Inside the cage, however, we saw some stars rise while others went plummeting down. Won't you join me below for a look at the biggest winners, losers, and everything in between after the UFC's Fight for the Troops 2 event?
Biggest Winner: Melvin Guillard
His explosive striking put Dunham in desperation mode early on, and he turned up the heat at just the right time. Guillard was simply too fast and too powerful on Saturday night. Combine that with his vastly improved takedown defense, and what you have is a fighter who is suddenly a legitimate threat in the UFC's 155-pound division. We still don't know if he's good enough to stay off his back against some of the top wrestlers in the weight class, but at least the win over Dunham showed that he still knows how to finish. We should be able to tell a lot about where he is in the title contender picture by who the UFC gives him next.
Biggest Loser: Evan Dunham
From next big thing to the back of the pack with two straight losses. The split decision loss to Sherk may have been questionable, but this time Dunham looked extremely vulnerable on the feet and couldn't get a takedown when he needed it most. Is it possible he took Guillard too lightly, or just wasn't adequately prepared for his speed? Maybe. If so, I'm guessing it's a mistake he won't make again any time soon. Back to the drawing board.
Cecil Peoples' Worst Nightmare: Pat Barry
The honorable judge Peoples once declared that leg kicks shouldn't be scored as significantly as blows to the head, since leg kicks don't end fights. Of course, leg kicks have ended fights before, but that's not even the point. As Barry's shellacking of Joey Beltran showed, even if chopping away at your opponent's thigh doesn't put him away, it reduces him to a shadow of the fighter he was when he started the bout. Somehow Beltran toughed it out and managed to limp his way to a decision loss, which was impressive in itself. Barry may not have been able to finish him, but when a guy can take a kick to the head without suffering from anything more severe than mild annoyance as a result, a decision win is an outcome you may just have to live with.
Most Compelling Case for a Title Shot: Mark Hominick
All he had to do to get a shot at UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo was win on Saturday night. Apparently not content to play it safe and eek his way through, Hominick instead utterly destroyed George Roop. Does a TKO victory over someone like Roop mean he's necessarily in the same class as Aldo? Not at all, but at least it helps to sell the idea that the UFC might have a credible contender to give Aldo a test in his first bout inside the Octagon. Whether that idea turns out to be more illusion than reality, we'll have to wait and see.
Most Impressive in Defeat: Cody McKenzie
Facing one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC, the 23-year-old McKenzie did a surprisingly good job of holding his own early on. He looked a bit awkward and somewhat wild at times, and he ended the night with a refreshing little power nap thanks to a rear naked choke from Edwards, but at least he showed that he has more in his bag of tricks than just that guillotine. Obviously, he's still a work in progress, but if he can close up some of the holes in his game he'll be worth keeping an eye on.
Least Impressive in Victory: Waylon Lowe
He did just enough to win the decision over Willamy Freire, though he got so exhausted he looked as if he were just happy to make it to the end of the fight. Lowe's style is effective, at least against fighters who don't have a strong wrestling base, but it's probably not making him many friends in the UFC's front office. Maybe that doesn't matter to Lowe as long as he's able to wrestle his way to a win. However, the cautionary tale of Gerald Harris should serve as a reminder that if the UFC isn't happy with what it sees from you in victory, it won't hesitate to cut you right after a defeat.
Most in Need of a Tougher Challenge: Matt Mitrione
The question of what to do with Meathead is a tricky one for the UFC brass. He's got only four official pro fights to his credit, which makes throwing him in against big name heavyweights seem almost sadistic, at least on paper. Then again, this is a former NFL player with uncommon athleticism, so maybe he could stand to be put on a faster track. His demolition of Tim Hague – much like his wins over Kimbo Slice and Marcus Jones – only proved that when matched against fighters who aren't quite good enough for the UFC, he can expose them as such. Now it's time to put him against some tougher opponents and find out what he can really do.
Most Surprising: Matt Wiman
Of all the guys to come off season five of "The Ultimate Fighter," Wiman has to be one of the most shocking success stories. He bullied and battered Cole Miller on Saturday to bring his current win streak to three, and then ingratiated himself to fans by declaring afterwards that he'd left his TV on at home so his pets could watch him fight. While I suspect that it might be animal abuse to force any living creature to watch episode upon episode of '1,000 Ways to Die,' it makes it almost impossible not to like Wiman. It should be interesting to see just how far he can go in the UFC on aggression and charisma alone.
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