UFC Fight Night 126 Results: The Real Winners and Losers
With the NBA All-Star Game, Winter Olympics action and key college hoops games beckoning from other channels, MMA fans might have been forgiven for contracting a case of the wandering eye.
UFC Fight Night 126, a rare Sunday evening card, was a throwback to the dense, action-packed days of cable cards of yore. Maybe there were no titles or even title implications on the line, but many of the matchups crackled with possibility.
The main event pitted two notorious finishers in the welterweight division. Donald Cerrone was the bigger name in the fight but also in the weaker position after losing three straight, while slight favorite Yancy Medeiros came in with three consecutive victories.
The co-main event had violence written all over it. Marcin Tybura has never set the world on fire, but Derrick Lewis has, several times. He might be the hardest hitter in all the UFC; as they say, with Lewis, it only takes one.
Where did the card deliver? There were plenty of places, from Fight Pass to finale. And as always, the final stat lines only tell part of the story.
These are the real winners and losers from Austin, Texas.
Winner: Donald Cerrone
It happened just about the way people expected it would. And that is a very good thing.
The only surprise was that Cerrone, the slight underdog according to OddsShark, came out the winner.
After a back-and-forth slugfest, Cerrone floored Medeiros with seconds remaining in the first round. The official end came at literally the last second, 4:59 of the opening stanza. Medeiros came forward, a counter right from Cowboy put him on the floor, and ground strikes finished it up.
According to Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA Junkie, the win ties Cerrone with Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping for the most wins in UFC history with 20. That is not nothing.
It's also a big deal in real time, though, stopping Cerrone's three-fight skid and (at least for now) questions over his viability at the top end of a jam-packed welterweight division.
Medeiros got his own shots in, and he'll be back. He's a charismatic and exciting fighter. But Sunday night was Cowboy's night, as he put his own spectacular punctuation mark on a much-needed evening of excitement for the UFC (and more on that in a second). Soak it in, Cowboy.
Winner: Derrick Lewis
You know the drill in the heavyweight division: terribly awesome, awesomely terrible. When big guys Derrick Lewis and Marcin Tybura locked horns in Sunday's co-main event, it fitted the classic mold.
There wasn't a lot of cardio or footwork, but the blunt-force trauma flowed in the streets like wine. Well, the trauma flowed down one side of the street, and the carnivalesque tomfoolery flowed up the other side in the opposite direction. This is quite a street we're talking about.
Lewis slipped, Tybura pounced; Lewis powered to his feet and lowered the boom with a right hand, which Tybura somehow absorbed without falling down. That's the kind of sequence we're talking about. At one point, Lewis was sitting on Tybura's face. I almost wish I was kidding.
Tybura did have his moments on the ground, riding Lewis for extended stretches and taking advantage of his lack of technique in that particular phase. It took the starch out of Lewis' game.
Until it didn't.
In the third round, the Houston native dug deep for a comeback. Tybura went for a single-leg takedown, Lewis stuffed it and then dropped him with thundering hooks. He followed Tybura to the ground, and some ground shots sealed the deal.
Lewis has terrifying power. You know who else has terrifying power? Francis Ngannou. That's a bout that needs to be made. Don't think about it, just let it happen.
Winner: James Vick
Coming into the fight, James Vick was, by his own admission, "pissed" about being passed over for the main event in his home state.
He took his anger out on Francisco Trinaldo. Kind of.
It wasn't what you'd call a beatdown, but Vick took advantage of his 6'3" frame and 76" reach—both massive for a lightweight—to keep range and score on the Brazilian from distance over three rounds.
Trinaldo, at age 39, is a good fighter and a likable person, and he had moments in the fight, but he didn't have the tools to respond to Vick's tall-fighting.
Afterward Vick called for a top-10 opponent in the stacked lightweight division, naming Michael Chiesa, Khabib Nurmagomedov and the obligatory Conor McGregor. The words "title shot" may have also come up. The last three of those things are not realistic, but Chiesa may be a good fit for Vick's next go-around.
Winner: UFC Fight Night 126
Still, the UFC is the standard-bearer for a great sport, a sport a lot of people love. Frankly, they needed a hit—any hit. They got it Sunday.
The ratings numbers won't be out for a while yet, and they will ultimately tell the tale of external success. There's no arguing, though, fighters and matchmakers more than held up their end of the bargain in Austin.
