What a weekend!
On Fri., March 2, 2012, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brought the thunder "down under" as UFC on FX 2 brought its brand of mixed martial arts (MMA) to the combat sports fans in Sydney, Australia.
The UFC side of things was marked by the excitement of the new division of "little guys" taking the Octagon, as the flyweights stole the show in Sydney.
On the Strikeforce end, fans saw a new champion crowned in a fighter who will, perhaps, rule the roost of women's MMA for a long time to come.
After the jump, we'll take a closer look at the big winners and lowly losers from this past weekend:
Ronda Rousey -- Yes, I'm starting with Rousey. Yes, I'm aware that there were some very good and deserving candidates from the UFC event. Yes, she's a female fighter. I don't care. Man or woman, her win was massive. Five times she's entered the cage. Five times she's brought an arm home with her. This time, it was no ordinary arm. Miesha Tate is a decorated combatant and athlete, in general. She's been in many wars and didn't come to her fight with Rousey looking to give up easily. Eventually, it didn't matter what Tate wanted, as "Rowdy" finally secured a very deep and nasty armbar that left "Takedown" with a badly broken arm. This lady is legit.
UFC Flyweights -- I'm being general. I know. I'll get more specific in a minute. But, I just wanted to focus on how cool it is that the UFC now has 125-pounders. It's not a freak show. It's not a bunch of guys badly emaciating themselves to fight smaller competition because they couldn't hang at bantamweight. The four guys who fought on Friday night are all very good flyweights. Not only are they very good, but they belong at 12- pounds. That's key. I was impressed by what I saw and I can't wait to see more!
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall -- If you didn't like this fight, I question your MMA fan status. I'm not kidding either. For three rounds, fans were treated to big shots, well put together combinations, intricate ground maneuvering and just an out-an-out fantastic fight. Even though the scoring at the end left things to be desired, you can't fault the fighters (or even the UFC) for that. We'll get to see the continuation when these two gets back in the Octagon to finish this once and for all. I, for one, cannot wait.
Joseph Benavidez -- For the entire first round, Benavidez was absolutely putting it on Yasuhiro Urushitani, a world class flyweight in his own right. As soon as the opening horn for round two sounded, Benavidez showed his finishing ability and killer instinct as he flew forward, caught his opponent with a big right hand on the button, securing himself a spot in the flyweight championship. He looked fantastic at 125-pounds. It will be very interesting to see who he will end up challenging for the belt, based on the results of "Johnson vs. McCall Part II."
Martin Kampmann -- Wow. Talk about snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat! For two-plus rounds, Thiago Alves appeared to be way ahead on the scorecards by out-striking Kampmann at every turn. Kampmann seemed frustrated and unsure how to attack Alves. Then it happened. For no good reason, Alves went for the takedown. Maybe it was adrenaline. Maybe he just forgot that Kampmann is much better on the ground than he is. Either way, the quickness with which the "Hitman" choked him out said everything that needs to be said. The thing is: It doesn't really matter what happened in the first two rounds. Kampmann survived, waited for his opening and then took advantage of it to clinch the win. Great job.
Miesha Tate -- For weeks, leading up to her championship bout with Rousey, we had to listen to Tate talk about how Rousey didn't deserve the title shot, how she wasn't experienced enough to face her and how one-sided their fight was going to be. She was right. It was one-sided, but not in her favor. The only real good thing she has going for her here is that there is such a serious lack of depth in the Strikeforce women's bantamweight division (and on the women's roster, in general) that it may not be all that long before she can get a rematch. The problem is that she is going to be one-armed for a while and unable to train for a good deal of time. Tap sooner next time.
Commissioner Craig Waller -- Due to Mr. Waller's math mistake, the Sydney fans were robbed of a sudden death round between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall. McCall may actually be the one who was hurt the most by this error, as he was putting a good pounding on "Mighty Mouse" in the third round. He may have been able to carry that momentum into the final frame and secure a finish. Who knows? We'll just have to wait until next time to find out.
Thiago Alves -- Bro. You had this fight won. All you had to do was keep things standing, stay on the outside, keep landing your leg kick and following up with good combos. But you got cocky. Maybe it wasn't even that. Maybe you just smelled blood and responded to stimuli. Either way, you all but gave away the win by diving neck first into a guillotine. If someone told you it was Kampmann's birthday, they were lying.
The Strikeforce announcing team -- Maybe if I rail about this often enough, someone will listen and do something about it. Probably not, but it makes me feel better. Mauro Ranallo and Frank Shamrock are just the absolute worst. Pat Miletich does alright and I'm glad he was on the broadcast, but it wasn't enough (and never is enough) to overcome the axis of evil that is Ranallo and Shamrock. They're just the worst. I can't take it. If there was a radio broadcast, I'd mute the TV and go that route, but there isn't. The thing that excited me the most about the Zuffa takeover was that I felt sure that these guys would be the first ones to go. I was wrong and I just don't get what's taking them so long. Make the move, Zuffa.
Scott Smith -- He's now lost four fights in a row. Even worse is how he's losing. He's getting finished and losing lopsided decisions. He also continues to show that if you take him down and have a decent ground game, you're going to be able to submit him. There's no progress or evolution. He gave fans some really fun fights and highlights. I'll grant you that. But those days are over. It's time for "Hands of Steel" to call it a day. Thanks for the memories, Scott.
Paul Daley -- For someone who talks as much as this guy does, he sure doesn't back it up very often. The truth is that he's lucky to be fighting under the Zuffa banner at all after his egregious post fight antics in the UFC (versus Josh Koscheck) that led to him being dismissed by President Dana White. Daley was outstruck badly by Kazuo Misaki, who many fans had never even heard of before Saturday night. Don't be surprised if we don't see Daley around the Zuffa neighborhood for a lot longer.
That's my list of big winners and losers from UFC on FX 2 and Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey." But we're just getting started. We're looking for you, the Maniacs, to keep the list going in the comment section.
For full recaps of the UFC on FX 2 preliminary undercard and main card fights, click here and here. For detailed analysis of the Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey" undercard and main card fights, click here and here.
Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate full fight video highlights from last night's main event on Showtime here.