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On a normal fight night I tend to wake up, look at the clock and dread the 14 listless hours I know I'll spend waiting for the fights to finally begin. Those are truly wasted hours too—after all, nothing fills the emotional void quite like face punching.

Perhaps that's what made this random UFC Fight Night from Fairfax, Virginia, feel so special? By the time Chad Mendes re-established himself as the second best featherweight on the planet, it was just after lunch. The whole day was still waiting to reveal itself. 

Morning mixed martial arts—quite a revelation.

Of course, the entire show wasn't perfection, even if the start time was. But what card is? In a new post-fight series, we'll look at the card as a whole and choose the five best and worst moments—the handful of things worth talking about on Twitter afterward.

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We need to talk about Chad Mendes.

Mendes rolled over Ricardo Lamas via first-round TKO Saturday afternoon at UFC Fight Night 63, efficiently reaffirming his status as the second-best fighter in the company’s suddenly scintillating featherweight division.

Will that be a problem?

Mendes is now 29 years old and gives every impression of being at the top of his game. His evolution from NCAA Division I All-American wrestler to complete MMA fighter may be one of the more impressive, if undersold, stories in the 145-pound weight class. He’s 17-2 overall (8-2 in the UFC) and has made violently short work of most of his competition.

But Mendes has already lost twice to champion Jose Aldo in the Octagon—at UFC 142 in July 2012 and at UFC 179 last October. Depending on the outcome of Aldo’s title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 in July, that fact could put Mendes and UFC matchmakers in a tough spot.

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They say there is an unwritten rule that fighters who have lost two title shots to the same champion don't get a third chance.

And perhaps it's a good thing, for the most part. It is a tough thing, trying to sell the public on the championship aspirations of a fighter who has already twice been soundly trounced by the same person.

But there are situations when the rule needs to be thrown out the window. Never has that been made more clear than after Saturday's trouncing of Ricardo Lamas, himself a respectable top featherweight fighter, by Chad Mendes, who separated himself from the rest of the featherweight pack with a vicious first-round knockout.

It is clear that Mendes deserves another title shot. He was knocked out by Jose Aldo the first time around. The second fight was much closer and was thrilling.

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Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas haven’t enjoyed much promotional buildup in advance of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 63.

With Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo hogging the spotlight during their UFC 189 “world tour” this week and last, Mendes and Lamas have had to make do with scraps.

The featherweight division is white-hot right now, but all roads still lead back to Aldo vs. McGregor. Until those two settle their rapidly escalating beef on July 11, the business of deciding the next No. 1 contender will remain entirely theoretical.

UFC President Dana White stopped well short of guaranteeing the Lamas-Mendes winner next dibs during Tuesday’s scattergun Q&A session in Dublin. With Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber meeting in a potentially much higher-profile bout on May 16, it’s understandable that the fight company is opting for a wait-and-see approach.

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Breaking the UFC 189 World Tour down by the numbers yields some fairly interesting results. 13,142 nautical miles. Two fighters. Eight cities. One sentient toilet. And a seemingly endless supply of both staredowns and luxury hotel rooms. 

UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (25-1) and challenger Conor McGregor (17-2) fight for the first time in four months on July 11 in Las Vegas. But when they do, UFC fans worldwide will be primed and ready for the clash.

The promotional effort here has been unprecedented, especially for smaller fighters who have traditionally struggled at the box office in MMA. But did quantity equal quality? Is this among the best promoted fights in the sport's history?

Bleacher Report lead writers Jeremy Botter and Jonathan Snowden, a modern-day Turner and Hooch, tackle that question below. Have an opinion of your own? Sound off in the comments.

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UFC 189’s promotional “world tour” wrapped up in Dublin on Tuesday, with Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor and the excitement for their featherweight title fight all still alive and well.

But there were some touchy moments there, right?

During the 11-day promotional swing through 10 cities and across three continents, McGregor's pursuit of the 145-pound title straddled a fine line. As he’s apt to do, the 26-year-old Irishman needled Aldo at every stop, infuriating and provoking the longtime champion but stopping just short of inciting any kind of actual physical violence.

