The main event featured a very compelling match up between two of the top Lightweight fighters in the 155-pound division, Nate Diaz and Jim Miller. With a dominant, second-round submission victory, Diaz showed that he continues to improve with leaps and bounds, and that he may very well be deserving of a title shot.
The co-main event showcased a Welterweight showdown between Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck, in which Hendricks was able to secure a somewhat controversial split decision. Regardless, a win is a win, and the victory puts Hendricks "in the mix."
On the whole, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were treated to 12 exciting fights that spanned different weight classes, from Flyweight (125 pounds) to Heavyweight (265 pounds). Remarkably, the only weight class not represented was the Light Heavyweight division. Nonetheless, it was a great show of the diversity that the UFC is capable of displaying.
There were many winners and losers on May 5, 2012. After the jump, we'll try and narrow down the list to the key victors, as well as those who simply failed to deliver at UFC on FOX 3:
UFC on FOX -- In my opinion, this was by far the best of the three UFC cards we've seen on FOX. Albeit, not all of the event's fights were actually on FOX, but we're taking baby steps. The event, from top to bottom, featured fighters from almost every weight class, while different styles were represented, too. There were knockouts, submissions and full tilt throwdowns that had to go to the judges' scorecards to be decided. It was a good advertisement for the organization and for the sport, in my humble opinion.
Nate Diaz -- Love him or hate him this guy is for real. In his last three fights, Diaz has submitted Takanori Gomi, badly outboxed Donald Cerrone, and now submitted Jim Miller, a fighter who'd never been submitted in any of his previous 24 professional contests. Nate Diaz is a bad man. Give him a title shot. Do it soon.
Alan Belcher -- Are you kidding me, Belcher? You purposely dive into the dungeon of Rousimar Palhares and test him on the ground, a region where he is renowned for incapacitating men and taking away their ability to walk out of the cage? When "The Talent" first hit the canvas with "Toquinho," I was sure, like many, that it was the beginning of the end. For a moment, it looked like we'd all be right. Belcher got himself tangled up in a potential heel hook. It didn't look good. We've seen it before countless times. But, then it happened. Belcher defended. He rolled. He reversed. He mounted Palhares, pounded him out and that was that. The whole MMA world owes him an apology. I'll go first. My bad, Mr. Belcher.
The UFC Flyweight Division -- If you witnessed John Dodson vs. Tim Elliott and Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker, you were privileged to take in two of the fastest paced, furious battles that we've seen in a long time. The pace was frantic. The striking never stopped. There didn't need to be an argument made for the validity of having a 125-pound weight class, but if there'd been a need, last night's showings would have shut up the critics.
Lavar Johnson -- Have you ever seen anything so awesome that you just felt silly using too many words to describe it? That's kind of how I feel about summarizing Johnson and his fight versus Pat Barry. If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. Johnson is just a hulking mass of "scary," and the heavyweight division should feel placed on notice.
Johny Hendricks -- I'm putting him last on the list because, let's be honest, the win was not dominant. Not only did Hendricks not put away Koscheck, but there's a case that can be made for Hendricks not even winning that fight. The talk before the fight was that if Hendricks could defeat "Kos," he'd be close to a title shot. I'm thinking he's going to need to win one more, and do it in impressive fashion, after a performance that didn't really live up to his recent body of work.
The Jersey Fans -- Look, I know some fights don't live up to your expectations. That's how life can be sometimes. But, when the crowd is booing half the night, something is off. They either don't know what they're watching, or they're just being difficult for the sake of being difficult. Throughout the event, I noted a fan screaming a poorly thought-out marriage proposal to Arianny Celeste, idiots booing for no real justified reason, several fans who were drunk out of their minds at 4:30 p.m., during the Facebook "Prelims" and several obligatory "U.S.A." chants. I'm not saying you need to start drinking tea with your pinky pointed outward, but you could show a little class. Just a thought.
Jim Miller -- He fought his heart out. He didn't quit. He even almost bit his own tongue off while Diaz was choking him. The problem is that tonight, combined with his loss to Ben Henderson, show, in my mind, that Miller is not championship material. That doesn't mean he sucks, it doesn't even mean that he's not exceptional. In most divisions, he'd be the cream of the crop. He just so happens to be stuck in a logjam of amazing fighters in the sport's most ridiculous weight class. Jim Miller is a good dude. I'm not mad at him, I feel bad for him.
Pat Barry -- I go back and forth about how I feel about "HD." He had so much potential, but, unfortunately, I think he's turning into a divisonal gatekeeper, ala Roy Nelson. He's that guy who gives the fans a good show. He swings for the fences and tries to deliver fireworks. The problem is that it's getting to the point where there's just as good a chance that he scores a sick knockout and wins a bonus check as there is that he gets destroyed by a fighter who was just better. Barry is now 3-5 in the UFC. The three guys that Barry beat are Christian Morecraft, Joey Beltran and Antoni Hardonk. Impressed? Yeah, I didn't think so.
MMA Referees -- I'm probably nitpicking, but when I watch MMA, I don't watch for the officials. I don't really want to even notice them, unless they're stepping in to pull some fighter off another fighter. So, let me frank. The whole "saying hi to the kids" deal when the camera pans on the referee ... that has to go. Stop making hearts with your hands. Stop doing shadow puppets. Don't pound your fists together awkwardly or give yourself a high five. It's weirding everyone out. We were all thinking it, I just had the courage to say it.
Josh Koscheck -- I honestly almost didn't put Koscheck on this list. He didn't look bad in this fight, in fact, I think he should have won 29-28. I'm not even a Koscheck fan (probably the opposite), but he did lose and the loss puts him another step down the ladder.
There were surely other big winners and losers from UFC on FOX 3, but those were the ones who stood out to me the most. That doesn't mean we have to be done with the conversation. In the comments section below, feel free to rattle off your own list, as well as to make corrections to ours.