UFC Fight Night 119 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Machida vs Brunson
The exit of the dragon?
After two years of inaction, karate poster boy and UFC ex-champ Lyoto Machida stepped into the Octagon again Saturday at UFC Fight Night 119. It feels like decades ago that the Dragon failed that drug test, the same one that landed him in the soup and interrupted his disruptive innovation.
Do you remember when The Dragon Machida was going to rule the world with his weird karate stance and unbeatable counter-punching, while we all sang "You're the Best Around" and marveled at his demographic-less good looks? I sure as heck do.
But that was then, and this is now. Saturday, he had Derek Brunson the wrestle-striker in front of him.
Before the event, Brunson hadn't beaten a true contender in the middleweight division. He had won six of eight but lost two of his past three. Brunson has all the talent, but his ability to leverage it against an elite opponent is, charitably, uncertain.
Machida, at age 39 and two years out of the sport, was officially an unknown quantity.
Something had to give, then. Either Machida still has it or Brunson is a contender.
The card may not have brought any higher stakes than the main event, but there was one contest that was louder, if you will. That's the co-main event.
Demian Maia and his amazing-if-boring jiu-jitsu faced Colby Covington. The latter took a page from the Chael Sonnen Book of Trash Talk in the run-up to this. He talked some garbage. Did anyone care? Sure. It's good copy. At some point, though, cliched behavior has to answer to itself. If Covington wants legitimacy, he'll need to earn it.
Finally, this event took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There were many Brazilian fighters on this card. Every Brazilian fighter deserves respect in this MMA game. How did they all do on Saturday?
As always, the stat lines don't reveal everything. These are the real winners and losers from UFC Fight Night 119.
For the literal-minded among us, full results appear at the end.
Winner: Derek Brunson
It was a quick night's work for Brunson. Productive, though. When he knocked out Machida in the first round of Saturday's main event, he cemented himself as a true contender in the UFC middleweight division.
Machida has always prided himself on movement and evasiveness. He was always able to trust it. It wasn't there for him Saturday. Brunson landed a crucial left hook and then another. Machida hit the mat, and Brunson followed. A few ground strikes later (a few ground strikes too many, perhaps, as the referee could have arguably stopped it earlier) and this was all over.
Machida is 39. This was his first fight in two years. He has now lost three straight. He came out flat-flooted and paid the price. It's hard to know where he goes from here.
It's easy to see the direction Brunson is headed, and that's a top fight. When pressed by fighter/broadcaster Daniel Cormier, Brunson threw a name out there.
"Luke Rockhold, where you at baby?" Brunson said in the cage after the fight. "Let's run this."
That's a good matchup. Rockhold has displayed some cracks in his armor of late, though he is coming off a win. Brunson might be an ideal matchup to test his chin and takedown defense in the next matchup.
Loser: Demian Maia
From elite to obsolete in the span of two fights.
There's no one out there who doesn't respect Demian Maia. Except, maybe, Colby Covington, who made it a point to trash talk the great jiu-jitsu champion at every turn leading up to this fight.
Give Covington credit. Under heavy boos from the partisan crowd, Covington brushed aside some early damage on the feet and outlasted Maia for the decision victory. He pounded leg kicks, stuffed takedown attempts one after another and maintained stamina after Maia's disappeared.
Plenty of MMA analysts love to praise the bad guy, honoring any bad-tempered microphone rant as a brilliant twist of self-promotion. There may be some truth to that. There may also be some truth to the notion that some people are just plain disagreeable. They are not mutually exclusive concepts. Covington, who trains with plenty of Brazilian fighters at American Top Team in Florida, did his best to blur the lines after the win.
"Brazil, you're a dump," Covington told Cormier in the cage after the fight as the boos rained down. "We ain't translating tonight...where you at, Tyron Woodley?"
As most fans know, Woodley is the welterweight champ. It was clear how the Brazilian fans felt about the whole thing, as Covington was rushed out of the arena as fans pelted him with debris.
Whether Covington could or should face Woodley is a matter for another day. He has done enough to throw his hat into the ring. It's possible fans dislike him enough that they would make a point to watch him. It's the kind of thing that can compel the front office to allow you to cut the line. As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, deserve's got nothing to do with it.
In the meantime, though, Maia was left on the canvas, old and bloodied. He looked every day of his 39 years. His gas tank may be shrinking, and his striking is as rudimentary as it's ever been. If Maia wants to keep going in pro MMA, as of Saturday, he is at a crossroads.
The home of MMA had a pretty weird time at UFC Fight Night 119.
Yes, the numbers favor the home team. From the Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazilian fighters broadcast their brilliance around the world. Including Americans with clear Brazilian roots, the host nation went 9-3 with four stoppages on the night. The winners were Marcelo Golm, Deiveson Figueiredo, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Antonio Carlos Junior, Vicente Luque, John Lineker, Thiago Santos, Franciso Trinaldo and Pedro Munhoz. Only Machida, Maia and Hacran Dias came up short.
More on some of those other contests in a second, but this was a nice showing for the country that started it all and remains a critical hotbed for the sport.
At the same time, to have Maia and Machida both lose in fashions that were arguably humiliating, well, that's probably not what anyone wanted.
Loser: People Named Jack
No two ways about it: Saturday was not a good day for those who are named Jack.
First, the British homeboy Jack Marshman dropped an undercard bout to Antonio Carlos Junior (aka Shoe Face, and we'll get to him in a second).
Then, on the main card, the Swede Jack Hermansson dropped a brutal TKO to Thiago Santos. This may have been the worst of the two Jacks' defeats. The Brazilian Santos, a noted berserker, swarmed Hermansson from the drop, froze the guy in his tracks and put him away with just one second remaining in the first round.
It was a good stoppage, though. The ref and fans had seen enough. "Hit the road, Jack," the ref might have said. That would have been very, very witty.
Winner: The Shoe Face
Some people refer to him as Antonio Carlos Junior.
Others refer to him with two other, simpler words. Those two words are Shoe Face.
That's Cara de Sapato in Portuguese. I don't know what makes his face so shoe-like, but I do know that I cannot argue with his results.
After the Brazilian's win Saturday over a tough British competitor in Jack Marshman, Shoe Face has himself a four-fight win streak in the UFC. It's fun to talk about Shoe Face because of his nickname, but Shoe Face (lol) has legitimate jiu-jitsu skills, as he showed when he messed up Marshman for a first-round rear-naked choke. Marshman hardly had a chance.
Bottom line: You can try to deny Shoe Face if you wish, but Shoe Face is like a downstream Batman villain. Sooner or later, he's going to factor in.
UFC Fight Night 119 Full Card Results
Derek Brunson def. Lyoto Machida by KO, 2:30, Rd. 1
Colby Covington def. Demian Maia by unanimous decision
Pedro Munhoz def. Rob Font by submission (guillotine choke), 4:03, Rd. 1
Francisco Trinaldo def. Jim Miller by unanimous decision
Thiago Santos def. Jack Hermansson by TKO, 4:59, Rd. 1
John Lineker def. Marlon Vera by unanimous decision
Vicente Luque def. Niko Price by submission (D'arce choke), 4:08, Rd. 2
Antonio Carlos Junior def. Jack Marshman by submission (rear-naked choke), 4:30, Rd. 1
Jared Gordon def. Hacran Dias by unanimous decision
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Max Griffin by unanimous decision
Deiveson Figueiredo def. Jarred Brooks by split decision
Marcelo Golm def. Christian Colombo by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:08, Rd. 1