UFC on Fox 1: What's Next for the Losers?
UFC on Fox 1 went down last night with the main event being between titleholder Cain Velasquez and the challenger Junior dos Santos. The fight was probably over a little quicker than people wanted when dos Santos knocked out the champion at 1:04 of Round 1. Despite the quick finish, the fight still delivered and the UFC's first event on main stream television can be considered a success.
Success for the UFC didn't mean success for all the fighters competing on last night's in every fight, like all sports, there is a winner and a loser.
Let's have a look at what could be next for the fighters who didn't walk away with the "W" last night.
Matt Lucas' Needs To Keep His Mouth Guard in
Matt Lucas made his octagon debut last night against former heavyweight fighter Aaron Rosa in a fight that left fans with much to be desired.
Rosa did as much as he could to make the fight exciting, but his opponent Lucas was obviously having the jitters in his first UFC experience.
Lucas, a former NCAA Division II wrestler, spent most of the fight hanging on to Rosa and trying to catch his breath. Rosa either defended all of his takedown attempts or got up shortly thereafter.
After his performance, it wouldn't be surprising if Lucas were cut from the UFC roster, but with his wrestling background and a 14-3-0 record going in to the fight he'll probably get one more chance to redeem himself.
Cyrille Diabate is 2-2-0 in his UFC career and is coming off a loss last week in England to Anthony Perosh. If the UFC is going to have Lucas back, pitting him against Diabate in a loser-leaves-the-UFC bout would make sense.
Before getting back in the Octagon though, Lucas had better get a better mouth guard as his fell out of his mouth a total of four times during his fight with Rosa and cost him a point on the judges' score cards.
Mike Pierce Has Paul Bradley's Number
Paul Bradley is now 0-2-0 in the UFC after losing a split decision in a rematch against Mike Pierce last night. Pierce should have probably won a majority decision as he looked to be the better fighter for most of the fight especially in Rounds 2 and 3.
Bradley certainly didn't look out of his league against Pierce, but with two decision losses in as many fights, his time is almost up. Usually the third loss is the charm in terms of being cut from the UFC, so if Bradley is blessed with another opportunity to fight inside the Octagon, he will be doing so with his back against the wall.
The welterweight division isn't short on fighters, and fights with Ultimate Fighter alums Justin Edwards or Chris Cope would make sense for Bradley all involved parties at this point.
Alex Caceres' Striking Too Much for Cole Escovedo
With his back against the wall, former Ultimate Fighter competitor Alex Caceres outclassed the veteran-fighter Cole Escovedo in the stand up and equaled him on the ground to earn his first UFC victory, pushing his record to 6-4 and earning him his first victory in three UFC fights.
Unfortunately for Escovedo, last night was Caceres' coming out party in the UFC, as fans were privy to a wide variety of flashy striking and excellent ground work that provided plenty of insight in to what is to come from the 23-year-old Caceres.
This was the third straight loss for Escovedo in as many fights in the UFC. Although Escovedo's back story is admirable, having come back from semi-retirement due to a staph infection causing partial paralysis, the UFC would be hard-pressed to have him back for another fight.
Don't be surprised if this was Escovedo's last fight inside the Octagon for now.
Mackens Semerzier May Get To Walk Away with a Win over Robert Peralta
Mackens Semerzier had just shaken off a three-fight losing streak with his win over Alex Caceres but couldn't continue his success against Robert Peralta last night as he was knocked out by Peralta midway through Round 3.
Hold the presses though, in the actual replay of the KO, one sees that Peralta got the initial knockdown that led to the KO through an accidental head butt, which, incidental or not, is an illegal maneuver.
If it weren't for the head butt, no one knows what would have happened. Semerzier was actually winning on the judges' scorecards in Rounds 1 and 2 with scores of 20-18, 19-19 and 19-19.
Should Semerzier appeal the result to the California State Athletic Commission, it could result in a victory in his favor. Since the blow was accidental, Peralta probably wouldn't lose by disqualification. The victor would have to be determined by the judges' score cards up until the accidental head butt.
Whether Semerzier appeals or not, he will probably get another shot in the UFC due to the controversial nature of this fight. A rematch between the two is probably warranted as the fight was competitive until the controversial finish.
Norifumi Yamamoto, Another Japanese Star Struggling in the UFC
Add Norifumi Yamamoto to the list of Japanese stars who can't find success when crossing over to the UFC. Whether it's due to the fact that most of these stars cross over late in their careers once they are past their primes or because the talent level in the UFC is just that much better is up for debate.
Age or talent level aside, Yamamoto dropped to 0-2-0 in the UFC with his unanimous decision loss to UFC newcomer Darren Uyenoyama last night. The fight wasn't even close with Yamamoto losing all three rounds on every judges score card.
The UFC wants to break back into Japan on February 26 with an event at Saitama Super Arena, and they are planning on continuing their push in the Asian markets. Keeping Yamamoto around would be a smart thing for the UFC to do considering his star power overseas.
Expect Yamamoto to get one more shot, and a fight with Caceres in Japan this February would probably makes sense as it would give Caceres a chance to get a big name under his belt and also give Yamamoto a chance to make his last stand in the place he called home for so many years.
