Of all the things WEC 51 did last night, one thing it definitely didn't do was disappoint.
Honestly, after what was perceived as a lackluster UFC 119 card by many, World Extreme Cagefighting once again put on a card that might very well have been one of the best cards of the month if not the year, complete with a true test for its Featherweight kingpin against a former Ultimate Fighter runner-up who almost looked to capitalize on the opportunity of a lifetime early on in the fight.
Now that the event's over and done with, it's time we look at the winners and losers and where they go from here.
Whose careers move up a step and whose careers fall back for the time being?
Join me as we have a look at what happens next!
Many thought Mike Brown was getting somewhere close to "over and done" after a shocking loss to Manny Gamburyan at WEC 48, so in order to get himself back on track, he needed to beat Cole Province.
It only too about a minute and eighteen seconds to derail the train of Province and silence any critics that only slept easy when they convinced themselves that Brown had lost a few steps with the loss to Gamburyan.
I don't know if his career moves forward that much since the fight was a prelim fight, but it definitely isn't a step back. Any time you can lose your title, lose a fight after winning your bounce-back fight, and then come back from the loss on a prelim, that shows that you still want to fight -- that you'll face anybody anywhere at any time if it means getting somewhere close to the main event spot that you once held on to.
It's early to guess if Brown might get the loser or winner of Chad Mendes vs. Javier Vasquez at WEC 52, or if he'll get the winner of another promising Featherweight fight that'll be coming up in a matter of months, but I think Mike Brown needs one more fight before we can say he's back.
We'll kill two birds with one big stone for this one and mention the winner of the last prelim before the main card, "The Mongolian Wolf" Tiequan Zhang.
The undefeated ethnic Mongolian came into the WEC with only 11 fights and an unblemished record when he fought Pablo Garza, who was a replacement for one-time UFC fighter Jason Reinhardt.
The TUF 12 hopeful blocked off a few submission attempts but succumbed to a guillotine choke at about 2:25 of round one, thus adding his name to the list of fighters that Zhang has beaten.
Losing to Michael Johnson on The Ultimate Fighter is one thing, but losing on a WEC card... it's not the UFC, at least, but a loss brings up a question of whether you can really go with some of the best the WEC has to offer.
It's up to Reed Harris to decide whether or not Garza gets a second shot, but hopefully Garza changes some stuff up for the next time out.
Sorry, it's just that I took another look at Garcia-Jung and thought I heard Mike Goldberg call Leonard Garcia "The American Zombie" in the heat of the action, and I know that the Greg Jackson standout trains in New Mexico but is Texas-made (much like myself, aside from the six-hour difference in hometowns), so I called him "The Texas Zombie" throughout the Live Blog I did last night.
Needless to say, that didn't etch him the better end of that split decision against Mark Hominick, but at least I got the action right in my prediction of the fight.
I didn't think the fight would see the ground too much if at all, and I actually thought that the ground was where Garcia had an edge, but he had enough in him to swing at Hominick for three rounds.
It just happened that Hominick threw the more effective shots and was closer to finishing the fight in the eyes of two of the judges.
Don't forget, this same man that Hominick beat is a former contender to the WEC Featherweight title, so this is a definite step up for The Machine.
With this win, Hominick may have earned an argument for a bout with the upper echelon at 145.
George Roop just moved up a notch in somebody's book, but Chan Sung Jung just moved down a ways.
The Korean Zombie, fresh off a controversial split decision loss to Leonard Garcia, needed to find a way to get back on track and prove that he was a hot prospect in the WEC still.
What happened was the complete opposite of what people thought was going to happen.
Even Stephan Bonnar noted that Jung had a good ground game but preferred to strike, which is NEVER the right thing to do against a Muay Thai fighter like Roop.
In round two, Roop made Jung pay for standing, missing a punch but connecting with a left head kick that caught the chin and knocked Jung out cold in what was Jung's first ever career loss by way of a stoppage.
The momentum carried by Jung after the fight with Garcia and the recognition of being one half of what some have been calling one of the greatest fights in the history of Mixed Martial Arts altered last night.
He was one half of MMA's surefire candidate for "Fight of 2010".
