UFC 161 had all the potential for an exciting event. The card boasted some big names, fan favorites and intriguing up-and-comers, but for all the hype, its bite didn’t match its bark.
Part of that can be attributed to a three-round main card tussle that would have been a lot more exciting as a five-round affair. Part of it was just the result of underwhelming performances from a few fighters who had plenty to prove but came up empty.
Whatever the case, UFC 161 lacked a certain “it” factor. There was plenty of heavy hitting from some of the sport’s best big men, sure. But for all the event could have been, it just didn’t meet expectations.
As a result, we’re left to reflect on a few fights that could have been so much more—and a few fighters whose UFC stock took a big hit. Let’s take a look at those fighters and break down why each failed to impress at UFC 161.
Simply put, Pat Barry is good for the UFC.
One of MMA’s most fan-friendly fighters, Barry typically puts on a show whether he’s a winner or a victim of a brutal knockout. Unfortunately for Barry, the result of his UFC 161 fight with Shawn Jordan fell under the latter category, and he now faces some big questions.
Jordan hit Barry with two big uppercuts in the first round and finished him on the mat in short order, ending the fight in just 59 seconds.
It was the type of boom-or-bust performance we’ve come to expect from Barry, but how many more busts can he produce before he fades from the UFC spotlight?
The 33-year-old has now dropped four of his last six fights and doesn’t have much momentum to speak of. Against the Strikeforce transplant and budding UFC star, Barry just didn’t have it.
With the first-round loss, Barry served to highlight a couple factors that could significantly hurt his stock at the heavyweight division: He’s simply not a good fit banging it out with the division’s best bruisers, and he may not have the chin to take those kinds of bouts anymore, especially against bigger, younger fighters.
If Barry hopes to do more with the spotlight than end up getting pounded on the mat in the first round, he may have to move to light heavyweight or risk seeing his stock plummet even further.
With a two-fight losing streak under his belt, John Maguire needed to churn out a good performance against Mitch Clarke to renew any chance of keeping pace in the UFC. Instead, he dropped a decision that will likely put his UFC future in question.
In what was probably a must-win for either fighter (each looking to avoid a third straight loss), Clarke came away a big winner. He’ll live to fight another day, but the same isn’t a guarantee for Maguire.
The 30-year-old Englishman made it close with judges’ scores of 29-28 across the board, but it probably won’t be enough to salvage a career that started off with a lot of promise. When all is said and done, he may find himself back in England attempting to work his way back to the top after a third consecutive loss in the UFC.
Roy Nelson entered the Octagon to face Stipe Miocic in what should have been a good fight. In fact, it should have been a tremendous fight.
Instead, “Big Country” looked out of shape, out of breath and essentially outmatched throughout the three-round affair.
Miocic won via unanimous decision in what was a big opportunity for Nelson to earn some favor with UFC president Dana White. He was already facing a new contract from the UFC, but White may have to question how motivated Nelson is to earn it at this point.
In all honesty, Big Country probably didn’t need a win to secure a new deal with the UFC (if he actually wants one). But with an embarrassing loss on Saturday night, he may have burned that bridge.