UFC 131 Dos Santos vs. Carwin: Who Impressed and Who Disappointed
Despite the fact that three fighters made their UFC debuts on the main card of UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin, there were still a lot of important fights. A few fighters really raised their stock through impressive performances, while others disappointed.
Though this doesn't necessarily reflect just who won or who lost, some victories are resulting in title shots while some losses are a cause for concern.
Whether it was an unexpected finish or a display of heart, let's see who really won and lost at UFC 131.
Impressed: Chris Weidman
Taking yet another fight on short notice, Chris Weidman is now 2-0 in the UFC with an impressive win over veteran Alessio Sakara and a finish of Jesse Bongfeldt.
This young prospect from the Serra-Longo fight team has essentially limitless potential and all aspects of his game are evolving quickly to match his impressive wrestling credentials.
Impressed: Sam Stout
Sam Stout is incredibly exciting to watch. He's won five Fight of the Night bonuses in his UFC career for a reason. Given his long tenure with the UFC, however, it's surprising that his most recent bout was the first one he's ever finished in the Octagon.
Sam Stout knocked out Yves Edwards at 3:52 of the very first round. His vicious left hook put Edwards to sleep and he pulled back without landing another strike, aware that the fight was over.
Despite this being his 11th fight with the UFC, Stout is just 27. He has now won four out of his last five fights with impressive wins over Matt Wiman and Joe Lauzon in the process.
Disappointed: Kenny Florian
Many people were expecting Kenny Florian to go into his UFC 131 bout with Diego Nunez and light him up. It was supposed to be another Ken-Flo beating. The reality was, however, that Florian was in a fight and certainly lost the first round. He was also buckled a few times.
Don't get me wrong. Ken-Flo put on a good performance for the last two rounds and won the fight, but he didn't look quite good enough to give Jose Aldo a run for his money. This win sets him up for a shot at the Bantamweight champ, but given his struggles with Nunez, it just seems like the title will evade him yet again.
Impressed: Diego Nunes
I thought Diego Nunes was going to lose against Raphael Assuncao, and get destroyed by Mike Brown and Kenny Florian. He proved me wrong every time. Nunes may have lost to Kenny Florian at UFC 131, but he looked good while doing it.
Kenny Florian is a veteran who has fought for the lightweight title twice and holds wins over Clay Guida, Takanori Gomi, Roger Huerta, Joe Lauzon and Joe Stevenson. He beat up all those guys, but he didn't beat up Diego Nunes.
Nunes is 28 years old and Kenny Florian's statement that he's going to be a future champion may very well be true.
Impressed: Demian Maia
Yes, Demian Maia lost a close decision to Mark Munoz at UFC 131, but his striking looked infinitely better. Munoz is, on paper, a horrible matchup for Maia. Munoz's superior wrestling could keep the fight away from Maia's strength and force him to fight against a power puncher.
Still, Maia hung in there and made it a close fight. His improving striking in addition to the wrestling elements he has implemented into his game are truly making him a complete fighter. If anything, this loss will make him stronger.
Impressed: Mark Munoz
Although it's hard to realize it because I still think of him getting knocked out via head kick by Matt Hamill in his UFC debut, Mark Munoz has gone 6-1 in the Middleweight division with his only loss as a split decision to Yushin Okami.
Yushin Okami is fighting Anderson Silva for the Middleweight title and has wins over Nate Marquardt, Mike Swick and Evan Tanner. Losing a split decision to him isn't exactly the worst thing in the world.
Munoz is an extremely likable guy who has launched himself into contender status with his win over Demian Maia. Showing that his wrestling is strong enough to deal with Maia-level jiu-jitsu, Munoz may very well be getting a title shot soon.
Disappointed: Shane Carwin
UFC 131 was a disappointment in several ways for Shane Carwin. After a new diet and the promise of Carwin 2.0, he still looked slow and one-dimensional. He couldn't do much in the way of getting the fight to the ground, yet got taken down himself a couple of times.
On the feet, Carwin got battered and nearly finished. Junior dos Santos truly exposed the fact that Carwin's power was a compensation for his lack of technique.
Unfortunately, Carwin has lost two in a row. He's getting up in there in age and his chances of ever getting that Heavyweight strap are diminishing.
Impressed: Junior dos Santos
The biggest impressive performance of the night was put on by Junior dos Santos. It was a rough night for the Brazilians, but JDS compensated for it and then some. What was essentially a tossup going in, ended up being a lopsided beatdown of Shane Carwin.
Dos Santos picked his shots carefully, showed great stamina for all three rounds and was barely hit in 15 minutes. And it wasn't Carwin who landed the most impressive takedowns of the fight. Towards the end of the third round, dos Santos made Carwin look like an amateur.
The fight could have been stopped in the first round, but Herb Dean's decision to allow it to continue in such an important bout made sense. He allowed Brock Lesnar to continue when Shane Carwin was pounding on his face, so surely, he felt the need to give him the same benefit. Unfortunately, Carwin was on the losing end both times.
Next for dos Santos is a shot at Heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez. "Cigano" showed great hands and impressive takedown defense, which should make for a hell of a fight for the title.