UFC Fight Night 46 Results: 10 Burning Questions Heading into UFC on Fox 12

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2014

UFC Fight Night 46 Results: 10 Burning Questions Heading into UFC on Fox 12

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    UFC Fight Night 46 is in the books. The results are as follows:

    UFC Fight Night 46 Main Card on Fight Pass

    • Conor McGregor def. Diego Brandao, TKO (Round 1, 4:05)
    • Gunnar Nelson def. Zak Cummings, submission (Round 2, 4:48)
    • Ian McCall def. Brad Pickett, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
    • Norman Parke def. Naoyuki Kotani, TKO (Round 2, 3:41)

    Preliminary Fights on Fight Pass

    • Ilir Latifi def. Chris Dempsey, TKO (Round 1, 2:07)
    • Neil Seery def. Phil Harris, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
    • Cathal Pendred def. Mike King, submission (Round 2, 3:33)
    • Trevor Smith def. Tor Troeng, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
    • Nikita Krylov def. Cody Donovan, TKO (Round 1, 4:57)
    • Patrick Holohan def. Josh Sampo, submission (Round 1, 3:06)

    Next up? The super-duper stacked UFC on Fox 12.

    Stacked with names from pretty much every division, the card is one of the most highly anticipated free cards of the past couple of years. Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown top the card in a likely welterweight title eliminator and are backed up by huge fights such as Dennis Bermudez vs. Clay Guida and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Anthony Johnson.

    So what are the biggest stories heading into next Saturday? Find out right here!

Is the Women's Strawweight Division the New Men's Bantamweight Division?

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    The Fight: Juliana Lima vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
    The Real Fight: High-Level Talent vs. Promotional Silliness

    The Stakes

    The first UFC women's strawweight division fight went down at UFC Fight Night 45...on Fight Pass. Now the second one is set to go down at UFC on Fox 12...on Fight Pass. The UFC likes to pretend that Fight Pass isn't a promotional ditch, but by regularly booking 115-pound fights on it, the promotion is actively keeping fans disinterested in the newest division.


    The Question

    Is the women's strawweight division the new men's bantamweight division?



    You know the office wimp? The gopher? The guy with the master's degree who is given all the crappy work?

    If the different UFC divisions were people and all worked in the same office, the men's bantamweight would be that guy. The division is consistently undersold, and high-level talents and ranked fighters such as Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald are regularly buried on preliminary cards. The UFC seems to be sending them some company now, though.

    It's sad, of course, since the women's strawweight division houses a good amount of talent. Still, the UFC loves playing favorites, and somebody needs to get stepped over for that. It seems like the top-10 strawweights will be joining the top-50 middleweights on Fox Sports 1 for the indefinite future.

What Will We See out of Patrick Cummins?

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    The Fight: Kyle Kingsbury vs. Patrick Cummins
    The Real Fight: Patrick Cummins vs. Bad First Impressions

    The Stakes

    Patrick Cummins avoided possible "worst UFC fighter ever" status when he notched a win over Roger Narvaez. That win, at the very least, signified that his UFC career would not be defined by futility.

    Now comes the struggle to prove that, despite the high-profile beatdown he received from one of the best fighters in the world in Daniel Cormier, he actually is a high-level talent. Cummins has the chance to show that against a steady presence in Kyle Kingsbury.


    The Question

    What will we see out of Cummins?



    I asked this same question a few days ago for Ilir Latifi ahead of his fight with Chris Dempsey. Latifi showed that he actually has a fair bit of skill, despite his "guy pulled from the parking lot" status during UFC on Fuel TV 9. Cummins did the same after his shellacking from Cormier.

    But was Cummins just a little bit better than what fans were giving him credit for? Or is he actually a legitimate light heavyweight who just happened to have a bad draw for his UFC debut? This fight with Kingsbury will tell us a lot, one way or the other.

Could Daron Cruickshank Be Legit?

