Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the Spike TV airwaves last night (Sept. 17, 2011) with its latest free offering, UFC Fight Night 25: "Battle on the Bayou" at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
With the seeming lack of compelling bouts combined with a high profile boxing match featuring Floyd Mayweather going down on the same night, it was a tall order for UFC to hold the audience's attention.
If you blinked, you missed it.
Shields, who was competing just 18 days after the passing of his father, was, quite simply, over-matched and overwhelmed. Ellenberger was entirely too athletic, moving fluidly and with precision, locking in a Muay Thai clinch and driving his knee straight through his opponents face.
He followed that up with a barrage of punches that effectively stamped his ticket on a one-way train to the top of the welterweight division. Did we just witness a future challenger to the 170-pound throne? The magic eight ball says:
It was the type of evenly contested match-up UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has become so famous for putting together. Unfortunately, there are those times two fighter's styles cancel each other out.
This was one of those times.
The opening couple of rounds saw little action and loud boos from concerned onlookers that paid for a scrap and were rewarded with a nap. Thankfully, they were abruptly awakened in the final frame when Yang got busy delivering some kung fu fighting.
It was too little too late, though, as McGee held on to earn the unanimous decision, his third victory in a row.
Plenty of question marks surrounded Brookins, who was lit up in the first round of his TUF crowning bout against Michael Johnson before storming back late for the win. The same situation repeating itself would surely result in failure.
That's not exactly how it played out. No, this time he was lit up for all 15-minutes.
Sure, he shot in for takedown after takedown and repeatedly pushed his foe against the fence, landing an occasional elbow or two. But his aggression and Octagon control were negated by the fact that he offered almost zero offense throughout all three rounds.
By the time the horn sounded, it was clear "The New Breed" was one step closer to that rematch against Chad Mendes.
A heartwarming tale opened the event's festivities, as Alan Belcher had his first fight back since suffering a detached retina last year while in Brazil. The surging middleweight nearly lost vision in one eye and was forced to undergo career-threatening surgery.
His drive and unwillingness to quit led him to last night's match-up against veteran Canadian Jason MacDonald. On paper, it was uneven, but that was if Belcher could return to the level he was once at, a notion that was most certainly not a foregone conclusion.
There's no doubt now.
That's because Alan showed just how "Talented" he really is when he blasted MacDonald with a big shot that had "The Athlete" rocked and looking for a way out.
And this was while Belcher was in MacDonald's full guard.
He essentially had his way with the 36-year-old, passing his guard while delivering a smattering of brutal ground and pound that was enough to eventually force the rarely heard verbal submission.
Welcome back, Mr. Belcher.
That's enough from us; now it's your turn to discuss "Battle on the Bayou" in the comments section below. Sound off with all your thoughts on the big card in the "Big Easy."
For complete UFC Fight Night 25 results and blow-by-blow of all the night's action click here.