Clay Harvison Not Ready for the UFC
Clay Harvison was the Chris Leben of Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter. He showed a lot of toughness, grit and heart in his performances on the show. However, last night's loss to Season 9 runner-up DaMarques Johnson showed that Harvison has some work to do before stepping back inside the Octagon.
Harvison was knocked out 1:34 in to Round 1 against Johnson and didn't look very competitive.
At 1-2-0 in his first three fights with the UFC, Harvison has dropped his last two fights and needs to go back to the drawing board.
Being a TUF alum, expect Harvison to stick around for maybe one more fight, but for the immediate future, he needs some time off to work on his game and get it to the level it needs to be in the UFC.
Cub Swanson Having Trouble Stringing Together His Wins
Cub Swanson made his return to action for the first time in over a year after sustaining an injury in training camp.
In Round 1 of his fight against Ricardo Lamas, Swanson looked like the better fighter. He was a step faster and came dangerously close to choking out Lamas with a very tight guillotine choke.
Swanson got a little wild in the stand up during Round 2 allowing Lamas to secure a takedown and work his way toward the arm triangle choke finish.
Swanson looked good during this fight but was probably a little over zealous considering it was his first fight back in such a long time. He hasn't been able to win two straight in his last five.
Having lost only five times in his career to the likes of top contenders Shannon Gugerty, Jens Pulver, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and now Lamas, Swanson's career isn't in any danger especially considering this was his comeback fight.
Expect Swanson to get back in action soon barring any injuries.
Setting up a fight between Swanson and Erik Koch would seem to make sense as the two were originally supposed to meet at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann in March until Swanson sustained his injury in training.
Pablo Garza, a Small Bump in the Road with His Loss to Dustin Poirier
Pablo Garza exploded into the UFC with a first-round-flying knee KO of Fredson Paixao and first-round-flying triangle choke submission of Yves Jabouin.
Last night, Garza met his match in Dustin Poirier. Poirier was controlling most of the action, and in Round 2,submitted Garza via d'Arce choke.
This is a minor setback for Garza; he simply needs to get another fight soon and get back to the way he was fighting in his first two fights with the UFC.
Garza is pretty stretched out for the 145-pound-featherweight division at 6'1". Poirier clearly looked stronger than Garza last night. Garza may want to consider moving up to 155 pounds where he could add on some muscle to his frame.
For now, another fight at featherweight is in order, it would be nice to see him fight the likes of Tiequan Zhang, Nam Phan or George Roop in his next fight.
Benson Henderson vs. Clay Guida Should Have Been Televised
Clay Guida vs. Benson Henderson was the last fight streaming on Fox.com and Facebook prior to UFC on Fox's main event between Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
For those whe were arguing to have this fight televised on live television, they were right.
This fight was a non-stop, action-packed affair showcasing every skill required to be successful as a mixed martial artist. The fight between Guida and Henderson would have been the perfect fight for first-time viewers tuning in to Fox last night to really learn what the sport is all about.
The fight itself was back and fourth, but Henderson did enough in each round to edge out Clay Guida.
A tight guillotine choke by Guida in Round 1 looked solid, but if one watches a few of Henderson's previous fights, they'd quickly see that he is almost impossible to submit with chokes. No matter how tight the choke is, Henderson always avoids tapping and manages to wriggle his way out.
Guida finds himself in familiar territory, after stringing enough wins together to warrant a title shot, he falls flat in his No. 1 contender bout. It happened against Diego Sanchez, and it happened against Henderson last night.
Guida will once again go back to the drawing board and build his way back up, but it's a long line to the title in the UFC lightweight division.
A fight with Gray Mayard would probably be a good idea as a win for either guy would do a lot for getting their careers back on track.
Cain Velasquez Struggled in His Return Match Him Up with Cheick Kongo Again
Last night's main event an only fight to air live on Fox for UFC on Fox 1: Velasquez vs. dos Santos was scheduled from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET but only took 64 seconds to end.
Cain Velasquez was making his return after re-habbing a shoulder injury sustained when he won the heavyweight championship against Brock Lesnar in October 2010.
Velasquez came in a little heavier than usual to this fight at 249 pounds, and it looked as if ring rust may have been a factor. Instead of using his collegiate wrestling base to clinch up with Junior dos Santos or take him to the ground, the champion chose to feel out the stand up game and paid dearly for it.
Dos Santos landed a hard overhand right that wobbled the champion, and Dos Santos smelling blood was like a dog on raw meat, following up with ground-and-pound and ultimately forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Ring rust aside, apparently dos Santos injured his meniscus prior to the fight and had to take a cortisone injection to fight, so he wasn't 100 percent himself.
Velasquez suffered the first loss of his career and will definitely be looking to get back in the mix sooner rather than later. Former opponent Cheick Kongo has called for a rematch with Velasquez, and last night at the post-fight press conference the former champion accepted the challenge.
Aside from dos Santos, Kongo is the only man to have given Velasquez problems, and the fact that Kongo is 3-0-1 in his last four, it would make sense to have these two duke out to move closer to a title shot.
Leon Horne is a writer for Bleacher Report and is part of the BR MMA Interview Team, Follow @Leon_Horne
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