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The Monday After: Final thoughts on UFC Fight Night 58

The UFC put a bow on its year of fight cards in Brazil with UFC Fight Night 58 last Saturday night (December 20, 2014). Let's take a look at some of the performances from that card.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The holidays are officially upon us fight fans. And the UFC put a bow on 2014 with its last card of the year, UFC Fight Night 58, on Saturday evening (December 20, 2014).

Sidebar: Excuse my saltiness for I've been defeated by former MMAmania scribe Matt Roth in our MMA Fantasy league title game. My team "Stets B Nation" was 13-1 and winning right up until three Arizona Cardinals couldn't tackle Marshawn Lynch on his way to a 79-yd TD that propelled Roth's "Big Ol' TD's" on to victory 115.74-112.54. He also handed me my lone loss in the regular season. I am absolutely sick over this.

The fight card from Barueri, Brazil was filled with the typical array of names you usually don't recognize on a Brazil card and the main and co-main events were fairly favorable match ups for both former UFC champions, Lyoto Machida and Renen Barao.

And they did what many thought they would do: win.

And then there was "Rampage."

Quinton Jackson didn't quite make a surprise entrance during the night like Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation, mostly due to the rumors that were swirling about since a day prior. But his presence (via a recorded message) and announcement that he re-signed with the UFC was definitely odd and awkward, since, according to Bellator president Scott Coker, the former UFC champion is still, in fact, under contract with Bellator.

And also because of how Jackson would tell anyone who would listen during the last year how much he disliked his former employer and how he absolutely loved his new home in Bellator.

The UFC had a media blitz all last week for CM Punk, so it seems they wanted to continue on with the big announcements. It is a very strange choice for the UFC to head into a legal battle with Viacom and Bellator over the rights of a fighter past his prime, when they are already going to have to deal with the class-action lawsuit against them that was announced in the beginning of last week from Cung Le, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry. But hey, your guess is as good as mine.

For the record, I would be as excited as anyone to see Jackson vs. Mauricio Rua, or "Rampage" vs Dan Henderson again, but beyond that, seeing Jackson against anyone else, to me, is not exciting anymore and hasn't been for quite some time.

That being said, 2015 should have some interesting story lines right out of the gate. It's "The Monday After," so let's look back at some of the fighters and their performances from UFC Fight Night 58.

Erick Silva

How about we pump the brakes on the superlatives of Silva? Yes, he looked fantastic on Saturday night. And he always comes out of the gate at full speed. But, he defeated Mike Rhodes. "Biggie" is now 0-3 in the UFC. Credit to Silva for getting the finish over Rhodes with the side-triangle choke submission and a very deft knee-cut guard pass across the body to gain position for the finish.

Well done.

But Silva has beaten no one worthy of mention in his career. And if anyone mentions Matt Brown vs. Silva as the "Fight of the Year" I am going to lose it. That fight wasn't even "Fight of the Week." Was it a great first round? Yes. Was it a great performance by Brown? Yes. After the first round it was an absolute beat down and one-sided route by Brown. Guess what? That doesn't make it a candidate for "Fight of the Year." How about Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler? Or maybe, Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida? Those were exciting and highly competitive bouts. If you think Brown vs. Silva was anything but a great performance by Brown you are sadly mistaken and perhaps got lulled in by the hometown Ohio crowd.

Leandro Issa

While Issa is not exactly a household name, he gets mention this week for finishing Yuta Sasaki via neck crank at Fight Night 58. Isaa almost fell victim to a D'arce choke prior to his victory, but survived, turned the tides, got the back of Sasaki and locked up the neck crank for the finish. Neck cranks are still a rarity in MMA, but this one and Frankie Edgar's submission over Cub Swanson at Fight Night 57 makes two in two months. I'll take it and hope we start to see more of them.

