UFC on Fox 3 took place Saturday night and the event was fantastic. The four main card fights were idealistic in terms of what you’d want a national audience to witness. There were submissions, knockouts, a hotly contested battle on the mat and a decision. It was everything the first two Fox events were not. Here you’ll find who impressed us and who maybe lost ground in their UFC career.
Nate Diaz entered the Izod Center in hostile territory tasked with facing one of the steadiest and more talented fighters in the Lightweight division in Jim Miller. From the opening bell, Nate was aggressive, not giving up any ground and pressuring Miller, using his striking to his advantage. Jim Miller landed some good knees in the clinch, and a couple elbows to break clinches, but Nate used his superior strength to keep it in his favor. In the second round, Nate closed the show with a perfect rear naked choke, absolutely dismantling Miller and showing he’s ready to take on the division champion, regardless of who it is. Diaz is on a three fight win streak and has looked nothing short of spectacular in his last two outings. His star is most certainly on the rise.
Michael Johnson’s training with the Blackzilians, specifically his stand up training with Tryon Spong has made his stand up light years better than it was. He used that standup to attack Tony Ferguson for three rounds, en route to a perfect 30-27 shutout across the board. His kicks, knees, and punching was all very sharp, and he had good movement as well, frustrating Tony who started slowly, and never was able to deal with the pressure. It was a huge win for Johnson, and it sets up a fight for him with someone a little higher up the food chain to get a better feel for where he’s at in the Lightweight division’s pecking order.
Alan Belcher fought the law, and the law got beat down. Alan Belcher, who has been slept on for ages in the media, proved once again that not taking him seriously is a mistake, by finishing Rousimar Palhares in the first round Saturday night. Alan would have impressed enough just finishing the fight in the first round, but, he did more than that. He fought Rousimar on the mat, and defending leg submissions against him. Alan had himself in deep water, but showed a ton of ability getting out of the leg locks, and then turning the tide on Palhares, unloading hellacious ground and pound getting the stoppage. He looked every bit a title contender in this fight, and other than his Johnny Cash tattoo, he was perfect in there Saturday night.
Let’s make one thing very clear here, Josh fought a decent fight Saturday and more than a couple people felt he won the first and third rounds, and should have won the decision. However, he did drop a split decision to Johnny Hendricks and in doing so, dealt himself a severe career blow as a title shot is now not just the distant light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a distant light at a tunnel he currently has no address for. He was very quick to call the media, “retards” etc, for those who dared to believe the mileage might be catching up to him. The wear from a 21 fights inside the Octagon would start to slow anyone, and his eye swells horribly, since the broken orbital he suffered at the hands (literally) of Georges St Pierre. It again didn’t take long to blow up and by the end of the fight, it was swollen nearly shut and that is going to make things tough on him. “Kos” is 2-2 in his last four, and his victory over Mike Pierce was a split decision that could easily have gone against him. He left San Jose and AKA and this was his first camp dedicated in his new Fresno school and he looked good, but he needs to switch something up to continue to be a force in the UFC.
Pat Barry lost a fight to Lavar Johnson Saturday night and it’s pretty sad for fans of his. He had the mount early in the first and jumped out to side control where he had Lavar in a rough spot with a kimura, but Johnson escaped and found his way to his feet where the two battled back and forth until Barry got hit with a big knee, then some uppercuts before taking shot after shot before dropping and having the fight called. People felt he should have continued with the submissions, but let’s be honest, Pat’s not in the UFC because of his submission background. He’s a former K1 kickboxer and when you fight that way, sometimes you get hit and lose the fight. Anytime two huge men swing hammers in a cage, one of those men runs the risk of getting hurt. It’s the nature of the game. Barry drops to 4-5 in the UFC with loss, but he never has a boring fight and will continue to offer up his best efforts and the fans love him.
Pablo Garza was thrown around the Octagon in a manner that isn’t normal. Dennis Bermudez threw Garza around at will, slamming him, body slamming him, lifting and tossing him virtually at will for three rounds on his way to an easy decision victory. For Garza it was a total disappointment as he never got anything going, and was drubbed in this outing. He’ll need to step it up in a big way in his next fight, or he could risk losing his UFC job.