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    The Fight: Daron Cruickshank vs. Jorge Masvidal
    The Real Fight: Daron Cruickshank vs. Status Quo

    The Stakes

    Daron Cruickshank seemed like he was destined to be a CB Dollaway or Matt Brown, The Ultimate Fighter product destined for "warm body on a prelim card" work until he heads back to a minimum wage job with a bad case of CTE.

    After crazy-cool knockouts of Mike Rio and Erik Koch, however, he now seems more like a CB Dollaway or Matt Brown, a fighter who showed flashes of promise all along but took awhile to get into his groove.

    This fight with Jorge Masvidal will tell us a lot about how good he really is.


    The Question

    Could Cruickshank be legit?



    This fairly straightforward question will be answered in straightforward fashion. If Cruickshank wins emphatically over Masvidal, he could be a legitimate dark-horse title contender in the making. If he gets beaten soundly, though, then it will be back to the drawing board.

    Either way, he likely has a UFC job secure for a long while. The UFC loves flashy strikers, and he is about as flashy as they come.

So Is Bobby Green Actually Any Good?

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    The Fight: Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green
    The Real Fight: Josh Thomson vs. MMA's Top P4P Nutshot Artist

    The Stakes

    In a stacked lightweight division, Bobby Green has quietly amassed a seven-fight winning streak with plenty of decent names to his credit. Unfortunately, for all his wins, the jury is still out on how he stacks up against legitimate competition. He now faces perhaps too stiff a test in Strikeforce hotshot Josh Thomson, who could expose him or make him into an overnight title contender.


    The Question

    So is Green actually any good?



    While Green is only a recent name for UFC fans, he has been bouncing around major promotions for a long time, amassing one of the sport's most impressive highlight reels of nutshots. Oh, and he has a lot of wins too.

    He has a lot of solid mid-tier names to his credit, and that counts for something. He will almost certainly be a steady presence in the UFC for the foreseeable future. But will he be a steady presence like Melvin Guillard was? Or will he be a steady presence like Joseph Benavidez or Urijah Faber?

Can Josh Thomson Maintain His Elite Status?

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    The Fight: Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green
    The Real Fight: Josh Thomson vs. A Dangerous Opponent

    The Stakes

    While Josh Thomson spent a sizable chunk of his career in Strikeforce and was regarded as second-rate because of that, his demolition of Nate Diaz sent a very strong message. That message, of course, was "I am really good at MMA."

    While that set him up for a title shot right off, Anthony Pettis' porcelain skeleton denied him that opportunity and set him up for a narrow split-decision loss to Ben Henderson. Still, many regard him as a top-level lightweight. If he wants to keep people convinced, however, he will need to light up a seemingly overmatched Bobby Green.


    The Question

    Can Thomson maintain his elite status?



    There is a lot to love about Thomson. His skills are top-notch, his redemption story is interesting but often untold and his eternal underdog status makes it easy to root for him. 

    He only recently started getting his due, but he has a tough draw in Green after what was a deceptively favorable matchup in Michael Johnson. If Thomson doesn't beat Green in decisive fashion, he will slide back in a crowded top tier in the UFC lightweight division.

Is Dennis Bermudez Elite-Level?

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    The Fight: Clay Guida vs. Dennis Bermudez
    The Real Fight: Dennis Bermudez vs. The Biggest Challenge of His Career (No, Really!)

    The Stakes

    Since losing to Diego Brandao in the TUF 14 finale, Dennis Bermudez has been Tim Tebow-like (in the "all he does is win" sense, not the "all he does is win before he gets cut for another guy and fades into obscurity" sense). He is currently riding a six-fight winning streak, and it speaks to the quality of the featherweight division in that he isn't freakin' anywhere close to a title shot right now.


    The Question

    Is Bermudez elite-level?



    While Bermudez has six wins in a row, which is impressive no matter how you slice it, the biggest name to his credit is...I don't know...Max Holloway, I suppose.

    Clay Guida is a major step up in competition, and if he can beat The Carpenter in decisive fashion, then it would be hard not to include him when discussing the featherweight title picture—right alongside Cub Swanson, Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar...while Jose Aldo is hurt...

