UFC 164: Post-Fight Stock Report
UFC 164 possibly ushered in a new lightweight era thanks to the handy work of Anthony Pettis.
Pettis won in the first round via armbar when Benson Henderson was forced to verbally submit. The new UFC lightweight champion has won four straight with three finishes.
In the co-main event of the evening, Josh Barnett put Frank Mir against the fence and battered him until the referee stepped in for the finish. The return of Barnett was successful, and the No. 10-ranked heavyweight will move up the ladder.
Ten more bouts helped fill out the exciting night of fights. Here is your UFC 164 post-fight stock report.
Stock Up: Magnus Cedenblad
Magnus Cedenblad announced himself to the UFC world with a quick submission win in the Facebook prelims.
The Swedish fighter jumped on the guillotine, rolled into mount with it and picked up a big win over a tough veteran in Jared Hamman.
After the fight, he called out Dylan Andrews for beating his friend Papy Abedi at UFC Fight Night 27. It is rare that a fighter calls out an appropriate opponent in such entertaining fashion. It is memorable. Combined with his performance, Cedenblad left a lasting memory for fans.
From obscurity to having a little bit of buzz in the UFC is a big step up.
Stock Up: Al Iaquinta
Al Iaquinta returned from injuries to finally grab his first UFC win.
Iaquinta dropped his first UFC bout in The Ultimate Fighter finale against Mike Chiesa. However, his fight against Ryan Couture Saturday showed his potential.
He has power in his hands, strong jiu-jitsu/wrestling and is a member of a great camp. Working with Ray Longo and Matt Serra clearly pays dividends. He has a lot of work to do to make waves in the lightweight division, but UFC 164 was a great first step, as he thoroughly battered Couture all three rounds.
Stock Down: Soa Palelei and Nikita Krylov
This heavyweight battle was entertaining but for all the wrong reasons.
Soa Palelei and Nikita Krylov quickly gassed. They did not even make it out of the first round before their pace slowed dramatically. Palelei got the TKO win in Round 3, but most people don't care—it was a poor performance by both men. Period.
Both men showed they are not UFC-caliber fighters, and in such a shallow heavyweight division, that only makes it even sadder.
Stock Up: Hyun Gyu Lim
Hyun Gyu Lim is a very big welterweight. It is a strong visual but not nearly as strong as plastering an opponent with a knee to the face.
That is exactly what Lim did (again) in Milwaukee.
Lim overwhelmed Pascal Krauss after initially rocking him, finishing the knockout about four minutes into Round 1. And for their troubles, they earned Fight of the Night honors.
With Lim's potential marketability overseas, this performance was important for the Korean Top Team product. In such a crowded division, that is a big step toward more prestigious fights.
Lim has to maintain his weight to effectively stay at 170 pounds, but if he can, he will be a threat. His size and reach advantage can create a lot of problems.
Stock Down: Louis Gaudinot
Tim Elliott has been quality since dropping in weight, and so has Louis Gaudinot.
Gaudinot's return bout from injury was supposed to be a fun, competitive flyweight fight. It was only fun if you are a fan of Elliott or one-sided beatings.
Elliott dominated the fight, and Gaudinot was on the receiving end of a 30-27, 30-26, 30-26 loss. Two 10-8 rounds on scorecards tell you the story of the fight. Gaudinot was mugged inside the cage by Elliott, and now must return to the drawing board after such a momentum-sapping defeat.
Stock Down: Jamie Varner
Jamie Varner returned to the UFC in a big way last year by upsetting Edson Barboza. He then lost to Joe Lauzon in an exciting battle.
He looked to be back in form with a win over Melvin Guillard in late December. Things were looking up for the lightweight.
Then UFC 164 came. Gleison Tibau controlled most of the fight, and when Varner finally offered solid offense assault in the third round, he decided to take the fight to the ground as time ticked away. The tactical mistake cost him a winning streak and some precious momentum a veteran needs.
He was exposed as a perennial mid-tier lightweight once again. There's nothing wrong with that, but he is not going to be making a run in the Top 10 any time soon.
Stock Up: Dustin Poirier
As Joe Rogan mentioned in the broadcast, Dustin Poirier and Erik Koch are distinctly similar featherweights. Their age, measurables and styles are comparable.
This bout was a good way to determine which prospect was more prepared for the next step in the division.
Poirier answered the call with an excellent performance and unanimous decision victory in Koch's Roufusport backyard. He still showed some defensive holes, but overall it was a big win over the No. 10-ranked featherweight. This should allow Poirier to reenter the Top 10 and grab a big opponent for his next outing.
Still just 24, the Louisiana native is evolving with each fight. UFC 164 was one of his best showings to date.
Stock Down: Brandon Vera
Brandon Vera was 1-3 with 1 no-content in his last five bouts. Thus, he decided to move back to the heavyweight division for a fresh start.
Things started well enough, but eventually Ben Rothwell stopped him with strikes in the third round.
He was unable to handle the power of a true heavyweight. The bigger issue for him is that Rothwell is not even the most athletic big man. This was a good measuring stick for Vera, and he failed. It may be time for him to seek opportunities outside of the UFC.
He was unable to deal with one of the bigger, slower heavyweights. What would happen against the upper echelon if he ever happens to make it in that direction? The results won't be pretty.
Vera is stuck in limbo. The weight cut and competition affected him too much at light heavyweight, and he is not able to hang with the big boys. He can find success and solid paydays on the regional circuit. And who knows, maybe Bellator will call.
Stock Down: Clay Guida and Frank Mir
It may seem odd to lump a featherweight and heavyweight in together, but there is good reason for that this time around.
Guida and Mir are longtime veterans who hang around near the top of their respective divisions. Unlike Guida, Mir has earned a couple of title shots in recent times (though that has more to do with the depth of the heavyweight division than anything else).
Now, both veterans find themselves on the wrong end of TKO stoppages at UFC 164. Their time atop their divisions is done. They are no longer relevant in the contenders' picture.
Stock Up: Anthony Pettis
It's clear that the stock went up for Pettis. After all, he is the new UFC lightweight champion. His stock has raised all the more because of his impressive form after a prolonged absence.
Pettis wasn't completely forgotten since his win over Donald Cerrone in January, but his injuries kept him from fighting Aldo, and he had to back his way into the fight with Henderson. Without an injury to T.J. Grant, Pettis wouldn't have had this chance.
He made the most of his opportunity. Pettis is now at the top of the division, and his stock couldn't be much higher.