Last night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship aired another free card and gave fans watching on Fox a big show. In the main event, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson defeated John Moraga to retain the UFC flyweight title. In other action, Rory MacDonald defeated a top contender in one of the most competitive divisions in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Longtime fan favorite Robbie Lawler was also victorious, as was Liz Carmouche. How did the free night of fights go and what is next for the biggest winners and losers?
Demetrious Johnson defeated John Moraga via Armbar in fifth round
With most of the conversation leading into this title fight being about Johnson possibly moving back up to the bantamweight division to compete with Renan Barao, some thought that Johnson may have been looking past his challenger. After watching the fight, it was easy to see he wasn’t. He took Moraga down with ease whenever he pleased and did what he wanted with his 29-year-old opponent.
For Johnson, his next challenger in the flyweight division isn’t as easy to determine as most other divisions. With the division being the newest in the UFC, sorting through all the contenders and pretenders is a task in itself. While the UFC usually likes to wait for a champion to run straight through their division before giving them a fight in another division, a fight with Barao (if Barao defeats Eddie Wineland) may be the next best move for him.
For Moraga, he will fall back down the rankings and will be flirting with the pretender/contender moniker until he gets a few more wins. This is still just the second loss of his career and after winning his first two fights in the UFC with ease, he will need to work his way back up.
Rory MacDonald defeated Jake Ellenberger via unanimous decision
This was a fight that could have gone either way. Coming into the fight, Ellenberger was looking to continue his rise in the rankings again, while MacDonald was coming off the biggest win of his career against B.J. Penn. When these two men stepped inside the Octagon, it was MacDonald that was able to do more and walk away with the unanimous decision ruling.
For MacDonald, what is next isn’t as clear cut. He has done enough to warrant a title shot at the welterweight title, but the current champion is his friend, Georges St-Pierre. With St-Pierre set to defend the world title against Johny Hendricks in a few months, another successful title defense will leave MacDonald on the outside looking in. With a Hendricks upset, MacDonald’s next fight very well could be for the title.
For Ellenberger, this may be it for him in his quest to even compete for the world title. He was one win away from a title shot last year, but a loss to Martin Kampmann derailed those hopes and this loss to MacDonald will set him back even further. He will need to beat more top-tier fighters should he hope to be considered one of the best in the division.
Robbie Lawler defeated Bobby Voelker via TKO (head kick and punch)
Through the first 20 fights of his professional mixed martial arts career, Lawler was one of the brightest stars and a man that many felt would be a world champion one day. His first run in the UFC didn’t end well (4-3), but as he fought in other promotions, he began to gain momentum. It was in his 22nd fight that his career began to take a turn in the wrong direction with more losses than wins. Many feel he was brought back into the UFC out of respect for his career, but he has made sure that he isn’t there just for fun. His opponent in this fight was a veteran Strikeforce competitor who is most remembered for his trilogy of fights with Roger Bowling.
Just 24 seconds into the second round, Lawler shocked Voelker with a head kick and followed it up with a punch to end things. For Lawler, his career is not over. The 34-year-old is making up plenty of ground in the UFC welterweight rankings and should he continue to get a few more wins against top level fighters, could legitimately see himself fighting for the world title at some point in the next 12-18 months.
For Voelker, the loss is his second straight in the UFC and one that could end his time in the promotion. The promotion has been quicker to release fighters in the past year, which is an obvious reaction to having more divisions and more fighters. If he stays in the UFC, he won’t do more than just compete on preliminary cards.
Liz Carmouche defeated Jessica Andrade via TKO (punches and elbows)
This fight in the women’s bantamweight division didn’t have the same flair it had when Miesha Tate was supposed to be facing off with Carmouche, but it was still a fight that showcased the talent of Carmouche. Carmouche picked up the win in the second round, putting a loss on the record of Andrade in her UFC debut.
For Carmouche, the win means she may get another shot at the women’s bantamweight title currently held by Ronda Rousey. Carmouche may have been the closest to beating the undefeated champion and whether it is Rousey or Tate that walks away the world champion when they fight later this year, Carmouche may have the best claim to the title shot.
For Andrade, she may be able to keep her job in the UFC simply because of the lack of fighters in the women’s division. She didn’t pose a serious threat to the talented and popular Carmouche, but might have the skill to compete with lower-tier fighters.
UFC on Fox saw some other shocking results. Michael Chiesa suffered the first loss of his MMA career and stormed out of the Octagon. Melvin Guillard showed he is back again with a huge knockout win against Mac Danzig and Ed Herman earned a split decision ruling in his fight against Trevor Smith.