Thanks to five finishes in six fights, the undercard blew by with 26 combined minutes of in-cage action time, compelling Fox Sports 1 to replay a couple of the contests to fill time blocks.
The main card started with some interesting decisions. Then Curtis Millender's second-round KO-slash-drubbing of longtime favorite Thiago Alves was exciting, if saddening for fans of the Brazilian. Then, of course, you had the aforementioned top three contests.
In total, you had eight finishes on the evening. Finish or not, not one of the card's 12 contests was a particular buzzkill.
Bottom line: Daddy needed a new pair of shoes, and on Sunday he rolled a seven.
Loser: Thibault Gouti
Never leave it in the hands of the judges. Especially when you're in Texas, fighting a Texan.
It was a close fight, and all those Thibault Gouti fans out there have a legitimate case that the Texas judges may have taken a generous two-step toward Lone Star native and UFC golden boy Sage Northcutt.
But here's the thing: it didn't have to be that way.
Gouti was outstriking a stiff Northcutt early. The Texan holds his chin out to be hit like he doesn't have an opposable neck, and Gouti staggered Super Sage multiple times early when Northcutt charged in.
Gouti also hit takedowns—exposing what has traditionally been the weakness of karate champ Northcutt. But the Frenchman did nothing to press the advantage once the action was on the ground, allowing his opponent to land volume strikes and regularly getting back to his feet.
"Even though I got taken down a few times and held against the cage, I got myself up pretty quickly," Northcutt said in a post-fight statement UFC officials sent to media members. "When he got me to the ground I didn't take any damage. When he held me down he didn't get me with one punch, not one knee on the ground, and I was hitting him with elbows the whole time so I was staying busy."
He's not wrong. Gouti scored the early damage but frittered away the fight down the stretch, or at least made it close enough to open the door to a dicey decision.
It was high comedy on MMA Twitter Sunday evening. About halfway through the preliminary slate on Fox Sports 1, that comedy hit its crescendo, and boy was it glorious.
Let me set it up for you. See, the fight in question featured Roberto Sanchez against Joby Sanchez. Who would win? No one knew for sure...or did they? Suddenly everyone seemed confident Sanchez would surely take the victory.
Get it? They both had the same last name.
Oh, man. I'm still holding my sides. My sincere congratulations to all the dads out there who took the time to craft so many savvy humor posts.
The icing on the cake is that it was actually an exciting fight, with slight underdog Roberto wrapping up a slick rear-naked choke on Joby. But really, were there any losers here? Definitely not.
Loser: Josh Burkman
This is evergreen text.
Josh Burkman gained a sizable following among fight fans who valued his skill and toughness. He was never what you'd call an elite competitor, but he won far more than he lost. Sunday's bout against Alex Morono was his 46th as a pro.
Problem is, after 132 seconds in the cage, it was his fifth straight defeat. The last three came by stoppage. He has one win in his last nine contests.
You can see why this is all a bit of a broken record.
The Utah native is a family man and now 37 years old. He has enough of a name (and hopefully earnings) to do something with his time besides train and fight. Despite the losses, the UFC to this point hasn't been willing to cut him, even though they've relegated him to the deep undercard in each of his last three bouts.
Burkman's decisions are his own to make, but it's hard for an outsider to make an argument for why he might continue on with this phase of his life.
UFC Fight Night 126 Full Card Results
Donald Cerrone def. Yancy Medeiros by TKO, 4:59, Rd. 1
Derrick Lewis def. Marcin Tybura by TKO, 2:48, Rd. 3
James Vick def. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision
Curtis Millender def. Thiago Alves by KO, 0:17, Rd. 2
Brandon Davis def. Steven Peterson by unanimous decision
Sage Northcutt def. Thibault Gouti by unanimous decision
Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Jared Gordon by TKO, 1:58, Rd. 1
Geoffrey Neal def. Brian Camozzi by submission (bulldog choke), 2:48, Rd. 1
Roberto Sanchez def. Joby Sanchez by submission (rear-naked choke), 1:50, Rd. 1
Lucie Pudilova def. Sarah Moras by unanimous decision
Alex Morono def. Josh Burkman by submission (guillotine choke), 2:12, Rd. 1
Oskar Piechota def. Tim Williams by KO, 1:54, Rd. 1