Back in the saddle again.
UFC Fight Night 41: "Munoz vs. Mousasi" took place at O2 World in Berlin, Germany, last night (Sat., May 31, 2014), invading the nation's capital for the first time ever.
In the main event, Gegard Mousasi returned to form, submitting Mark Munoz via rear-naked choke in the first round of their headlining scrap.
"Dream Catcher" looked reborn in the wrestling department, unfazed by Munoz's early takedown and outmuscled "Filipino Wrecking Machine" until he secured the victory. The former DREAM and Strikeforce champion can certainly expect another solid test in his next fight, indicating in his post-fight interview that battles against Luke Rockhold and/or Tim Kennedy could be on the horizon.
Sounds about right.
C.B. Dollaway upset Francis Carmont in the co-main event, dominating the TriStar-trained product and rocked him badly in the first round. "Doberman" did most of his damage on the mat, using his wrestling to defeat the Frenchman on all three scorecards.
Both main- and co-main event winners got $50,000 richer, too.
With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups) from the event in Germany.
Biggest Winner -- Gegard Mousasi
Mousasi hadn't accomplished anything significant in UFC before his main event win over Munoz, going even (1-1) with a win against Ilir Latifi (keep the injury in mind) and a loss against Lyoto Machida. However, he completely flipped the script with the Munoz submission, making his presence with a quick finish of an established UFC veteran.
In the process, he showcased his improved grappling game, mixing up his submissions and avoided getting smothered on the ground.
Mousasi's diehard fans can finally breath a collective sigh of relief because the win escalates him closer to the top of the food chain in the Middleweight division. There were a crop of 185-pound combatants who had an edge over him in terms of standings, but the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion proved they are now on equal footing.
Plus, his wrestling didn't suck in this fight, either.
Runner Up -- C.B. Dollaway
What on Earth has been happening in Dollaway's life that we don't know about? A new supermodel girlfriend? Discovering some type of exquisite kale shake recipe?
He's not exactly tearing through the 185-pound division, but 2014 has been good to him, winning the biggest fights of his career. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 runner up has been slugging it out since 2008, yet there was nothing too special about him that could have led to title contention or even a magazine cover.
He toppled a fighter who was ranked sixth on UFC's official ranking list, imposing his will and dominating Carmont for almost the entire fight (he almost finished him in the first round, too).
With a 4-1 record in his last five bouts, "Doberman" is simply rejuvenated. Not so great on the mic, though.
Biggest Loser -- Francis Carmont
It's safe to say Carmon't stock has taken a huge dip since winning six straight fights in two years under the UFC banner.
The Montreal-based fighter has lost two straight thus far in 2014, unable to find an answer for both Ronaldo Souza and Dollaway's grappling skill set. It's almost as if "Limitless" is being beat at his own game. That same game isn't doing Carmont any favors when he wins either, since his performances aren't exactly as exciting as Six Flags' Magic Mountain.
Whether or not the promotion can come to terms with the fact that its releasing fighters it deems boring, the Frenchman has to feel like his back is against the wall. If he loses the next time he steps foot inside the Octagon, it's going to be incredibly harmful to his UFC future ... if this recent skid isn't already.
Runner Up -- Mark Munoz
Unfortunately for Munoz, there wasn't any wrestling advantage for him whatsoever.
Describing himself as the best version of "Filipino Wrecking Machine" the world would ever see, Munoz was anything but that. This may not have been as bad as his losses against Machida or Chris Weidman; however, he was stopped in the first round for the second time straight and tapped out for the first time in his career.
His UFC record of 8-5 isn't horrendous, despite Munoz being 1-3 in his last four contests. He should avoid the cut since a release would be a little too harsh, but he needs to get it together fast. He's in a division where one loss could cut the cable on a fighter's title hopes. And since he's been trying to acquire a shot at gold since his inclusion in the promotion, that now seems almost impossible for the 36-year-old veteran.
That just about does it.
For extensive coverage of UFC Fight Night 41: "Munoz vs. Mousasi," including post-fight recaps, video highlights and more, click here.