New Title Hopefuls after New Jersey (UFC on Fox 3 Review)

Photo Credit: UFC.com/Getty Images

The UFC saw their third venture into primetime network TV with UFC on Fox 3 this past weekend. The UFC’s partnership with Fox has been wildly successful as they continue to host a number of free events all featuring some great fighters. This UFC on Fox 3 was no different as the card featured two fights that would reshape the respective division. The biggest one was in the main event as Nate Diaz and Jim Miller both looked towards their fight with hopes of a title shot. The Lightweight division has been up and down lately with Frankie Edgar winning the title against BJ Penn and then moving on to face Gray Maynard. Two fights with Maynard put the title race on hold for a year with injuries and other issues getting in the way of an immediate rematch after Edgar won the first fight in a controversial decision. With Edgar winning again in the rematch he moved on to face Benson Henderson. In his third title defence Edgar was not able to keep the belt as a new champion was crowned. With Henderson as the race for the belt would again hang in limbo as he would have a rematch with Frankie Edgar in the coming year. With all of this the top of the division has been locked up for the past few years as the #1 contender spot has changed few times. That left the rest of the division to fight it out in a hope to become the next #1 contender. There were plenty of challengers all eliminating each other while the top two continued to fight. With the Edgar-Henderson rematch looking the #1 contender spot now meant more as either Henderson or Edgar would be without their chance to fight for the title immediately again giving the #1 contender spot the next opportunity. This spot was open and the chance was given to the main event fighters at UFC on Fox 3. Nate Diaz and Jim Miller were on the brink of entering that #1 contender spot and although Nate Diaz had a more direct route a win in this fight for either of them would put them in a great spot to become the #1 contender. That was what was at stake as both fighters faced off in New Jersey as the winner of the main event could become the next top contender for the Lightweight title. The fight started as expected with both fighters not thinking of wrestling despite their backgrounds. They circled the octagon as Miller looked to get inside of Diaz’s much larger reach to help land some big shots. Miller took the advantage at the start of the round as he continued to clinch and dirty box on the inside while ending the reach advantage. Then Diaz found his range as he landed some big shots against Miller and began taking over the fight at the end of the first round. The second round was a continuation of the first as Diaz took control of the fight finding his range and landing some good shots. As the round progressed Miller became more desperate as he seemed to see the fight slipping away. As a result of this Miller looked to take the fight to the mat and work his wrestling to gain an advantage in the fight. It turned out to be a mistake as Diaz was able to slip in a guillotine during the takedown attempt. Despite Miller’s attempts to escape he could not as Diaz was able to earn the win via submission. With the win Diaz took over the #1 contender spot in the Lightweight division as he looks to take on the winner of the Henderson-Edgar rematch for his shot at the Lightweight Title. Meanwhile Miller took the loss and will return to the jumble of lightweights as he will try to get back to the top once again.

The main event was not the only fight on the card that had title implications though as the undercard featured a welterweight fight that could determine the next top contender. Josh Koshcheck and Johny Hendricks were both at the top of the Middleweight division but had somewhat different situations. With the welterweight division in limbo as Georges St. Pierre recovers from an injury the top contender has already been decided but the next in line is up for grabs. Josh Koshcheck has already had his title shots and would likely not be getting a shot if he won the fight. Meanwhile Johny Hendricks shot up the title ladder after knocking out Jon Fitch and would take another step towards a title shot. The fight was a close one as both fighters landed their fair share of big shots. Both fighters had their moments in the fight that saw two NCAA division I wrestlers rarely go to the ground. In the end the fight could have gone either way as no one fighter took the obvious advantage in any round. The judges saw it almost the same way as Johny Hendricks won but just barely in a split decision that saw the scores at 29-28, 29-28, and 28-29. With the win Hendricks is now in the elite of the welterweight division and with one more fight under his belt he could be the next challenger for the title. Koshcheck will remain one of the top fighters but will have a tougher road than ever if he hopes to get to the title once again.

The UFC handed out $65,000 bonuses for the great performances during the night of fights and there was plenty to choose from. The “Submission of the Night” went to Nate Diaz for his guillotine choke win in the main event. The “Knockout of the Night” went to Lavar Johnson for his second straight KO this time against Pat Barry. The “Fight of the Night” went to the flyweights as Louis Gaudinot and John Lineker went 100 miles per hour until Gaudinot ended the fight via submission in round 2.

 

Full Results:

Main Event:

Nate Diaz def. Jim Miller

(Submission; Guillotine Choke, Rd. 2)

 

Main Card:

Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks def. Josh “Kos” Koshcheck

(Split Decision)

 

Alan “The Talent” Belcher def. Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares

(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Lavar “Big” Johnson def. Pat “HD” Barry

(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Undercard:

Michael “The Menace” Johnson def. Tony “El Cucuy” Fergusen

(Unanimous Decision)

 

John “The Magician” Dodson def. Tim Elliott

(Unanimous Decision)

 

John Hathaway def. Pascal Krauss

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Louis “Goodnight” Gaudinot def. John “Hands of Stone” Lineker

(Submission; Guillotine, Rd. 2)

 

Danny “Last Call” Castillo def. John Cholish

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez def. Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Roland Delorme def. Nick “The Ninja of Love” Denis

(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 2)

 

Karlos Vemola def. Mike “The Master of Disaster” Massenzio

(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 2)

 

Upcoming Events:

 

UFC on Fuel TV 3: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier (May 15th; 8:00 pm)

– Live on Fuel TV/Sportsnet

– Fairfax, Virginia (Patriot Center)

Main Event: “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier

Notable: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens

 

UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir (May 26th; 10:00 pm)

– Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Garden Arena)

Main Event: Junior “Cigano” dos Santos vs. Frank Mir [Heavyweight Title]

Notable: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

Notable: Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Dave Herman

 

The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale (June 1st; 9:00 pm)

– Las Vegas, Nevada (The Pearl)

Main Event: Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger vs. Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann

Notable: Max “Blessed” Holloway vs. Pat “Thrilling” Schilling

– Other fights to be announced at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter Live

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