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Falling Action: Winners, Losers, and More in UFC 114 Aftermath

The more live MMA events I attend, the more convinced I am that no two crowds are exactly alike. This was probably true in the heyday of the Roman Coliseum, as well. Some audiences heap love on even the most hapless gladiator, while others drink too much wine and boo everything from the lions to the free bread.

The sold-out crowd at the MGM Grand for UFC 114 seemed especially inscrutable and difficult to please. If two fighters went more than ten seconds without unloading on each other, the boos came pouring into the Octagon. UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes and NBA great Tim Duncan got similar treatment just for appearing on the big screen. Snoop Dogg and Mike Tyson, however, both got a hero's welcome.

And David Spade? He was caught somewhere in the middle, which actually seems about right when you consider that he was in "Tommy Boy," but was also in "Dickie Roberts."

I'll never understand why people pay good money just to boo themselves hoarse by the end of the night. Maybe they feel they're owed more than they're getting. Maybe they just enjoy being obnoxious. Maybe some of them were actually shouting 'Boo-urns.' I can't say for sure.

But before sifting through the results of Saturday night's action to find the biggest winners, losers, and everything in between, it's worth noting that this is a phenomenon we could stand a little less of in MMA. No matter how much you paid for your ticket, showering fighters with hate even as they're bleeding for your entertainment always makes you look like the biggest idiot of all. Here endeth the sermon.

Biggest Winner: Jason Brilz
As he walked down to the Octagon to the tune of Pennywise's "Bro Hymn," Brilz seemed like little more than a guy with good musical taste who was nonetheless in for a rough night. Fifteen minutes later, every MMA fan knew his name. Not only did he acquit himself extremely well against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, his gracious reaction to losing the split decision only made him more likable.

Biggest Loser: Diego Sanchez
It's easy to blame his loss on the decision to move back up to welterweight, but Sanchez probably wouldn't have beaten many good lightweights with the way he fought on Saturday. When takedowns failed he charged straight into punches, and he looked relatively lethargic from the first horn to the last. Cutting to 155 again won't be a magical fix for whatever's ailing him, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

Best Game Plan: Rashad Evans
"Suga" spent as little time as possible hanging out in "Rampage" Jackson's striking range, which proved to be the smartest thing he could do. Evans was too close or too far away for most of the night, and when Jackson went to tee off Evans changed levels and put him on his back. Some fans may not like it, but all you need to do is look at what happened to him in the brief time he spent at the end of Jackson's punches to know it was the right approach.

Most Abrupt Hype Train Derailment: Todd Duffee
Duffee spent 2 1/2 rounds hitting Mike Russow with everything but a restraining order, and yet he couldn't get rid of him. But hey, at least he was getting some cage time and cruising to a dominating victory, right? Wrong. One good right hand from Russow, who fought like he was being charged a fee for every punch, knocked Duffee stiff in the third. Just like that, Duffee went from next big thing to cautionary tale. And so the long climb begins anew.

Most Obvious Lesson Learned the Hard Way: "Rampage" Jackson
After losing a fight where he could never really get going, Jackson said in the post-fight press conference that he now knows ring rust is for real. Pardon me for asking, but how did he not know that already? From Lennox Lewis to Cung Le to Roger Huerta, no fighter takes time off to film a movie and then performs better as a result. Take note, all you would-be fighter actors out there.

Newest Hot Prospect: John Hathaway
He looked great against a sluggish Diego Sanchez, but perhaps he also helped disprove the myth that Brits can't possibly learn to wrestle. At just 22, Hathaway showed that he has the potential to develop into the kind of all-around fighter who might one day do big things in the UFC. But before we get too excited, let's remember that early promise doesn't always equal inevitable results. Here's another case where Huerta serves as a useful example.

Most Lovable Loser: Dan Miller
His decision to stand and trade with Michael Bisping was definitely the wrong one, and his battered face told that tale as he exited the Octagon. Given everything he's been through lately, Miller might have been forgiven for wallowing in self-pity just then. Instead he stopped and gave both his hat and the shirt off his back -- literally -- to some kids in the crowd before making his way to the locker room. That tells you what kind of guy we're dealing with here.

Most Likely to Get Hit with a Baseball Bat and Not Notice: Mike Russow
He's right to describe his performance before the knockout blow as "awful," but my God, can this guy ever take a shot. It's a gift one wants to exercise sparingly, lest you wake up one morning and realize you no longer know how to tie your shoes. But as Russow showed on Saturday, sometimes winning is just a matter of refusing to go away.

Most Savage, Yet Exciting Ending: Efrain Escudero and Dan Lauzon
Maybe it's the bad luck he's had with groin shots in recent years, or maybe it was being abandoned by his brother before this fight, but after getting punted in the pills in the final minute of this fight, Dan Lauzon just sort of lost it. He threw everything he had at Escudero in the last ten seconds, and Escudero was content to give it right back in a flurry that sprayed cageside photographers with a fine mist of blood. Almost makes you wish someone would hit Lauzon in the groin at the start of every fight. Almost.

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