Gabriel Gonzaga needed to make a big statement against Dave Herman to remain in the upper tier of the heavyweight division. And with one big right hand, he did just that.
Shortly after the bout began, "Napao" threw an overhand right that put Herman on the deck and ended the fight.
The 34-year-old Brazilian has now won three out of four showings since returning to the UFC in January 2012. This latest victory put him back on track after suffering a knockout loss to Travis Browne in his last outing.
What We Learned About Gabriel Gonzaga
While Gonzaga has shown flashes of power throughout his career, his 17-second knockout of Herman was the first time he's displayed one-shot KO ability. Leading up to the fight, Gonzaga talked about using a new strength and conditioning regimen during his training camp, and the fruits of that labor came through on Saturday night.
After the setback against Browne at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in April, Gonzaga was in jeopardy of being cast out of the pack of elite UFC heavyweights. With that division becoming more competitive, Gonzaga needed a strong showing, and he delivered.
What We Learned About Dave Herman
The knock on Herman throughout his career has been his unwillingness to take his job seriously. While "Pee Wee" has been successful in other organizations, his time under the UFC banner has been lackluster.
The Indiana native has not only lost his last four outings but has been finished in every one of them. Whether poor preparation or his inability to take a punch is the key factor to his recent failures remains to be seen, but neither are notches in the plus column.
It's no secret that heavyweights hit hard, and Herman continues to appear incapable of absorbing big shots.
What Is Next for Gabriel Gonzaga
With his win at UFC 162, Gonzaga will remain relevant in the heavyweight division. While he is far from being a title contender, the victory over Herman will put the Top 10 within striking distance and ensure his next bout will come against someone also on the upswing.
As for likely opponents, Shawn Jordan is coming off a big win over Pat Barry at UFC 161, so a matchup between the Brazilian submission ace and the former LSU fullback makes sense.
Another option would be the winner of the upcoming tilt between Matt Mitrione and Brendan Schaub. The former TUF housemates will collide later this month at UFC on Fox 8 in Seattle, and the winner could get Gonzaga for his next assignment.
What Is Next For Dave Herman
With four consecutive losses, Herman will have a tough time keeping his job with the UFC. In addition to the losing streak, his failed drug test after his bout with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 153 last October put him on shaky ground with the organization.
The loss at UFC 162 will most likely be enough to push him out of the promotion.