UFC 166 Results: Post-Fight Stock Report
From top to bottom, it delivered. The eight preliminary fights featured five finishes, and the main card tacked on three more. And the best fights of the evening went to a decision, but more on those later.
There was a lot that happened across several divisions at the event. It gave UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby plenty to work with moving forward. Some fighters staked their claim as top fighters, while a few moved out of the way to make room for others.
It was a fun evening.
This is the stock report following UFC 166.
Stock Up: Facebook Preliminary Card Victors
The Facebook prelims are usually a mixed bag, but at UFC 166, they were pure fire. All four bouts ended in finishes. The longest fight of them went 8:51.
Kyoji Horiguchi started slowly against Dustin Pague but rebounded in the second round to finish with strikes. The other UFC debutant was Andre Fili, who made an impactful premiere with a second-round TKO over Jeremy Larsen.
Tony Ferguson returned to action and ran through Mike Rio quickly. He finished the fight with a d'arce choke to finish inside of two minutes.
The most impressive outcome, however, may have come from Adlan Amagov, who sent TJ Waldburger to the hospital with a vicious knockout. Thankfully, all tests came back normal for Waldburger, and he was granted his exit from the hospital.
While the Facebook prelims are a chore on some nights, this time they were a treat.
Stock Up: Jessica Eye
Jessica Eye, the former No. 1-ranked flyweight, moved up to bantamweight to make her UFC debut. She was taking on one of the strongest fighters in the division in Sarah Kaufman, and there were questions as to how she would handle the move up in weight.
She answered those questions by upending the former Strikeforce champion by split decision.
It was a close fight, but Eye set the tone early with her athletic advantage. She had a noticeable edge in speed. Eye popped her jab in Kaufman's face repeatedly and made it hard for the No. 2-ranked bantamweight to get things going.
She faltered in the third round but did enough to capture a narrow victory. That was huge for her, and she will shoot up the UFC rankings as a result.
Stock Down: Nate Marquardt
Nate Marquardt was once thought to be the answer to Anderson Silva. He wasn't.
He eventually moved to Strikeforce, captured its welterweight championship and was supposed to enter the UFC on a winning streak. He didn't.
When he made his UFC return against a strong contender in Jake Ellenberger he was supposed to challenge him. He was corked instead.
This was a big fight for Marquardt after losing two straight, but the new-look Hector Lombard made even quicker work of Marquardt than Ellenberger did. He leveled the former contender and turned his lights off. It is hard to tell where Marquardt goes from here, but two vicious defeats never bode well for a fighter's UFC employment.
Stock Down: Judging
OK, so judging really can't get any worse. However, I had to include it due to some of the questionable scorecards at UFC 166.
While you can make the case that either Eye or Kaufman won the fight, you cannot say Eye won the third—unless you are one of the judges. And that one judge cost Kaufman a win and potentially a title shot in 2014. It was a close fight, but neither fighter deserved to have the fight marred by a goofy judge.
Then came Tim Boetsch vs. C.B. Dollaway.
The referee rightfully deducted a point from Dollaway after a second eye poke. That made it seem like the fight would be a draw. And if not a draw, then still a win for Dollaway. The judges had different ideas.
Two judges scored the fight an inexplicable 30-26 for Boetsch. That scorecard makes no sense to anyone watching at home. It was just another case of poor judging.
Stock Up: John Dodson
John Dodson entered as the No. 2-ranked flyweight behind Joseph Benavidez. However, with Benavidez's recent performances, he overshadowed Dodson, even though Dodson gave the champion Demetrious Johnson a much more competitive bout than the Team Alpha Male flyweight did.
This was Dodson's first fight since going after the title. He was taking on a very tough flyweight in Darrell Montague.
He torched him.
Dodson is one of the hardest-hitting flyweights, and he proved it again. He pasted Montague and finished him in the first round. The win moved Dodson right back into the forefront of fans' minds. He can make a strong case that he should be the No. 1-ranked flyweight behind the champ based off his last two fights, but even if he isn't, he is right back in the hunt at 125 pounds.
Stock Up: Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez
What. A. Fight.
An instant Fight of the Year contender set the crowd and social media on fire. Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez delivered an instant classic on Saturday, and it's the kind of fight that will move them into the good graces of management.
Melendez is the No. 2-ranked lightweight, and after a contentious loss in a title fight against Benson Henderson, he returned in the best way possible by winning an exciting scrap.
For Sanchez, he entered unranked and seeking relevance. Even with a loss, he found it.
Both men came out as crowd favorites. They'll get bonus checks and bigger fights, which is exactly what fighters want.
Stock Down: Roy Nelson
Entering the UFC, Nelson was noted for his jiu-jitsu skills. And he won The Ultimate Fighter by utilizing his grappling skills before unleashing his right hand on Brendan Schaub's face in the finale.
Nelson then started to brawl. In every fight. That is not a smart strategy.
He was battered against Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic. Daniel Cormier is not the best striker, but with Nelson just loading up for the right hand, Cormier was able to slip his haymaker and win the fight.
"Big Country" had been on the verge of a title shot a couple of times. He used to be in the top five. The wheels have come off, and he has been exposed. Unless he can go back to his roots to find success, he will continue to sputter as more athletically gifted heavyweights enter the field.
Stock Up: Cain Velasquez
For the third straight title fight, Velasquez was dominant.
In his two wins over Dos Santos, he has brutalized the Brazilian. The supposedly competitive heavyweight encounters have been anything but. Velasquez has set himself apart from the field.
I know many will agree with a certain Russian's legacy still looming over the heavyweight division, but Velasquez is now the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport. He will only continue to build on his legacy with each passing fight.
His relentlessness is something special. He breaks opponents. He broke Dos Santos twice, which is impressive.
Stock Down: Junior Dos Santos
I sincerely hate ending on a down note on such a nice human being, but there is no way around it: Junior dos Santos was the biggest loser of UFC 166.
First and most importantly, the second straight Velasquez beating has only taken time off his career. These are the types of losses that some fighters never come back from. Time will tell if that's the case with Dos Santos, but his health took a hit.
Second, it will be hard for him to earn another title shot.
Fans were willing to forgive his last title fight. Perhaps it was an anomaly. He could come back and redeem himself in a third fight, but that is not what happened. The result validated that Velasquez is the better fighter by a wide margin. He has Dos Santos' number.
After two maulings, it will be a hard sell for a fourth fight. That is a blow to Dos Santos' fighting career.