Who were the biggest winners and losers at last night’s UFC On Versus 5 event? In the article below we take a look through the fight card and rank the fighters who’s stock rose or fell the most on Sunday night.
1. Ben Henderson
Chris Lytle has gained a lot of column inches after his win, and rightly so, but Ben Henderson was the real star of the show this past weekend.
Jim Miller is an exceptionally tough individual and has never looked like being dominated in the UFC until Henderson came along and turned his world upside down, snapping his seven fight winning streak in the process.
Henderson’s dynamic, energetic and exciting fighting style has been a pleasure to watch since his days in the WEC, but the question was whether he could match-up to the elevated level of competition in the UFC’s stacked 155lb division. A very solid showing against Mark Bocek earlier in the year suggested he might be able to, and yesterday’s stellar showing proved it beyond any doubt.
This is the kind of performance that creates a buzz around a fighter, and Henderson should now rightly be getting talked about in terms of the lightweight title picture, and he matches up well with any of the top contenders at this moment in time.
2. Chris Lytle
Last night Chris Lytle went out in style, confirming his retirement after winning by submission in an entertaining main event battle with former No.1 contender Dan Hardy. Not only did he scoop up ‘Fight Of The Night’ and ‘Submission Of The Night’ honors worth $130,000, but he also was awarded a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle for his victory too.
It was a fitting end for a man who’s been entertaining UFC fans since way back at UFC 28 in November of 2000 and holds more bonus awards than any other fighter.
The fact that he bows out on a win and in the best form of his career – going 5-1 in the past two years – makes a refreshing change from the usual scenario in which fighters are forced to hang up their gloves after a string of defeats.
3. Donald Cerrone
Like Ben Henderson, Donald Cerrone was another WEC star who faced an uncertain future when he was thrown in to the UFC’s 155lb mix.
He too has gone on to prove that he can pick up where he left off however and is now 3-0 in the Octagon. His win over Charles Oliveira was definitely his best yet though, and remarkably allowed him to notch up the first TKO victory of his career (12 of his 16 victories come by way of submission).
While Cerrone isn’t quite ready to be catapulted into the title mix just yet his charasmatic presence and fun-to-watch style is just what was needed to freshen up the weight-class and open up some exciting match-ups for the future.
4. Jim Hettes
Hettes made his debut on Sunday’s fight on short notice and immediately caught the eye with his submission orientated approach to fighting.
The 24 year-old was relentless in his attempts to tap out his opponent Alex Caraces and after putting him in a series of potentially fight-ending holds he finally sealed the deal with a rear-naked choke.
‘The Kid’ has now finished all nine of his pro fights by submission and now becomes an intriguing addition to the 145lb mix.
5. Jared Hamman
After a 1-2 start to his UFC career Jared Hamman wasn’t registering on many people’s radars, but an impressive debut at 185lbs last night against CB Dollaway has finally helped to get him noticed.
Despite a weak start that proved little more than he can take a punch, Hamman warmed to the challenge and ultimately showed good cardio, some nice hands and solid ground skills to overcome Dollaway.
It’s too early to say how well he will do in the middleweight ranks, but on this evidence he’s certainly going to be no pushover.
1. Dan Hardy
Hardy had a couple of good moments in his fight with Lytle, appearing to wobble him on two seperate occasions in the second round, but overall it’s a not a contest he should be looking back at with a great deal of fond memories.
Truth be told he looked somewhat uninspired and jaded out there and it was difficult to pinpoint areas in which he looked improved following his previous three losses.
Despite being KO’d by Carlos Condit last time out Hardy didn’t appear to have tightened up his defense and had his head snapped back on numerous occasions by Lytle. He also still favors his lead left hook far too much and the fact that he jumped head first into a guillotine choke towards the end of the fight only served to highlight the fact that the Brit has some glaring weaknesses that have yet to be addressed.
Post-fight Lorenzo Fertitta threw Hardy yet another lifeline despite his 0-4 run, and that makes him a very lucky boy indeed. To his credit Hardy has wisely indicated that he now wants to take some time out to develop as a fighter. Whether a six month spell out will be enough to make the kind of changes he needs remains to be seen however.
2. Amir Sadollah
Sadollah had relied heavily on his developing muay thai game against inferior strikers so far in his UFC career, but last night Duane Ludwig brought him back down to earth by showing just what a truely skilled MT practitioner can do.
There were few positives for Sadollah here other than the fact he made it through the full 15 minutes with Ludwig essentially having his way with him.
While it was acceptable to be outstruck by the more experienced campaigner what will be particularly disappointing for the TUF winner will be that he appeared to retreat into his shell after failing to make headway in the early stages and also uncharacteristically ran out of gas mid-way through the bout.
Bearing in mind that Sadollah still only has 8 fights on his pro-resume there’s no doubt that he’ll have learned a lot from this humbling loss.
3. Jim Miller
To say this fight didn’t go according to plan for Miller would be something of an understatement. In fact nothing seemed to go right for the man who up until Sunday night had began to resemble an unstoppable force in the lightweight division as be pieced together a seven fight unbeaten run.
This will be a tough loss to swallow for him, not only because he now loses out on the title shot just as came into reach, but also because for the first time in his career he was completely and utterly dominated.
Psychologically that might be tough to deal with so it’ll be interesting to see how he comes back from this. The good news for Miller is that despite this unexpected slip-up he still remains one of the division’s toughest competitors, and at the age of 27 he’s still got plenty of time to climb his way back up the ladder.
4. Charles Oliveira
After being essentially brushed aside by Donald Cerrone in under a round, leaving him 0-2 (1nc) in his last three fights there’s no doubt that Charles Oliveira’s hype train took a major hit at this event.
Oliveira has been a vocal about his love of fighting off his back, but he learned a painful lesson on Saturday night that despite his BJJ skills it’s not always the best place to be against quality opposition.
Despite that Oliveira’s talents are still clear to see and at the age of 21 he’s still got a great chance to become a major player in the UFC in the future, so his stock hasn’t dropped to drastically. There’s talk that he may move down to featherweight now, and that seems like an excellent idea as he’s a little small for lightweight and the competition wouldn’t be quite so fierce at 145lbs.