UFC on Fox 27 Results: The Real Winners and Losers
There's an 8,000-pound elephant in the room here. We should acknowledge it before we go any farther.
UFC on Fox 27, airing on the "big" channel Saturday night from Charlotte, North Carolina, was not a very good event. The cards that typically air on Fox don't necessarily carry depth, but at least they have a massive main event to paper everything over and keep fans watching to the end.
Saturday's card didn't have that. Yes, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Derek Brunson did battle in a fight with reasonable odds of excitement. Maybe one day the winner might establish or re-establish himself in a weird-n-wild middleweight title picture. But sadly, today was not that day.
In the co-main event, you had Dennis Bermudez and Andre Fili. Bermudez ranks No. 12 in the official UFC featherweight rankings. Fili might land on that list with a win.
None of this is to say these fighters are not good at fighting. The potential for action was very much in evidence, just as it is with any MMA card. So did the paper matchups play out as projected, or did something memorable emerge?
That's the beauty of MMA. And as always, the final stat lines only reveal so much. These are the real winners and losers from UFC on Fox 27.
Full card results appear at the end.
Winner: Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza
The first time they fought, it was back when the Strikeforce promotion was still a thing. Souza won that bout by knockout in a mere 41 seconds.
On Saturday, they ran it back. Brunson worked his way back to main event status with two straight wins and seven victories in his last nine contests. Six of those wins were first-round knockouts.
To boot, Brunson was fighting in front of a friendly North Carolina crowd. The stage was set for revenge.
It didn't go that way for Brunson.
A classic wrestle-boxer, Brunson needed to get inside and initiate the clinch or simply bang Souza out with his heavy fists. He couldn't get it done. A more diverse striker, Souza landed a picture-perfect head kick that dropped Brunson and then swarmed along the fence for the finish.
"I feel great," Souza said in a statement the UFC emailed to reporters after the fight. "Today is my anniversary so I want to tell [my wife] that I love her and thank you for everything. I train with great guys and this was thanks to them. Thanks to all the fans for the love and support!"
Very good. Souza is now re-established as a title contender in a top-heavy middleweight division, even if this doesn't immediately set him up for a title shot. Brunson is still elite but will need a win in his next fight to remain so.
Winner: Andre Fili
This was Fili's coming-out party. Be happy you were a part of it.
It was ugly and plodding and entirely inartful, but the Team Alpha Male featherweight landed enough stuff in the eyes of the judges to pull the upset over Bermudez.
The decision was not without controversy, but the co-main event still saw a good fighter earn some serious stripes.
This was the first time in his UFC career that Fili has won two fights in a row. He's a willing competitor and a good guy to boot. The featherweight division is better as a result of the judges' decision.
Loser: The UFC
The Super Bowl off week typically means a moribund weekend for sports fans. Enter UFC on Fox 27.
It didn't deliver.
It didn't deliver on paper, and it didn't deliver in actuality. Not that there weren't good fights, but nothing happened that is going to stick with viewers for any period of time.
It's hard to say why the UFC brain trust chose not to stack this card on a night when they had the stage to themselves. Maybe its thoughts were similar to those of a blue-chip basketball team that gets upset in the early rounds of March Madness: that you could throw your metaphorical jerseys on to the floor and walk away with a win from there.
Everyone knows you have to be a little more deliberate than that.
Additionally, maybe it has something to do with the UFC's ongoing effort to secure a new broadcast partner, which may not be Fox.
You never know. It's impossible to tell. But in the meantime, the card wasn't good, and the party paying the heaviest for that may well be the UFC itself.
Winner: The Prospects
Make no mistake: Whatever its problems, there is always great talent coming up in MMA.
Saturday was a great way station for a few of these fighters. Most prominently, lightweight Gregor Gillespie took Jordan Rinaldi to the floor and hammered him into a first-round TKO.
But it didn't end there. Mirsad Bektic, once considered by some to be the best prospect in all of MMA, rebounded from defeat and injury with a first-round TKO of his own. This one came from a vicious body shot.
And let's not forget about Ji Yeon Kim. It was a bad fight, but she still bested Justine Kish in an undercard battle of women's flyweights.
The future may not be so bleak after all. At least if this card is examined in a vacuum.
UFC on Fox 27 Full Card Results
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza def. Derek Brunson by KO, 3:50, Rd. 1
Andre Fili def. Dennis Bermudez by split decision
Gregor Gillespie def. Jordan Rinaldi by TKO, 4:46, Rd. 1
Drew Dober def. Frank Camacho by unanimous decision
Bobby Green def. Erik Koch unanimous decision
Mirsad Bektic def. Godofredo Pepey by TKO, 2:47, Rd. 1
Katlyn Chookagian def. Mara Romero Borella by unanimous decision
Randa Markos def. Juliana Lima by unanimous decision
Ji Yeon Kim def. Justine Kish by split decision
Vinc Pichel def. Joaquim Silva by unanimous decision
Niko Price def. George Sullivan by submission (rear-naked choke), 4:27, Rd. 2
Cory Sandhagen def. Austin Arnett by TKO, 3:48, Rd. 2