The Real Winners and Losers from UFC Fight Night 155
UFC Fight Night 155 took place on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Atop the bill was a potential title eliminator featuring No. 1-ranked bantamweight contender Germaine de Randamie vs. No. 4-ranked Aspen Ladd.
The card also featured local fighters. Featherweight contender Josh Emmett got in the win column, and favorite son Urijah Faber came out of retirement with a stunning first-round TKO.
The event lacked big names, but it did not lack in action. The final three bouts all finished in the first round.
But who walked out of Sacramento as the real winners and losers? Now that we are in the back half of the year, who has set themselves up for something big? Who is searching for answers or staring into the face of the Grim Reaper?
Let's start to answer those questions as we examine the real winners and losers from UFC Fight Night 155.
Loser: Germaine de Randamie
Yes, she had a quick, 16-second KO against the No. 4-ranked contender. That would normally make you a winner.
But what does the win mean for Germaine de Randamie? It means she is next in line for a shot at Amanda Nunes. That is a loss. Good luck.
De Randamie won the featherweight title and refused to fight Cris "Cyborg" Santos. She dodged that fight better than Floyd Mayweather dodges punches. Is she even going to take the fight against Nunes? Michael Bisping asked her post-fight in the cage what was next and she was non-committal. She never spoke Nunes' name.
Nunes already has a first-round TKO win over de Randamie too. And that was before Nunes matured into the absolute greatest that she is now. Does de Randamie want that? She can't even go back to 145 in an attempt to avoid it because Nunes is the champion there too.
"The Lioness" is inevitable.
It was a fantastic result, but one that only earned her a fight against someone she likely doesn't want to fight.
Loser: Aspen Ladd
Aspen Ladd entered as the No. 4-ranked contender in the bantamweight division and was set up for a title eliminator against No. 1-ranked Germaine de Randamie in her home state of California.
It lasted 16 seconds.
The loss will sting, but it won't completely stifle her in the division. She is a young prospect who will learn from the loss.
Even still, 16 seconds. Yikes.
The stoppage could be seen as controversial, but Ladd dropped hard from the right hand and posted on both hands without covering up as de Randamie laced in a second punch. Referee Herb Dean could see her eyes and register that she wasn't all there after the hammer of a right from de Randamie.
Ladd will go back to the drawing board and come out better, but on this night she was undoubtedly a loser.
Winner: Urijah Faber
Following in the footsteps of his teammate and fellow Sacramento resident Josh Emmett, Urijah Faber finished his opponent, Ricky Simon, in the first round.
Faber came out of retirement for this fight. He did not have much to lose, but he also didn't have anything to prove. He has done just about everything in this sport. Except become UFC champion. And that is why this performance was a massive win for Faber.
With T.J. Dillashaw out of the picture, the division is wide open again. Faber's impressive showing puts him right into the hunt for the title.
Faber is still the most recognizable bantamweight. Nobody else brings the eyes that he does in this division. That gives him a leg up on every other contender. He may still need one more win, but if the chips fall just right, don't be surprised if you see Faber contend for 135-pound gold in his next fight.
"The California Kid" might be 40, but the sun is shining on him.
Winner: Josh Emmett
Mirsad Bektic is no slouch and Josh Emmett cleaned his clock inside of the first round.
Some fighters have rare power. Emmett is one of those fighters.
We have seen the one-punch shot before. In a fight he was losing, Emmett torched Johnson to steal the fight. Here, Emmett had a slow start against Bektic. But once he found his mark, it was a wrap. Bektic dropped to the floor and Emmett finished him off.
Emmett's victory puts him back in the win column, but he hasn't went on a streak since he started his career 11-0. If he can get back in the cage with a couple more performances like this one, we may be talking about Emmett as a title contender in 2020.
Winner: Julianna Pena
January 28, 2017. That was the last time we saw Julianna Pena. It was a title eliminator against Valentina Shevchenko, and it was a rather surprising loss via submission.
Pena took time off to regroup and start a family. She finally returned against former UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montano.
It was not the most impressive she has ever looked, but Pena was able to overcome some adversity in her return to pull off a win. It was crucial in her return to action. If there was any Octagon rust, she knocked it off and got back to what made her one of the elite bantamweights in the world.
What makes her even more of a winner is that both the flyweight and bantamweight divisions are shallow. She has some name recognition and now has a win under her belt. She can decide which title to attack.
She has only competed at 135 inside the Octagon, but she has a history at 125 as well. Wherever she feels more comfortable competing is where she should go, and both treks to a title shot are incredibly short. Pena's victory puts her right back where she was in 2017.
Winner: Ryan Hall
Who was that fighting? Ryan Hall? Throwing spinning back kicks and knocking his opponent down? It couldn't possibly be.
But it was.
Hall is known for his ground work, but he showed off his striking against Darren Elkins on Saturday. The win, which followed his submission victory over UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn, will spur some talk about pushing Hall into significant fights from this point out. Hall has always shown a propensity for kicks as he threw several against Gray Maynard, but they were not thrown with big power or reckless abandon.
Hall's tool kit is growing.
Hall is a specialist, but he is extremely interesting as a fighter and person. Soft-spoken and highly intelligent, Hall brings something unique to the featherweight division. The UFC would be wise to quickly pounce on Hall's performance by bringing him into the fold of the upper echelon of the division.
If he shines again, why not put him in a title eliminator? It would be an amazing story.
Loser: Livia Renata Souza
At one point in time, Livia Renata Souza was arguably one of the top strawweights in the world. After claiming the Invicta FC championship, Souza looked like a credible threat to any 115-pound woman in the sport.
She suffered a setback against Angela Hill in 2016 but turned it around with a four-fight win streak. She never looked quite as dangerous since her title run in Invicta, but she was still a developing fighter worth watching.
The loss at UFC Fight Night 155 was absolutely crushing to the thought she will make noise in the UFC.
On the undercard of one of the weakest cards of the year, Souza laid an egg.
Brianna van Buren's win is an immeasurable setback for Souza. It is not just a one-fight ordeal. Souza will now need several impressive showings to regain favor as the division continues to grow with talent. The door isn't completely shut on her title hopes, but that open crack is paper-thin after her latest loss.