This past Saturday night, the UFC Heavyweight title was wrested from one champion and returned to a former, a trio of middleweights made statements about their place in the division, and a whole host of other fights came to conclusions. Here's where I try and figure out where they go, the winners and the losers. Let's get started.
Cain Velasquez def. Junior dos Santos via Unanimous Decision for UFC Heavyweight title
Cain Velasquez: He may not have wanted to make excuses for the injured knee with which he fought JDS the first time around, but clearly a completely healthy Velasquez can man handle anyone. After such a devastating victory, the rest of the division starts to look a little thin at the present, except for one challenger who recently reapplied for a fighters license.
Cain Velasquez fights Alistair Overeem if he defeats Antonio Silva.
Junior dos Santos: The now-former champ looked out of his depth. He was taken down at will, out struck on the feet and simply mugged by the challenger. That being said, JDS isn't out of the title picture by any stretch of the imagination. He's (until proven otherwise) heads and shoulders above everyone who isn't Cain Velasquez. He should get one or two more fights before we see him contending for a title again.
Jim Miller: A man possessed, Jim Miller stormed out and sliced open a game Joe Lauzon, and dominated the New England fighter for 3 rounds. He could never seem to put away the resilient Lauzon, and was even caught in a few sneaky submission attempts. Miller looked like the top 10 lightweight he is, and looks like he is ready for the top of the division again.
Jim Miller fights the winner of TJ Grant/Matt Wiman.
Joe Lauzon: Ever the (if you'll pardon the saying) bridesmaid and never the bride, Lauzon showed the heart that has made him a fan favorite, and a mainstay in the UFC. He may never compete for a championship in the UFC, but he will always give whomever he fights all they can handle.
Costa Philippou def. Tim Boetsch via TKO
Costa Philippou: Let's not mince words here. Philippou didn't exactly look like a world beater. He just looked better than Tim Boetsch on this given night. It also helped that Boetsch was inadvertently poked in the eye and suffered a "broken" hand that he just never seemed to recover from. Philippou is starting gather momentum however, and this victory did move him up the ladder. I'd like to see him face a fellow middler on a streak.
Costa Philippou fights Francis Carmont.
Tim Boetsch: It was a rough night for Tim Boetsch. After a dominant first round, he suffered an eye poke that killed his ability to close the distance, and he suffered a labored 3rd round TKO, squashing a nice little streak he had going. From here, it's to the back of the middleweight line.
Tim Boetsch fights Alan Belcher.
Yushin Okami def. Alan Belcher via Unanimous Decision
Yushin Okami: Apart from not getting dropped in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, it couldn't have gone more smoothly. 'Thunder' smothered Belcher and nullified the ground game, controlling the fight and putting his opponent where he wanted. I don't think Okami will ever get a title shot again, not as long as Anderson Silva is champion, but he will continue to get interesting match-ups against the cream of the middleweight crop.
Yushin Okami fights Cung Le.
Alan Belcher: Another case of having lost all sorts of momentum, and in the middleweight division, no less, Alan Belcher could not fight his game. He was repeatedly taken down, and when he did find his way to top control, Okami would patiently work him back to the mat. After coming in with 4 stoppage victories, it's back to the drawing board for Belcher.
Derek Brunson: While he dominated with his wrestling in the 1st round, the former cheerleader put things on cruise control and looked gassed as he continued to stay on the outside and poke punches and kicks at an equally tired Leben. Not exactly the ideal way to debut, but a W is better than a loss.
Derek Brunson fights the winner of Daniel Sarafian/CB Dolllaway.
Chris Leben: It was a rough 2012 for the Crippler. After being suspended for testing positive for banned painkillers, Leben came back and looked, not only gassed and slow, but weak. That famous one punch knockout power in the left hand seemed absent. He's now lost 3 of his last 4 fights, and seems to be on the tail end of his career.
