UFC on Fox 2 Concludes Without a ‘Fighter of the Night’ Performance

January 30, 2012
Comments off

Yes, it comes off a bit harsh to say there was no MMAWeekly.com Fighter of the Night performance at UFC on Fox 2. But it’s tough to award for performance when the performers themselves weren’t happy with their performances.

And that’s exactly how it breaks down when you look back at Saturday night’s fights.

Heck, even the UFC’s own post-fight bonuses for Knockout, Submission, and Fight of the Night all went to preliminary card fighters.

Fact: the UFC on Fox 2 main card winners came away with additions to their win columns. Okay, fine. Fact: according to the record books a win is a win, no matter the method in which said win was gained. Okay, fine. One more fact: people are talking about how little excitement there was from the fights on Fox.

Rashad Evans warded off Phil Davis as the former Penn State wrestler did all he could to showcase his improved stand-up. It lasted for close to two-thirds of a round before Evans turned the tides. But once things started working in Evans’ favor, he did little to finish the fight in a way that made him stand out over the rest of the main card winners.

Initially, Evans said he was pleased with how he did against Davis, saying, “I felt good about the performance.” But what he said following that gave the impression he felt the opposite.

“When you have it in your mind (that) you want to finish a certain way and it doesn’t happen, it’s kind of disappointing,” he said.

Evans has always been one to make his point clear in the media, but his demeanor during the post-fight press conference differed from his voiced pleasure. Looking down, hunched over, lack of a smile. It wasn’t convincing that he was happy with how he did in the octagon on Saturday.

While Evans’ win was clear in the judges’ eyes, Chael Sonnen’s win at UFC on FOX 2 sparked debate almost immediately following the reading of scorecards.

Some agreed with the scores, holding Sonnen as the winner with at least two rounds in his favor. Others scored it two rounds to one for Bisping, including our own MMAWeekly.com play-by-play reporter.

As much as Sonnen puts himself on a pedestal following wins, even he wasn’t certain he won the fight. Following the third round and before scores were read, he spoke with Bisping and asked what he thought the outcome might be. He said Bisping told him the British fighter won the first two rounds. Sonnen’s response to that: “I think you’re right.”

Uncharacteristically, Chael P. Sonnen admits he’d have no problem if his opponent’s hand was raised instead of his own.

“If it would’ve gone the other way I don’t know that I’d be complaining,” he said at the post-fight press conference.

Could it be a show of respect by Sonnen for a guy that fought him on short notice? Probably. But being the Fighter of the Night demands confidence in knowing you out-shined opposition better than anyone on the fight card. This, unfortunately, didn’t appear to be the case for Sonnen.

Chris Weidman, to his credit, took a fight on short notice against a guy that’s ranked in the Top 10, Demian Maia. This required the Long Island resident to cut a massive amount of weight before the fight. The middleweight shed 30 pounds in 10 days. A cut like that can lead to exhaustion, which was evident in his fight. But in the Fox broadcast’s opening match, Weidman wasn’t the only one that appeared to be out of gas.

Maia was slow and tired, failing to engage with much more than a single strikes in hopes that it would put down his opposition. The combination of Weidman’s and Maia’s lack of energy as the fight wore on slowed the pace of what could have been an exciting middleweight showdown. Instead, the Chicago crowd jeered the 185-pounders for half the contest.

It may sound odd, but the fact Maia didn’t perform up to par hurt Weidman’s chances to prove he’s a definitive competitor against the top-shelf middleweights. Taking a fight on short notice and beating a well-conditioned opponent would have spoken volumes about Weidman. But he and his foe looked gassed, leaving spectators unimpressed. Fortunately, Weidman’s career is in its early stages, so he’ll get the chance to shine again in the future, and lackluster or not, it was still an important victory.

Being the Fighter of the Night means more than just adding a notch to the win column; it means overcoming great adversity, proving everyone wrong, and confidently putting an exclamation point on a job well-done. The three main card winners at UFC on Fox 2, unfortunately, lacked these key points.

It should be noted, there were some solid performers on the night’s undercard on Fuel TV. Charles Oliveira pulled off a calf-slicer submission, Cub Swanson and Lavar Johnson finished with punishing knockouts, and Evan Dunham and Nik Lentz scored the UFC’s official Fight of the Night honors.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an op-ed commentary article. Fighter of the Night is not an official UFC award.)


Follow @Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik Fontanez.
For more 
UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

  • elguapo

    Is this award now “fighter” or “fight” of the night? Either way I think they should have given it to one of the prelim guys who got a finish. It gives up-and-comers that extra incentive to go for finishes in future fights, and I’m sure it’s not going to affect UFCs bank balance. I assumed they’d just give the award to the sonnen bisping fight though.

