UFC on Fox 11: Post-Fight Stock Report
This far into the year, few would argue the claim that UFC on Fox 11 may have very well been the most enjoyable fight card of 2014.
On paper, top-tier names like Fabricio Werdum, Miesha Tate and Donald Cerrone are enough to drive interest in a pay-per-view—let alone a free televised fight card, accessible to the masses.
On Saturday night, all of the essential fighters delivered in spades—the finishes were brutal, while the decisions were edge-of-your-seat exciting.
Sure, the show ran past its scheduled run time, but in all honesty, you'd have to be crazy to complain.
In the wake of Saturday night's fight card, MMA fans are left with a new No. 1 contender in Fabricio Werdum—when he takes on Cain Velasquez in Mexico, you can safely expect fireworks in heavyweight form.
Let's take a look at where stock went up with victory, as opposed to those who dropped as a result of defeat at UFC on Fox 11.
Up: Caio Magalhaes
"I knew my opponent was going to go for it tonight, so I knew that's what I had to do also."
Caio Magalhaes really summed it up beautifully in his post-fight interview—there's no way to deny that he went for it.
Opponent Luke Zachrich also pushed forward straight out of the gate, but after managing to shift the momentum in his favor, Magalhaes never relented.
He landed a rock-solid left to the body and followed up with a powerful right to the head.
Zachrich collapsed and the Brazilian followed suit with enough ground and pound to warrant referee John McCarthy calling an end to the fight.
If Magalhaes continues to display that kind of ferocity, his future with UFC should grow even brighter.
Up: Alex White
Undefeated (10-0) Alex White certainly knows how to make a proper Octagon debut.
With a calm and collected stance, he marched forward and snuck in a clean left straight that dropped opponent Estevan Payan straight to the canvas.
With arms at the waist, Payan lay helpless as several more blows landed clean to his head.
White walked away with a triumphant victory and a firm declaration that he's here to stay.
Down: Pat Healy
With countless fighters vying for notoriety inside the Octagon, the last thing any of them want is a string of defeats.
Yet after suffering a defeat to Jorge Masvidal at UFC on Fox 11, that's exactly what Pat Healy has on his hands.
He plowed forward in his characteristic grinding fashion, but it simply wasn't enough to overwhelm Masvidal.
Under common circumstances, three straight defeats normally leads to walking papers. Perhaps Healy will be fortunate enough to get another shot to earn a win under the Zuffa banner.
Up: Jorge Masvidal
When you've got a freight train like Pat Healy surging in your general direction, I imagine that it's no easy task to remain cool and collected.
And yet that's just the feat Jorge Masvidal accomplished en route to his unanimous-decision victory on Saturday night.
His timing was wonderful, with well-placed shots and crisp, effective movement. But most importantly, he never buckled under the pressure.
With each consecutive Healy takedown, "Gamebred" popped back up to his feet and resumed his volley of strikes.
With a win over such a tried-and-true workhorse, Masvidal's future at lightweight just received another reinforcing achievement.
Up: Thiago Alves
After succumbing to a series of injuries, Thiago Alves returned to the UFC Octagon after a 777-day absence.
That's a daunting proposition, but Pitbull seemed to do it with relative ease.
He battered Seth Baczynski with three rounds worth of brutal leg kicks. The audience groaned in sympathetic pain, but Alves, on the other hand, punctuated the kicks with enough strikes to take home a decision victory.
A celebrated name like his received a warm welcome on Saturday night. If he can shake off any remaining ring rust, Alves can return to making waves inside the Octagon.
Down: Rafael Dos Anjos
Rafael dos Anjos is undoubtedly a complete fighter, but on Saturday night, he was missing the necessary ingredient to neutralize Khabib Nurmagomedov's onslaught.
Dos Anjos landed some clean shots and tried to avoid any possible takedowns.
Ultimately, though, he began to stagger under the grind and, by the bout's eventual conclusion, he was getting tossed around with relative ease.
He can cause fits for plenty of lightweights, but at UFC on Fox 11, he didn't have what it takes to even bother Nurmagomedov.
Up: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Let's not mince words—Khabib Nurmagomedov put on a clinic against a top-notch opponent on Saturday night.
He was relentless in his efforts to rag doll Rafael dos Anjos from the opening round to the closing frame.
The Brazilian possesses a formidable fight game, but at UFC on Fox 11, Nurmagomedov never gave him a chance to display those skills.
