Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC Fight Night 124 blew the roof off Scottrade Center last Sunday night (Jan. 14, 2018) in St. Louis, Missouri.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Doo Ho Choi, who was knocked out by Jeremy Stephens in the headlining bout of the FOX Sports 1-televised event (see it again here).
And Michael Johnson, who got a rude welcome to the Featherweight division courtesy of Darren Elkins, who submitted “The Menace” in another crazy comeback win for “Damage” (video highlights here).
But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now just a few hours removed from the show?
After suffering a submission loss to Michelle Waterson over a year ago, “12 Gauge” opted to take an extended break from the fight game in order to get her mind and body right for her next outing.
That’s because Paige knew she wouldn’t be fighting at at Strawweight, as she would no longer be putting her body through the rigors of cutting weight to hit the 115-pound mark, allowing herself 10 extra pounds to compete in the new women’s Flyweight division.
The multiple injuries didn’t help, either.
But, the time off and adjustments weren’t enough to get back in the win column, as Paige ran into very tough, hard-nosed grinder in Jessica Rose-Clark, who made good on her sophomore UFC effort.
For three rounds, Jessica took it to Paige, dominating the fight in every aspect. In between rounds, though, “12 Gauge” revealed to her corner that she had suffered a broken arm in the early moments of the fight, which meant “12 Gauge” competed for two more rounds with a broken arm, an obvious disadvantage.
While credit has to be given to VanZant for hanging tough, at the end of the day, two straight losses and losing three of four overall is not a good look for one of the faces of the promotion.
After starting her UFC career with three straight wins, VanZant found herself with plenty of opportunities outside of the cage, which included tons of photo shoots, Reebok sponsorships and television show appearances such as this one.
While well-deserved, unfortunately she hasn’t been delivering inside the cage. I liken her slump to that of the one Anthony Pettis suffered in his career, as the former Lightweight champion also opted to change weight classes in hopes of a new lease on his UFC life. And like Paige, Pettis earned plenty of opportunities outside of the cage, which sort of disappeared when the losses started racking up.
Now granted, Paige hasn’t exactly had the level of success of Pettis, but their careers sort of mirror each other, as the promotion was hoping that the two, young talented fighters — who happen to have the marketing looks -- would become a couple of faces they could have plastered all over the place.
While that is still always an option, it’s not a good look for the promotion if the fighter isn’t getting the wins they need to warrant such promotional push. That said, two straight losses isn’t the end of the world for VanZant — as the broken arm defintely played a huge part in the outcome of the fight — she does need a win in the worst way regardless.
One thing is certain, she won’t be going back down to 115 pounds, so we have to play a “wait and see” approach for her next opponent, as the women’s Flyweight division isn’t exactly filled with competitors at the moment.
For complete Fight Night 124 results, including play-by-play, click here