You wouldn't expect there to be delays and hiccups in a four-man tournament. With that said, Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) inaugural Flyweight tournament encountered just such a speed bump with its opening night of fights.
In the first bout of the tourney, Joseph Benavidez took care of business by taking out Yasuhiro Urushitani by way of a nasty second round knockout at UFC on FX 2 in Sydney, Australia, on March 3, 2012. Unfortunately, "Joejitsu" has had to wait in the wings for the last three months because of a scoring error in the fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall.
Thus prompting a "take two" between "Mighty Mouse" and "Uncle Creepy."
Round two took place when the two flyweights entered the Octagon again at UFC on FX 3 from the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., last night (Fri., June 8, 2012). When it was all said and done, Johnson emerged as the better man and will get to fight for the right to be called the very first UFC Flyweight Champion, in a potentially explosive match up versus Benavidez.
But the flyweights weren't the only ones on display at UFC on FX 3. Not by a long shot.
After the jump, we'll take an in-depth look at the standouts, detailing the big winners and lowliest of losers from UFC on FX 3:
Demetrious Johnson -- This is a no-brainer. Clearly Johnson was the big winner of the night. He finally closed the book on Ian McCall, and now he'll get a chance to become the UFC's first ever Flyweight Champion when he takes on Joseph Benavidez. Flyweight truly is his weight class. It's so obvious. And honestly, it's hard to not feel happy for him. "Mighty Mouse" is one of the nicest guys in all of MMA. It will be truly be interesting to see what he can do versus Benavidez in the title bout.
Erick Silva -- Silva is a monster, and his existence (along with the existence of several other fighters) is proof that Georges St. Pierre still has quite a bit of work before the Welterweight division can be considered "cleaned out." Silva took everything Charlie Brenneman had to give. He dealt with his aggression, got back up after being taken down, and ultimately was able to do what he's done to everyone else thus far -- finish him in the first round. (Note: I'm very aware that Silva technically lost to Carlo Prater by DQ. That loss is as legitimate as Jon Jones' loss to Matt Hamill. Be real.) The hype is legit.
Mike Pyle -- When guys like Pyle and Josh Neer enter into the cage, it's not a stretch to predict a finish. They both are very explosive fighters who are used to pushing the pace. They both were also riding quite a wave of momentum. However, the majority of the first round did not give the impression that that's how this fight was going down. But then it happened. Apparently, the first 4:56 of the fight was just the quiet before the storm. Right as the round was about to expire, Neer charged in and got clipped, right on the button, with a right hand from Pyle that ended the night. Pyle has now won five of his last six UFC fights. Not bad for an old guy.
Tim Means -- Right out of the gate, Means swarmed his opponent, Justin Salas, and showed him what "The Dirty Bird" is all about. Means landed a beautifully timed left hook, early on, that knocked off Salas' equilibrium and had him on skates, pretty much the rest of the short fight. Showing great killer instinct, Means pounced on Salas and was able to get quick and decisive finish. Very well done.
Buddy Roberts -- Roberts made a successful UFC debut with a decision win over Caio Magalhaes. Don't let the fact that the fight went the distance fool you. Magalhaes took some strikes that would have put lesser men on their backs and had them seeing stars. Somehow, he was able to take the punishment and fight through it, but this was a one-sided decision for Greg Jackson product Buddy Roberts.
Karyn Bryant -- Hey, Jay Glazer. Were you watching? If so, this is how you anchor a television sports broadcast. Keep it simple. Be personable. Pronounce names and words correctly. Ask questions that make it sound like you've watched the sport before. Don't always act totally befuddled that it's your turn to talk. In retrospect, nevermind. Jay, you can go home. You're services are no longer needed here. Mrs. Bryant will be handling the anchoring duties from here on out. It's not you, it's us. Actually, that isn't true. It's definitely you.
