Glover Teixeira re-established himself amongst the elite light heavyweights in the world with a dominant third round finish over Ovince Saint Preux on Saturday night as the UFC wrapped up a whirlwind, five week slate of cards ending with the show in Nashville.
Heading into the fight, Teixeira was actually a slight underdog despite being higher ranked that Saint Preux, but the Brazilian veteran was coming off two straight losses and desperately need to get back in the win column.
Teixeira proved his worth with a lopsided fight against Saint Preux to get the submission win.
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In the co-main event, Beneil Dariush topped Michael Johnson in a controversial decision after three rounds. Johnson was visibly disgruntled after the decision was read after he was certain he should have left the Octagon with his fifth straight win.
But we already know the results from the card on Saturday so we're going to dig a little deeper to see what passed and what failed for the last UFC Fight Night card. This is making the grade for UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Saint Preux.
Forgot About Glover
There's no doubt Ovince Saint Preux earned the hype and praise that was heaped upon him going into his fight on Saturday after he knocked out former UFC champion Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua and Patrick Cummins in back-to-back fights. Saint Preux is viewed as one of the best prospects in the 205 pound division and it looked like he had all the momentum going into the fight with Teixeira, who was on a two fight skid.
But somehow we all seemed to forget just how good Teixeira could be against the best fighters in the world.
Teixeira lost to former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and then got out wrestled for three rounds by Phil Davis and somehow he became the forgotten fighter occupying a space in the top five of the division. Teixeira was more than happy to remind everybody (myself included) just how good he can be when he's on his game.
Teixeira battled through a nasty body shot in the opening round before putting Saint Preux on his back and showing repeatedly who was the superior fighter that night. Teixeira mounted Saint Preux repeatedly and eventually locked on a fight ending rear naked choke to show this slugger has some submission skills as well.
Teixeira is still a player in the 205 pound title race and he reminded everyone just how good he can be with his victory over Saint Preux in Nashville.
The Lioness Roars
While Ronda Rousey continues to dispatch opponents in record time, the list of possible opponents in the women's bantamweight division continues to dwindle without going back to the well again and again for possible rematches. Miesha Tate is already on deck for the next fight against Rousey and that will be her third shot to dethrone the most dominant athlete in sports.
That's where Amanda Nunes enters the picture after her first round submission victory over Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann on Saturday.
Nunes has always been viewed as a top notch prospect, but she's fallen short in a few key bouts during her career whenever it looked like she was about to enter the title fight conversation. Most recently, Nunes was blasting former title challenger Cat Zingao with a shot against Rousey hanging in the balance, but she fell short when her gas tank depleted and she was ultimately finished in the third round.
So seeing Nunes knock down McMann with a jaw crushing right hand and then finishing her immediately when the fight hit the ground was a defining moment for the Brazilian fighter as she climbs into the top five while also landing on Rousey's radar.
Nunes is a deadly mix of power on the feet, wrestling and a base built from Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo. She may not be the person to finally bring Rousey back to Earth, but Nunes has now proven she deserves the chance. Nunes is probably one fight away from a title shot and if she looks as impressive in her next bout as she did this last one, Rousey should definitely take notice of this new contender knocking on her door.
Hotsauce Brings Local Flavor
Being the first fight of the night is a tough spot for a new fighter in the UFC. Chances are the crowd hasn't filled into the arena and more than likely you're performing for media sitting cage side and a small smattering of fans filing to their seats.
That wasn't the case for Knoxville, Tennessee native Scott 'Hotsauce' Holtzman, who not only brought the thunder in his fight with Anthony Christodoulou, but he also managed to bring a huge crowd of supporters there to see his debut.
When Holtzman hit the Octagon, the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville sounded like a main event was about to take place. Fans screamed in appreciation of a home state kid making it to the UFC and Holtzman's dedication to fight locally for most of his career definitely paid off. He got one of the loudest ovations of the entire night and he filled the seats for the first fight on the card, which is admittedly a rarity.
Holtzman will probably have to find out how the other half lives for his next fight when he competes in a new city and state, but whenever the UFC decides to return to Tennessee, there's a homegrown star just waiting to fill the arena again.
Jared Rosholt and Tim Johnson didn't exactly put on a 'Fight of the Year' performance with their heavyweight fight on Saturday but the third round nearly changed all of that in an instant.
With Johnson down two rounds to Rosholt, thanks to a ton of clinch work and takedowns, he was in desperate need of a finish in the final five minutes. With under two minutes to go, Johnson finally opened up his offense and swung for the fences. He stunned Rosholt with a flurry and Johnson looked like he was about to stage a momentous comeback after being down early.
But instead of continuing the assault on an already stunned Rosholt, Johnson decided to go for one of the most ill-advised takedowns in recent memory. Like he almost forgot what round he was in at the time, Johnson had Rosholt on the ropes but instead of pounding away to get the finish he dropped down and put the fight on the ground. It was a shocking move considering how close it appeared Johnson was to finishing Rosholt in those waning seconds.
Maybe Johnson's natural instinct to put Rosholt on the mat kicked in, but whatever the reason, that final takedown may have won him the round but there's no doubt it likely cost him the fight.
Hey Michael Johnson, Check Your Pockets Cause You Got Robbed
It seems judging or refereeing almost always ends up in the epic fail category, but it's hard not to point the finger at such egregious errors as the one committed on Saturday night when Michael Johnson had a win stolen away from him by three officials sitting cage side.
Johnson was in complete control of opponent Beneil Dariush for all three rounds of their fight, out landing him in total strikes 85-75 and stopping seven takedown attempts from his opponent. Johnson landed the only knockdown of the fight in the first round and he was the aggressor throughout the 15 minute affair, constantly backing Dariush up and hitting him with multiple combinations during the three round fight.
But when it was all over, two of the judges inexplicably determined that Dariush was the winner of two rounds, thus giving him the victory for the fight.
It's unclear what they saw Dariush doing that virtually no one else scoring at home was seeing at the time, but either way he got the win and Johnson's four-fight win streak is snapped.
Maybe this is just another example of incompetent judging or maybe it's a statement about the flawed 10-point must system that works well for boxing but never seemed suited for mixed martial arts. A three round fight just doesn't leave any room for error the way a 10 or 12 round fight would work in boxing. Missing one round in boxing could still absolutely cost someone a fight, but typically there's so much more story to see during a match that it doesn't happen that often.
Yet it's a constant problem in MMA and it will probably never get better until the system is revamped and the judges are given better criteria to score a fight or they are just replaced entirely by a more competent group that lives and breathes this sport as opposed to converting boxing officials to mixed martial arts.
Either way, Johnson had to go home with a loss when he deserved a win and that's just not right.