UFC on Fox 11 Results: 10 Burning Questions Heading into UFC 172
UFC on Fox 11 is in the books. The results are as follows:
UFC on Fox 11 Main Card
- Fabricio Werdum def. Travis Browne, unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 50-45)
- Miesha Tate def. Liz Carmouche, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Donald Cerrone def. Edson Barboza, submission (Round 1, 3:15)
- Yoel Romero def. Brad Tavares, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Rafael dos Anjos, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Thiago Alves def. Seth Baczynski, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jorge Masvidal def. Pat Healy, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Alex White def. Estevan Payan, TKO (Round 1, 1:28)
- Caio Magalhaes def. Luke Zachrich, TKO (Round 1, 0:44)
- Jordan Mein def. Hernani Perpetuo, split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Fight Pass Prelims
- Dustin Ortiz def. Ray Borg, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Mirsad Bektic def. Chas Skelly, majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
- Derrick Lewis def. Jack May, TKO (Round 1, 4;23)
Next up? The superstacked UFC 172.
For the first time in a long time, it seems like we get two legitimately great cards back to back.
Headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira and backed up by big-time bouts in the flyweight and middleweight divisions, this card offers a lot to look forward to on April 26.
So what topics should you be mulling in your head for the next week? Find out right here!
Can Jessamyn Duke and Chris Beal Salvage TUF18?
The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 was definitely a fun one, but each season is always remembered not for how fun it was at the time, but how much talent was involved (except for Season 10). While it's still early to bury Season 18, the early outlook is grim.
Most of the male cast was cut free without ever getting a "real" fight in the Octagon. Male runner-up David Grant, female winner Julianna Pena and also-rans Shayna Baszler and Sarah Moras are all injured. Female runner-up Jessica Rakoczy's future in MMA is uncertain.
The only woman who has fought since the finale was Raquel Pennington, who lost an ugly one to Jessica Andrade. The only man who has fought, Tim Gorman, got styled on by Mitch Gagnon on the TUF: Nations finale.
Two former cast members fight at UFC 172: Jessamyn Duke opposite Bethe Correia and Chris Beal against Patrick Williams. With them, we may just get a feel for how good that season really was.
So how will they do?
What Is the UFC's Plan for Takanori Gomi?
Takanori Gomi is still a fun guy to watch and a legend in the sport, but obviously, he's nothing resembling a title contender at this point. Logically, then, he should be on the "old guy" circuit, taking "big" fights against fellow established veterans who are outside the title picture rather than unknown up-and-comers.
Why, then, is he fighting Isaac Vallie-Flagg?
Vallie-Flagg is definitively mid-tier, has minimal name value and is coming off a loss to a complete unknown. While the lightweight division isn't filled with the sort of name-brand fighters who exist at middleweight or light heavyweight, Joe Lauzon, Jamie Varner and even Yves Edwards all make more sense than Vallie-Flagg.
So why is the UFC treating Gomi like just another lightweight? Is it actually trying to move him closer to the belt, or is this just a matchmaking misfire?
How Will Joseph Benavidez Bounce Back from KO Loss?
Joseph Benavidez was supposed to be the guy to dethrone Demetrious Johnson. Or at the very least, he was supposed to be the Ken to Johnson's Ryu, matching him punch-for-punch whenever they faced off.
Ken, though, never got Perfected by Ryu so hard that UFC gave him a crack at headlining a pay-per-view event. That's what happened to Benavidez, who now seems to be the bridesmaid for life at 125 pounds.
That was Benavidez's first knockout loss, which opens up a big can of worms on its own. Sometimes a fighter will get substantially better following one (Chan-Sung Jung told me it was his loss to George Roop that transformed him into a legitimate title contender). More often, it marks the beginning of the end of a fighter's relevance. Other times, it's just another fight, one that proves to be an unfortunate speed bump.
So what will that loss mean to Benavidez? Will he come back better, worse or the same? Will he actually be able to reassert himself as an enticing contender?
We shall see.
Will Tim Elliott Not Get Destroyed by Joseph Benavidez?
Tim Elliott was actually surprisingly relevant to the title picture for a little while. If he had beaten Ali Bagautinov at UFC 167, there's a very good chance he would've challenged Demetrious Johnson for the belt by now.
That said, he's now lined up to face Benavidez, who has made a career of beating jive turkeys in truly devastating fashion. Only the best and the truly savvy can survive a bout with the Team Alpha Male product. Just ask Rani Yahya, Jussier da Silva and Ian Loveland.
So, does Elliott fit that bill?
It's tough to say. He has demonstrated some solid grappling skill in the UFC, and he earned seven stoppages in eight wins on the regional scene.
But is he for real? Or is he about to get exposed by Benavidez like so many others have over the past five years?
Why Is Elliott vs. Benavidez on the Preliminary Card?
I brought this up for the UFC on Fox 11 card, with how Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Rafael dos Anjos was inexplicably booked for the preliminary card. I'll do it again here.
It's silly that this bout between two of the best flyweights in the world is on the preliminary card. It sends a bad message about the quality of the fighters. It undermines the importance of the fight. It detracts from the fact that Benavidez is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.
