Sometimes it's the events that look the weakest on paper that end up delivering the biggest surprises on fight night. It just so happens that UFC 122
was not one of those events.
With the majority of the main card bouts ending in decisions and possibly the most interesting match-up being pulled altogether in the final hour, I think it's safe to say that no one's going to be telling their grandchildren where they were the night the UFC came to Oberhausen.
That's just how it goes in this business sometimes. All you can do is move on to the next one and hope the stars align on some other night. Until then, let's sift through the rubble to find out who are the biggest winners, losers, and everything in between after UFC 122. Biggest Winner: Dennis Siver
His first-round finish of Andre Winner was easily the most impressive win and the most exciting 3 ½ minutes on the Spike broadcast. Getting the win in front of the home crowd must have been nice too, and of course a little bonus money never hurts. The upside of the lackluster card is that Siver's win really stands out, where on some other nights it could have easily been lost in the crowd. Now that he's upped his profile with that showing, let's see what he can do from here.Biggest Loser: Nate Marquardt
It seems like a stretch to label him a "choker," as Dana White did, but this business does have a short memory, and Marquardt hasn't done much that's worth writing home about this year. He's 1-2 in 2010, with the lone victory coming against a distracted Rousimar Palhares. What's most troubling is the complete lack of urgency that he showed against Okami. From the first minute to the last, he performed like a man who thought that simply showing up and hanging around would be enough to earn him a title shot. It's one thing to talk about how hungry you are for the belt, but Marquardt needed to show rather than tell, and the fire simply wasn't there when he needed it.Best Career-Salvaging Performance: Krzysztof Soszynski
The UFC's least spell-check friendly fighter needed a win after dropping two of his last three, and he got it with a solid performance against Goran Reljic. It may not have been a spectacular showing, but he fought smart and kept the pressure on down the stretch, which was exactly what he needed. Let's see if he can string a couple more wins together now that everyone knows to be wary of his kimura.Most Likely to Get Passed Over for a Title Shot: Yushin Okami
I don't normally bet the house on Mike Chiappetta's predictions (at least not after he gave me that "hot tip" about the Dallas Cowboys winning it all this year), but I think he's on to something with his thoughts on Okami's immediate future
. The guy is tough to promote as it is, but coming off a forgettable decision win will make it almost impossible to generate any heat for a title fight. If the CSAC doesn't throw the proverbial book at Chael Sonnen when his appeal hearing comes up, don't be surprised if he cuts in front of Okami for a crack at the belt.
Most Disappointing: Alessio Sakara's Withdrawal
If there was anything that could have saved this card, Jorge Rivera's showdown with "Legionarius" seemed like it. Then Sakara got sick and had to pull out at the last minute, leaving UFC 122 noticeably lacking in brawlability. Bad luck for the UFC, and possibly bad news for Sakara. You know how much Dana White loves guys who will suck it up and fight? Yeah, well that sword cuts two ways. But our disappointment aside, I suppose it's better to fight another day than vomit your way to a loss with the flu. At least Rivera didn't have to wait long to find out what his future holds
.Most Terrifying: Karlos Vemola
The way Vemola went after Seth Petruzelli, you'd have thought he was kin to Kimbo Slice, out for revenge. "The Silverback" is winless in his UFC comeback, so it's not as if a victory over him vaults you into title contention, but a scary-looking light heavyweight who goes after the finish like a starving dog after bacon is always welcome in the UFC's ranks. Worst Finish: Nick Osipczak
When you've lost two straight in the UFC, you can't afford to half-heartedly shuffle to a losing effort and expect to keep your job. The three-fight skid is probably less of a concern than how he ended the fight with Duane Ludwig. Jogging away from striking exchanges and just barely crossing the finish line is not the image you want to leave your employer or the fans with. It doesn't matter how well you start if you can't finish any better than that.Jury's Still Out On...: Amir Sadollah
The TUF 7 winner outpointed Peter Sobotta thanks in part to a bottomless well of leg kicks. A win's a win, but beating a guy who's 0-3 in his UFC career doesn't tell us much about Sadollah's future potential. Without a doubt, the guy has talent. But how long will it take for his ability to catch up with his fame? We still don't know, and Saturday's match-up didn't shed much light on the situation.