With a few minor lulls here and there, UFC 123 was a great night of action and exactly what needed by the UFC following a very poor showing in Germany last weekend.
Let's take a look at who the real winners and losers were from Saturday night's action.
UFC 123 Results:
Nik Lentz over Tyson Griffin via split decision
Paul Kelly over TJ O'Brien via second round TKO
Edson Barboza over Mike Lullo vis third round TKO
Dennis Hallman over Karo Parisyan via first round TKO
Mark Munoz over Aaron Simpson via unanimous decision
Brian Foster over Matt Brown via second round submission
George Sotiropoulos over Joe Lauzon via second round submission
Phil Davis over Tim Boetsch via second round submission
Maiquel Falcao over Gerald Harris via unanimous decision
BJ Penn over Matt Hughes via first round KO
Rampage Jackson over Lyoto Machida via split decision
While the stoppage in his fight may have been a bit premature, there is no denying that Karo Parisyan squandered a golden opportunity in his return to the UFC.
Considering this performance and his past transgressions, I would not be surprised to see him be cut from the UFC once and for all.
Aaron Simpson is a very talented fighter, but at age 36 and currently on a two-fight skid, I think it is pretty safe to say that his window of being a top contender has closed.
But with as thin as the middleweight ranks currently are in MMA, he could still make a run, it's just very doubtful that he will.
Saturday night was Joe Lauzon's opportunity to show the world that he is indeed a top-tier caliber fighter and in the first round that really looked to be the case.
Lauzon was pushing the pace, landing strikes and showed amazing takedown defense, but at the end of the first round, he began to fade.
When the second round started, it was all Sotiropoulos eventually sinking in a kimura to win the bout.
The good news for Lauzon is that time is still on his side, but he needs to start cashing in on these opportunities if he wants to avoid being labeled a gatekeeper.
UFC Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest welterweight champion of all-time, Matt Hughes was destroyed by BJ Penn on Saturday night.
Hughes has already cemented his legacy as an all-time great so whatever Hughes decides to do from here is just fine by me.
It's truly amazing the difference two fights can make in MMA.
Two fights ago, Lyoto Machida was the undefeated UFC light-heavyweight champion whose fighting style seemed to be a puzzle no one could figure out.
Now, he has lost back-to-back fights, and that unbeatable aura is gone and while he is still one of the best in the division, his puzzle has been solved.
When you make your UFC debut, especially when you make it on a main card, you must not only win your fight, but you must win the fans.
On Saturday night, Falcao was able to get the win, but his third round coasting did not win him any fans.
While that third round was terrible, the first two were pretty impressive as Falcao showed some vicious striking and impressive takedown defense.
Coming out of the famed Chute Boxe camp, Falcao showed flashes of greatness in his striking; now, he just has to lean to constantly push the pace and look for the finish.
For the most part when the UFC airs prelim fights on Spike TV before a major PPV, it's a good thing and the two prelim bouts that were chosen this go around were no different, but for some reason, it just felt like they delivered a little extra pop and excitement.
It's one thing to win a fight in the UFC, but it is a completely different feat when you do so by not only completely dominating your opponent but by creating your own submission in the process.
That is exactly what Phil Davis was able to do in his one-sided beatdown of Tim Boetsch.
On Saturday night, George Sotiropoulos continued his climb up the lightweight title ladder by submitting the tough and talented, Joe Lauzon.
Sotiropoulos is now 7-0 in the UFC and has emerged as a legitimate title threat.
Dana White announced at the post-fight presser that Sotiropoulos' next opponent would be the surging Dennis Siver at UFC 127 in Australia.
It's good to have Rampage Jackson back!
On Saturday night, Rampage was able to squeak out a split decision victory by controlling the octagon and staying aggressive throughout the fight.
Saturday's fight was not all good for Rampage though, as it was highlighted once again that, he needs to evolve his standup game by mixing in a more varied attack.
Even though I am a huge BJ Penn fanboy I had a lot of doubts heading into this fight with Matt Hughes. So many that I actually picked Hughes to win this fight via unanimous decision.
BJ Penn stepped into that octagon Saturday night and proved that he is still one of the most dangerous fighters in MMA, obliterating Matt Hughes in 21 seconds.
As announced by Dana White at the post-fight presser, BJ Penn's next opponent will be none other than Jon Fitch—a matchup I am already excited for.
Let's just be honest: UFC 122 in Germany was a piss poor effort by the company, and they were in need of a solid rebound event.
UFC 123 was that and more as fans were treated to a little bit of everything. We saw some great fights, some better finishes and of course the always important component of controversy in the case of the Griffin-Lentz scoring.