The climax came in McGregor's hometown, where an estimated 3,000 Dubliners came out to cheer the challenger and jeer his Brazilian opponent.

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If there were any doubts that Ronda Jean Rousey is the Ultimate Fighting Championship's biggest star (and perhaps its biggest-ever star), those notions were dispelled on Sunday.

As you may have heard by now, Rousey jumped the railing at WrestleMania and, side by side with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, appeared to set up a tag team match for next year's WrestleMania in Dallas: Rousey and The Rock vs. the real-life husband-and-wife power duo of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Paul Levesque (Triple H's real name) and his wife are the future operators of World Wrestling Entertainment (provided Vince McMahon is not, in fact, immortal).

Already their fingerprints are being felt on the product, Rousey included. Even one year ago, the idea of a UFC champion being involved in what was essentially one of the two biggest angles on the WWE's biggest and most prideful show of the year was an unthinkable one.

But Rousey has reached a plateau that few, if any, UFC stars have ever reached.

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On October 24, 2013, Ryan Cobbins left his home and headed toward the barbershop he'd been going to for well over two years, on 39th Street and Prospect Avenue in Kansas City. He had an 11 a.m. appointment scheduled at the shop. It was a regular thing for Cobbins; he got his hair braided there at least once or twice a month.

On this day, though, something went wrong. Cobbins disappeared, somehow vanishing into broad daylight. His Camaro was discovered days later in an apartment complex parking lot, but Cobbins was nowhere to be found.

On November 4, Kansas City police officially began looking into Cobbins as a missing persons case. They implored locals to call the KCPD Missing Persons hotline if they knew any information that could lead them to Cobbins.

Cobbins and his brother, the Bellator bantamweight L.C. Davis, grew up together. They did not have the most stable of childhoods, living in "pretty much every suburb" Kansas City had to offer. Their single mother moved them around constantly in her search for work. They eventually moved to live with their grandmother. When Davis was in high school, he left his little brother and his mom behind, moving in with his dad, feeling that his father could offer a more stable living environment. But he still came back on holidays and each summer. Even when Davis moved to Iowa, they stayed in touch, and Cobbins would visit when he could.

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It’s a testament to Brock Lesnar’s greatness that anybody even still wanted the guy.

That’s not an insult; it’s a compliment.

At 37 years old and on the heels of two bouts with a life-threatening disease, most professional athletes would be considered lost property. Lesnar hasn’t fought since 2011, and his last two UFC appearances ended in lopsided TKO losses. His current profile, therefore, doesn’t exactly scream “hot prospect.”

But this guy is special. Always has been.

Photo by Jeremy Botter

LAS VEGAS — Out near the edges of Las Vegas sits Red Rock Resort and Casino, the sprawling, gleaming centerpiece of the Fertitta family's locals-centric casino empire. It is all glass and stucco, rising against the backdrop of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The Fertittas own a series of Station Casinos, which generally look as though they have not received much of a face-lift since they were erected in a different era.

But Red Rock (and its sister Green Valley Ranch) is different. They are modern, sleek and a sheer pleasure to experience. They are also 25 minutes from the strip, which means no hustle and very little bustle. Tourism here is limited because of the distance, which gives Red Rock a quieter vibe. There are fewer walks of shame, but you take the good with the bad. There is also live bingo, which you most certainly file under the good.

Red Rock, then, was the perfect location for Monday's low-key media event featuring UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and brash challenger Conor McGregor. It was the second stop on the pair's promotional world tour, which will swirl and whoosh around the globe until March 31, when it draws to its conclusion in the only logical place: Dublin, McGregor's hometown, a place where he can no longer walk down the street without being mobbed.

So it began in Rio de Janeiro and will end in Dublin, and in July, both men will return to Las Vegas for the most anticipated UFC fight of the year. On Monday, however, they were not fighting. They were not even together. They were kept as separated as the UFC's public relations staff could keep them, with a 25-minute buffer stuck squarely between their separate interview sessions.