Wednesday night may not necessarily be ideal for cage fighting, but if Fight Night 27 was any indicator moving forward, it's not a reason to be doubtful either.
This was a fight card that delivered—easily on pace with the kind of excitement we've grown to expect from a full-blown pay-per-view.
Decision fights were either technical and composed or wild and exciting; the submissions were arguably as fast as the knockouts.
And as expected, the main event bout between Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann didn't fail to deliver.
Let's take a look at the cost-effect analysis of these exchanges. Whose worth went up or down as a result of Wednesday night's performances in Indianapolis?
"Congratulations to me."
Jason High chose those three words to effectively summarize his feelings after his first official UFC victory. He had good reason to be so excited—before the two-minute mark of the first round, he managed to swarm opponent James Head and accordingly proceeded to lock his hands into a guillotine choke.
Head attempted to roll and evade, but it was to no avail; High was determined to erase any remnant memory of his lackluster return bout to the UFC against Erick Silva less than two months ago.
With Wednesday night's slick submission, that's exactly what he managed to do.
It's probably not a good thing that the takeaway from Papy Abedi's performance at UFC Fight Night 27 was a series of failed guillotine chokes.
Sure, he may have been on his way to decisioning opponent Dylan Andrews, but by the third round, he looked like he was barely present in the fight.
Andrews responded by giving him the exit he was looking for—Abedi was hit with an uppercut, proceeded to face-plant to the canvas and was then accordingly finished with a flurry of short hooks.
Andrews walked away with a beautiful comeback knockout, whereas Abedi couldn't have been less graceful from start to unfortunate finish.
Apparently, Octagon jitters isn't necessarily a guaranteed thing.
Brandon Thatch was an up-and-coming prospect riding on a sizeable wave of expectations prior to his UFC debut. In roughly a minute-and-a-half, he threw a series of head kicks that served to stop opponent Justin Edwards and validate any of those expectations.
Oh, and it's worth mentioning that his bold victory at Fight Night 27 marked his ninth, consecutive knockout inside of the first round—not to mention that the finished earned him "Knockout of the Night" honors.
It was certainly an impressive way to make your grand entrance to the world's premier fighting organization.
UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby really nailed it when he paired bantamweights Takeya Mizugaki and Erik Perez.
Inside of three frames, both men demonstrated blinding speed, ferocious combinations and rock-solid grappling. Though Perez fought admirably—with emphasis on an astounding rear-naked choke escape in the final round—Mizugaki's cleaner, tighter striking allowed him to maintain control.
The Japan-born fighter was never overwhelmed by Perez's violent combinations—he maintained his composure with pinpoint counterpunches en route to a decision victory.
Now riding a three-fight win streak, Mizugaki used UFC Fight Night 27 to make a firm demand for a top-10 opponent.
Donald Cerrone's enemy at UFC Fight Night 27 wasn't his opponent Rafael dos Anjos—it was sheer adversity.
The reality of the case is that his run may be approaching its final crescendo.
Shortly after dos Anjos dropped him with a clean right hook in the opening round, a look of timidity and stress came over his face. It was the same disconcerting look we saw when Nate Diaz unloaded a million jabs at his head—the same expression when Anthony Pettis rushed forward with body kick combinations.
As of late, Cerrone has proved that he's a beast when he advances with confidence, but when it's most critical, he crumbles under the burden to overcome the situation.
He'll likely need to reassess his entire outlook on his approach with the brilliant minds at Jackson's MMA—whatever the means, he needs to return to the relentlessly ferocious form that once terrorized the UFC.
Prior to UFC Fight Night 27, dos Anjos hung on the precipice of immediate relevance as he sat in the No. 10 slot in the UFC's lightweight division.
After his performance against Cerrone, there's no reason to think he won't jump a few ranks higher.
After a right hook that dropped "Cowboy" in the first round, dos Anjos began to string together surgically precise combinations that always kept him out of range of any imminent danger. He took Cerrone to the ground with seemingly no concern over his opponent's vaunted submission game.
It was as clean and complete of a performance as any could have imagined.
With five straight UFC wins, dos Anjos can expect to find a new home a bit higher in the top-10 rankings.
In retrospect, it sure seems strange that the MMA community at large was all but certain that Uriah Hall would destroy Kelvin Gastelum en route to claiming The Ultimate Fighter crown.
Even with a transition to welterweight, Gastelum managed to remind us how wrong we were.
At UFC Fight Night 27, he set his sights on opponent Brian Melancon and began to find the appropriate range and footing. As Melancon backed toward the cage, Gastelum unloaded with a brutal uppercut combination that dropped Melancon to the canvas.
With the speed of a fresh lightweight, Gastelum swarmed, locked in his hooks and wrapped his arm under Melancon's chin—the tap came moments later.
Praise and adulation were deserved during the TUF 17 run—at Fight Night 27, Gastelum reminded all of us who really deserved it.
There's little to no doubt that the pressure placed upon Kampmann to defeat Condit in their eagerly awaited rematch must have been tremendous.
That alone is likely the reason why his camp elected to enter the bout with a risk-free plan to take down the unpredictable striker to the ground and control him for the length of the bout. After all, if you need to ensure victory, perhaps it's best to choose a method that controls for all possible variables.
Kampmann valiantly tried to realize that plan, but in the end, it was to no avail.
He wound up losing the bout via TKO and essentially confirmed that Condit had advanced to level beyond his present reach.
He's now staring at back-to-back losses on his fight record. Still a prime fighter in the welterweight division, he'll need a few dominant wins to replace the events that unfolded on Wednesday night.
There's something awe-inspiring about picturesque mixed martial arts, and Condit is the manifestation of that ideal.
Ultimately, the much-anticipated rematch between Condit and Martin Kampmann reduced to a matter of fighter evolution—which man progressed and developed more in is career since the first meeting?
On Wednesday night, Condit made a resounding case for himself as he sought to avenge the decision loss to Kampmann years prior.
He weathered Kampmann's initial storm of takedowns, electing instead to patiently find his rhythm and the appropriate distance to stifle his opponent's plan.
It worked like a charm.
The tides eventually turned as Condit comfortably began to throw his textbook, unorthodox strikes. He increased the pace at a magnitude that eventually began to smother Kampmann. With each stuffed takedown attempt, Condit's confidence was visibly reinforced.
In the climax of the fourth round, Condit landed a critical body shot and proceeded to launch a bevy of knees that eventually downed the Danish fighter.
Revenge is sweet—but when it avenges a nagging loss from years gone by and returns you to your winning ways, it's even sweeter.
Roger Bowling vs. Abel Trujillo, no-contest (unintentional illegal knee)—Round 2, 4:57
Zak Cummings def. Ben Alloway via submission (D'Arce choke)—Round 1, 4:19
Jason High def. James Head via submission (guillotine choke)—Round 1, 1:41
Darren Elkins def. Hatsu Hioki via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Brandon Thatch def. Justin Edwards via TKO (strikes)—Round 1, 1:23
Dylan Andrews def. Papy Abedi via TKO (punches)—Round 3, 1:32
Brad Tavares def. Robert McDaniel via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Takeya Mizugaki def. Erik Perez via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Court McGee def. Robert Whittaker via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
Kelvin Gastelum def. Brian Melancon via submission (rear-naked choke)—Round 1, 2:26
Rafael dos Anjos def. Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Carlos Condit def. Martin Kampmann via TKO (strikes)—Round 4, 0:54