UFC 162 was anything but boring.
Saturday night's latest crop of UFC fights in Las Vegas produced a number of knockouts, numerous surprises and a new middleweight champion for the first time since 2006.
It also shed some light on which fighters are rising through the ranks of the company and could be the stars of their divisions very soon.
The biggest story of the night was in the main event—Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva in the second round of their title clash to hand the Brazilian his first career loss in the octagon.
There were high-quality fights up and down the card, with several other middleweight clashes on hand and four of the company's best featherweights all jockeying for position with respect to a title fight in the near future.
Now that UFC 162 is in the books, we'll take a look at the complete results from Las Vegas and a look at three fighters on the rise through the UFC ranks.
UFC 162 Results
|Middleweight**||Chris Weidman def. Anderson Silva||KO (punches)|
|Featherweight||Frankie Edgar def. Charles Oliveira||Unanimous Decision|
|Middleweight||Tim Kennedy def. Roger Gracie||Unanimous Decision|
|Middleweight||Mark Munoz def. Tim Boetsch||Unanimous Decision|
|Featherweight||Cub Swanson def. Dennis Siver||TKO (punches)|
|Middleweight||Andrew Craig def. Chris Leben||Split Decision|
|Lightweight||Norman Parke def. Kazuki Tokudome||Unanimous Decision|
|Heavyweight||Gabriel Gonzaga def. Dave Herman||TKO (punches)|
|Lightweight||Edson Barboza def. Rafaello Oliveira||TKO (leg kicks)|
|Welterweight||Brian Melancon def. Seth Baczynski||KO (punches)|
|Welterweight||Mike Pierce def. David Mitchell||TKO (punches)|
**Denotes title fight
Fighters on the Rise
Barboza was rolling through the lightweight ranks before his 2012 matchup with Jamie Varner.
That TKO setback knocked him off the immediate podium of contenders, but Saturday night's impressive win has helped absolve concerns many felt after the Varner loss.
The 27-year-old Brazilian took care of Rafaello Oliveira in the preliminary bouts on Saturday night, showing once again that his striking is world class.
As noted by the UFC's Twitter account, he's also getting quite proficient at using leg kicks as a serious weapon:
The win over Oliveira moved his career MMA record to 12-1 and his record inside the Octagon to 6-1. His next fight should be against one of the best fighters in the lightweight division (via UFC.com), possibly the winner of the Donald Cerrone-Rafael dos Anjos bout in August.
He's still several fights away from Benson Henderson, but if Barboza continues to keep a "1" in his loss column he could be the next great challenger in the lightweight division very soon.
There were those ready to write off Mark Munoz after his loss to Weidman on FUEL TV in 2012, but "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" bounced back strong with a win over Tim Boetsch on Saturday night.
Munoz showed an impressive display of ground-and-pound prowess during his unanimous decision win over Boetsch, relentlessly striking his opponent each time the fight went to the mat.
Munoz has a long way to go—there will likely be a rematch between Silva and Weidman at the top of the division and he also has a loss to Yushin Okami on his resume.
That being said, Munoz largely dominated an opponent who was in a similarly desperate situation. Boetsch was also coming off a loss, and needed a win to stay inside the middleweight title hunt.
But it was Munoz who was the better fighter on Saturday night, and it will be interesting to see which top opponent emerges as his next challenge in the middleweight division.
The featherweight division is going to be fun to watch for the next year or so. Greg Savage of Sherdog.com concurs:
Champion Jose Aldo is preparing to defend his title against Chan-Sung Jung later this year at UFC 163, but Saturday's action showcased four other fighters who all have the talent to lay claim to that throne.
Now Cub Swanson is likely one win away from a title shot.
The 29-year-old survived an early attack from Dennis Siver and sent the Brock Lesnar look-alike home in the third round, striking his way to a TKO victory.
Beating Siver has established Swanson as a guy one win away from another shot at Aldo—the pair last met at WEC 41 and the current featherweight champion took Swanson out on a first-round TKO.
Things are different now, and UFC president Dana White has a plethora of options to choose from when he's making Swanson's next fight.
He could choose to give Swanson the loser of Aldo-Jung, Ricardo Lamas or Frankie Edgar, the last of which also took home an impressive victory by beating Charles Oliveira just before the main event.
Edgar seems like the least likely of that list, but fights against the UFC 163 main event loser or Lamas are definite possibilities. Swanson's last loss was to Lamas, and as you can see in this tweet from MMA writer Adam Martin, not everyone is on board with that match being made:
Lamas is considered to be one of the next men in line for a shot at Aldo, winning his first four bouts in the octagon. Swanson is now 5-1 in the octagon and hasn't lost since his UFC on Fox defeat to Lamas.
It's been a long and difficult process for Swanson to re-assert himself as a UFC featherweight contender, but that's exactly what he's done.
Aside from Weidman's upset win over Silva, there wasn't another fighter who did more for his title chances than Swanson on Saturday night.
Follow Bleacher Report FC Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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