Patrick Cummins

What a story this continues to be for Cummins. Yes, he got smashed by Daniel Cormier, but he was slinging triple grande skinny-vanilla lattes and struggling to book fights before that. The loss in his debut to Cormier was on February 22 at UFC 170. Since then, he has won three straight fights. One by technical knockout over Roger Navarez, and two by unanimous decision over Kyle Kingsbury and Antonio Carlos Junior. Saturday night's win over Carlos Junior was another dominant performance where he showcased his wrestling and grappling skills. Yes, he isn't blowing away the top half of the 205 division, but he is carving out a nice career for himself and winning three in a row is never a bad thing.

Renan Barao

I saw a lot of negative reaction toward the former UFC bantamweight champion and I found it very surprising and also, depending on what was being said, just flat out unjustified. Most importantly, he won the fight vs. Mitch Gagnon. Secondly, he won by submission.

However he got to there, he got there (highlights here).

I love reading tweets on fight night (not really) where everyone changes their own criteria as to what a fighter needs to do to move up in rankings or earn a title shot on a consistent basis. Barao's performance wasn't impressive enough? You do realize that opponents aren't going to just lay down for him, right? He isn't going to steam roll everyone he faces in 30 seconds, every fight is a different fight. Some go the distance and some end violently.

The idea that Barao getting a finish -- however the hell he got it -- isn't good enough to put him in the title picture is absurd. He is the former champion and the loss to TJ Dillashaw was his first in over 30 fights. Now he has to finish in a certain fashion to impress you? That is just ridiculous. I have no issue if the UFC wants to put him against the winner of Dominick Cruz vs. TJ Dillashaw, once they fight.

Lyoto Machida

"The Dragon" looked great in his one-minute victory on Saturday night. He usually does against inferior competition. And make no mistake, that is exactly what Dolloway is compared to Machida. It was a winnable fight scheduled for the hometown fighter in the main event akin to a top NCAA football team getting handed a patsy on homecoming weekend. That is not a knock on Dolloway, per se, it's just the facts about his physical limitations against a skilled and technical striker like Machida.

Dolloway is a tough fighter and has had some impressive wins throughout his 9-6 tenure in the UFC, but this was a fight Machida was supposed to win and the Brazilian did so in devastating fashion. No one should be surprised, just like we weren't when Machida crushed the likes of Mark Munoz and Ryan Bader in similar fashion.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion waited for an opening and then delivered a thunderous kick to Dolloway's liver, which sent him to the canvas and left him paralyzed (highlights). Machida then swarmed in with follow-up punches until the referee waved it off.

As for what is next for Machida, it is tough to say what the promotion will do with him next. Maybe Luke Rockhold or maybe the winner of Jacare Souza vs. Yoel Romero could be next. Machida is now 3-1 since dropping down to middleweight and his lone loss in the division is, of course, the title-fight loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 175 last July. I don't think he will get a title fight soon, but depending on whom he faces next, that conversation could change.

Rampage Jackson

Like I said at the beginning of this article, I'll be a sucker for nostalgia and run to watch "Rampage" take on "Shogun" or Dan Henderson, but beyond that, I'm not over enthusiastic in seeing him struggle against the top half of the 205 division. Let's not forget he lost three in a row on his way out of his first UFC tenure to Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira and Jon Jones. Aside from that, Jackson may not even be allowed to fight in the UFC, depending on the imminent lawsuit from Bellator because they are saying he is still under contract with them. The whole thing is just really odd. We will see how it all shakes out soon enough.

Odell Beckham Jr.

No he isn't a fighter, but he is a straight-up gangster at wide receiver for my beloved New York Giants. I mention him because I feel strongly that the former LSU Tiger will be the NFL offensive "Rookie of the Year." In just 11 games -- he missed the first four due to a hamstring injury -- he has 79 receptions, 1,120 yards and 11 TDs. Beckham still has to play against Philadelphia next week, where he will set for another feasting. Here are some highlights from SB Nation's Big Blue View (here).

Enjoy your Christmas Maniacs!

Hope Santa brings you what you asked for. Thanks for supporting this column, and Talk to you all after UFC 182 next week.

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