FanSided’s resident MMA guru Elton Hobson breaks down the 5 biggest lessons from last night’s UFC on FX – including the Jeremy Stephens arrest drama, the next flyweight title contender, and a dire warning for all readers.
Last night, the UFC’s 5th card on the FX network went down from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And what was billed as a clash of heavyweight sluggers atop an action-packed card ended up being equal parts unsatisfying, dramatic – and strange.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva stop Travis Browne in a fight marred by bag knee injury to Browne. Jay Hieron and Jake Ellenberger underwhelm, while John Dodson made a solid case for a UFC title shot. And Justin Edwards made a statement with a first round submission of a fighter with nearly 5 times his number of professional fights.
Let’s break down the 5 most important things we learned last night:
I am terrible at picking fights
Anyone who checked out my preview of this card was treated to my expert picks and predictions for every fight. Unfortunately for me, anyone who actually watched the card saw how full of sh*t I was.
In all, I didn’t get a single pick right. Zero. Nada. Goose egg. The cruel, spiteful MMA gods decided to pretty much spit in my face this week, and probably left folks wondering what the hell sport it is I write about, again?
There’s a reason I don’t bet on MMA (too often). I stand by everything I said in my analysis and breakdowns of all of Friday night’s fights. But can anyone truly predict the chaos and uncertainty that is modern MMA? This is the sport, after all, where “anything can happen”.
Or maybe that’s just my excuse for sucking so bad.
The best drama happens outside the cage
My gawd the Jeremy Stephens drama!
And yes, that was my (digital) good ol’ J.R impersonation. It’s fitting in a way, because last night’s Jeremy Stephens arrest drama was a storyline right out of the WWE.
For those who don’t know, undercard fighter Jeremy Stephens was arrested the day of the fight due to an outstanding felony arrest warrant. Despite the fact that Stephens was sitting in jail, the UFC continued to insist his fight would still go on. Somehow.
We’ve since learned that Dana White was working around the clock trying to negotiate Stephens’ release on bail, and evidently hit more than a few brick walls. I don’t know what it is about cops not releasing arrested felons so they can go beat the crap out of somebody in a cage fight. The times we live in.
The UFC’s continuing insistence throughout the day that the fight would go on made for some strange drama, indeed. Still, I suppose the UFC should be commended for supporting Stephens as they did. And for being MMA’s version of Saddam Hussein information minister for an afternoon.
There’s no new contender at welterweight…
Man was I wrong about the Jay Hieron/Jake Ellenberger fight (we getting a theme here?).
I thought this would be a nip and tuck battle between two offensive-minded welterweights. Instead, it was more or less a dude outside the dramatic first round. That’s when Ellenberger found Hieron’s chin with one of his bombs, and seemed to have Hieron in all kinds of trouble.
As I wrote about in my preview for this card, I expected Ellenberger to dominate early before fading down the stretch. And he did. The problem is that Hieron didn’t put the pressure down on him, either. Getting rattled early seemed to phase Hieron, who didn’t really get into his groove at any point in this fight.
In fact, neither guy really did. In a fight that was expected to possibly produce a new welterweight title contender, we instead found out just how far separates these guys from the top of the division.
…But there is a new contender at flyweight.
I have to admit it – John Dodson impressed the hell out of me last night.
OK, that first round between Dodson and Jussier da Silva was pretty rough. But Dodson put it on da Silva in the second round, and really…OK, no wait, that round was pretty awful, too. In fact, this fight was shaping up to be a stinker.
But the last 15 seconds saw Dodson explode like a fireball on da Silva, dropping him twice and putting him away the second time. Anyone with fight-finishing power at a measly 125 pounds is a man to be noticed.
I’m not sure Dodson won a whole lot of fans with his “blink and you’ll miss it” performance, but one thing’s for certain – he’ll be the first man to challenge Flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson.
Justin Edwards is for real
Last stop on the “I am so wrong” train – Justin Edwards.
Yep, I called him to lose to Josh Neer in the opening bout of the evening last night. So when he instead choked Neer right out 45 freakin’ seconds – well, let’s just say there’s enough egg on my face to supply a Cora’s.
Justin Edwards may not be ready for the top level competition just yet, but choking out a guy with nearly 5 times the number of professional fights as you have is a statement the division can’t ignore.
I’d like to see Edwards matched up with someone like Sean Pierson for his next fight. Sure I’m just being a homer for my hometown Canadian boy, but I also think that’s a logical next fight for either guy. In fact, that would be a perfect fight for a UFC on FX main card.