A number one heavyweight contender was crowned as former K-1, DREAM and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem defeated former UFC champion Brock Lesnar in a quick and brutal first-round "Demolition."
The trash talk between Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone was finally put aside as the two engaged in a three-round war that saw "Cowboy" looking worse for wear afterward, due largely in part to the pinpoint boxing strikes of the Stockton slugger.
Let's take a look at the complete list of big winners and lowly losers from UFC 141:
Nate Diaz -- Diaz's opponent, Donald Cerrone, came into the night riding a six-fight win streak. He was running through adversaries the way that a bull in a rodeo charges out of the gate. There were all kinds of emotions building up to this fight. Diaz doesn't care. Not about the pressure. Not about being polite. Not about what people expect of him. He looked fantastic in this fight, picking apart "Cowboy" at every turn with amazingly precise boxing.He's certainly found a home in the lightweight division, which is bad news for most fighters.
Alistair Overeem -- "The Reem" isn't the first big mixed martial arts (MMA) star to make the crossover into the UFC Octagon. Countless big names have gone before him, and the transition hasn't always been smooth. Overeem lived up to the lofty expectations and then some. Was he facing a 100 percent healthy (mentally and physically) Brock Lesnar? Hard to say. In all likelihood, Lesnar was never the same after his first bout with diverticulitis. That's not Overeem's fault, and you cannot take anything away from the guy. He fought who they placed in front of him and made short work of him. MMA fans will now get to see the two best heavyweight strikers in the sport go toe-to-toe as Overeem takes on Junior dos Santos for the championship strap. If you can't get excited for that fight, you need to check yourself for a pulse.
Jimy Hettes -- You might see the order of this list and be surprised that I went to Hettes this quickly. Truth be told, all the winners on this list could be placed in just about any order and it wouldn't matter all that much. They all were studs and had huge performances. But Hettes really stood out to me. Like many fans, I didn't know a ton about him before UFC 141. I knew he was undefeated. I knew the guy he was fighting, Nam Phan, was one of the toughest and most highly skilled fighters in the featherweight division. For three rounds, Hettes did anything he wanted. He came close to finishing Phan on numerous occasions, but let's face it, that's no easy task. Hettes' takedowns and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are already fantastic, and he's really just getting started.
Johny Hendricks -- No one was giving Hendricks much of a chance, if any chance at all, leading up to his fight with Jon Fitch. He was supposed to be an inferior fighter in every aspect. The thing is: When you have one-punch knockout power (as does Hendricks), you always have a "puncher's chance." Fitch rushed in, the way he typically does, was clipped, fell flat on his back and was finished in a mere 12 seconds. Hendricks is now 7-1 in the UFC and at 28-years old, he's still got room to improve.
Alexander Gustafsson -- This guy is a monster. At 6'5," this Swede with a crazy wingspan has the reach to hit a lot of fighters before they can even get close enough to know what's going on. He's got phenomenal power in his hands. Vladimir Matyushenko is now a firsthand witness of this fact. Gustafsson is only 24 and just gets better with every fight. Don't be surprised if we see him fighting for a title before 2012 is said and done.
Jacob Volkmann -- "Christmas" is now undefeated (5-0) as a lightweight. At UFC 141, he completely ran over Efrain Escudero like a Mack truck and suffocated him with his wrestling. Do you know that this guy isn't even a full-time fighter? He's a chiropractor! True story. After this latest win, he deserves to be able to quit his practice (or at least just do it on the side), stop fighting on Internet "Prelims" and get an opponent with a reputation.
Jon Fitch -- All we ever hear out of Fitch and his "people" is that he's disrespected and should be getting better opponents. At UFC 141, Fitch was embarrassed by Hendricks. To make things worse, one of the highlights of the night saw Fitch wrestling referee Steve Mazzagatti for a few solid seconds as he slowly realized that he'd been knocked out and the fight (with his actual opponent) was over. Everybody gets caught. It happens. But you talk yourself up the way Fitch does and then have a performance like that. You just can't.
Donald Cerrone -- Like Fitch, "Cowboy" was a fairly large disappointment. The disparity between the game he talked and what he actually brought into the cage with him was massive. He was outclassed from the opening horn until the very end of the fight. Though he did work a few nice leg kicks that put Diaz on his back, this fight really wasn't all that close. Maybe five fights in one year is just too many. Hopefully, he'll be able to rebound in his next showing and get back on the horse.
Jacob Volkmann -- But wait. How can he can be in the "losers" and the "winners" list? He looked great in his fight. His wrestling was phenomenal. I'm really excited to see who he fights next and how he fares. But, he's got to get better with his crowd-working abilities. After his win over Escudero, Volkmann re-visited his 2010 pitfall by making an unruly comment about President Barack Obama during his interview with Joe Rogan. I'm not even offended, it just wasn't very funny. He's a very good fighter, but kind of an awkward dude. Maybe Ed Soares can start translating for him in his post-fight interviews?
Brock Lesnar -- I held off on this one as long into the list as I could. I admit it. I was a big fan of Lesnar's. I mean, come on. The guy was like a cartoon superhero. He was built like a science experiment and had a kind of athleticism we'd never really seen in MMA. We'll never really know what his career may have been like had he been able to stay healthy. What is for sure is that he really had no choice but to call it a day after getting dismantled by Overeem. Even though he did beat Shane Carwin at UFC 116 on July 3, 2010, he very nearly got crushed the way he did by Cain Velasquez and by Overeem. You just can't take that kind of punishment on a regular basis. I don't care who you are. It's sad to see him go, but it's time.
What does your list of winners and losers look like? Leave a comment(s) to state your case!