by Kevin Haggerty
Once again, made its way up to the “Great White North” had another successful showing for Canadian fans as UFC 140 overtook the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Dec. 10, 2011. A whopping nine out of 12 total fights ended by way of stoppage. Fans were treated to ridiculously quick knockouts, wild submissions and fast-paced fights filled with furor that ended in decision. From top to bottom, the entire card was a huge hit. After the jump, MMAmania.com takes a look at who emerged from Saturday night’s event as the big winners and the lowliest of losers. Let’s get ready to roll! Star-divide
Jon Jones — The biggest winner of the weekend is usually obvious. This time, it’s not any different. “Bones” was supposed to be tested this go-round by a fighter unlike any he had ever fought. Lyoto Machida’s karate background and elusive style was supposed to give Jones problems and possibly expose some weaknesses. For a little more than a round, it looked as though this would be the case. Then it happened. “The Dragon” got reckless, rushed in with one of his trademark “karate blitzes” and he got clipped with a left hook that buckled his knees instantly. It took Jones less than a minute, from that point, to back his opponent against the fence (the last place Machida wanted to be with Jones) and lock up one of the nastiest standing guillotines MMA fans have ever witnessed. The result left most onlookers stunned in silence. The crazy thing? He’s still getting better.
Frank Mir — When Mir last faced Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92 in 2008, “Big Nog” blamed his loss on a staph infection and to not being one hundred percent. This time, Mir was intent on proving that the last time wasn’t a fluke and that he clearly was the better man. Case closed. After a couple minutes of very exciting exchanges and technical transitions, Mir was able to not only submit a man who was revered for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and had never been submitted in his career, but he did it in quick and brutal fashion.
Constantinos Philippou — After having to go to a very close split decision with an aging Jorge Rivera in his last fight, “Costa” wanted to show fans (and his bosses) that he really does belong in the UFC. He was handed no tomato can for his next opponent, as he took on the always tough Jared Hamman. Philippou was a man on fire, coming forward aggressively and leaving it all in the cage. For a brief moment, it looked as though Hamman was going to be able to withstand the punishment he was dealt and continue fighting. Philippou was not dissuaded. He just kept throwing bombs with technical savvy and precision and it was only a matter of time before Hamman’s will was not enough to keep him standing. The end result saw Hamman fall face forward into the canvas and Philippou having his hand raised after an exciting knockout.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira — The only reason “Lil’ Nog” is not higher up on the list is because it’s still hard to tell which version of Tito Ortiz he really beat on Saturday night. For now, it would appear that he beat the version that was dominated and devastated by Rashad Evans at UFC 133 on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia. That Tito Ortiz may not have recovered. Maybe he never will. Only time will tell. That said, all you can do, as a fighter, is fight who they put in the cage with you. For “Minotouro,” that fighter was Ortiz and he handled him about as well as anyone could have predicted. The “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” rushed Nogueira like a bull, hoping to overwhelm him and possibly make him the victim of his signature ground and pound. Ironically, it was the other way around. It will be interesting to see if this win carries over into bigger and better things for Nogueira, who had lost two in a row leading up to his win over Ortiz.
Chan Sung Jung — After losing two in a row to Leonard Garcia and George Roop, respectively, “The Korean Zombie” has rebounded with his second consecutive, impressive finish in as many fights. This result seemed to have as much with Mark Hominick’s mistake as it did Jung’s execution, but he did what he had to do, when he had to do it. The seven-second knockout left Canadian fans shocked in silent sadness. Sucks for Hominick, but man, was it ever an impressive win for Jung.
Tito Ortiz — What a whirlwind year this has been for Tito. Just a year ago, most people thought he was done. Then, on July 2 at UFC 132, Ortiz destroyed Ryan Bader, leaving fans to wonder if he’d recovered and was back to his old MMA self. A mere month later, Ortiz did the UFC a huge solid by stepping in to save UFC 133 when Phil Davis had to withdraw from his fight versus Rashad Evans due to injury. It wasn’t pretty. After a second, similar showing against Nogueira, it’s hard not to wonder if taking the fight against Evans was the wrong career move. Truth is, we’ll never really know. Ortiz has one fight left on his contract with Zuffa. It’s likely that Dana White will honor that and give him one last farewell fight. It’s been a good run, but all good things must come to an end.
Mark Hominick — I mean this as no slight to Hominick. For God’s sake, this guy has been through enough in the last few months, with the untimely and way-too-early passing of his trainer, friend and mentor Shawn Tompkins. That aside, this was a disappointing showing. How many times have we seen an MMA fighter come into a fight, way too high on emotion and adrenaline, and have those motivational factors be his own undoing (see: Jake Shields). It stinks. Everyone was pulling for Hominick. It’s just not a good way to fight. Hominick remains one of the top featherweight strikers in the world. He’ll be back. This is just a bump in the road. Krzysztof Soszynski — Not a good night for “The Polish Experiment.” Like Hominick, Soszynski was quickly dismantled in front of his home country crowd. Igor Pokrajac picked him apart technically and ended the fight so fast that many fans missed it when it happened the first time. “K-Sos” charged Pokrajac like a wild animal. It was the wrong strategy and he paid dearly for it. Hopefully Soszynski is able to learn from this loss and move forward as a better fighter.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira — Let’s be real. “Big Nog” got worked. He’s now lost three of his last four contests. I have a hard time saying he’s done, at this point. After his brutal KO victory over Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it looked as though Nogueira might have re-emerged as the heavyweight force we had come to know and love. Too soon to say if that was or was not the case. His next fight should reveal a good deal about where his career is heading. The extent of the injury to his arm will also play a big role in how he moves forward. As far as his next fight, Matt Mitrione is coming off a tough loss and needs an opponent. Any interest in that match-up?