All in all, UFC on Fox 8 was a fairly standard fight card—Seattle fans enjoyed some brutal knockouts and endured some drawn-out "technical" bouts.
Hopefully, those present in the arena—or at home, for that matter—didn't blink, though, because there were still plenty of high-speed highlights to the evening.
Melvin Guillard knocked Mac Danig senseless, only to be one-upped by Robbie Lawler's savage head-kick knockout of Bobby Voelker. Of course, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson topped off the evening by taking contender John Moraga through his own version of "MMA 101"—the course ended with a textbook armbar in the final round.
Let's take a look at the bigger picture for a moment, though. Saturday night's fight card answered a few questions and certainly taught some valuable lessons.
Perhaps we were spoiled by Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche delivering in full form at UFC 157—that debut was highlighted by fast-paced action and punctuated by a submission finish. Not long thereafter, Meisha Tate and Cat Zingano duked it out in as raw of a battle as fight fans could have hoped to see.
But at UFC on Fox 8, Julie Kedzie vs. Germaine de Randamie just came and went.
I'm not saying that every, single women's fight in the Octagon needs to break boundaries, but I am saying that channels might be changed when a fight features little more than half-hearted clinch work against the cage and a few unfulfilling takedowns.
The result of de Germaine vs. Kedzie was even more bizarre when you factor in the premiere striking game of the former—the Dutch Muay Thai specialist has a 46-0 record in kickboxing—and the all-around complete MMA game of the latter. Unfortunately, neither woman seemed willing to throw all chips on the table in what could have been a pair of spectacular UFC debuts.
Thankfully, Liz Carmouche and Jessica Andrade washed the bad taste out of our mouths shortly thereafter.
Liz Carmouche fought valiantly at UFC 157, but she eventually tapped to the UFC's armbar machine: the women's bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. Many fighters would have needed a tune-up fight or two to recover from such a high-profile defeat.
But against Jessica Andrade at UFC on Fox 8, Carmouche demonstrated that the loss to Rousey was a thing of the past. She overpowered her Brazilian opponent en route to second-round TKO victory.
I'd say that's a pretty good way to remind MMA fans that she still has the women's bantamweight title in her sights.
Ed Herman and Trevor Smith apparently forgot to pack any striking defense before heading out to Seattle. By the time the third round came to a close, UFC commentator Joe Rogan exclaimed that the bout was "what his friends on the underground would call a slobberknocker."
He wasn't kidding—Herman and Smith tucked their chins and swung wildly for the fences from start to finish.
It wasn't necessarily pretty, but it was certainly fun. Each man was rocked on more than one occasion, yet neither was willing to back down.
Technique and form can make certain fights memorable, but Herman and Smith proved that sheer tenacity can be just as effective in delivering an exciting fight.
Split decisions are an unfortunate part of mixed martial arts—judges may not always interpret all aspects of any given bout in complete uniformity.
But split decisions featuring 30-27 issued in both directions are far more disconcerting and far less acceptable.
That's exactly what happened when Bruce Buffer was done announcing the winners of Ed Herman vs. Trevor Smith and Daron Cruickshank vs. Yves Edwards—both of those split decisions revealed that separate judges had somehow managed to score the bouts, 30-27, for both men.
One fight featuring two combatants being judged by three supposedly trained officials—how in the world does that equation result in such a wide spectrum of disagreement?
The issue has festered in MMA for as long as can be remembered. UFC on Fox 8 served to remind us that it hasn't been resolved as of yet.
BJ Penn is a name synonymous with the UFC's lightweight division—"The Prodigy" racked up a record six knockout wins during his tenure at 155.
But at UFC on Fox 8, Melvin Guillard overshadowed Penn's accomplishment by knocking out opponent Mac Danzing and breaking the Hawaiian's record with his seventh UFC knockout at lightweight.
And what a finish it was.
Backed against the fence, Guillard exploded forward with a left hook, straight jab combination that dropped Danzig to the canvas. He then swarmed with some perfunctory ground-and-pound, enough damage to get the referee to stop the fight and leave his opponent flattened out.
After a pair of consecutive losses, Guillard needed a memorable win. It's safe to say that this brutal knockout did the trick. On Saturday night, he gave a real-time demonstration of why he's statistically one of the most dangerous fighters competing for the UFC, per Fight Nomics.
I can only imagine how devastating a loss inside in the UFC must feel—thousands of cage-side eyewitnesses glare at the loser, and no solace is offered by the knowledge that millions more saw it on the televised broadcast.
The feeling must have been amplified tenfold when Michael Chiesa tapped to Jorge Masvidal's d'arce choke at the sound of the Round 2 buzzer. Worse yet, Chiesa's unbeaten record was snapped in front of his hometown crowd—Masvidal cranked down on his neck hard enough to make him forget that the round was about to end.
Devastating, to be sure.
But none of that excuses Chiesa's run-back-to-the-locker antics. This may be an unforgiving bloodsport, but make no mistake about it, sportsmanship is still an ideal to be celebrated. Both fighters signed a contract to compete until a sole victor remained. They knew fully well that a loss was always possible.
It wasn't cute when Forrest Griffin did it at UFC 101, and it was no better when Chiesa went running at UFC on Fox 8.
In case you had forgotten just how frightening he can be, Robbie Lawler used his second fight—since returning to the UFC—as a prime opportunity to demonstrate his ability to wreak havoc.
Opponent Bobby Voelker couldn't do a thing; he was picked apart by Lawler over the course of the first round, only to be finished by a brutal head kick, as shown in the GIF, courtesy of ZombieProphet, less than 30 seconds into the second frame of the fight.
He was a phenom before he departed the UFC, but let's be clear about it: A first-round knockout of Josh Koscheck followed by a demolition of Bobby Voelker shortly thereafter proves that we're witnessing the rebirth of Lawler as he makes another strong run at the UFC's 170-pound division.
John Moraga is as real as fighters come but at UFC on Fox 8, the UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, sent him back to the Facebook prelims.
"Mighty Mouse" picked up the pace over the course of the first minute or two, eventually steamrolling the contender en route to a gorgeous armbar submission, as shown in the GIF, courtesy of ZombieProphet, in the final round. Moraga showed good form before the first takedown, but once the champion found his rhythm, he had no answer for the surge of technique and polish coming his way.
At 125, Johnson is king for good reason; he embodies the principles of a complete, well-rounded champion. With each outing, he demonstrates lightning-fast takedowns set up by relentless flurries. And on this most recent occasion, he proved that, championship or otherwise, he's still hunting for finishes.
Good luck to the next man attempting to wrangle away his flyweight gold.