With a blitzkrieg of takedowns, sweeps and passes, the Dagestani-born fighter was in supreme control for the bout's entire duration.
If he can tighten up his less-than-impressive striking, Nurmagomedov will not only lock down a lightweight title shot, but more importantly, he'll have the arsenal necessary to secure that ultimate victory.
Up: Yoel Romero
Following suit with Khabib Nurmagomedov's grappling clinic, Olympic gold medalist Yoel Romero steamrolled his opponent at will.
Brad Tavares resisted valiantly, but it was to no avail—Romero's blinding hip tosses and throws sent him flying on several occasions.
He has exactly the kind of physique you'd imagine on a fighter with his particular brand of lightning-fast reflexes. Romero both looks the part and acts it.
With a streak of four UFC victories to his name, Romero is building the kind of momentum that can really carry him places.
Down: Edson Barboza
Edson Barboza reminded us that no punch should be underestimated, no matter how unassuming it may appear.
He looked phenomenal, up until the very moment that Donald Cerrone's simple jab landed dead center and sent him collapsing to the canvas.
Moments later, Cerrone's limbs were ensnared around his body, with an arm wrapped tightly around his neck, Barboza was tapping before he knew what hit him.
He was on a three-fight tear, but after losing so brutally to Cerrone, it's tough to argue that at least some of the wind has been taken out of Barboza's sails.
Up: Donald Cerrone
En route to his stipulated goal of making 2014 the year he breaks the record for most fights inside of 12 months, Donald Cerrone managed to finish a lethal striker within the opening round.
Though he wasn't looking flawless prior to landing the most significant strike of the bout, Cerrone nevertheless capitalized on the opportunity by submitting Edson Barboza when he was most vulnerable.
Given the wide variety of his recent wins—triangle choke, head kick knockout, and now a rear-naked choke—it's far too clear that Cerrone has all the tools necessary to tear through the UFC's lightweight division.
If he unleashes his notorious wild side inside the Octagon, the sky is truly his limit.
Down: Liz Carmouche
Liz Carmouche is tough as nails—few fighters, regardless of gender, would have gutted out that tight rear-naked choke that Miesha Tate slapped around her neck.
Yet in spite of her heart and determination, Carmouche walked away with a defeat—her second consecutive one in the last six months.
Given the UFC women's bantamweight division's current lack of prominent names, Carmouche is likely here to stay.
But a loss to Tate will certainly take a toll—she'll need to come through strong on her next performance.
Up: Miesha Tate
Though she started off the co-main event bout looking positively lethargic and disinterested, Miesha Tate eventually summoned the necessary effort to put the hurt on Liz Carmouche.
The bout was evenly contested when things got underway, but by the end, Tate was controlling Carmouche enough to crank away at a nearly fight-ending choke.
She didn't walk away with a submission victory, but she managed to secure a decision, one that was nothing short of necessary given her 0-2 record under the Zuffa banner.
Cupcake rose to the occasion when the circumstances demanded it, winning her first UFC bout against an opponent with enough determination to defeat most women in the division.
Down: Travis Browne
After stringing together three first-round knockouts, Travis Browne's run came to an end at the hands of Fabricio Werdum.
His gas tank seemed to empty sometime after Werdum's submission-oriented smothering.
It was all downhill after that point.
By the fourth frame, Browne's movement was utterly plodding—his shots seemingly moving through molasses.
He's young enough and talented enough that, in the grand scheme of things, this defeat ought to act as an important milestone in his upward development.
But in this instance, he went home knowing that a title shot slipped right through his fingers.
Up: Fabricio Werdum
Vai Cavalo, indeed.
Is there a more endearing story in the UFC's heavyweight division than that of Fabricio Werdum?
Junior dos Santos once sent him packing with a swift uppercut at UFC 90. Fast forward to the present moment, and Werdum is outlasting Travis Browne while simultaneously picking him apart on the feet.
It's shocking—almost as shocking as the realization that he's now left with the unenviable task of taking on heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in Mexico.
In spite of his enigmatic effort on Saturday night, a title shot against Velasquez is unlikely to end favorably.
And yet, that doesn't take away a fraction of the credit he deserves for his sublime performance opposite Browne. He put all the pieces of the puzzle together, just enough, in fact, to sell that championship fight when the time comes.