Eddie Wineland: The former WEC champ looked on point. Keeping Pickett on the end of his reach, and stunning him several times in the first frame, Wineland bobbed and weaved his way to a clear cut decision victory. After going 0-2 in the UFC, he now jumps to 2-2 in the organization, and looks to climb to 135 ladder.
Eddie Wineland fights Johnny Bedford.
Brad Pickett: He gutted through a horrendous first round, and managed to stick around til the final bell, but he was outstruck by the taller Wineland, and dropped the decision. Pickett is still an elite bantamweight, and his next fight should be resembling of that status.
Brad Pickett fights the surging Hugo Viana.
Erik Perez: Perez did what he wanted against an overmatched Bloodworth and is now 3-0 in the UFC, with 3 first round finishes. I think it's time to see him fight a step up in competition.
Erik Perez fights the winner of Mitch Gagnon.
Byron Bloodworth: Bloodworth has looked overwhelmed in his last two fights, both TKO losses. After being dropped by a knee to the body, he was finished handily by some ground and pound. Bloodworth simply looks out of his depth.
Byron Bloodworth gets cut by the UFC.
Jamie Varner: Nevermind that split decision, Varner should have taken a clean sweep. In an entertaining bout, he finally closed the book on the Guillard chapter of his fight career, and is looking to move on and upward in the UFC's lightweight division.
Jamie Varner fights Myles Jury.
Melvin Guillard: Guillard has now lost 4 of his last 5, and has his back against the wall. While he is a memorable personality and an exciting fighter, that might not save him from the chopping block. He's been released by the UFC before, and if he doesn't right ship in his next fight, they may very well do it again.
Myles Jury def. Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision
Myles Jury: Jury suffocated Johnson on the ground, utilizing superior grappling en route to a clear cut victory. He deserves to face a step up in competition, and should get someone on a similar timeline as him.
Myles Jury fights Jamie Varner.
Michael Johnson: The theme of the night was momentum lost, and that's just what happened to the Blackzillian product. After a rousing 2nd round comeback KO against Danny Castillo, Johnson got outwrestled and controlled by the unbeaten Jury. Johnson still has a ton of potential, and should get a chance to show it in his next bout.
Michael Johnson fights Mike Rio.
Todd Duffee defeated Phil De Fries via 1st Round KO
Todd Duffee: The heavyweight specimen is back. After flirting with kickboxing, Duffee returned to the UFC and showed why the brass thought him a worthy prospect in the first place by sending De Fries into unconsciousness. He'll get a fighter with whom he can trade leather, and it should be someone on a similar path as him.
Todd Duffee fights Stipe Miocic.
Phil De Fries: After suffering another 1st Round KO, the Brit will need to shore up his striking if he hopes to stay relevant in the power punchers realm at heavyweight.
Phil De Fries fights Shane Del Rosario.
Max Holloway: After squeaking by Garcia in the oh-so-closest of decisions, the young Hawaii'n is now on a 3 fight win streak inside the Octagon. He should get a slight step up in competition following this performance.
Max Holloway fights Antonio Carvalho.
Leonard Garcia: Perhaps this fight was a little Karma? After being given decisions against Chan Sung Jung and Nam Phan, Garcia now finds himself in the middle of 4 fight skid after a suspect decision did not go his way. The only reason he finds himself still in the UFC's employ is that Dana White likes the way he'll stand and bang. However, there comes a time when a fight must be won, and this next fight is it.
Leonard Garcia fights Justin Lawrence.
John Moraga defeats Chris Cariaso via 3rd Round Submission
John Moraga: Perhaps the most interesting prospect at 125lbs, Moraga displayed a well rounded fight game in his victory over Cariaso. Now 2-0 in the shallowest division in the UFC, Moraga deserves to find himself an opponent who can test him.
Moraga fights Tim Elliott.
Chris Cariaso: As I mentioned before, the UFC's Flyweight division is it's thinnest by far, and the loss won't set Cariaso too far back. He should get someone who is also coming off a loss however.
Chris Cariaso fights Jussier da Silva.