UFC Fight Night 48 and 49 Results: Grades for All Main Card Fighters
Saturday was quite a day for UFC fans. In the morning, UFC Fight Night 48 went down in Macau with a headliner featuring Michael Bisping against Cung Le in a middleweight matchup.
The co-main event was a welterweight tilt between two young contenders in the division, as former Strikeforce welterweight standout Tyron Woodley faced Dong Hyun Kim.
Then, on Saturday night, UFC Fight Night 49 happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a lightweight matchup between former champ Benson Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos.
Read on to see grades for all 20 of Saturday's main card fighters.
In the first main card fight of the day, Ning Guangyou faced off against Yang Jianping in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: China in the featherweight division.
Guangyou landed several takedowns in the first two rounds and nearly scored a submission with a guillotine choke in the second.
There wasn't a whole lot of action in the third round, as Guangyou went on to win the unanimous decision, 29-28 on all three scorecards.
Yang Jianping was never able to get much of anything going as far as offense. He was constantly defending and was nearly submitted in the second round.
Jianping would have needed a finish in the third round to win, but he was unable to get it as Guangyou took the decision.
Jianping is now 6-4-1 in his career.
In the second main card fight, Zhang Lipeng faced off against UFC newcomer Brendan O'Reilly in a lightweight matchup.
After a back-and-forth first round, Lipeng began to figure out a solid strategy, as he was able to get O'Reilly's back in both the second and third rounds. He held the position for quite a while, and although he was unable to get the rear-naked choke, he landed plenty of good shots.
When the scorecards were read, Lipeng had won the unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Brendan O'Reilly was making his official UFC debut and put his undefeated 5-0 (1 no-contest) record on the line.
Both fighters found success on the ground in the first, but as the second and third rounds wore on, Lipeng had a clear edge, working for submissions and landing punches.
O'Reilly ended up losing a unanimous decision.
Tyron Woodley had to make a statement coming off a loss to Rory MacDonald in his last fight. MacDonald had thoroughly outclassed Woodley and made him look as though he had been overhyped.
Woodley proved all his doubters wrong as he scored a TKO over Dong Hyun Kim at just 61 seconds of the first round. Kim went for a spinning attack, and Woodley landed a huge right hand that dropped his opponent. From there all it took was a few punches on the ground to end the fight.
Woodley earned Performance of the Night for his efforts, and with his win over the No. 10-ranked welterweight, he proved he is definitely deserving of his spot at No. 4.
Dong Hyun Kim
There's no good way to spin a 61-second knockout loss, especially when you got knocked out while going for a spinning attack.
Kim had the fans on his side, some serious momentum in the form of a four-fight win streak and the skills to earn the win.
Unfortunately, he wasn't able to deliver and will have to go back to the drawing board.
Michael Bisping needed to make a statement with a big win over Cung Le. Le hadn't fought in nearly two years, and Bisping needed to prove he was still relevant in the division.
Bisping fought exactly how he fights, and in the second round he landed a shot to Le's eye that almost closed the eye completely.
After that, Bisping picked Le apart, landed solid combos and used good footwork before finally scoring the TKO in the fourth round off an impressive combination.
Cung Le's face in that picture says a lot. He was battered and beaten for the better part of four rounds. He landed a few solid shots here and there, mostly in the first round, but it was never enough to put Bisping in trouble.
Le said after the fight that he wanted to continue fighting, so expect to see him back in the Octagon at some point in the future.
Chas Skelly was making his second appearance in the UFC on Saturday night. His first fight was a majority decision loss, but he did much better this time around.
Early in the first round, Skelly was hanging on the back of Tom Niinimaki before eventually getting him to the ground. From there, Skelly moved to mount and avoided an attempted guillotine choke, before locking in a rear-naked choke submission at 2:35 of the very first round.
With the win, Skelly moved to 12-1 in his MMA career, including nine finishes, with seven of them coming by submission.
Tom Niinimaki was 1-1 going into his fight on Saturday night. He had beaten Rani Yahya by split decision in his debut but had been submitted in the first round by Niklas Backstrom in his second appearance.
Unfortunately, Niinimaki was submitted again on Saturday night, and again it came in the first round. He had a shot at a guillotine choke but was unable to pull it off. He tapped out at 2:35 of the first round.
There wasn't a whole lot of good that came out of this fight for Niinimaki.
James Vick came into his fight on Saturday night following a one-year layoff. In his last fight, his official UFC debut, he submitted Ramsey Nijem with a guillotine choke in just 58 seconds.