  • elguapo

    Ah just read the previous article, the Dunham fight won fight of the night. Even so, I still think they should give the award to someone.

  • http://MMAWeekly.com Ken Pishna

    The Fighter of the Night award is not an official UFC award. It is just something that we do at MMAWeekly.com to build commentary around for the event.

    And this was a tough one, because there were some good performances on undercard. Charles Oliveira, in particular, comes to my mind, but with so many people talking about the lackluster performances on the main card on Fox, we took the tack of focusing on the main card and it’s lack of a winner that really stood out as a stellar performer.

    • elguapo

      Ah right, I see. Cheers for clearing that up Ken. I think you’re right though in that Oliveira would have been a worthy choice but I take your point regarding the main card though.

    • http://www.bloodyfists.net/forums/index.php SHORT_BUS

      I wouldn’t categorize what we saw on Saturday night as “lackluster performances”. I think what we saw was a result of high level, evenly matched fights more than anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kent.murr1 kentmurray

    WTF I never heard of your Fighter of the night award All awards where awarded and announced at the after fight press confrence!

    • http://MMAWeekly.com Ken Pishna

      As noted, Fighter of the Night is NOT a UFC award and thus would not be mentioned at the press conference.

  • Chicago_MMA

    Fighter of the night would have to be Michael Bisping as he was impressive in defeat. I was probably not alone in thinking he’d get taken down and demolished on the ground, and he showed that he could hold his own with the elite in the division.

  • pauly12

    The UFC can’t seem to catch a break with their big Fox events. Firsy the quick Dos santos knockout and then these three lackluster fights. My advice for future events on Fox – use lighter weight fighters with a stand-up base who have proven to be exciting in past performances.

  • phrankthetank

    My suggestions to make a UFC on fox card successful: Throw Gustafsson vs hendo, Cerrone vs guillard, ebersole vs Hendricks. Hell, maybe thiago silva vs Brandon Vera rematch. 2 potential condender matches, a fight promising fireworks, and an attempt at some revenge for Vera.

    • elguapo

      Yes, yes, yes and indeed yes. Cowboy vs guillard is a logical fight and would almost guarantee fireworks for the first four minutes until Melvin gets choked out.

      • phrankthetank

        I’ll take 4 minutes of fireworks over 15 minutes of labored breathing lol.

    • Addiction365

      I would pay to watch that card.

    • speedkillz

      putting the re-match of vera vs silva is a bad idea for a fox card, because then they are going to have to explain that its only a re-match because silva was roiding… not a good look for the image of mma when trying to sell it to a new audience.

      Rashad vs davis was smart because when people dont know anything about fighting look at it they see 2 legit looking athletes going at it. think of all the muscle heads that watch fox football tuning in for the 1st time. good way to interest people who dont know anything.

      as for an entertaining matchup… Thiago Alves vs Martin Kampman. I think that would have been a great matchup. Thiago is always exciting and interesting to watch when the fight stays standing, which against Kampman it is likely it would maybe

      • phrankthetank

        He was supposedly on painkillers not juicing, and that would be a great fight. However I agree it might not be the best fight to put on fox, this is y it was no 4 on the list. Kamppman vs alves is a headliner for an fx show, when making my suggestions I tried to avoid fighters that already have a fight lined up. Also while that should be a great fight, it doesn’t have the right implications to be a fox headliner, as neither of them are really in title contention (even tho I think kamppman was robbed against shields and Sanchez).

  • speedkillz

    putting the re-match of vera vs silva is a bad idea for a fox card, because then they are going to have to explain that its only a re-match because silva was roiding… not a good look for the image of mma when trying to sell it to a new audience.

    Rashad vs davis was smart because when people dont know anything about fighting look at it they see 2 legit looking athletes going at it. think of all the muscle heads that watch fox football tuning in for the 1st time. good way to interest people who dont know anything.

    as for an entertaining matchup… Thiago Alves vs Martin Kampman. I think that would have been a great matchup. Thiago is always exciting and interesting to watch when the fight stays standing, which against Kampman it is likely it would maybe

  • http://www.twitter.com/uncanny390 uncanny390

    The lesson to be learned for the UFC is that quantity beats quality, at least if the quality is at a base UFC level.

    You can put the two top guys in a fight but it wont guarantee an exciting match. But put a bunch of UFC guys on a card and you are guaranteed at least one good finish or fight. Try to show as many fights as you can.

  • RubeKegal

    phrank, he was DEF juicing. The report listed a banned steroid, not painkiller.