Ultimate Fight Night 20 featured a slew of young, starving fighters that were merely trying to maintain their footing on their respected divisional mountains.
The main event was really the only fight that had any merit in the top 10 talks, as Gray Maynard looked to secure a number one contender spot with an impressive victory over Nate Diaz; a victory that he received in front of the masses who watched on free television.
The free publicity was used advantageously by a number of the night's fighters, and hurt the stock of a select few that failed to capitalize on their airtime.
Before Monday's loss to Amir Sadollah, "Bad" Brad Blackburn was quietly riding a five-fight win streak.
Blackburn held his own through the three-round fight, but was unable to find an answer for Sadollah's variety of kicks that kept "Bad" outside of boxing range. Additionally, Blackburn was rocked on a number of occasions by Sadollah's heavily improved striking.
With the bitter defeat aside, Blackburn is left in search of the answers to his flaws, and needs the type of opponent that can challenge those flaws. Someone walking down the same road of development.
A guy like DaMarques Johnson would be a perfect fit. Neither fighter is known to be a welterweight contender; not even in the near future for that matter. They both need some serious work if they want to contend inside the octagon.
Plus, as part of the cut-throat business, this fight could be used to determine who is next to be cut from the endlessly growing roster.
The always entertaining mauler, "Filthy" Tom Lawlor took many people by surprise with his crisp, accurate boxing, including that against opponent Aaron Simpson.
He dominated the first round with some heavy strikes but was unable to finish the granite-chinned Simpson. Lawlor was visibly tired for the majority of the last two rounds because of his hay-making bombs.
The end result was a very close, somewhat contested split decision loss to the "A-Train".
His next opponent really depends on which direction Lawlor decides to take. After his fight with Simpson, Lawlor had admitted that the weight cut was very demanding this time around, so a move back up to light-heavyweight might be in the future.
Yet, in a sport where fighters need to take all of the advantages that they can get their hands on, expect Lawlor to try his hand at middleweight one more time.
It's obvious that Lawlor isn't ready for a premier middleweight fighter, but he deserves to fight someone that will give him a challenge. Someone like the explosive Tim Credeur.
Credeur showed the fans his heavy hands in his last fight against Nate Quarry, but that wasn't all. He showed everyone that he isn't a fish out of water in any particular aspect of the sport, which is a trait that he would need in a fight with the ever-expanding game of "Filthy" Tom Lawlor.
The TUF 8 lightweight winner was tremendously favored heading in to his bout against the relatively unknown grappling machine, Evan Dunham.
Escudero controlled a majority of the fight through the second round, but was careless in transitioning against the dangerous brown belt. Dunham locked up an arm wrenching armbar that made my arm pop in the process, eventually forcing Escudero to tap.
This is a big step back for "Hecho en Mexico", and his next opponent should, in a sense, show his step back in the rankings.
Bring in Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, Fabricio Camoes.
Yes, Camoes is a step above Dunham in jiu jitsu and would provide an equally challenging test in grappling, but Dunham excels in other areas whereas Camoes is known more for his grappling.
A fight with Camoes would be the step back that Escudero needs, but at the same time, a fight with Camoes wouldn't be a walk in the park either.
Crass Stockton brawler Nate Diaz had the chance to spoil Gray Maynard's title hopes this past Monday. Unfortunately for him, Diaz lost the fight in a split-decision, and unfortunately for Maynard, his lack of finishing ability lost him his title shot against B.J. Penn.
Diaz was able to goad Maynard out of his game-plan, making the fight much closer than it could have been. But in the end, Maynard's size and strength advantage was too much for Diaz to handle.
Since the fight, Diaz has expressed interest in a possible part-time move to the welterweight division due to his recent lack of success at 155 pounds. While moving up to avoid the weight-cut is one way to handle recent events, a step back in competition at lightweight seems like the more appropriate answer.
Stepping back and fighting a guy like recent 108 loser, Joe Lauzon.
This actually would be a fairly exciting fight as both fighters showcase similar fighting styles in grappling. This would force one of the guys to step up in another aspect of his game.
UFC president Dana White could use this as a co-main event on an upcoming fight night, or to possibly round out the main card of a PPV in the near future.
Yes; despite both guys coming off of a loss, this fight could generate the fight of the night honors, as well as the submission of the night. Who knows, maybe one of them could surprise us with an unbelievable knock out.
Check out Robert Gardner's article for his take on who the winners should face next.