UFC Fight Night 29 Results: What's Next for the Main Card Losers?
UFC Fight Night 29 is now in the books. The card saw several fighters take great strides in their respective divisions, but as is the case whenever a competitor wins, it comes at the cost of someone else's misfortune.
Here we will take a look at the main card fighters from Wednesday night's action who did not have themselves a fun time, examine what the defeat means and where they go from here.
While Raphael Assuncao climbs into the bantamweight title scene with the win, T.J. Dillashaw drops out of the picture with a loss. Not far, mind you. It was a close fight against a tough foe, so it's perhaps more a delay than a drop.
In fact, I expect Dillashaw will receive a fight offer to compete against someone on the fringe of the title scene. Brad Pickett comes to mind—he fits the bill and is available.
Sending Dillashaw back down a tier doesn't make much sense, since we already know he is a cut above, which is why it will have to be someone in the Top 10 or at least close.
Like so many of Rousimar Palhares' previous victims, Pierce probably has some rehabbing to do on his leg. It was a grimace-worthy finish, especially because Palhares held the hold—as per usual—far longer than necessary.
Enough about that. Where does Pierce go from here?
Unfortunately, not very far. Pierce is a guy who just can't seem to crack the welterweight division's upper echelon. He's essentially flawless against lesser competition, but just can't grasp that one signature win to put him over the top.
Now, it's back down a rung for the American, who may have to win another prelim fight against a less-than-famous opponent before he is once again given the opportunity to rejoin a UFC main card.
It's starting to feel like he is treading water.
You could easily make the case that Joey Beltran should have won the fight, but this one is a back-breaker regardless.
Over his last nine outings, Beltran has two wins, seven losses and a no-contest—the result of a positive post-fight drug test.
There's no need to sugarcoat it—this is almost certainly the end of the line for "The Mexicutioner" as a UFC competitor. Only Leonard Garcia could retain his roster spot with those numbers.
It could very well be the end of the road for Matt Hamill. Again. He looked nearly immobile, mounted very little offense and barely made an honest effort to employ his wrestling.
What's worse is that Hamill's performance looked so paltry against an out-of-shape and potentially injured Thiago Silva.
Hamill may retire, he may be cut, he may be given one last chance. If either of the first two scenarios become reality, then he is done. If the latter comes to fruition, don't expect to see Hamill fighting anyone you recognize.
This was bad for Silva. There's no two ways about it.
Dong Hyun Kim presented obvious challenges to the Brazilian, especially since he employs a comparable attack to Jon Fitch, who previously defeated Silva.
In a way, this fight was supposed to be a test for him to show whether he'd closed a gap in his game. If he passed that test, he'd be in great shape. If he failed—if he was smothered again—then it would raise some concerns.
But a knockout loss? Who saw that in the cards?
Silva's one-time status as a potential future champion seems to have all but dissipated. He'll likely get a mid-tier guy next time out. The difference is, even if he wins impressively, the momentum just won't grow back to what it used to be.
Well that's a bummer for Maia. Not only was he denied the euphoria of winning a headlining bout in his hometown, he suddenly goes from imminent title threat to just another fighter in the hunt.
At least there are some decent matchups out there for him that could vault him back into the thick of things. Martin Kampmann and Jake Ellenberger come to mind. The winner of Josh Koscheck vs. Tyron Woodley at UFC 167 would also work.
So while the loss on Wednesday night was surely no fun for Maia, it is more a bump in the road than an impasse. He just needs to get back on track next time out, or that changes.