UFC Fight Night 139 Results: The Real Winners and Losers

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2018

UFC Fight Night 139 Results: The Real Winners and Losers

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Twenty-five years ago on Monday, the Octagon was erected for the first time and fighters like Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock redefined what fighting looks like. UFC Fight Night 139 was sort of supposed to be a birthday party for the promotion, but instead it just ended up being a spectacular night of fights.

    It wasn't all home runs, as the festivities started with a pair of unremarkable split decisions, and the main card had a pair of snoozers sandwiched between some dramatic stoppages. On the whole, though? Most people wound up looking like Yair Rodriguez (above) when the night was through.

    While the night will be remembered for the main event, the biggest winner was likely fan favorite Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. Despite being beloved, the veteran has hit a bit of a rough patch of late, losing three of his past four fights and sliding down the rankings as a result. On Saturday, however, he managed to right the ship in emphatic fashion by tapping out former training partner Mike Perry in front of a hometown crowd.

    But who else won the night? And who, unfortunately, lost? Read on to find out.

Real Losers: Joby Sanchez and Joseph Morales

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    Eric Shelton might have saved his job with his win on Saturday.
    Eric Shelton might have saved his job with his win on Saturday.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    The UFC is closing down its men's flyweight division. While there are debates to be had about why that is and whether the promotion is making the right decision, there's no question that this stinks for all the 125-pound fighters on the roster.

    While some will be offered the opportunity to move up to the UFC's bantamweight division, many are doomed to be thrown into a bearish free-agent market. That gave the first two fights of Saturday's card, Eric Shelton vs. Joseph Morales and Mark de la Rosa vs. Joby Sanchez*, a relatively important feel because all four knew that they were likely fighting for their jobs.

    Unfortunately, that translated to a pair of fairly monotonous fights.

    Both contests were defined by slow-paced, low-risk action. While previous roster culls have shown that a spirited defeat might be enough to save a fighter's job, all four went in a safer direction, looking to out-point their foes en route to the judges.

    That gambit worked out for Shelton and De la Rosa. Sanchez and Morales, however, weren't so lucky. With the similarly positioned Jose Torres and Jarred Brooks already receiving their walking papers, odds are that Sanchez and Morales will follow them out the door.


    *Sanchez is a flyweight who took a short-notice fight at bantamweight.

Real Loser: Instant Replay

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    Controversy surrounding this choke hold led to one of the first uses of instant replay in UFC history.
    Controversy surrounding this choke hold led to one of the first uses of instant replay in UFC history.Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Instant replay in MMA has been in place for a while, but it's rarely been used. One of the first tastes of it came Saturday after the featherweight bout between Bobby Moffett and Chas Skelly. And boy, it didn't taste good. 

    At the midpoint of the second round, Moffett went to the ground with Skelly and attempted to lock up a D'Arce choke. Skelly defended for a time by essentially running in circles on the ground to prevent Moffett from locking up his legs (an important part of tightening the choke).

    He eventually stopped, and the ref, Tim Mills, moved in to check on him by shaking his arm. When he did so, Skelly was limp, which saw Mills break up the choke and wave off the fight. Immediately after, Skelly popped up to protest the stoppage.

    That controversy prompted the use of instant replay. And the shortcomings of the system quickly became obvious.

    Instead of a commissioner or unbiased third party determining whether the stoppage was justified, the burden fell to Mills, putting him in an awkward position. Either he would stick to his guns, leading to accusations that he was trying to save face, or he would have to eat crow in front of a belligerent crowd and deny both men the opportunity to take a win bonus.

    It's an inherently flawed system, and Mills made matters even worse when he was caught on camera during the broadcast, sitting down at the booth and immediately shouting about how correct he was. Moffett's win would stand, and the hilarious cherry on top came when his victory was recorded as a knockout rather than a submission.

    The two-year-old update to the unified rules of MMA has been a disaster. The fact that they vary state-by-state remains shameful, and it's a dark kind of funny that the sport is still finding new ways to be ridiculous.

Real Winner: Maycee Barber

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Maycee Barber's placement on UFC Fight Night 139 was kind of strange at face value. On a main card full of fan favorites and established contenders, a 20-year-old making her UFC debut stuck out based on how green she was in comparison to her counterparts.

    Her presence was strange on paper, but in practice? She looked right at home.

    From the beginning, it was obvious that Barber was a cut above her foe, Hannah Cifers. Her punches were quicker, her grappling was more explosive and she consistently got the better of scrambles. That added up in a hurry, and by the second round, she was in complete control.

    After reversing a takedown attempt, Barber ended up on top of Cifers and poured on heavy ground-and-pound. Multiple cuts opened on Cifers' face and turned the fight into a bloodbath. The punishment just kept coming, and Cifers simply crumbled under the pressure. 

    The end came at 2:01 with Cifers lying in a pool of blood and Barber celebrating with her coaches, clean as a whistle. It was a memorable side-by-side between the fighters and capped an all-around perfect debut for Barber.

