For the second weekend in a row, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brought its fans a "free" event of mixed martial arts (MMA) fights, as UFC on FX 5 took place LIVE from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Oct. 5, 2012.
We saw two heavyweights collide in a match up that had the potential to propel the winner into the 265-pound title mix. We witnessed a grudge match from "way back when," between two welterweights who revisited history in the co-main event. We even got to see a couple of Flyweights do battle for the right to take on Demetrious Johnson and get a crack at his belt.
All in all, it was a very entertaining fight card, and with the price tag equalling "free" on basic cable, it's hard to argue with the idea that we got our money's worth ... and then some.
As always, MMAmania.com recaps the list of winners and losers, and we'll refine the list down to the very biggest winner and lowliest loser of them all.
Let's start off with the "biggest winner:"
There are several deserving candidates. You could nominate John Dodson for his knockout victory over Jussier da Silva, earning himself a title shot versus "Mighty Mouse" in the near future. But, Dodson gets on your nerves. He gets on everybody's nerves. Plus, let's be honest, the first round and a half of that fight was nearly unwatchable. Good on Dodson, but he's not the biggest winner of the event.
It would also be plausible to elect Jake Ellenberger for finally righting the wrong and cleansing himself of his first-ever MMA loss. But, again, that wasn't a fight that you're going to see cued up on any classic highlight reels. Plus, he was fighting a guy who hasn't been in the Octagon since 2005. No disrespect to Jay Hieron, but it is what it is.
Ultimately, my biggest main card winner is Antonio Silva.
He was the underdog. He was coming off two consecutive losses. He was fighting one of the most heavily hyped fighters in the UFC. He wasn't supposed to win.
But he did.
Albeit, he needed the help of a somewhat freak knee injury to Travis Browne to accomplish that feat, but that's just how it goes sometimes. To be a champion, you have to overcome obstacles and injuries.
Browne was unable to do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the guy. I have no idea how bad his knee hurt. I'm sure he did his best. For me, I thought this fight was more of a nod to "Bigfoot" than a display of weakness for "Hapa."
Browne will be back. He's proven he's a tough fighter and a legitimate contender. But, it just wasn't his night.
Now, Silva can earnestly claim that he's back. Maybe he never went anywhere. His last two losses were to Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier, respectively. Those guys are "Top 5" heavyweights and some of the baddest dudes on the planet. It could have happened to anyone.
Does this win automatically make Silva is a title contender? I don't think so. But, it puts him one win closer. He shut up a lot of people ... myself included.
Like the more glamorous award, this one also had some stuff competition.
You could give the nod to Browne for his coming up short in the biggest moment of his career, but like I said earlier, it's hard to hate on a guy who suffers an out-of-nowhere injury like that. The jury still has to be out on him, and there were certainly bigger losers, all in all.
It would be fair to bestow the title upon UFC newcomer Jussier da Silva, who, quite frankly, looked totally shell-shocked in his first fight for the promotion, and he had absolutely no answer after not being able to take Dodson down, early on.
For this award, I'm not nominate a specific fighter, per se. Instead I'm going to give the honor to the whole Jeremy Stephens situation.
Most of the blame certainly goes to Stephens. Hell, he's the one who caused it by getting arrested. But the real drama didn't even come at the hands of Stephens' arrest, in my opinion.
There was no clear dissemination of information. No one knew what was happening. The entire card kept getting shifted around. Maybe Stephens would be there in time, maybe he wouldn't.
Then, to top it all off, UFC President Dana White gets on the air, during the "Prelims" on FUEL TV, and calls out the "guys in the media" who reported that Stephens wouldn't be fighting, like it was a gigantic stretch that "Lil' Heathen" would not be fighting -- when he was in jail, reportedly without bond -- and there being only an hour to go in the preliminary broadcast.
To make matters worse, White delivered one of his trademarked promises that he had no idea if he could keep, when he absolutely guaranteed that Stephens would be there and that he would fight Yves Edwards -- which he, of course, did not.
Look, I love Dana White. I think he's great. I love what he's done with the UFC, and most of the time, I'm right behind him in his corner, backing his business moves. But, this thing just wasn't handled professionally at all.
I feel bad for the fans in Minneapolis who paid to see Stephens fight. I feel bad for the fans at home who planned on catching it, too. I feel bad for Edwards, who trained for months, only to have to be spectator at UFC on FX 5.
But, ultimately, I feel bad because there are going to be people who will look back on last night and forget about a fairly great fight card, because it was overshadowed by a public relations train wreck.
That's our list, but now it's your turn. Who would you like to nominate as the biggest winner and lowliest loser from UFC on FX 5?