With UFC on FOX 15 now officially in the books, we can take a look at some bigger picture facts that will most definitely shape the coming days in the MMA world. If you couldn’t catch the event because you had to work, or just completely missed it, this article is for you because I’ll be giving you all the important information you need to know with UFC on FOX 15 completed. It was an awesome event from top to bottom in New Jersey, and there were some serious eye-opening performances along the way.
The Dirty Bird Continues To Fly
After a few unsuccessful performances at 155 pounds, Tim Means has looked absolutely sensational sense returning to welterweight, and is currently on a four-fight winning streak. Means shut down George Sullivan with constant striking volume which eventually set up a third-round ground attack which resulted in an arm-triangle. Tim Means looks to be getting better and better, but also more and more dangerous with every performance. It’ll be interesting to see him move up the 170lb ladder. His last loss was to Neil Magny one year ago, but has undoubtedly improved leaps and bounds since then as evident by his current streak.
Turning A New Leaf
It wasn’t too long ago when Ovince St. Preux found himself in a headlining spot across the Octagon from 205lb contender Ryan Bader. After going five full rounds, OSP went home with a loss and a lot of criticism about how undeveloped his striking was. Since then, Ovince St. Preux has scored two first round knockouts courtesy of his improved counter punching – a short-notice upset KO over Shogun Rua, and most recently his KO of Patrick Cummins tonight. OSP is quickly become a serious threat on the feet as opposed to the one-dimensional hyper-athletic wrestler that he used to be. I don’t see him being able to stand and trade with everyone in the division, but he’s on the way to becoming a very well-rounded fighter.
Lightweight’s Newest Contender
Just one month ago, Beneil Dariush picked up the most impressive win of his career when he out-struck and then submitted Daron Cruickshank in an eye-opening performance. Dariush showcased much improved striking courtesy of his time under Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, and Beneil took another chance to showcase his true talent tonight again Jim Miller. Miller has always been a mainstay at 155 pounds – not quite good enough to get a title shot, but always cemented his place among the elite. Dariush went in with just a few weeks of preparation, and shut Miller down with his expert grappling skills and top control en-route to a unanimous decision. Beneil is quickly becoming a serious threat to division; it’ll be interesting to see who he gets matched up next, and where he winds up in the rankings.
PVZ Lives Up To The Hype
Paige VanZant put a ton of pressure on herself as she stepped into the Octagon against Felice Herrig tonight. Not only is VanZant an extremely beloved strawweight, but at just 20 years old she has shown serious potential and could be a one of the division’s most promising up-and-comers. VanZant showcased her trademark aggression and relentless pace as she dominated the bigger, stronger, and more experienced Felice Herrig from start to finish. It wasn’t all pretty at times, but Paige’s desire to out-work her opponent and constantly scramble is extremely entertaining to watch, and could give other strawweights some serious trouble. With the road to Joanna Champion’s title pretty much open, look for PVZ’s name to be thrown into the mix – she is still green and most likely needs another fight or two, but definitely keep an eye out.
A Couple of Eye-Openers
While there were a lot of great performances tonight, there were two that stood out from the rest. The first of which is Max Holloway’s third round guillotine submission of Cub Swanson. Coming into this fight, a lot of people were thinking that “Blessed” bit off a little more than he could chew with Cub Swanson (who was his biggest test to date). However, Holloway found himself in the moment from the very beginning, and worked to out-strike and out-grapple Cub Swanson en-route to his third round finish. Swanson, who in many people’s eyes was championship material at some point, could never get his rhythm going against the crafty and rangy striker. With this being Holloway’s biggest win to date, look for him to get another serious challenge in his next fight – even more so than he did tonight. The Hawaiian looked absolutely sensational and a serious prospective title contender.
Last, but most definitely not least, we arrive at the main event of the evening which happened to be one of the most eye-opening performances that I can even remember. Luke Rockhold starched Lyoto Machida and made it look easy. This was a showdown between two the division’s best strikers, but Rockhold showed that he is so much more than just a great striker, he is a phenomenal grappler. One could even argue that Rockhold is better on the ground than he is on the feet. With that said, Rockhold used his massive size advantage to ragdoll Machida and eventually open up the opportunity for a second-round rear-naked choke. This increases Rockhold’s streak to four – all of which are finishes and fights that Rockhold made look easy. One has to wonder whether Chris Weidman or Vitor Belfort is next for Luke Rockhold.