His second fight went significantly longer as he scored a unanimous-decision victory over Valmir Lazaro.
Vick landed multiple right hands throughout the fight and a head kick that dropped Lazaro in the third round. Vick was taken down a couple of times, but he was usually able to get right back up within seconds.
Vick now moves to 6-0 with four submissions in his career.
Valmir Lazaro was making his UFC debut against James Vick. The Brazilian was 12-2 with nine finishes by (T)KO, including his last three in a row. In addition, he trains at Nova Uniao with guys like Renan Barao and Jose Aldo.
Unfortunately, that wasn't enough, as he was generally outclassed by Vick en route to a unanimous-decision loss.
It was by no means a poor showing from Lazaro, but he was rocked several times throughout the fight and looked to have gassed out about three minutes into the first round.
He did have success with a few takedowns, although he wasn't able to hold Vick down for long.
Max Holloway and Clay Collard had a fantastic fight. The first two rounds were contested largely on the feet, where Collard landed some solid shots, but Holloway answered back with way more.
Then in the third round, as Collard was running out of gas, he tried to get the fight to the ground, but Holloway ended up on his back. After Holloway worked for submissions and threw a lot of punches, the referee stepped in and gave him the win by TKO.
It was Holloway's third straight win, as well as his second third-round finish in a row. With this win, he may even make his way into the official featherweight rankings.
Clay Collard was making his UFC debut on short notice on Saturday night, and he made a huge impression in his fight.
The fight was hotly contested on the feet, and Collard landed plenty of impressive shots while constantly moving forward. He also showed off a very impressive chin, as he was able to eat multiple shots in a row, just to taunt Holloway.
His cardio waned in the later rounds, and after trying to get the fight to the ground, he was TKO'd by Holloway.
Collard is now 13-5 in his career, and you can be sure that he'll get a good fight for his next Octagon outing.
Thales Leites is on the most impressive run of his career. Coming into the fight, he had won six straight, including wins over Tor Troeng, Jeremy Horn and Tom Watson.
Leites is primarily a grappler, but in the second round of his fight against Carmont, he landed a huge overhand right that rocked Carmont. He followed up with several more punches against the cage to earn his second straight TKO victory.
Going into the fight, Leites was ranked No. 15 and Carmont was ranked No. 12. With this win, Leites has a chance to move into the Top 10.
Francis Carmont came into his fight on Saturday on a two-fight losing streak, having lost two straight decisions to Ronaldo Souza and CB Dollaway. Carmont needed a win to get back on track, but it was not to be.
After a rather slow first round with nothing major happening on either side, Leites came out and scored a knockout early in the second round.
Carmont has now lost three straight after previously winning 11 in a row. It's possible that he'll be cut, but considering one of his losses came against the No. 4-ranked middleweight, he may be given some slack.
Jordan Mein is now the fifth person to score a (T)KO over Mike Pyle. Three others are Matt Brown, Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald. That's some high-level company.
Mein landed a huge left hand that sent Pyle toppling to the ground. He landed a few more shots, and then the fight was over.
It took only 72 seconds for Mein to score the TKO, and he now moves to 3-1 in the UFC and likely into the Top 15 of the division.
Mike Pyle came into his fight against Jordan Mein having won five of his last six, with the lone loss coming to Matt Brown.
Much like what happened to Dong Hyun Kim, Pyle was knocked out very quickly and before he was able to do anything of significance in the fight.
Pyle had been ranked No. 13, but with this loss he is almost certainly going to drop out of the Top 15.
Rafael Dos Anjos
Wow. What else is there to say?
Rafael dos Anjos was ranked No. 5 going into this fight. Many thought the ranking was undeserved, especially because it was really only based on his win over Donald Cerrone. Dos Anjos proved all his doubters wrong with his win on Saturday night.
He landed really solid shots against Henderson, including body and leg kicks. Then, when he connected with the flying knee, he swarmed and scored the finish.
Dos Anjos has now won seven of his last eight and will likely move into the Top Three with this win.
Benson Henderson had won nine of his last 10 fights, was ranked No. 1 in the lightweight division behind the champion and was almost sure to get the next shot at the title after Anthony Pettis faces Gilbert Melendez.
But then he got knocked out in the first round.
Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos were going back and forth early in the round, landing hard, solid shots. Then Dos Anjos went for a double flying knee and landed it. From there it took a few more shots, including a huge left hook, to hand Henderson his first career loss due to strikes.