12-13-2010, 01:25 PM
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| | Falling Action: Best and Worst of UFC 124
Falling Action: Best and Worst of UFC 124 -- MMA Fighting
Falling Action: Best and Worst of UFC 124 |
12/13/2010 12:48 PM ET By Ben Fowlkes
The fans in Montreal got an early Christmas present when their homegrown champion gave them 25 minutes worth of domination, but what about UFC 124's supporting cast? While some fighters took a step forward on Saturday night, others likely stepped out of the picture entirely, and at least one found himself just barely hanging on.
Without further delay, let's take a look at the winners, losers, and everything in between after UFC 124.
Biggest Winner: Georges St. Pierre
Watching GSP out-jab Koscheck for five rounds was like watching a mongoose fight a sponge. He was simply too quick and too precise, and that was before Koscheck was forced to try and defend himself with the use of only one eye. You can say what you will about the pound-for-pound debate, but there is no champion in all of MMA who is currently more dominant in his weight class. Now that he's proven his ability to pick apart with strikes what few opponents he can't easily outwrestle, a lot of 170-pounders in the UFC are probably considering going up or down in weight this morning. It's either that, or wait for the 29-year-old champion's skills to atrophy with age. Better get comfortable, because it's probably going to be a while.
Biggest Loser: Josh Koscheck
After gleefully and convincingly playing the villain in the run-up to this fight (and, you know, most of his career), it's going to be difficult for Koscheck to convince anyone that it was all just savvy marketing. Justified or not, that character has become his identity in the eyes of the fans, which is why so many of them took pleasure in seeing his face beaten into an unrecognizable shape on Saturday night. Koscheck spent the better part of five rounds eating left hands and trying for that one big punch that would change everything. He didn't find it, though he did take his beating like a warrior. That will have to be consolation enough, since it seems as though he'll never be a UFC champion.
Most Impressive in Defeat: Matt Riddle
Riddle's enthusiasm for being punched in the face borders on disturbing, but it also makes him a pretty fun guy to watch. After a horrible first round against Sean Pierson he rallied to make a real fight out of it in the second and third, even if he somehow lost all three rounds on every judge's scorecard. Riddle is obviously still rough around the edges, and it would be great to see him develop more of an interest in protecting his own face, but at least he never stops smiling as he's walking into punch after punch.
Least Impressive in Victory: Dan Miller
He did what he had to do to get the win and save his job, but holding Joe Doerksen down for three rounds and peppering him with some barely effective ground-and-pound isn't going to win Miller a lot of fans. You can understand why he might have felt he needed to play it safe, and that's fine. It's just not the kind of thing you want to make a habit of.
Most Surprised By His Own Success: Mac Danzig
The look on his face after his backpedaling left hook floored Joe Stevenson told the whole story. He looked like someone who had just heard his name called on "The Price Is Right," though the shock seemed to quickly give way to relief and euphoria. Perhaps no one needed a win more than Danzig on Saturday night. To get it in the first round, and in the form of a knockout that even he didn't see coming, well, maybe it will be enough to inject some new life into a career that has stalled lately.
Least Surprised By His Own Success: Stefan Struve
Though to many of us it looked as if Struve might be in a little bit of trouble once Sean McCorkle had taken him down and locked on a kimura, Struve later noted that it felt good to "win an easy fight like that." Whether that's a reflection of how unconcerned he was with McCorkle's ground game or just a sign that in Struve's mind any fight where he doesn't lose a pint of blood before coming back to win is considered pretty mild, we can't say. We can say, however, that this win significantly boosts the 22-year-old's status in the heavyweight division. Now let's see if he can make the jump to the next level.
Most Crushing Defeat: Dustin Hazelett
For a jiu-jitsu expert moving down in weight, getting taken down and then tapped out in the first round was probably the worst thing that could have happened. Not only was it a lopsided loss, it was also his third straight defeat in the UFC, which usually equals automatic unemployment. It's hard not to feel for a guy who once seemed to possess such promising potential, but lately he just hasn't delivered when it counts.
Most Likely to Continue Being Overlooked: Jim Miller
After submitting Charles Oliveira he took to the microphone and declared, "I want my shot." You look at his record, which includes a six-fight win streak against some very capable opponents, and you to admit that he's got a right to ask for one. And yet, something about him makes you think it will probably be harder than it should be for him to get that shot. He's not dull, but he's not exactly Mr. Personality, either. He wins consistently, but somehow manages to garner less than his share of the spotlight in the process. I can't put my finger on what's keeping him from getting noticed, but hopefully getting a little aggressive in his post-fight interview will help raise some eyebrows. At least we're talking about him, and that's a step in the right direction.
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