UFC Fight Night 36 was not the most anticipated card in UFC history, as the card did not have a ton of star power on it. From the performances on the preliminary card, the main card really needed to perform, as most fans were almost asleep from the so-called "action."
There were big implications in the middleweight division, as the main and co-main events featured four of the best middleweights in the world. Lyoto Machida took on Gegard Mousasi in the feature bout while Ronaldo Souza met Francis Carmont in the co-featured fight.
So how did the fighters fare in each main card affair? Let's put some grades on each performance.
Charles Oliveira got the first finish of the card. However, it took three rounds and it wasn't easy against a guy many people thought he would steamroll.
Oliveira was vastly superior on the ground, as many predicted he would be. In the scrambles and transitions, he was obviously superior which made all the difference in certain situations.
In my opinion, he looked better in a loss to Frankie Edgar than he did in a win here against Andy Ogle. However, a win, especially a finish, is still a win. Can't knock the guy too much.
In a loss to a vastly superior opponent, Andy Ogle looked respectable and tough. Sure, he succumbed to a triangle choke, but he fought off submissions and bad positions the entire fight to make this as competitive as possible.
He didn't have a large amount of offense himself, which obviously hurts his grade. However, since many people predicted he wouldn't even get out of the first round, you gotta give him a couple bonus points for the effort.
This may seem harsh, but it provides a lesson: don't prematurely celebrate.
Trying to emulate Mark Hunt, Viscardi Andrade thought he had a one-hitter quitter on Nicholas Musoke. He hoisted his arms in celebration, allowing Musoke to gather his head briefly, which was all he needed to recover.
After that, it was downhill for Andrade. He was outmuscled on the mat by Musoke and dropped a decision. It's embarrassing he went from a punch away from victory to the losing end of a decision.
Give Musoke credit for the fact that he is never out of a fight. He was hurt early in his bouts with Alessio Sakara and Andrade, and still came back to win his fights.
He was outgunned on the feet early, but showed later on that he may be the better ground technician. He was able to ground the Brazilian and ride him out to a decision.
He didn't do much punishment on the ground, but he got the win. His grade could have been better had he been more active on the ground.
The curious case of Erick Silva continued with an impressive finish of Takenori Sato. Silva is both underrated and overrated at the same time by people in the MMA in-crowd.
He showed his skill, athleticism and explosiveness in his finish of Sato. He hurt him with a body kick, defended a takedown, nailed Sato with some big shots and finished his adversary.
That is the type of performance that warrants the hype Silva continues to get as a fighter.
To be fair, Takenori Sato never had a chance to get going against Silva. So, the Japanese fighter will grab a failing grade, as he was brutally dispatched in short time by the Brazilian.
I will give him one thing: he can take some punishment. Silva threw a ton of punches at his head before he was finally out. So big ups for taking those strikes like a champ.
Coming into this fight with Francis Carmont, Ronaldo Souza was walking through everyone with extreme prejudice. This fight, he was dominant in points, but did not perform as dominantly as many believed he would.
He was superior on the mat and held his own on the feet. However, he had Carmont's back on multiple occasions and hypothetically should have finished from there.
That won't affect his grade though. He beat a tough guy and did it in workmanlike fashion.
I don't think anybody can question the skills of Francis Carmont now. Most people in his position would have gotten choked out with Souza on their back, so props to the Frenchman.
His fights are never going to be pretty. This fight was no exception. However, he was outwrestled and grappled by Souza, a guy many thought would be at a disadvantage in the wrestling category.
Carmon't stock doesn't drop much here. His grade won't be low either.
We got what we expected from Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi. We got a technical bout on the feet with glimpses of mat work. When it was all said and done, Machida won a technical chess match over Mousasi.
Machida is a real threat at 185, especially with a big win over Mousasi. His defense creates offense, as showcased in this bout.
It was a good performance by the former light heavyweight champ.
Mousasi may have lost, but he stayed technical and was always in the fight.
His performance wasn't bad. In fact, it was actually pretty solid in a losing effort. However, Mousasi could not solve the riddle that was Machida's stand up.
He landed some solid strikes, but he did not land enough to have an effect on Machida. His mat work was tight too, but nothing he did was enough to upend Machida.
Mousasi at middleweight is quite intriguing. If he plans to stick around, there should be plenty for him to do.