Eddie Wineland -- This guy has some serious power for a Bantamweight. Unfortunately, his kryptonite has seemed to be quick wrestlers, having lost to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez in his last two fights. Wineland showed a good deal of improvement in this fight, overcoming the third consecutive quick, wrestler he's had to face in a row. He was able to do it by keeping him at bay with his range and precision striking, before he finally landed a right cross on the button that ended the night.
Dustin Pague -- After losing to John Albert at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 3, 2011, many were surprised that Pague was not cut by the UFC. Luckily for him, he wasn't, and he certainly made the most of the opportunity. Pague made use of what he was given, taking advantage of his opponent's aggression, turning it against him, getting an early full mount which eventually led to a rear-naked choke victory. There may be a future for this guy, yet.
Ian McCall -- In a matter of three months, McCall has gone from the guy who a lot of people thought should have won the first decision and definitely could have finished it in the third round, to the guy who definitely lost -- no ifs, ands or buts about it. There are no excuses this time. He just flat out came up short (no pun intended, flyweights). But he didn't come up a mile short. It was close. Really, really close. He may be down, but "Uncle Creepy" is far from out.
Charlie Brenneman -- This was a bad loss. All losses are bad, but this really was a separation bout, in that it determined which fighter was a contender and which was not. Argue all you want. I know a lot of you are still amped on Brenneman's win over Rick Story. That said, he's now lost two of his last three fights and was finished in both. I'm not saying it's time to hang up the gloves. He's still a very good fighter, but "pressuring" isn't a style. It's time for Brenneman to either add some wrinkles to his game, or he's going to be passed by.
Scott Jorgensen -- As a mixed martial artist, you've got to be willing to take the fight to where you hold the advantage. Jorgensen is a very good wrestler, but he's all too often eager to engage in a stand up brawl. Sometimes, that works to his advantage. Sometimes it doesn't. He's now lost three of his last five fights. It's just hard to put a finger on his pulse. Jorgensen isn't at the bottom of the barrel, but he's not a contender right now either. He seems to be the ideal candidate for the position of "gatekeeper" for the 135-pound division. I'm just not sure that's what he was going for.
Jared Papazian -- There's nothing quite like standing across the cage, vehemently calling out to your opponent, flashing physical signs of violence, then rushing in, getting mounted and choked out in a matter of minutes. If there's any bright side, it's that Papazian was able to defend the choke for a minute or so, but it really did appear to be inevitable. Everybody likes YouTube videos of the bully getting knocked out by some passerby who had had enough. This fight reminded me of one of those videos.
Leonard Garcia -- I hate doing this. Leonard's a fun guy, right? He's just seems like the kind of dude who'd wrestle a grizzly bear if you dared him to do it. Lie of the party. Never backs down from a fight. It just seems like he's completely one-dimensional, and even that one dimension is nothing to write home about. Sure, he has knockout power, but the last time he knocked somebody out was almost four years ago. You can only go back to the drawing board so many times.
Josh Neer -- He got caught. I probably could have left it that and still accurately summed up what happened, but earn my paycheck and finish the paragraph by stating that Neer shouldn't be too harshly judged for this blemish. It sucks, because he'd won his previous six fights and was really making a name for himself. But all good things must come to an end, right?
The judge who scored Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha 30-27, in favor of Rocha -- Are you kidding me? What were you looking at? I can maybe see giving him one round, and even then, I feel like it's a stretch. I just wish there was a better system set in place. The UFC not getting to hire their own judges would be like the NFL having to let an outside source hire the referees. MMA judges are terrible and I'm sick of seeing it every single time I watch an event.
Justin Salas -- "J-bomb" had won six fights in a row before he was plowed into by a truck named Tim Means. The fight was quick and violent, not uncommon for Means. "The Dirty Bird" is a bad man. This loss was forgivable, but don't listen to anyone who says there was a moral victory to be gained because Salas hung in there for a while after he got rocked. Yeah, he hung in there, and during that time, he kept getting bludgeoned to the point that his whole face was swollen and bruised afterwards.
That's our list. Now it's your turn. In the comment section below, leave your list of big winners and lowly losers from UFC on FX 3. For complete "Johnson vs. McCall" results click here.