UFC is ESPN + 8 in the books, and it's time to take stock in the evening's performances. MMA Junkie looks at who's up, who's down and who's flat after a night of action in Sunrise, Fla.
Stock Up: Jack Hermansson, Mike Perry, Glover Teixeira, Cody Sandhagen, Roosevelt Roberts, Takashi Sato, Angela Hill
Stock Down: Ronaldo Souza, Andrei Arlovski, Court McGee
No change: Greg Hardy, Alex Oliveira, John Lineker, Jim Miller
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What's that old saying? Fortune favors the bold? Just a few short weeks ago, Hermansson was just another middleweight in the pack. Talented, sure, but just kind of plugging away over in Europe and not making as much progress as he might have liked. Then came an opportunity to fight the former Strikeforce champion Jacare Souza in a major event on a short notice. That's a tall order, but Hermansson did not hesitate to accept it. And with a hellacious performance in which he connected 1
For so long, Platinum has seemed to have all the tools for stardom. A quirky-but-real personality, enough of a bad-boy strike to stand out in this era where trash talk gets you ahead, and, oh by the way, he hits like a truck. He's also maddeningly inconsistent. But Saturday night, he went to toe with a game competitor in Alex Oliveira in a matchup that was every bit as exciting in reality as it sounded on paper. Perry weathered the adversity, showed a good gas tank, and was just the right mix of reckless and smart to defeat a fighter like "Cowboy." With wins over Oliviera and Paul Felder in his last three outings, Petty seems to be well on his way to living up to his considerable potential.
If you compete at a high enough level for a long time, you hit a sweet spot as you age in which maybe you're not quite as fast and nimble as you used to be, but you make up for it in the fight-honed smarts and game planning. Such was the case for the ageless Teixeira, who knew Ion Cuteleba would come out throwing everything but the kitchen sink in their light heavyweight battle, but then would probably fade. That's exactly what happened, as Cutuleba pimples Teixeira early, but then tired as Teixeira poured it and earned the submission win. The Danbury, Conn., Resident turns 40 this year, but with three wins in his last four fights, do not count him out any time soon.
Every up-and-coming prospect has their sink-or-swim moment , a moment that's all the more perilous when you're in the shark tank that is the weightless division. Cody Sandhagen rose to the challenge in his matchup with uber-tough John Lineker. Lineker is one of the pound-for-pound hardest hitters in the game, and he wasted a little time letting Sandhagen know. But Sandhagen gave it as good as he took it, and he also showed a great boost during Lineker's best moment, when he trapped Sandhagen in a choke in the fight's closing seconds. The scorecard could have gone either way, but Sandhagen got the nod, proved he belonged and is now 4-0 in the UFC.
Sometimes, you do not need to have a quick finish to make a impression. Sometimes just dominating for 15 minutes will do the job. That was the case for the 25-year-old California lightweight Roosevelt Roberts in his main card opener against Thomas Gifford. Robert basically just clobbered Gifford from bell to bell. That was the first time the former Dana White's Contender Series competitor went the distance after winning his first seven fights by finish. He also showed up on the mic, issuing a callout to Matt Frevola.
If you turned your head from the screen for a moment, you might have missed the Japanese welterweight Takashi Sato to win his UFC debut. Sato dropped a straight line down the middle in the second round, which dropped Ben Saunders. Then he followed up with a violent string of elbows that spelled the end of one of the sport's toughest customers. That's 13 finishes in 15 career wins from a competitor we hope will get back into the Octagon sooner rather than later.
Now this is the fight we've been waiting to see from Hill ever since she returned to the UFC The former Invicta Strawweight Champion replaced Jessica Penne in a short notice against Jodie Esquibel. You would not know it was a short notice, though, because she looked completely at ease in the cage, landing punches in bunches and mixing in kicks on the way to a unanimous decision victory. That snapped a two-fight losing streak, and maybe one of MMA's most entertaining Twitter personages is finally ready to make her run.