    Though she is still incredibly young, both in life and in her career (this win advances her to 6-0), Barber is officially a fighter to watch in the strawweight division.

Real Winner: Cowboy, Baby

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone is in the twilight of his career, but damn it, he isn't done yet. In a surprisingly heated grudge match opposite former teammate "Platinum" Mike Perry, Cowboy took out a new lease on his career with an emphatic win.

    After a back-and-forth four minutes, Perry made the poor decision to turn the fight with Cerrone into a grappling match. While many of Cerrone's best moments have come standing, the veteran is formidable on the ground and reversed his way to Perry's back. Perry survived and worked his way back into a dominant position, but Cerrone slapped on an armbar and forced the tap in vicious fashion.

    On its own, it was a great win for Cerrone that knotted up the records for most wins in UFC history and most fights finished in the Octagon. More importantly, the victory puts him into the hunt for money fights against the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor.

    With some new frontiers to traverse and the hunger apparently back, Cerrone is once again a player in the UFC's main event scene. There could be big things in store for him in 2019.

Real Winner: Anniversaries

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    Holly Stein/Getty Images

    In October, WWE celebrated the 1,000th episode of SmackDown.

    It was a massive milestone, and the company did everything in its power to commemorate the occasion. The show was hyped up weeks in advance, special matches were booked and appearances by legends like Ric Flair and The Undertaker guaranteed intrigue for anyone who tuned in.

    Heading into fight week, UFC Fight Night 139 seemed like it was going to be a terrible misfire in this regard.

    While the promotion's return to the city that hosted its first show on its 25th birthday should have been a slam dunk, UFC's hectic schedule afforded it little opportunity to hype the card. Worse, the UFC rarely even acknowledges its past given how it has ugly relationships with essentially every successful fighter from its past.

    The safest bet for UFC Fight Night 139, quite frankly, was a missed opportunity in the form of standard, by-the-numbers Fox Sports 1 card. Though the promotion didn't go all-in to make the show feel like an extravaganza in the way WWE does, it added in several little homages that made it feel special.

    First and most noticeable was the vintage logo in the center of the cage, accentuated with the classic introduction sequences. Peppered into the broadcast were brief clips of UFC fighters like Daniel Cormier and Carlos Condit reflecting on the heroes of yesteryear and discussing the moments that first turned them into fans of the sport. Finally, the UFC had a fair number of old favorites on hand, including UFC 1 alum and one-gloved wonder Art Jimmerson.

    Could the UFC have done more? Sure. Would it have been nice if UFC OGs like Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie were on hand? Absolutely.

    But the UFC did about as much as one could reasonably expect. Respect to the promotion for that.

Real Winner: The Fans

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Being an MMA fan is hard. It's expensive, the schedule is grueling and, worst of all, there is constant disappointment. 

    For whatever reason, "guaranteed Fight of the Year candidates" rarely pan out well. Sometimes, like with Nate Diaz vs. Dustin Poirier, the fights get scrapped because of injury. Other times, like with Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis, they happen but just leave fans hanging their heads in sadness.

    Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez carried that label and, refreshingly, managed to live up to any and all expectations.

    The first three rounds saw both men hit all their signature moves. Rodriguez peppered the Korean Zombie with a wide variety of strikes, ranging from stiff jabs to high-flying spinning kicks. Jung fired back with constant pressure and voluminous punches.

    Jung, known for being a cardio machine, lived up to his reputation in the championship rounds, taking advantage of a slightly winded Rodriguez with his deadly uppercut and a new right cross. Just as he seemed ready to run away with it, however, Rodriguez caught a second wind and started opening up. Looking to seal up the 10-9 in the final frame (and, by extension, the fight), Jung blitzed forward but wound up being knocked out cold with a back elbow.

    It was an amazing fight, an amazing finish, an amazing moment and an amazing return to the Octagon for Rodriguez. It was the kind of fight that makes all those late nights worth it and a reminder that fights can live up to the hype.

UFC Fight Night 139 Full Results

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Main Card (Fox Sports 1)

    • Yair Rodriguez def. Chan Sung Jung by KO via elbow at 4:59 of Round 5
    • Donald Cerrone def. Mike Perry by submission via armbar at 4:46 of Round 1
    • Germaine de Randamie def. Raquel Pennington by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
    • Beneil Dariush def. Thiago Moises by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
    • Maycee Barber def. Hannah Cifers by TKO via punches at 2:01 of Round 2
    • Mike Trizano def. Luis Pena by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

    Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)

    • Ashley Yoder def. Amanda Cooper by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
    • Bobby Moffett def. Chas Skelly by technical submission via Brabo Choke at 2:43 of Round 2
    • Davi Ramos def. John Gunther by submission via rear-naked choke at 1:57 of Round 1
    • Devonte Smith def. Julian Erosa by KO via punches at 0:46 of Round 1

    Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)

    • Eric Shelton def. Joseph Morales by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)
    • Mark de la Rosa def. Joby Sanchez by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)