The Ultimate Fighting Championship wrapped up a successful debut in China over this Saturday, and despite 7 of the 9 fights going the distance, we saw a nights worth of excitement and action. Now (because I enjoy emulating the writing styles of MMAFighting.com writers), let's look at the biggest winner, losers, and what lies ahead.
Biggest Winner: Cung Le - Le came into the bout heavily favored to lose an exciting bout, nursing an injured foot, and generally overlooked by the fans and media alike, many saying he was over the hill. However, he showed that even at the age 40, he still possess one punch knockout power, and proved it against a man known to withstand a dishing out of punishment.
What's Next? - Le faces the winner of December's Okami/Belcher rematch.
Biggest Loser: Rich Franklin - After saving the UFC 147 event by defeating Wanderlei Silva in a rematch, Rich Franklin had that good guy karma at an all time high, had openly discussed heading on one last title run, and was given what essentially a tune up fight against a respected but aging former champion. Then, come fight night, one of the worst outcomes that could have occurred did: a first round, one punch, crushing knockout. It really does suck to see one of the good guys of the sport fall crashing to the canvas, and you can't help but feel that his tenure may be drawing to a close quicker than we may wish to acknowledge.
What's Next? - Franklin takes a break til mid 2013, then comes back to save a card on the brink of collapse.
Most Impressive Return To Form: Takanori Gomi - During his fight of the night with TUF winner Mac Danzig, Gomi looked like a return to the Gomi of old. He threw combinations, takedowns, and a playful fit of showboating. He looked crisp, and powerful, dropping Danzig in the third frame. Did he look like the Gomi who ruled the 155lb division of old? Not especially. Was this a step in the right direction? Definitely.
What's Next? - In a fun fight, he faces Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner, Diego Sanchez.
Least Affected by jet lag: Dong Hyun Kim - After suffocating Paulo Thiago for three rounds, Kim looked like the phenom that everyone saw in his first 5 octagon appearances (the Parisyan bout excluded). He used superior ground control to work Thiago into a shadow of his fearsome self. Of course, it doesn't hurt when you don't have to travel a days worth of time. It was an impressive display from the Korean judoka.
What's next? - Kim faces the loser of the Kampmann/Hendricks fight.
Best Way to make a UFC debut: Jon Tuck: The Guam fighter showed up on fight night, controlled the hometown hero for two rounds, and then slugged it out in a back and forth third round, even tossing in entertaining (if ill-advised) flying knees. That's a way to make sure your bosses won't forget you anytime soon. Tuck did the right thing in his first UFC fight, look forward to seeing him be built up as a future contender.
What's next? - Tuck faces the winner of Nijem/Proctor.