Paul Sass had a ton of hype behind him after three straight first round submission victories in the UFC to go along with his undefeated career.
But Matt Wiman had been there and done that, having fought for multiple years against some of the best in the world.
It was experience against youthful exuberance and something had to give.
Unfortunately for Sass, it was his arm when Wiman surprisingly locked up an armbar in the latter half of the first round.
So how did Wiman pull it off? And what happens next for both fighters? Our Matt Wiman vs. Paul Sass UFC on FUEL TV 5 post-fight review and analysis is posted below.
Matt Wiman opened with a kick but Sass was having none of it, immediately taking Wiman down. Those that thought Wiman could use his wrestling in reverse were immediately given butterflies in their stomachs.
Sass looked to land some strikes from top position, but he got impatient and dropped back for a heel hook, similar to what he pulled off against Michael Johnson. Wiman remained calm and escaped the position but couldn't stay on top of Sass for long, getting reversed back to bottom after failing to get back to his feet.
From there, Sass again aggressively attacked with submissions, but Wiman refused to let him lock anything in. It was an impressive display of calm under fire from Wiman and when he finally returned fire, Sass had no chance.
Wiman threw his legs up, locking them in armbar position and Sass, against the cage, was unable to rotate and get himself free. Instead, he was stuck in the dreaded "arms clasped" position. From there, it was only a matter of time before Wiman yanked the arm free and fully extended it, forcing the tap from "Sassangle."
For Paul Sass, his biggest mistake was treating this opponent like his last three. Matt Wiman is far more experienced and nuanced on the ground in terms of submissions and escapes than Jacob Volkmann and Michael Johnson. He should not have been so eager to give up top position just to fall back into heel hooks, a low percentage submission against elite fighters (unless your name is Rousimar Palhares). If he had been a bit more patient from top position, perhaps worn Wiman down with ground and pound a bit more, he could have opened up different avenues.
Sass is still a legit talent, so expect to see him in there against someone like Edson Barboza, Evan Dunham or Terry Etim next.
For Matt Wiman, it had to feel good to be back in the cage after so much time spent on the sidelines. A high profile victory like that against Sass got him right back in the mix among the top contenders and he deserves it. He never panicked despite having a scary ground fighter on top of him and he showed extreme confidence in himself throughout the contest, not afraid one bit of staying on the canvas with Sass. He definitely proved his ground skills are top notch with his submission as well.
Big potential fights for Wiman include T.J. Grant, the Rafael dos Anjos vs. Mark Bocek winner or perhaps Khabib Nurmagomedov.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Is Matt Wiman that good, or were Sass' skills overrated? Can either man be a future contender in your eyes?