Blood, sweat and tears were shed onto the canvassed octagon this past Saturday night in San Jose, CA. A card that was predicted to be one of the best of the year, delivered in what could have been one of the greatest of all time when you consider the performances showcased by the men who went out to fight and claim the victory.
As we always do, here are the “Winners & Losers” from UFC 139.
DAN HENDERSON: WINNER
Hendo is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age. Walking into the cage at 41 years old, on a three fight win streak, he entered into a five round war with a fellow MMA and PRIDE legend, leaving everything on the table and delivered the best fight of his career and possibly one of the greatest fights of all time. In his post fight interview with Joe Rogan, the Olympic wrestler stated that his opponent, “could take an F’n punch…I hit him hard and he kept coming, he is an awesome guy.” The unanimous decision win puts him in the position to challenge the winner of Jones vs. Machida for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship.
SHOUGUN RUA: WINNER
Even though his fight may have resulted in a loss, the tenacity and always stalking presence he is in the cage is a shining example of what a fighter is and he is a winner for his efforts. Absorbing huge shots from the opening minutes down to the last frame of their bout, Rua came forward with takedowns, strong punches and multiple submission attempts all trying to secure the victory over Henderson. After time off to heal his wounds, we can only plead that Dana White arranges the rematch we all want: Shogun v Rampage @ UFC 144:Japan.
WANDERLEI SILVA: WINNER
Always a fan favorite and eager to put on a show and not just grind out a decision, “The Axe Murderer” went out and showed to never count him out until he says he is done. Being rocked early from Le did not faze the Brazilian as he was always coming forward with punches and kicks, ultimately finishing off the San Jose native late in the second round. At this point in his career, unless he can mount an impressive record for the belt, how many fights are left for him? Perhaps next in line should be Brain Stann, another middleweight looking to get his career moving forward.
URIJAH FABER: WINNER
Finally using his hands to build up an opening, Faber looked better than ever on Saturday night against Brain Bowles. Utilizing fast combinations and then backing out kept him one step ahead, leading the way for the “TJ Dillishaw” uppercut that rocked Bowles and then let “The California Kid” lock in his deadly guillotine in the first round. Positioned for a third war with Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title, it will be an explosive end to a fantastic trilogy.
CUNG LE: LOSER
Touted as one of the best strikers and kickers inside MMA, those tools were not enough to defeat Wanderlei Silva in front of his hometown crowd. Complaining of an early stoppage, it is hard to agree with Le if you watched the fight, he absorbed multiple hammerfists from Silva while just clinging to a leg – not intelligently defending himself. If he decides to continue his fighting career instead of his other love, acting – next time around, put him in against Chris Leben.
RICK STORY: LOSER
Earlier this year, he was proclaimed to be one of the next big things for the welterweight division. Fast forward to now where he was out wrestled by Charlie Brenneman and recently beat up by Martin Kampmann, it is easy to ask – were his wins a fluke? If he is not able to hang with the decent half of the 170lb landscape, what happens when he enters the top ten? Take this loss as knowledge gained and implement it in training for a better outing next time or “The Horror” may be receiving a pink slip with another loss.
KYLE KINGSBURY: LOSER
Winning fight of the night honors twice and fighting in front of the home town crowd would seem to be enough motivation for anyone to put their best talents forward right? Well perhaps the team at AKA should work on getting their man off of his back for fifteen minutes as Bonnar basically smothered him en route to a unanimous decision. When the fight stayed standing, Kingsbury was on the receiving end of that beating as well. Back to the drawing board and now he knows what needs improvement en route to his next octagon bout.
JASON BRILZ: LOSER
Losing a hotly disputed decision to Lil Nog last May, many fans and critics were on his side to say he was good enough to hang with some of the best at light heavyweight. Then he was put to sleep by Vladimir Matyushenko and Ryan Bader, both fights lasting a combined 1:37; three losses in a row is never a good sign for any fighter but more so not good for Brilz. If he has not received that “dear john” from the Zuffa brass, it is likely on its way.
For pictures from Friday’s UFC 139 weigh-ins, click here.