The thing is, while Nurmagomedov vs. Dos Anjos was dialed back to artificially raise the profile of Yoel Romero and Donald Cerrone—two main card fighters the UFC is trying to line up for title runs—I have no idea what the UFC is thinking here with Benavidez.
Jim Miller vs. Bobby Green isn't exactly a blockbuster lightweight tilt. Max Holloway vs. Andre Fili is a random fight between mid-tier featherweights whom most fans couldn't pick out of a lineup.
Simply, this feels like the latest example of the UFC's constant undercutting of the lower weight classes.
Is Jim Miller Fighting for His Job?
"Just Bleed" fans officially own the UFC. Literally. As such, the company is methodically releasing every fighter who has found even marginal degrees of success with "push-against-the-cage s--t," as UFC President Dana White so eloquently calls it.
Miller is one of those fighters, and while he is undeniably one of the best lightweights in MMA, actually being a good fighter isn't all that important these days.
He is 3-3 over his last six fights, and considering Jake Shields got booted from the UFC when he was 4-1 over his last five, Miller easily could have been cut already. He has avoided the ax so far, but I think we can all agree that Joe Silva is sitting there in UFC HQ, waiting to press the button under his desk that opens a trap door to Ray Sefo's office.
That puts Miller in an awkward position. So how will he fare in this fight against Green? And will he avoid the block afterward?
Is Luke Rockhold Poised to Make a Title Run?
When Luke Rockhold had his head kicked off by a TRT-fueled monster named Vitor Belfort, many were quick to call an end to his relevance at the top of the middleweight division. When he bounced back from that loss with an impressive victory over Costas Philippou, he was instantly reinserted into the top of the division. Such is the nature of sports.
Side-by-side with Kennedy's rollercoaster two-fight UFC career is the fast rise of fellow Strikeforce imports Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. Kennedy is deep in the division's Top 10 following his big win over Michael Bisping, while Souza is on a scary six-fight winning streak that has him on the short list of contenders at 185 pounds.
Remember, though, Rockhold beat both of them in convincing fashion in Strikeforce.
It has never been a question of skill with the American Kickboxing Academy fighter. He has formidable striking and some underappreciated grappling, and he has only been legitimately in trouble a few times. The question right now is if the chips will keep falling in his favor.
Right now, things are lined up perfectly for the former Strikeforce champ. All he has to do to keep the good times rolling on is rough up Tim Boetsch. Can he do it?
Can "Rumble" Keep Up His Success Back in the UFC?
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson has looked damn good since getting booted out of the UFC. After a career as a moderately above-average welterweight (more or less), he has somehow become a fearsome light heavyweight, running through numerous solid UFC castaways.
The big question, of course, is if he can beat light heavyweights who haven't been cut by the UFC (at least, not yet). He faces a tough, tough test in Phil Davis.
Before you completely write off Rumble (which, I admit, I am going to do in the next slide), he has been training for years now with this little gym in Florida called the Jaco Hybrid Training Center, masterminded by this Rashad Evans character whom I've heard so much about. It's a gym full of talent that, frankly, fits perfectly into Johnson's long-established game of being a physically overwhelming striker.
Because of the weaker competition he has faced since leaving the UFC, it's very possible we haven't yet seen the best he has to offer. So how much sharper is he now in comparison to when he got tapped by Belfort? And can he pull off the upset on a better-established light heavyweight?
Will Phil Davis Finally Assert Himself as a Title Contender?
So Davis, in theory, has this in the bag (see, I told you I'd do it). Johnson looks huge, but he's still going to be undersized against the UFC's bigger light heavyweights, which includes the oddly proportioned Davis. He's also a formidable wrestler, which theoretically puts him at a huge advantage against striker-by-trade Johnson.
That puts something of an unfair expectation on Davis.
Right or wrong, he is viewed as a likely candidate when it comes to light heavyweight contention. Is he there yet? I don't know. He seems to think so, and so do many others. Has he really looked like a legitimate threat to the belt, though? Well...not really.
Something I bring up often for potential contenders is the idea of a "signature win." Anthony Pettis, for example, sealed up his crack at then-champion Benson Henderson by kicking Donald Cerrone's sternum out of his body. Would he have gotten the title shot with a less convincing win? Maybe...but maybe not.
If Davis really is a legitimate contender, he had damn well better look the part here. Can he do that?
Will Glover Teixeira Actually Be a Challenge for Jon Jones?
We know how good Jones is. He barely looked like a mortal man for his first few years in MMA. The question when it comes to any given fight involving the champ (with the exception of a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson) is "Can this guy challenge him?"
Right now, "this guy" is Glover Teixeira. The much-hyped Brazilian has been pushed by the UFC so hard, and has developed such an irrational fanbase, that you'd forget that the biggest win to his name was a wheeze-fest against an injured Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. So is he any good, really?
Well, he definitely has a lot of pop in his hands, but frankly, there aren't many top light heavyweights who don't. He actually has one of the more underrated ground games of the upper weight classes with his wrestling background and solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The same can be said, though, for Evans and Jackson or all those other guys who Jones beat effortlessly.
So what does Teixeira have that makes him different? Will he be able to actually challenge Jones, or will he wind up being a statistic?