It was a night full of mistakes in Sydney, even though it was actually the afternoon locally. After announcing a sudden victory round would be utilized for the flyweight tournament, a judge’s mishap ruined that opportunity. After announcing he would break Martin Kampmann and then finish him, Thiago Alves ended up breaking down and allowing Martin Kampmann to finish him.
For Alves, the future remains uncertain. But for Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson, it is much more certain. After the event, UFC President Dana White announced at the post-fight press conference that the judges’ scorecards were tallied incorrectly, causing the fight to be announced as a majority decision for Johnson, as opposed to the draw that it actually was. He also stated that the two will rematch sometime in the near future, likely in April. UFC 145 is lacking a strong co-main event, so the rematch very well could take place in Atlanta.
Even though it was a rather obvious mistake, and a severe one, three more rounds of Johnson and McCall certainly is not a bad thing. The pair put on a “Fight of the Night” performance (no, really, check their wallets), and it would not be surprising if they did so again in the second matchup. With the thin flyweight division, it was inevitable they would face off again, but following up the stellar match immediately will be welcomed by whatever crowd they fight in front of.
Concerning the match scoring, 29-27 McCall was how I scored it. A 10-8 third round should have sealed the victory for McCall, but judges saw it differently.
Another victory that was nearly sealed up was Thiago Alves’ over Martin Kampmann. After dominating the stand-up for the better of 14 minutes, Alves went for a takedown of Kampmann after he staggered him into the cage. The move seemed out of place, as Alves was able to capitalize on Kampmann’s lack of striking defense. Even though Kampmann has a strong offensive presence on his feet, he leaves quite a few holes in defending.
Alves took advantage of that, and was on his way to a decision win. But with under a minute remaining, that all changed. How much does the result affect Kampmann and Alves’ futures?
For Alves, it does not really hurt his status, as he was still just 2-3 over the last three years. 2-4 is not going to hurt his title chances all that much. Plus, he was not thoroughly dominated by “The Hitman”. While he might not be headlining an event any time soon, he is still a draw amongst fans and nearly always provides an entertaining fight.
For Kampmann, this fight was much more impactful for his future. He nearly defeated both Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, but the judges disagreed. Had they awarded him the win in both of those matches, he would be riding a six fight win streak. Now he very well could be fighting for a title shot in 2013.
Biggest winner: Joseph Benavidez
Benavidez advanced in the flyweight tournament, unlike his counterparts. The “uncrowned champion”, who was arguably the second best fighter in a division he did not even belong in, Benavidez was featured on preliminary cards for the first year of his UFC career. He made the most of being featured on the main card of the FX event, as he knocked out Yasuhiro Urushitani early in the second round of a fight he was physically dominating. Unfortunately for him, he has to wait around for the second episode of McCall vs. Johnson.
Biggest loser: Thiago Alves
As stated, the result does not do much to Alves’ career, but a loss of that sort certainly has to be disappointing. For some reason, Alves is still seen as a wild card at weigh-ins, even though he has not failed to make weight in any of his last four fights. But for Alves, he might have to be more of a wild card inside the cage if he has any hopes of returning to title contention.
Biggest question: Is Costa Philippou a true middleweight contender?
Since losing his UFC debut a year ago to Nick Catone, Philippou is 3-0. He was punishing Court McGee throughout their fight, and showed improved takedown defense. He is a physical presence and possesses a strong striking game. The former Golden Gloves finalist should face an upper tier middleweight in his next fight to truly determine the answer to that question.
Future matchups to make:
Martin Kampmann vs. Jake Ellenberger:
The more Dana White discusses Carlos Condit, the more likely it seems that he will end up waiting for Georges St. Pierre to return. That leaves Jake Ellenberger, the #1B contender at 170 pounds without a future at the moment. Setting “The Juggernaut” up with “The Hitman” would solve what Ellenberger could do for the duration of 2012 as he waits for both Condit and St. Pierre. For Kampmann, it would provide a test against a guy that will certainly challenge his typically slow starts.
Thiago Alves vs. Aaron Simpson:
Alves would be a good test to challenge Simpson, who will be dropping to welterweight for his next fight. This matchup would be a good style matchup, as Alves is a strong striker, which is Simpson’s weakness. Simpson is a strong wrestler, which Alves has struggled with in the past.
Ian McCall vs. Demetrious Johnson:
I am putting this one here so I can at least be guaranteed to get one correct.
Costa Philippou vs. Demian Maia:
Maia is coming off a deflating loss to Chris Weidman, as he looked sluggish throughout. Philippou would be able to take advantage of that, but he would also be tested by Maia’s jiu-jitsu, barring Maia actually utilizes his world class submission skills once again.
James Te Huna vs. Stephan Bonnar:
Te Huna has looked stellar during his UFC career, going 3-1 in that span. His only loss came to Alexander Gustafsson last year at UFC 127. He deserves another test to see if he can become at contender at 205 pounds. Bonnar would be a perfect person to be that test, as he has always proved to be a solid determining factor to gauge prospects.