scorecards and it was ruled a unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 48-47) in favor of the champion.
If McCarthy had taken away the point then the fight would have been ruled a majority draw and Dodson would have been granted an immediate rematch with Johnson.
"Mighty Mouse" may have walked away with the belt, but both combatants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Melvin Manhoef vs. Evangelista Santos
Cage Rage 15 – London, England – Feb. 4, 2006
Melvin Manhoef took on Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos for the the Cage Rage light heavyweight title. This is a bout that may very well be the closest approximation to the fight at the end of Rocky II.
Both fighters came out tentatively, though it didn't take long before they started exchanging vicious leg kicks and wild haymakers.
Manhoef and Santos each absorbed some huge power shots, but neither man would go down. They were running on empty going into the second round.
"Cyborg" caught Manhoef in a Thai clinch and landed some ferocious knees that should have ended the fight. But somehow, Manhoef was able to escape. He then dug deep, mustered up every last ounce of energy and knocked out Santos.
Manhoef won the fight and to celebrate, he collapsed to the canvas in an exhausted heap.
This was one of the most epic brawls of all time and it's a shame that these two warriors never got the chance to fight again.
Watch the fight here.
Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley
Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley – San Diego, Calif. – April 9, 2011
Not surprisingly, Nick Diaz and Paul Daley don't get along. They exchanged some choice words at the weigh-in for their Strikeforce welterweight title scrap.
This animosity carried over into the cage. Diaz and Daley, both elite strikers, wasted no time blasting each other with vicious punches. "Semtex" dropped Diaz twice in the first round, but he wasn't able to get the finish.
Late in the round, Diaz connected with a punch that rubber-legged the Brit. He then followed up with a few unanswered shots which was enough for the referee to stop the fight only three seconds before the end of the round. Diaz vacated the welterweight title when he signed with the UFC.
The Stockton-born bad boy also remains the only man to ever knockout Daley.
While it is unlikely that this rematch would ever happen given Diaz's recent turn as MMA promoter and Daley's visa issues, it would still be awesome to get a chance to watch "Round 2."
Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
UFC 116 – Las Vegas, Nev. – July 3, 2010
Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin were supposed to duke it out at UFC 106 for the heavyweight strap, but Lesnar pulled out of the fight due to a bout with diverticulitis.
The fighters did finally tangle over a year later. In the first round, Carwin exposed Lesnar's suspect chin. He dropped the champ with some huge punches and spent the rest of the round trying to end the fight.
Up until that point, Carwin had finished all 11 of his professional bouts in the first round.
The fight was close to being stopped on a couple of occasions, but Lesnar was able to defend enough to survive the round. Carwin was totally gassed going into the second. This allowed Lesnar to use his wrestling to get the takedown and sink in an arm triangle choke.
The defeat was the first of Carwin's career. Lesnar held onto the heavyweight strap and the finish netted him a Submission of the Night bonus.
Lesnar and Carwin never tasted victory inside the Octagon again. They were both forced retire early due to injury or illness. This rematch could have been a great swan song for both fighters.