UFC 162: Most Impressive Performances from Las Vegas
The last few pay-per-view events have been fairly lackluster. UFC 161, in particular, stands out as a real stinker with nine of the 11 bouts going to the judges' scorecards.
The event was chock-full of amazing fights from top to bottom. Even the fights that went the distance were exciting. If Tim Kennedy's out-grappling of Roger Gracie is the most "boring" part of the card, then that's one heck of a night.
These were the most impressive performances from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
All statistics were obtained via Fightmetric.
Edson Barboza (12-1)
It is amazing what one loss can do to a fighter's momentum in the UFC.
Barboza was riding high when he got knocked out by Jamie Varner. However, Barboza put on a stellar performance against Rafaello Oliveira in the first fight on the UFC 162 undercard. He connected on over 50 percent of his total strikes—most of which were leg kicks.
Those vicious leg kicks ultimately ended Oliveira's night. Barboza walked away with the TKO victory. This was the third time he finished an opponent via leg kicks.
Gabriel Gonzaga (15-7)
Gonzaga brutally knocked out Dave Herman in record time. The lightning-quick finish came only 17 seconds into the first round, making it the fourth-fastest KO in the history of the UFC's heavyweight division.
This was a good rebound for Gonzaga, who was coming off of a knockout loss to Travis Browne. The victory keeps the Brazilian relevant in a division bereft of title challengers.
Frankie Edgar (16-4-1)
Edgar finally put one in the "W" column with a unanimous-decision victory over Charles Oliveira. After chalking up three consecutive losses—all in title bouts—"The Answer" really needed a win.
He picked apart Oliveira on the feet, landing 114 total strikes and completing two of his five takedowns. While impressive, Edgar's performance was slightly diminished given that he was fighting an unranked opponent.
Mark Munoz (13-3)
Mark Munoz's yearlong hiatus and bouts of depression have been well-documented. He ballooned to heavyweight proportions, but was able overcome the adversity and come out on the other side as a better fighter.
"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" entered the cage against Tim Boetsch with a newfound determination. For three straight rounds, Munoz utilized his superior wrestling and "Donkey Kong ground-and-pound" to beat up Boetsch.
Munoz connected on 77 percent of his strikes and took "The Barbarian" down five times. This win was a statement that definitely puts Munoz back into the picture at 185.
Who knows, a rematch with current champ Chris Weidman may be only a couple of wins away.
Cub Swanson (20-5)
Cub Swanson made a huge statement in his bout against Dennis Siver. The No. 5-ranked featherweight put the rest of the division on notice with his emphatic third-round knockout of the feared striker.
Siver looked good early, landing more than six times as many total strikes as Swanson in the first round. However, Siver's muscly frame proved to be his undoing.
As the fight progressed, Swanson's cardio paid dividends. He then began to pull ahead in the second, but really started laying into Siver in the third.
Swanson connected on 59 percent of his strikes in the round. He was cruising toward a clear-cut, unanimous-decision victory, but was able to put an exclamation point on his performance with a vicious knockout at the 2:24 mark.
This was the first time Siver had been knocked out at 145. The thrilling fight earned Swanson and Siver Fight of the Night honors and netted them an extra $50,000 apiece.
In all honesty, Swanson should have been the one fighting Frankie Edgar in the co-main event—especially given that he knocked out Charles Oliveira less than a year ago.
Hopefully, this is a matchup the UFC will make in the near future.
Chris Weidman (10-0)
Chris Weidman's second-round knockout of Anderson Silva is easily the most impressive performance of not only UFC 162, but 2013 thus far.
This upset ranks right up there alongside Matt Serra's finish of Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69 back in 2007. And while much has been made of Silva's showboating, it should not take away from Weidman's accomplishment.
"The All-American" backed up all of the talk and made good on his promise of defeating Silva, arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Going into the fight, Silva had not lost inside the Octagon and had never been knocked out in his professional career.
That all changed Saturday night.
"The Spider" employed his usual clownish style—he kept his hands down at his sides trying to goad Weidman into making a mistake on his feet. Weidman didn't buy into Silva's game. He took the champ down early in the first and even tried to lock in a heel hook.
In the second, Weidman connected with a looping left that caught Silva flush on the chin. A few follow-up shots on the ground and referee Herb Dean saw enough.
The finish earned Weidman $50,000 and is easily a shoe-in for Knockout of the Year honors.
A rematch between the two seems like an inevitability, but the outcome is far from a certainty. Weidman's win may just be a fluke a la Serra or it could mark the emergence of the next dominant champ in the middleweight division.