He left WEC 51 as the guy who got KOed by a TUF 8 hopeful, and I'm sure that now his career is in a place where no fighter wants to be.
He had the hype of being an exciting newcomer.
He's now a fighter who needs a win just to stay in the WEC.
Miguel Torres made a lot of people eat their words last night.
The latest edition to the TriStar Gym in Montreal, the former WEC Bantamweight king knew coming in that he might be on the chopping block if he lost to Charlie Valencia.
He lost his belt to Brian Bowles, then lost a potential shot at another title fight when he lost to Joseph Benavidez, but nothing in the world made Torres quit.
He had to move forward, because he knew nothing in the world would make Valencia rank himself as anything less than a threat to Dominick Cruz and the WEC Bantamweight title.
This fight was a bit back and forth for almost the entire fight until Torres dropped Valencia in Round 3 and eventually submitted him with a rear naked choke.
I'd say considering how high Valencia was thought to be, this moves Torres up closer to where he should be: in top-ten contention for an eventual crack at the belt, but there's always someone better.
I think Torres knows this, and this is why he and Firas Zahabi are going to do what few never thought would ever need to be done:
They are going to aim to reinvent Miguel Angel Torres.
Cruz, watch out
You too, Jorgensen.
Yes, You read the title right.
Jaime Varner did lose to Cerrone by unanimous decision, with the takedowns executed by Cerrone being enough to earn him a 10-9 for all three rounds on all three judge's scorecards, but was there really a loser in last night's Cerrone-Varner rematch?
People said it was going to be a war and it was, from the first round to the final shoves at the end of the fight.
If you didn't see it, you can watch it here. It's a must-watch matchup for sure.
Of course the crowd won this one and they will continue to see awesome fights in Colorado in the future.
Now for the REAL winner of the fight, Cerrone has two eyes open right now for sure.
One eye is fixated on the winner of Ben Henderson's bout with Anthony Pettis, and the other eye is fixated on Sean Shelby, the WEC's matchmaker.
The eye on Shelby is waiting for the matchmaker to line up another challenge for the Cowboy to duke it out with.
My guess: The winner of Bart Palaszewski and Kamal Shalorus, or maybe Anthony Njokuani.
Again, that choice is Sean Shelby's, not mine.
The Armenian Anvil looked to have it all in check for Jose Aldo.
He'd come forward early in the fight and looked to blast Aldo with a Vitor Belfort-like flurry in the first few minutes of the first round.
Then, Jose Aldo gave us "The Reminder".
As the time passed, Aldo was methodical and although not a wrestler, dished out his own "methodical dismemberment" to Gamburyan, throwing and connecting with leg kicks that reminded everyone why Urijah Faber's next fight won't be the first step towards a rematch for Aldo's belt.
The first round ended amidst a chorus of boos, as it was uneventful and neither man had really pushed the action as hoped.
Then came the second round.
As some had predicted, Gamburyan's patience proved to be his undoing, as Aldo landed an uppercut on Gamburyan, got his back, and unleashed an Aldo Hell-Storm from the dominant position to the right side of Gamburyan's head.
The blitzkrieg of shots came too fast for Gamburyan, and Herb Dean had to stop the fight when Gamburyan couldn't answer the shots.
So if you thought Manny was going to prove that Aldo was overrated... sorry dude.
Aldo's still the champ, and now he's second to GSP on Fanhouse MMA's Top 10 P4P list.
Seriously. He's ahead of Anderson Silva.
So what did this do to Gamburyan's career?
It made him fall back a bit -- all losses to a champion do in some way, but it also shows that you have to blast Aldo early with a speed-demon's striking offense in order to beat him.
Actually, that's what it taught Gamburyan.
He's still a future threat to the belt, but he has to let his hands go more than he did last night.
Next up for Gamburyan: That depends on the Josh Grispi-Erik Koch fight.
The winner of LC Davis's fight with Grispi was believed to be the wild card in the WEC Title Hunt for Aldo, but depending on how the fight goes at WEC 52, it could be the wild card in the plans for Aldo's next title defense,
Hey, Manny beat Mike Brown for a shot at Aldo even though the shot wasn't at stake.
Who says Grispi may not face Gamburyan to stake his crack at Aldo?