On The Way Up
Chan Sung Jung – The Korean Zombie avenged his loss in the fight of 2010 in an historic way. No fight in the UFC had even been finished by a spinal lock, until last night. Jung is a draw in Asia and gained a huge following in the States from that April 2010 fight. We thought we’d seen his stone jaw cracked in the loss to George Roop. But he displayed the toughness he’s known for and showed us skills US fans didn’t know he had on the ground. What he showed in Seattle should earn him a fight against top 10-15 competition this summer. Then we’ll see what Jung is truly made of, but don’t expect him to be any less popular is he takes a loss. He’s a featherweight version of Clay Guida. He’s got a huge following because fans know he will go out and give 110% every time. That’s Jung to a T.
Hype Index: 8.2 (+1.2)
Anthony Johnson – After a 15-month layoff, Johnson told us he wanted to bang with Dan Hardy. He told a bit of a white lie. However, it may have been a well calculated move. Johnson’s always been a huge welterweight and as a former juco national wrestling champion. He knew he could dominate Hardy of the ground and if he made Hardy believe he was coming out swinging, it may have been even easier to get the Brit down. For three uneventful rounds, Johnson did just that. Hardy’s notoriously bad grappling was lain wide open and Johnson controlled him just like GSP did. the only thing Johnson did differently was attempt fewer submissions, seeing how well Hardy defending the champions attempts. No matter what you thought about the action, Rumble executed a perfect gameplan for his opponent. Hardy’s now coming up to a crossroads, while Johnson’s back and looking to reclaim his pre-injury hype.
Hype Index: 7.2 (+1.0)
Amir Sadollah – He’s here because he won and a win almost always guarantees a hype boost. He ground out DaMarques Johnson and got an impressive-looking tap to strikes after he tied up Johnson’s arms and dropped elbows. He doesn’t get much of a boost because he beat a guy who had a 14 day training camp. It’s not that he didn’t beat a guy that wasn’t at his talent level. I thought they were pretty well matched up. But this one may have gone differently or at least ended differently if Johnson was properly prepared. Don’t take this as knock on Sadollah as much as a comment on the circumstances of his fight.
Hype Index: 7.1 (+0.1)
Phil Davis: Mr. Wonderful outgrappled and out struck a top 10 light heavyweight. Watching it, we felt that he actually lost round 1 but rounds 2 and 3 were owned by Davis. Looking at the FightMetrics, Davis pounded Lil’ Nog 72-16. Yes, he was 4-of-11 on takedown attempts, but it’s not like Nogueria is easy to get down. Once he switched to the single-leg, Davis had a lot more success. He’s working his way up the LHW ladder, using the Jon Jones plan and a bout with Forrest Griffin would be the next best step on that ladder.
Hype Index: 8.4 (+0.6)
DaMarques Johnson – Despite the loss, he was game for taking the fight on 2 weeks notice. An Ultimate Fighter runner-up, 2 locker room awards and an expanding fan base keep him pretty steady. You could see him losing steam in the beginning of the 2nd and he saved himself serious damage when he tapped to strikes while tied up. This should only be a setback in the rankings, but with a full training camp he should be back at impressing form.
Hype Index: 7.3 (-0.1)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – Yes, I just said Little Nog got outstruck and outgrappled. He did take the first round in the opinion of the Bang and FightMetrics. But he’s still up there, he’s still a top 15 light heavyweight and he’s still capable of winning. He may have lost a touch and I’m sure many will look at Saturday’s loss as more devastating than I do. He’ll get another fight in the top 20 and get a chance to reaffirm his legendary status from Pride.
Hype Index: 8.0 (-0.3)
On The Way Down
Leonard Garcia – He should now be on a 6-fight winless streak (Nam Phan won back in December and the first fight with Jung could have gone either way) and he’s been exposed. It was pretty blatant last night that his power punches weren’t as strong as promoted and he kept throwing arm punches, sapping their strength even more. He’ll probably ride his 2010 fight of the year to at least one more fight in the UFC, but he’s going to need to be really impressive and improve on the ground or he’ll be back on the regional circuit.
Hype Index: 5.7 (-0.9)
Dan Hardy – The Outlaw is a long way from his welterweight title shot last March. Now riding a 3-fight losing streak, Rumble Johnson executed a perfect gameplan against him. Take Hardy down, maintain dominant position, keep him from using any of his power. This shouldn’t be the end of Hardy’s UFC career. Dana White said in a post-fight interview that he’s unsure of what he’ll do with Hardy, but that he loves the Brit. Hardy should get another fight and get one not against a wrestler. Regardless, Hardy needs to spend time over here, training with a camp that will put him through wrestling boot camp. Otherwise, he will be looking for a new place to fight.
Hype Index: 6.9 (-1.0)
At some point in the near future, Armando and I will try to flesh full rankings out, or at least a top 10 or 20 for each division. Until then, we’ll keep rating fighters card-by-card.