UFC Fight Night 25 Results: Questions Answered and Lessons Learned
UFC Fight Night 25 is finally over; the results are now in the history books. Jake Ellenberger shockingly proved to be far too much for Jake Shields, and Court McGee outlasted and out-hustled Korean prospect Dongi Yang.
There were other fights that took place throughout the event that were of some importance despite being lower on the card.
So what questions were answered and what lessons were learned from a seemingly inconsequential free card? Read and find out!
Roberto Peralta Is a Solid Competitor but Needs Work
Mexican prospect Roberto Peralta made use of an array of kicks and striking techniques to earn a decision victory over the tough competitor Mike Lullo.
Peralta looked impressive in his victory but still needs a bit of work before he can contend with the higher level fighters of the division.
Nevertheless, he is anexciting and skilled fighter and may well become a staple of the lightweight division in the future.
The Jury Is Still out on Jiu-Jitsu, T.J. Waldburger's Win Notwithstanding
When Dave "Pee-Wee" Herman made his revelation that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu didn't work in MMA anymore, it wasn't totally heretical.
The blend of solid wrestling, submission defense, and kickboxing seemed to be kryptonite to the BJJ oriented fighter. In fact, UFC commentator Mike Goldberg even mentioned this before T.J. Waldburger's fight with Mike Stumpf.
So why is the jury still out? Simply put, Waldburger, although impressive in his fight, submitted another Jiu-Jitsu fighter in Stumpf.
Look at the fate of BJJ oriented fighters Jake Shields and Jonathan Brookins, their methods were easliy nullified by their respective opponents.
The truth is, BJJ is like the icing on the cake where as wrestling and kickboxing/muay thai are the cake itself.
Seth Baczynski Is Back in a Big Way
Seth Baczynski pulverized Clay Harvison with an array of punches, kicks, and knees en route to a second round submission.
Baczynski demonstrated a vastly improved set of skills from his last outing and earned his very first UFC victory. If he keeps up his current pace, it'll be the first of many.
Lance Benoist Is a Future Star
While Lance Benoist did have his problem moments during his fight with Matthew Riddle, he demonstrated a diverse range of skills and calmness under duress.
At the age of 22, a fighter of Benoist's level of talent will definitely have a bright future in the UFC.
Evan Dunham Is Good, but Not Great. Shamar Bailey Has a Chin and Will of Iron
Rising English star Evan Dunham again proved his striking prowess but he did so over a journeyman in striking. Dunham is a good fighter, but hasn't demonstrated the ability to beat the next echelon of fighters, which keeps him from being great.
His opponent, Shamar Bailey, demonstrated an incredible ability to absorb punishment as well as willpower that simply couldn't be broken.
Cody McKenzie Still Has a Lot to Improve, as Does Vagner Rocha
Cody McKenzie was outclassed by his opponent, accomplished grappler Vagner Rocha. McKenzie showed that he had been working on his striking but it just wasn't enough. He needs to improve his overall game more.
Rocha, despite showing some slick moves on the ground, still seemed to be very uncomfortable in the striking game. He needs to improve his striking dramatically if he wants to move further up the division.
Alan Belcher Has Returned to Form
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Alan Belcher proved that his 16-month layoff didn't diminish his fighting abilities when he absolutely demolished a very tough competitor on Jason "The Athlete" Macdonald.
Belcher was in great shape and showed a significant improvement in his ground work, specifically his ground and pound. The detached retina is now finally behind Belcher and he can continue his ascent up the middleweight division.
Jonathan Brookins Needs to Round out His Game/Judging May Have Turned a Corner
Had Jonathan Brookins had better striking, it's practically certain that he would've been given the nod in his close fight with Erik Koch. Instead, he was out-struck for the majority of the fight and was on the wrong side of the decision, despite controlling the Octagon for most of the fight.
This fight proved the strengths of being well rounded. Brookins is a great Jiu-Jitsu fighter but his striking isn't up to par with the rest of his game.
Koch, on the other hand, has excellent striking and enough grappling to neutralize the attacks of Brookins.
Thus, whenever Brookins attempted anything, Koch was able to avoid damage while landing strikes of his own and ultimately earning the favor of the judges in a controversial decision.
On a side note, Koch's win over Brookins may signify that the judging in MMA has turned a corner. That is to say that its improved. The judges saw that Brookins wasn't able to do a significant amount of damage from the clinch against the cage and that Koch was landing the more effective strikes and thus awarded him the decision.
This fight may be the beginning of judges not always giving takedowns/takedown attempts the advantage on the scorecards.
Conditioning Is Key
This isn't a new lesson per se but it's an important one that was reinforced by Court McGee vs. Dongi Yang.
McGee and Yang were evenly matched in the early part of the fight but McGee started to pull away as the fight dragged on due to his far superior conditioning.
Nevertheless, Yang still managed to rock McGee in the third round but the Korean was far too tired to capitalize on it. Had he been in McGee's shape, victory would have been his!
Jake Shields Was Overrated or Jake Ellenberger Was Underrated
UFC Fight Night 25's main event proved that Jake Shields was overrated or Jake Ellenberger was underrated, depending on how you looked at things before Jake Shields and Jake Ellenberger fought.
Ellenberger stuffed Shields' takedown attempts with minimal effort and kept Shields at bay with crisp striking. Ellenberger eventually landed a devastating knee followed by a flurry of ground and pound so fast that it prompted the announce team to ask if it had been sped up when they watched the replay.
The MMA community was wrong to rate Shields so high or to rate Ellenberger so low.
Shields still has a lot of work to do on his striking while Ellenberger seems ready to face even better competition.