UFC Fight Night 26's main card delivered on all fronts.
The UFC put together a strong card for its debut on the new 24-hour sports channel Fox Sports 1, and the 26 competitors came through for the organization. Ten fights were broadcast on the new network with six of those being designated as the main card.
Several performances stood out, but three separated themselves from the pack.
Sonnen has been one of the UFC's biggest stars over the past few years. His ability to sell a fight has come in handy for the organization, and it has garnered the talented fighter a legion of fans. He is a polarizing figure in the sport, but he often delivers on what he says.
After a night of solid fights, Sonnen came through with his own show-stealing performance.
After an early back-and-forth battle with Shogun Rua, Sonnen got top position and controlled the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Rua tried working his way to his feet, but Sonnen used the opportunity to lock on a guillotine choke.
Feeling he had it, Sonnen dropped down with it and finished. It was a surprising result from Sonnen. After the fight, Sonnen showed why he is one of the biggest stars of the sport. A hilarious promo against Wanderlei Silva.
Hate him or love him, you are talking about Chael Sonnen. That's what stars are made of.
Brown has always been an exciting fighter, but he was never seen as one of the elite. That has to change now.
A 29-second win over Mike Pyle was Brown's sixth in a row. A big achievement in the UFC's welterweight division. What is even more impressive about Brown's streak is the manner in which he has done it. The Pyle KO was the fifth TKO/KO stoppage in the streak.
After the fight, Brown called out GSP. He won't get a welterweight championship fight right away, but it was a smart move. And with six straight wins in the division, he isn't far off from a title shot. It is an improbable and fascinating storyline in MMA.
Brown's resurgence is incredibly fun. He is a fan-favorite warrior and one of the nicest guys in all of MMA. The welterweight will find himself in a big fight soon, and fans will be lining up for it.
Michael Johnson's stock was on the rise after starting 2012 with three straight wins, but it quickly plummeted with back-to-back losses.
Entering UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston he was looking like a sacrificial lamb to Massachusetts' native son Joe Lauzon. On paper, it was a terrible matchup.
Fights aren't fought on paper. Johnson looked phenomenal.
The Michael Johnson that showed up in Boston can compete with the upper echelon of the division. Fantastic striking. Quick, powerful combinations. That compliments his wrestling game very well and makes him a big threat in the division.
Lauzon's face was a mess after the first round. Johnson brutalized him.
Johnson made a statement in one of the biggest shows for the organization. The UFC on Fox Sports 1 deal is a big deal for everyone and opening the show in that fashion will help him make a name for himself in the division.
All that is left for Johnson is to prove it wasn't a one-fight fluke. If he can put on that kind of performance consistently he will find himself in the top 10 of the division. He has the tools to get there, but it won't be easy. But he announced himself on a big platform on Saturday.