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Falling Action: Best and Worst of UFC 126

It may not have been the Super Bowl of MMA events, but at least UFC 126 has one thing over football's climactic game: it didn't force us to watch Fergie mime human emotions for an extended period of time.

After a main event that resembled the finish to 'Karate Kid' just a little more than we were prepared for, it's time to break down all the action and see who were the biggest winners, losers, and everything in between after Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Biggest Winner: Anderson Silva
Admit it, when he spent the first couple minutes floating around the cage and blocking invisible punches, you thought to yourself: 'Dear God, not again.' Then he front-kicked Vitor Belfort in the face and you leapt three feet in the air while proclaiming him the greatest fighter to ever live. Such is the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with any Silva fight. Beating Belfort might not be the crowning jewel in his already stellar career, but doing it in action movie fashion can only add to his mythical status. Even if he retires tomorrow he'll be remembered as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. Although if he retires before fighting GSP – who, one hopes, won't screw things up by losing to Jake Shields – it will be a minor tragedy.

Biggest Loser: Vitor Belfort
I feel bad for sticking him in this category, because what's a guy supposed to do? It's not like any of us thought the key to victory in this fight was going to be for Vitor to protect against the front kick to the jaw. That's just silly, and yet here we are. At 33 years old Belfort now seems like he'll probably never fulfill the promise of his early years. He briefly held the UFC light heavyweight strap, had some success in smaller organizations, and now has come back to lose his shot at the middleweight belt in quick, devastating fashion. Now what? It's back to the middle of the pack, or perhaps up one weight class to start over again. Neither option is all that attractive for the man who once seemed like the future of this sport.

Most Hypeworthy: Jon Jones
Can we all finally agree that "Bones" is every bit as good as advertised, if not better? He took on an undefeated contender and made him look virtually helpless. At one point it was as if Jones teleported himself to Bader's back, and you could almost see the former Division I wrestler's confidence draining out of him. After a dominant win like that, the UFC won't have much trouble selling a title fight between Jones and 'Shogun' Rua. At the same time, it's asking a lot of the 23-year-old Jones to turn right around and fight for a title six weeks later. But I guess if he learned anything from seeing what happened to his teammate Rashad Evans over the past year, it's that you've got to seize opportunities as they arise. You never know when the rug can be yanked out from under you.

Least Impressive in Victory: Jake Ellenberger
He got the win, but seemed happy just to escape with his arm still intact. I'm not sure if Ellenberger just isn't as good as we thought he was, or if Rocha is much better, but either way that performance didn't do a lot to get people pumped about seeing him back in action again. Maybe it's best that his fight with Jon Fitch got reshuffled so Fitch could fight B.J. Penn instead. Judging by the looks of things on Saturday night, Fitch probably would have swallowed him whole.

Most Grateful for the Power of Social Networking: Demetrious Johnson
Just think, if not for the internet uproar over "Kid" Yamamoto being excluded from the TV card, which then led to the UFC showing the Johnson-Yamamoto bout on Facebook, the world might not have seen just how quick "Mighty Mouse" can be when he's methodically taking apart a legend of the Japanese MMA scene. Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg (and, to a lesser extent, Al Gore). This is truly a wonderful time to be alive.

Most Aimless: Rich Franklin
He was undersized and overpowered in his loss to Forrest Griffin. It's enough to remind us why he wasn't fighting at light heavyweight for his entire career. It makes you wonder though, was it enough to remind him? Franklin has been a fighter without a home since his brutal losses to Anderson Silva motivated him to find a different kind of work in the UFC. He can still compete and put on a show, but what's the ultimate goal here? He'll almost certainly never be champ at 205 pounds, and probably won't ever even get a crack at a UFC belt again. If he's just hanging around for the paychecks, his fights are going to get harder and harder to sell to fans.

Most Encouraging Sign for WEC 155-ers: Donald Cerrone
"Cowboy" outclassed Paul Kelly (who, coincidentally, can jabber all he wants about how his glove-touch sucker punch wasn't unsportsmanlike, but we know what we saw) and got a win that's a good omen for the former WEC lightweights. True, Kelly is far from the cream of the crop in the UFC, but Cerrone wasn't the best the WEC had to offer, either. If he can come in and whoop up on a guy who's hung around in the UFC for a couple of years, maybe it shows that there wasn't such a significant talent gap between the WEC and UFC after all.

Most Baffling: Antonio Banuelos
I'm not sure what he thought was going to happen when he decided to spend three rounds at the end of Miguel Torres' jab. You'd think that the thing to do against a much taller fighter would be to get inside, or maybe get him to the mat. Banuelos didn't seem terribly interested in either, and instead he got jabbed to death for fifteen minutes. Actually, that's not true. He did come charging in during the last fifteen seconds of the fight. If only he'd started instead of finished that way, he might have had a chance.

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