So who was the star of the weekend? Was it Martin Kampmann and his third-round comeback guillotine win? Was it the UFC's flyweights debuting in style? Did Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate bring the house down?
Whatever your opinion, last weekend brought a slew of great fights and intriguing personalities as Zuffa gave us two major events in two days. That means we have plenty to get to in this special, double edition of The Forward Roll. Let's make like Rousey and get cranking…
The Dane became one of the latest fighters to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the third round of his bout with Thiago Alves. Kampmann had been out-struck in all three rounds and seemed on his way to defeat when Alves tried a takedown that ended with Kampmann snatching his neck in a guillotine. The win puts Kampmann among the UFC's top 10, but there's certainly a logjam there with several fights scheduled, the uncertainty of champ Georges St-Pierre's return timeframe, and interim champ Carlos Condit likely to wait. What does that leave Kampmann?
Prediction: He faces the winner of April's Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills fight
The result had to be devastating for Alves, who finally showed signs of the old "Pitbull" in his last win over Papy Abedi, and seemed to be building on that against Alves until committing a crucial mistake. He's now just 2-4 in his last six fights and in danger of being considered an also-ran at the age of 28. It's hard to believe he's done as an elite talent at such a young age, but he's going to have to show something very soon.
Prediction: He faces the loser of April's Paulo Thiago vs. Siyar Bahadurzada fight
We'll lump these guys in together since we already know that Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall will have to rematch following a scorecard error that led to the match being incorrectly ruled a draw. That means Joseph Benavidez is forced to the sidelines, where he'll be able to work on his craft while McCall and Johnson figure out their end of the bracket. I picked McCall to upset Johnson the first time around, and after McCall gained experience in the cage against him, I see their future bout the same way.
Prediction: McCall beats Johnson in the semis, but Benavidez takes the tournament
James Te Huna
This man has some scary power, the type of bone-ratting punches that we usually only see in cartoons. His last seven wins have all come by knockout, but if there's one knock on Te Huna, it's been his ground game, as he's tapped out four times in his career. He's now 30 years old, so it's time to see if he's made the necessary changes to rise up the light-heavyweight ladder. That should mean his next bout comes against someone with legitimate ground skills.
Prediction: He faces Brandon Vera
The 23-year-old is one of the game's top upcoming submission artists, but he's struggled with strikers. Given his age, there's no reason to rush him along just yet, so I've got an interesting matchup in mind for him.
Prediction: He faces Carlos Eduardo Rocha, the Brazilian sub fighter who hasn't fought in a year due to injuries. He's recently been cleared to fight and a bout with Waldburger would be a grappler's delight.
A star-making turn for Rousey, who not only won but kept her string of first-round armbar submissions intact. From before the fight, we had a good idea that the winner of the Sarah Kaufman vs. Alexis Davis bout would likely be next for the winner. There's no better option out there right now. If Cris Cyborg hadn't been suspended, that fight would have drawn major interest, but for now, Rousey will stay in her new division and face the top contender.
Prediction: She faces Kaufman
There's no questioning Tate's heart after her escape from one armbar attempt and near-refusal to tap to another despite her arm being contorted like Stretch Armstrong in the hands of a toddler. Hopefully any injury sustained during the fight is relatively minor and she can get back in the cage quickly, because a possible Rousey-Tate rematch would no doubt generate attention. But first things first, and Tate will have to win at least once to make that happen.
Prediction: She faces Alexis Davis
Thomson candidly and publicly disparaged his own performance in his fight with KJ Noons, explaining that he had changed his approach in training in order to stay healthy. The result was a lackluster effort that was low on excitement but at least resulted in a win. The trick now would be for Strikeforce to spin that into a performance worthy of a top contender spot, making him a challenger for Gilbert Melendez. Do you think that's possible? I don't.
Prediction: He faces Ryan Couture
With a win on Saturday, Caros Fodor probably would have vaulted himself into a bigtime matchup, but instead, it was the veteran Healy playing spoiler again. He's now won 7 of his last 8 including four in a row. That should be enough to project him into a title match. Sure, he lacks the name recognition of some others, but results are results, so he deserves his chance.
Prediction: He faces Gilbert Melendez
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza
Many thought "Jacare" would get an immediate rematch after losing the Strikeforce middleweight title in a close fight with Luke Rockhold last September. That didn't happen, so Souza went out and thumped Bristol Marunde. In a perfect world, Souza would rematch Tim Kennedy for the right to face Rockhold, but Strikeforce doesn't have the time to do that.
Prediction: He challenges Rockhold for the belt.