In MMA there are winners and losers. Such is life when you're not working with a net, not playing as part of a team. You go out there as one man, and there are no excuses for the outcome that don't just come right back on you. It's about your preparation, your abilities, and your output.
Some nights, you come out flat. That next gear isn't there, you can't get your head into the fight, or maybe you just run into a better man.
Regardless, every event has performances that range from forgettable to downright bad. Here are some of the worst from UFC 136.
Going into his fight with Darren Elkins, Tiequan Zhang was destined to be a star. With the UFC prepping for a move into the Chinese market, the only Chinese fighter on its roster was a logical man to be the flagbearer.
Then he lost to Darren Elkins.
Elkins is rugged, game customer, but if you’re being looked at to become the face of a sport in a country, he’s a guy you have to beat. Losing a frightfully one-sided decision to him certainly won’t do much for you. It’s back to the drawing board for The Mongolian Wolf.
It’s hard to define a guy as a choke artist when he fights twice for a title and almost finishes the champion in the first round on both occasions. In fact, if not for Frankie Edgar’s freakish recovery and unbelievable heart, Maynard would have been champion for the better part of a year already.
However he’s not, and while he may not be a choke artist he certainly isn’t a finisher. At least not when it comes to Edgar. After once again wailing on the champion for a lopsided round, Gray slowed considerably and was eventually stopped in the fourth round, suffering the first loss of his career.
It wasn’t the worst performance in MMA history or anything, but it was among the worst at UFC 136.
The former Sengoku champ dropped his second straight in the octagon, falling to 1-4 overall in the promotion. Stylistically, Maia wasn’t the nightmare matchup that Brian Stann was in Santiago’s last loss, and some people felt he had what it took to dethrone the jiu-jitsu ace.
He was thoroughly walloped by Maia, never really threatening with anything of consequence. It was a forgettable performance on his behalf, and one that has him a loss away from being handed his walking papers.
There are ways that number can be construed to not be as negative as it is. A bad night on the powerplay in hockey, or a tough night at the plate in baseball. Missing on your first three pass attempts of the game in football.
Not in MMA though.
Kenny Florian lost to Jose Aldo in his third, and likely final, bid for a UFC championship, putting him at 0-for-3 in his career. It wasn’t that the performance itself was bad—though it was perhaps a little too safe and a little too uninspired—but more about what it represented: a man who’s been so close for so long, and yet could never get over the hump to become a champion.
The worst performance of the night definitely belongs to Melvin Guillard, who expended more energy in his ring walk than he did in the cage. It took only 47 seconds for underdog Joe Lauzon to drop him and choke him out, stunning the Houston crowd in the process.
Guillard was tapped to challenge the winner of the main event for the lightweight title if he vanquished Lauzon, and he looked like a guy who was believing his own hype as he entered the cage. He clearly had no respect for Lauzon’s standup, and he paid for it by being dropped early. Before he could recover, the scrappy Massachusetts native had his back and had the win.
It’s back to the drawing board for Guillard, but he’s going to need to get serious about the mental side of the game to avoid losses like this in the future.