HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 116

BY FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist

Luke Rockhold (Photo credit Joe Camporeale © USA Today Sports)

UFC Fight Night 116 was this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.


UFC Fight Night 116

BAD- Justin Ledet vs. Zu Anyanwu

There was a little action but not enough. Ledet won the split decision. That’s about enough said right there.

GOOD- Kamaru Usman stops Sergio Moraes

Usman came out blasting Moraes in the leg with kicks and followed up with some power punches to end things. Usman called out Rafael Dos Anjos after the fight. As exciting as that fight would be, I would rather see RDA fight a top-ranked guy as I think he could challenge for the title here soon. Usman is exciting and (hopefully) is surging in popularity. He himself might be challenging for a title soon. He’s going to need a couple big wins, though, but there’s certainly the potential there.

GOOD- Gregor Gillespie stops Jason Gonzalez

Both guys came out firing and looking for the kill shot. Gillespie dropped Gonzalez a few times, but Gonzalez showed tremendous toughness and kept coming. When he started hurting Gillespie a little, Gillespie responded by getting a takedown. He took him down a handful of times before locking in a tight arm triangle in the second round. Gonzalez tried to fight it, but it was too tight and he had to tap. Big win for Gillespie.

BAD/GOOD- Anthony Smith stops Hector Lombard

The finish was nice, which saw Smith drop Lombard with a combination and pounce to finish him off late in the third round. However, the stuff before that just wasn’t all that interesting. Maybe it’s the late hour, but I just wasn’t feeling this fight much at all. It’s a nice win for Smith. I’m not sure where Lombard goes from here.  He’s up and down a lot.

GOOD- Mike Perry stops Alex Reyes

Reyes took the fight on short notice, which is a daunting proposition considering it was against Mike Perry. The thing about Perry is that he hits extremely hard, and he has this crazy toughness and ability to take a punch. Perry crushed Reyes with a knee and the ref had to step in. Perry called out Robbie Lawler after the fight. That’s actually who I would rather see Rafael Dos Anjos fight, but I couldn’t complain about a Perry-Lawler fight. I’d love to see that fight. I just want to see Perry fight period, I don’t care who he’s fighting. He’s must-see TV.

GOOD- Luke Rockhold stops David Branch

Branch came out well in the first round and was having some good success on the feet. When Rockhold got the fight on the ground, though, he took over and started laying into Branch. This was a big win for Rockhold as he looks to establish himself as the top contender in the division.

What was most noteworthy though, were his comments after the win. Rockhold called out Georges St. Pierre and said he doesn’t belong in the division and that he’s going to get embarrassed in his fight against UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping. If there’s anyone who knows about getting embarrassed against Bisping, it would be Rockhold, who got KTFO in his last fight against Bisping.

I wasn’t a big fan of the GSP-Bisping fight when it was first announced because there were better contenders. Now, there’s only one true contender, Robert Whittaker, but he’s hurt. I don’t want to hear guys like Rockhold and Chris Weidman complaining about this being their title shot. No, it’s not. Weidman lost three in a row before rebounding against Kelvin Gastelum in his last fight. And this was Rockhold’s first fight in fifteen months, which was that loss to Bisping. Neither of those are strong cases. There are only two guys who could make a case for getting a title shot. One is Whittaker, who’s on the shelf with an injury. The other is Gegard Mousasi, who’s in Bellator now. Everyone else just has to live with this fight. Whether it’s a good fight or not doesn’t matter, no one can argue they’ve been overlooked.

I like Rockhold, and he does have a prior submission win over Bisping, but his loss to Bisping wasn’t some close and controversial decision. It was as definitive as it gets a first round knockout. And it’s not like he was some long-reigning champion, he had just won the title. So it’s wrong for him to trash GSP and complain about him getting an unearned title shot that he wants himself, when that would be an unearned title shot as well.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

NOW CHECK OUT HYDEN’S PREVIOUS TAKE: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from UFC 215

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