It was billed as the most stacked fight card ever to be presented on free television. With 12 fights, more than half of which were easily pay-per-view quality match-ups, the hype coming into this event was at an all time high for a Spike TV broadcast. Amazingly, the event lived up to every bit of it. Let's take a look at the most significant fights of the night and what they could mean for both the winners and losers.
Kenny Florian Defeats Joe Lauzon
By TKO At 3:28 In The 2nd Round
With both fighters hailing from Massachusetts and a minor war of words ensuing before they entered the Octagon, this one promised to be a great lightweight battle. Florian's only loss at lightweight was a 5-round decision in a title fight against Sean Sherk and he'd finished off every other opponent by submission or TKO. This one would end the same way.
Lauzon did well against Florian in the first round, using his strength advantage to control the smaller Florian and even go for a few ankle and knee submissions. However, Florian was able to reverse the trend in round two and maintain the mount for several minutes. While Joe covered up nicely and limited the amount of damage that Kenny was able to inflict, the referee stoppage was clearly justified.
With yet another impressive victory on his lightweight resume Kenny should be in line for a No. 1 contender fight with the likes of Roger Huerta. For the 23-year-old Lauzon, this fight did not hurt his UFC stock at all. This was a big step up in competition and his performance in the first round showed that he belongs in the UFC's toughest division.
Thiago Alves Defeats Karo Parysian
By TKO At 0:34 In The 2nd Round
When I wrote the preview for this event I highlighted Thiago's powerful striking ability and Karo now knows exactly how that feels. While Karo won the first round, Thiago, a slow starter, came out in the second round and landed a powerful knee that rocked Karo and put him on the ground. Thiago followed that with several powerful punches leading to the referee stoppage. While Karo did not appear to have suffered a lot of damage and protested immediately, the stoppage could be questioned but I believe most would see it as justified.
This is a disaster for Karo in terms of his desire to get a title shot. In a deep welterweight division this definitely puts him on the lower end of the Top-10. For Alves, on the other hand, he joins fighters like Diego, Kos and Marcus Davis behind the top tier of welterweights that includes GSP, Serra, Hughes and Fitch.
Matt Hamill Defeats Tim Boetsch
By TKO At 1:25 In The 2nd Round
While the opening segment was a pretty even round with Hamill scoring some takedowns and Boetsch getting the better of the standup, you could see that both fighters were breathing heavy before the closing bell. As they got deeper into the second round, Boetsch simply gassed and didn't have any answer for Matt's barrage of blows.
Had this victory been over Matt's original opponent, Stephan Bonnar, it would have moved him up a few notches on the light heavyweight division ladder. Given Boetsch's impressive debut win over David Heath and loss here, he will have to impress the UFC brass at his next fight to stay with the organization.
Nate Diaz Defeats Kurt Pellegrino
By Submission (Triangle Choke) At 3:06 In The 2nd Round
The trend of fighters losing the opening round and coming back to score an impressive win in round two continued in this fight. After being dominated and bloodied by Pellegrino in round one, Diaz secured one of the most entertaining triangle chokes I've ever seen.
Once he locked it in, he lay on the ground and threw his arms overhead in victory and started doing a front double bicep pose, all BEFORE Pellegrino actually tapped! When you are a Cesar Gracie BJJ specialist and have locked in that triangle thousands of times you know when you have it, and Nick knew. Nick is now undefeated in four fights in the UFC and has won every fight by first or second round submission. The future is bright for the 22-year-old winner of season five of The Ultimate Fighter.
James Irvin Defeats Houston Alexander
By TKO At 0:08 In The 1st Round
If there was ever a time not to blink or get yourself something to drink it was when the opening bell rang for this fight. James came out and immediately landed a Superman punch that knocked Houston to the ground and subsequently landed two big blows that caused Houston to go limp for a moment leading to a justifiable referee stoppage.
I had the opportunity to interview James for an episode of Peptalk just days after the event where he discusses the fight in detail as well as some of the crazy training techniques he used to prepare for the fight and the opponents he would most like to fight next.
Gray Maynard Defeats Frankie Edgar
By Unanimous Decision
I'll be the first to admit that I was surprised at the outcome of this fight. Not because Maynard did not deserve the victory ... he absolutely did. "The Answer" really had no answer for the bigger, stronger Maynard who seemed to be able to score takedowns almost at will as the fight went on.
This was a huge win for Gray who was taking a big step up in competition in fighting Edgar. Frankie has been very impressive in victories over previously undefeated Tyson Griffin and lightweight stand out Spencer Fisher. We definitely have not seen the last of him and both of these fighters should be active players in the lightweight division for a long time to come.
Anthony Johnson Defeats Tommy Speer
By Knock Out At 0:51 In The 1st Round
Tommy "The Farmboy" Speer found out the hard way that Anthony Johnson's nickname, "Rumble," is more than a name. Johnson scored a stunning 13-second knockout in his UFC debut, but then lost by submission to the experienced Rich Clementi in his last fight.
Here, Johnson displayed brutal knockout power finishing Speer with a punch that left him on the ground leaning against the cage struggling to maintain consciousness. With his performance here, Johnson served notice that he could truly be a force to be reckoned with in an already packed welterweight division.
This guy is capable of putting anyone to sleep if he lands with those heavy hands and should be an exciting fighter to keep an eye on as he gains more experience and continues to develop the rest of his game. Speer, on the other hand, finds himself at somewhat of a crossroads with his second consecutive loss in the UFC, the first one coming at the hands of Mac Danzig by submission. Tommy is a great wrestler but will have to improve on the rest of his game if he is going to stay with the organization.