UFC 114: Main Card Review and Fighter Report Cards
Well, the latest PPV offering from the premier mixed martial arts promotion, UFC 114, is now in the record books and consigned to history.
The long awaited and highly publicized climax to the Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson feud really failed to deliver anything spectacular in the main event in Las Vegas, but it did at least bring a decisive winner from the contest in Rashad Evans.
The other fights on the main card were a mixed bag with the Little Nog vs. Jason Brilz over-exceeding any prior expectations, Bisping vs. Miller being an average affair, and the other two fights featuring very surprising results.
So without further ado, let me take you through my review of each fight and how I graded each fighter's performance at UFC 114.
John Hathaway Defeats Diego Sanchez via Unanimous Decision
The opening fight of the night delivered easily one of the biggest surprises. The rising, young British prospect Hathaway outclassed Diego Sanchez en route to a convincing unanimous decision victory.
Hathaway outclassed Sanchez on the feet with superior striking and repeatedly stuffed Sanchez's takedowns. The Englishman from London Shoot Fighters landed a big knee in the first round as Diego went for a takedown and "The Nightmare" never really recovered for the rest of the fight.
Diego Sanchez (D ) - Sanchez looked flat and weak in his return to 170 lbs. Unable to overwork or overpower his opponent, Sanchez was devoid of any fresh ideas and it really looked like there might be some long-term scars from the BJ Penn defeat.
Bottom line is that Diego has not evolved in his last few fights—if anything he has regressed. One has to wonder if leaving the Albuquerque camp was a good idea for Sanchez. He get's a big, fat "D" for his performance at UFC 114.
John Hathaway (A+) - Saturday night could not have gone any better for the young 22-year-old from Brighton, England. His debut on US soil was the performance of his career and took Hathaway to 13-0 in his career and 4-0 in the UFC.
Regardless of how Sanchez performed, the win for Hathaway has to place him among the conversation of contenders at welterweight. A tough test will likely await him next, but his win on Saturday earns Hathaway a "A+ ."
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Defeats Jason Brilz via Split Decision
This fight on paper was very uneven and should have been an easy win for Little Nog while he waited for his original opponent Forrest Griffin to recover from injury. However, Brilz, who took the fight on four week's notice, did not read the script and delivered a great performance despite losing a split decision.
Rogerio Nogueira (C+) - Whether Little Nog took Jason Brilz lightly or he didn't feel right on the night, Nogueira did not look like the title challenger he was billed as by the UFC hype machine.
After his devastating KO of Luiz Cane in his UFC debut, many were tipping Little Nog to challenge for the title soon. With strong records and solid recent performances comes high expectations, more was expected of Nogueira so I grade him a "C+ ."
Jason Brilz (B) - It will be pretty hard to find a better performance by a losing fighter than what Jason Brilz did in Las Vegas at UFC 114. In the biggest fight of his career, Brilz did not wilt under the pressure.
He landed good shots standing, secured takedowns on Little Nog, and both escaped and attempted numerous submission attempts with the vaunted BJJ black belt. Brilz took Little Nog to a split decision and there is a viable case to say he may have earned at least a draw. Bigger and better things await Brilz as even in defeat he gets a higher grade then Nogueira, "B" for Brilz.
Mike Russow Defeats Todd Duffee via KO
The fight earned Russow KO of the Night and it gave UFC 114 the shock and awe moment it required to elevate the show. As Joe Rogan put it, Mike Russow delivered one of the most amazing come-from-behind victories in UFC history.
Mike Russow (B-) - As Russow said himself in the post-fight interview, his performance was terrible up until he delivered the hail mary KO in the third round. His takedown attempts were sloppy and he was outclassed on the feet by Duffee.
However, Russow is now on a nine-fight win streak and is 2-0 in the UFC. Despite his appearance, he has to be taken seriously in a growing heavyweight division. Russow gets a "B-" because in all honesty it was a poor display from the Chicago man up until the KO out of nowhere.
Todd Duffee (C+) - It's hard to criticize Duffee too much for his display on Saturday. For two and a half rounds he dominated Russow and was on the way to an extremely one-sided and impressive victory.
The fact that he did get KO'd showed some inexperience as the fight was all but won at that point and his cardio did appear to slow him down as well. Questions about his chin will now surround Duffee, but on the evidence of two and a half rounds he has a bright future in the sport, he gets a "C+ ."
Michael Bisping Defeats Dan Miller via Unanimous Decision
In what was billed as the co-main event of the evening, Bisping out-struck Miller for three rounds to earn the decision win. Neither fighter really excelled in the fight, but both showed a willingness to stand and bang for the Las Vegas crowd.
Michael Bisping (B) - I am not the Englishman's biggest fan, but I do think that Bisping does get a lot of unfair flack at times. Bisping lacks power in his shots but he does have sound technical boxing.
He out-classed Miller all night long on the feet and showed again that his jar isn't as weak as people think. He get's a "B " for a workmanlike victory and he can look forward to bigger and tougher tests in the future.
Dan Miller (D) - For a fighter whose strengths are in his wrestling and BJJ, one has to wonder why Miller did not attempt a single takedown during the fight. He was outclassed on the feet and his lack of any real gameplan was apparent during the fight.
Having lost three fight's in a row, Miller gets a "D" for his showing at UFC 114 and will likely get the pink slip from the UFC sometime this week.
Rashad Evans Defeats Rampage Jackson via Unanimous Decision
One of the longest and most intense UFC rivalries in recent years really failed to deliver the spectacular ending that everyone hoped for. Evans used his superior speed and wrestling to out-work Rampage throughout the fight and expose his ring rust.
Rashad Evans (A) - Rashad did not succumb to the trash talk and emotion of the fight. He put in a GSP+like performance as he stuck to a gameplan to outwork and grind Rampage down to earn the "W."
Now set to challenge Shogun Rua for the title, it's clear that Evans has learned the lessons from his Lyoto Machida defeat. He has explosive speed, great wrestling, and KO power when he needs it. If he sticks to a game plan he will be a threat to any top fighter in the division for some time. Evans gets an "A " for UFC 114 it's hard to fault him.
Rampage Jackson (C) - Saturday night was the latest in a long line of fights that display what effect ring rust can have on a fighter. It by no means was the sole reason why Jackson lost, but it played its part.
Rampage could not cope with Evans' speed and looked very plodding and one-dimensional at times. If Jackson is to have any future as a fighter he needs to evolve and improve his game. A change of camp is needed as I don't think he is challenged enough at Wolfslair where he is top dog. I'll give him a "C " for his display at UFC 114 as there is big room for improvement.
So there you have it fight fans. How would you grade each fighter at UFC 114?
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