Another New Year's Eve(ish) UFC card has come and gone, and after the "Decision of the Night" bonuses have been handed out, and all the cougars in the audience have gone home to sandblast off their makeup, we're left with some interesting learnings.
Here's the takeaway from a card mercifully saved by its penultimate fight:
1. We didn't miss Mike Goldberg even a little bit. When we first saw John Anik instead of Goldberg take his place alongside Joe Rogan as color commentator, most immediately thought "hey, why did I just pay 59.95 for an FX card?" Quickly, however, the quality of the announcer came through, leaving few to countdown the days until Goldberg returns from his "personal issues."
2. Leben and Brunson need some advanced cardio STAT. Now most of us would last all of about 14 seconds in an UFC fight before taking a knee, but this curtain jerker was just not up to snuff. Chris Leben gets a hall pass for it being his first fight back in a year, but former Strikeforce champ Derek Brunson has no such excuse. He gassed out early, drawing the ire of President Dana White who said, "The other kid was looking at the clock like he was a 14-year-old waiting for school to get out the entire fight – looking at the clock."
3. Tim Boetsch will be purchasing a ticket to the next Anderson Silva fight. Although he busted his hand in the opening round, there's no escaping the lackluster performance of Tim Boetsch against Constantinos "The Spell Check Nightmare" Philippou. With a legitimate top contender slot waiting for him if he dominated, Boetsch now moves to the back of the line after getting bested in a mediocre fight where Philippou was a late sub for injured Chris Weidman.
4. UFC cards heavy with fights that go the distance leave us wanting. As the technical skills of MMA fighters get more advanced, and their careers leave them unwilling to take on big risks, we continue to see more and more decisions inside the Octagon. While this gives Joe Rogan a chance to make multiple "it's like a chess match out there" references throughout the night, it also leaves viewers daydreaming about what else they could have done with that 60 bucks.
5. Like guys lying on top of each for 15 minutes? Have I got a fight for you! I'm sure there was some master plan to the actions of Alan Belcher and Yushin Okami in their tussle, but unless you're a hardcore fan, this fight looked a lot like lazy man's gay porn.
6. What's Japanese for "grind the fans into a catatonic state?" Yushin Okami may have won the battle, but he definitely lost the long-term marketability war. Unless he's going after the much demanded insomniac demographic, Dana White is not likely going to put the Japanese fighter in any high profile matches any time soon.
7. A new nickname is in order for Pickett. Brad "One Punch" Pickett lost a boxing match (that, we must note involved many, many punches – most of which came courtesy of opponent Eddie Wineland) and now has only a single knock out in eight UFC appearances.
8. Humans are filled with blood. Yep, it's true. Just ask anyone who was in the building for the card-saving battle between Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon. Miller opened Lauzon up early, and despite some strategically applied gobs of Vaseline, the loser continued to gush rivers throughout the remainder of the contest. When the main event fighters found their way into the ring they must have been asking themselves if they just missed a reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg out there.
9. Velasquez is scary good. Usually when a fighter claims he fought injured after a loss it's about as convincing as Christian Ronaldo hitting the grass in the penalty box. But in this case, we might have to take the new Heavyweight Champion at his word. He maintained throughout training that the first time around he was hurting, and that we didn't see the "real him." The real Velasquez has just left the building (with Dos Santos' head in a bowling bag). Too fast. Too aggressive. Too good.
10. Dos Santos needs a doctor. There is no way that Junior didn't sustain some kind of long-term injury during the beating he took at the hands of Velasquez. Last seen using his toaster as a phone, Dos Santos has heart, and now needs a solid PPO provider.
11. One-and-a-half fights can (almost) make you forget about a crappy card. With the exception of Miller-Lauzon and Velasquez's performance, there wasn't much to get excited about with UFC 155. Injuries and meh cards led to a down year for the Zuffas, which makes this a fitting way to end the year, and unequivocally state…
12. The REAL loser at UFC 155? You. This column began life as a "UFC 155 Winners and Losers" column, but a quick check of the World Wide Internets confirmed that there were as many of those as Gangham Style parodies currently in circulation. However, like "The Protester" who brought home the Time Person of the Year prize in 2011, the biggest loser post-155 is you, the hard-working-non-torrent-downloading fan who shelled out the cash.