    Man, is Bermudez in a tough spot...

Can Anthony Johnson Maintain His Top 5 Spot?

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    The Fight: Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    The Real Fight: Anthony Johnson vs. Speed Bump

    The Stakes

    Anthony Johnson turned the light heavyweight division upside down when he slapped Phil Davis around. In one fight, he vaulted from WSOF staple to top-tier light heavyweight. Unfortunately for him, he is trapped in matchmaking hell and finds himself in an awkward fight against the ghost of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira with no real hope of advancing his title hopes.


    The Question

    Can Johnson maintain his Top Five spot?



    The beating Johnson put on Davis was shocking and illuminating, no doubt about it, but the light heavyweight division is in shambles.

    As I said back in April, Johnson finds himself handcuffed in a division that just doesn't have many logical opponents for him, and like Josh Thomson, he needs to slap around the light heavyweight division's foremost jalopy if he wants to keep himself on the short list of title contenders.

    The best-case scenario is he smacks around Nogueira and remains in a holding pattern. Even in a holding pattern, though, he finds himself waiting at least 18 months for a shot at Jon Jones.

Will Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Make This Interesting?

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    The Fight: Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    The Real Fight: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Just Generally Not Being Very Good

    The Stakes

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is riding a two-fight winning streak that dates back to December 2011. How crazy is that? His nonstop injuries have made him a running joke in MMA circles and have robbed him of any potential Dan Henderson-like run before retirement.

    He's now 38 years old and 18 months removed from his yawn-inducing win over the "Old Man" version of Rashad Evans. The question is not if he can keep adding to his winning streak, but it's if he can put up any real resistance against a bigger, stronger, better fighter than himself.


    The Question

    Will Nogueira make this interesting?



    That sounds mean, I'm sure, but it's honest. While the saying is "old soldiers never die, they just fade away," the UFC likes to add in a savage, high-profile beating from a young up-and-coming contender before old favorites are sent out to pasture.

    The question is if this will be a full-blown Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier affair, if Nogueira will show he has some life left...or if he will make MMA fans' jaws drop as he pulls out one more win.

Will Robbie Lawler's Career Renaissance Continue?

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    The Fight: Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown
    The Real Fight: Robbie Lawler vs. The Odds

    The Stakes

    In a battle between welterweight Cinderellas, Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown face off with a title shot on the line. It's a crazy storyline, honestly, and it's still hard to completely separate the 2008 to 2011 models from the ass-kickers of today.

    Lawler's recent body of work speaks for itself, though, and after dropping a narrow (some would say controversial) decision to Johny Hendricks, it's easy to envision Lawler as the champion by year's end.  


    The Question

    Will Lawler's career renaissance continue?



    It's still crazy to think that Lawler, the vaguely recognizable punching bag of the Strikeforce middleweight division, is still on this crazy run.

    Seriously, if you didn't watch much Strikeforce before Zuffa bought it out, go check out his losses to Jake Shields and Renato "Babalu" Sobral and tell me that he even resembles the same fighter. It's hard to explain how it could have happened, honestly, but there it is.

    If he can beat Brown, it's tough to make a case against him being the top contender, and it's impossible to dismiss his chances against Hendricks in a rematch.

Could Matt Brown Really Pull This Off?

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    The Fight: Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown
    The Real Fight: Matt Brown vs. The Odds

    The Stakes

    Take everything I said about Cinderella stories and braving the odds and looking bad for a long time before becoming a top fighter from the last slide and put it in here. The similarities between these two are many and profound. The only thing keeping Matt Brown from getting his first shot at UFC gold after six years and 17 fights is Robbie Lawler.


    The Question

    Could Brown really pull this off?



    Lawler is the favorite here. He is the more technical striker and has the stronger gas tank. Then again, when hasn't Brown been the underdog, and when has that mattered?

    Can he beat Lawler? What about Hendricks?

    If you said "no" to either, then you need to stop picking with your head and start picking with your gut. My gut says that Brown can beat anybody at this point.