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Fortunes changed for five at UFC Fight Night 61

Sunday's UFC Fight Night was one filled with surprises with ten underdog wins in 11 fights, meaning nobody from the show put themselves into the top mix in any weight class.

Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Over the course of a year, the oddsmakers and experts when it comes to UFC predictions will, give-or-take a few points in either direction, be right about two-thirds of the time.

But in one night, the law of averages got thrown for a loop like never before with 10 upsets in 11 fights. Bookmakers had a bad night as those who knew the least were making the most money that night. The unheard of scenario saw every main card favorite not only losing, but in most cases, not even making it close. This led to a situation where the fighters who were expected to be elevated to tougher competition are now less likely to get those opportunities.
Sunday's Fight Night from Porto Alegre, Brazil also featured two of MMA's most controversial topics, that seemingly will never go away.

There's the issue with dangerous weight cutting, with T.J. Waldberger as this week's victim, hospitalized after fainting, just hours before weigh-ins. This came the same week that the California State Athletic Commission released a position paper warning fighters against dangerous methods that are done routinely to make weight, as part of the game to be as big as possible the day after weigh-ins in an attempt to have a size and power advantage in the fight.

There was also the testosterone replacement therapy story as both main eventers had been approved of TRT previously, before both Nevada, and the UFC itself, banned the practice outright one year ago.

Antonio Silva, the man who 14 months ago took five rounds of bombs from Mark Hunt, who may be the hardest hitter in the sport, in one of the greatest heavyweight fights in history. In that fight, he took bombs, and even when he was put down, quickly recovered. .On Sunday, he was dropped by a jab from Frank Mir and never recovered.
It was Silva's second consecutive first-round knockout loss, following a similar fate against Andrei Arlovski on Sept. 13.

Getting off TRT is not a career kiss of death. In the UFC, there have been nine fights involving six different fighters over the last year who had previous testosterone use exemptions. Throwing out Mir vs. Silva on Sunday, the score was even at four wins and four losses, with Vitor Belfort still waiting for his first fight under new conditions and Chael Sonnen getting suspended for failing two drug tests and then retiring.

But for Silva, the difference is pronounced, to the point many would question his continuing in the sport. It was a point he heavily protested in the press conference when others questioned that same thing. Silva instead credited his loss to Mir landing the right shot, and the nature of heavyweight fights always being able to be finished if the punch lands in the right spot.

Let's look at how Fortunes changed for those who scored being upsets, or suffered unexpected losses.

FRANK MIR - Mir (17-9) returned after a one-year layoff in his first fight since the TRT ban went into effect. He was a different fighter, in as much as he fought right handed. He said the time off allowed his body to heal. He said that allowed him to focus on recreating his boxing game. He looked large, at 261 pounds, but with the fight being over in just 100 seconds, questions on his skill and stamina at that size were not answered.

Mir, after the fact, campaigned for a fight with his most famous career rival, current pro wrestling star Brock Lesnar. He said he felt pressure to win. He was coming off four straight losses, and said that he thought he'd lose any shot at getting a Lesnar fight unless he won.

The idea of Lesnar as his next opponent may be premature. It is likely impossible to put Mir in a match this year that will garner the interest and attention that a third Lesnar bout will bring. Lesnar could very well sign a new deal with WWE when his current contract ends at the end of March. Pro wrestling in his case, would make more sense if he can get a new deal at the same level as his current one. When WWE was doing massive financial cutbacks due to losses of starting its network, Lesnar's large guarantee for only three WWE matches per year, looked like it could be a casualty. But WWE's financial fortunes are starting to show a turnaround, and the company is expected to turn a profit in 2015 after suffering $30 million in losses this past year. And with C.M. Punk signing with the UFC, WWE head honcho Vince McMahon isn't going to let another of his top stars go to the UFC without a fight.

In addition, even if Lesnar can make more money in the UFC over the next year, at 38, he's not going to have the career longevity in the UFC that he would have in the WWE.

So a more likely direction for Mir would be Ben Rothwell (34-9) and Josh Barnett (33-7). Rothwell is the lone heavyweight at near his level who Mir hasn't yet fought. Barnett beat him handily in 2013, but he hasn't fought in more than a year.

ANTONIO SILVA - Silva (18-7, 1 no-contest) hasn't won a fight in two years. The only type of fight you can make for him at this point is against a fighter who can be elevated with a quality win, such as Matt Mitrione (9-3) or Brendan Schaub (10-5). But it's difficult to encourage any fight coming off his past two performances.

MICHAEL JOHNSON - By knocking off Edson Barboza, Johnson (16-8) was the one guy on the show who clearly elevated himself into the serious player category. Unlike most who, when asked who they want to fight next, give the answer about leaving it up to Dana White, Joe Silva or Sean Shelby, Johnson answered with the name Benson Henderson (22-5). It was a smart answer, because Henderson is a former champion and a win over Henderson would make Johnson instantly under consideration for a championship match. The other good thing about Henderson is he's a guy who doesn't turn down fights, as noted by taking on the much larger Brandon Thatch on short notice.

But Henderson has momentum, and Johnson is the worst kind of opponent for a top five guy. His record isn't that impressive, but as he showed beating Barboza, he's dangerous to top guys in the division. Henderson garners nothing from winning that fight past a paycheck. Johnson, even with a loss, gets in a high profile fight that elevates his stock.

Johnson clearly picked the best guy for him. In the lightweight division, virtually all the top guys have opponents. Aside from Henderson, he could face the winner of Saturday's Gleison Tibau (32-10)  vs. Tony Ferguson (17-3) fight, but Johnson already has wins over both of them. Another potential opponent is Myles Jury (15-1), who beat Johnson via decision at the end of 2012.

EDSON BARBOZA - Barboza (15-3), whose UFC performances have alternated between brilliant and disappointing, was outstruck for three rounds against Johnson in a fight that sets him back big. Had he won, he was probably one more win away from a lightweight title shot.

Now, not only does he have a lot longer road to the top, but a lot of the luster was taken from him because he didn't look like the incredible striker he was thought to be. For a next opponent, Nate Diaz (17-10) is the type of fighter who he can have a fight that will garner attention because people will see it as a striking battle. Myles Jury (15-1) is someone with a better record, but Barboza won't be elevated as much, or in the spotlight as much, as for a Diaz fight.

SAM ALVEY - Alvey (25-6, 1 no contest) did a one-punch knockout of Cezar "Mutante" Ferreria, and then proceeded to win over the Brazilian locals with his post-fight interview.

Alvey is at the level where he's in with a ton of guys that he could face next, such as Derek Brunson (13-3), Rafael Natal (19-6-1) and Josh Samman (11-2), all also coming off explosive recent victories.

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