The UFC invaded New Jersey for the ninth time this past Saturday with a night of dominant performances and close fights.
Although it was the first time that they have been back in New Jersey in over two years, one would think that the fans would of appreciated the show that they saw, but it is Jersey after-all.
Sadly, most of the crowd didn't even know who their home-state heroes were until Bruce Buffer mentioned where they were fighting from.
No disrespect to the Jersey fans who actually know and understand the sport, but the majority of the crowd were brainless, blood-thirsty zombies who should of given away their tickets to somebody that actually respects every aspect of the sport.
To quote Joe Rogan, "The Meathead Syndrome" had many fans booing the type of action that would have most other cage-side fans at the edge of their seat in anticipation.
So much so that even Dan Miragliotta succumbed to the pressure of the "boo birds" and separated fighters while they were still pressing the action. I won't even mention his unnecessarily late stoppage in the fight between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.
Despite my gripes of the night, UFC 111 was a great card that far exceeded my expectations.
Now, let's take a look at where the losers of the night should go next.
Well, the loosely-based criteria of the judges struck again as Mark Bocek suffered defeat at the hands of New Jersey's own, Jim Miller.
In a hard fought, three-round war, fans saw the momentum switch sides on numerous occasions.
Miller took the edge in round one with better striking and defense, as well as a shoulder-wrenching kimura. Bocek dominated round two on Miller's back, with Miller's arm trapped for a majority of the round.
It really came down to round three, which was a close round at that. Miller once again put on a better striking display, but didn't really do any significant damage. Near the end of the round, Bocek scored some big takedowns, making many believe that he stole the fight.
The judges didn't see it the same way, so they awarded Jim Miller the win in a unanimous decision.
Despite the loss, Bocek shouldn't be forced to step back too much against weaker competition.
A perfect match-up for Bocek would come against the winner between Jacob Volkmann and Ronnys Torres.
While both of those fighters are coming off of a loss, they both showed the warrior spirit to contend inside the octagon. A fight against the winner would be a great warm-up match for Bocek before battling another top ten lightweight.
The man known as "Killa B" deserves mad props for stepping up against the consensus number two lightweight of the UFC.
Although he spent his training camp preparing to fight a similar style as Jon Fitch, it's hard to readily prepare yourself against a fighter who is several notches above his original opponent on two days notice.
As per usual, Fitch used his dominant ground game to control Saunders throughout three rounds and earned the unanimous decision victory.
With this fight, Saunders showed that he still has a ways to go before breaking into the top ten of the welterweight division, so a step down in competition is a must.
Preferably against someone who is well-rounded in many areas, someone like Chris "Lights Out" Lytle.
A match between the two would offer up a great striking war, but should the fight hit the mat, neither would be at a disadvantage.
Both are sitting at about the same level in terms of rank, and a big win would put one of them on the verge of the top ten.
Fabricio Camoes saw his undefeated streak come to an end this past Saturday against the under-rated submission fighter, Kurt Pellegrino.
Camoes started off strong and had Pellegrino in a number of precarious positions. However, Pellegrino's experience was enough to escape and turn the tide.
Once again, the bright UFC lights appeared to get to Camoes as the fight progressed, causing him to wind himself out in the process. It was either that or Camoes needs some serious improvement in his cardio.
Although he has fought admirably against some good competition, Camoes needs to fight a different level of opponent; as stated before, Pellegrino is seriously under-rated.
A fight against wrestler, Steve Lopez, would be a perfect fight to determine where both fighters stand in the cut-throat business of the UFC.
The winner would get another shot at making his mark, while the loser would likely be handed his walking papers.
Is Frank Mir still dreaming about Brock Lesnar now, or has another behemoth of a man invaded the former champion's nightmares?
Despite adding 25-plus pounds of muscle to his frame, Mir was bullied around the cage by the much stronger, Shane Carwin.
Carwin came in with a solid game-plan, avoiding both of Mir's biggest strengths in his boxing and jiu jitsu by pressing Mir against the cage.
From here, Carwin showed how powerful he really is with a number of short, vicious shots from the clinch.
After wearing Mir down with knees, Carwin unleashed his inner-demon and began to throw short, left uppercuts from the clinch that had Mir's knees buckling in no time.
Taking a number of brutal shots to the equilibrium, Mir did the best he could to hang on and recover. But once a monster like Carwin smells blood, there is no chance to recover.
Carwin eventually had Mir flattened out on his stomach and continued to make the mat thud from his power and Mir's head, knocking him unconscious.
Referee, Dan Miragliotta finally stepped in and waved off the fight, sending Mir back to the drawing boards, and likely more psychological problems.
With so much to prove, Mir should fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira next to try and show the world that he would of won despite Nogueira's staph infection.
If he could do that against the decorated grappler, Mir would show that there is still some life around in his MMA game.
In spite of the loss, Dan Hardy probably gained more respect and fans for his never-give-in attitude and gritty heart.
Hardy was stuck on his back for a majority of the five-round fight, but he did enough to survive Georges St. Pierre's relentless wrestling attack.
During this attack, Hardy muscled his way out of a nasty armbar in the second round, as well as a shoulder-popping kimura in the fourth. Many believe that St. Pierre let the submissions go, but make no bones about it, the champion was trying to finish the fight.
The brash British fighter showed that he did deserve a chance to shock the MMA world, but he just failed to execute his plan, or at least keep the champion from executing his own plan.
The man that wouldn't tap, that wouldn't give up will now have to take a step back as he searches for a rematch with St. Pierre like many other of the welterweight contenders.
The UFC needs to give him a top ten opponent as soon as possible to show that Hardy is still legit, despite losing.
A perfect fight would come against the winner between Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann. Both of those fighters would test Hardy in the ground area some more. Maybe nowhere near as much as St. Pierre did, but it would be a test nonetheless.
Check out Robert Gardner's article to see who the winners should fight next.
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