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RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST: (8.0)
It was a nice afternoon of fights, and the fact that it was an afternoon as opposed to a full Saturday night boosted the score a full point. There really was something for everybody, other than the multitude of people who hate violence, grappling, or Brian Stann. I certainly hope that we get more European cards live on Saturday afternoons. And I really hope they're on Fuel, just so that we can hear more whining from people like Jamie Penick who refuse to get Fuel TV out of principle or some other nonsense.
I think I take less from the Gustafsson performance than others do, because Thiago Silva was a hand-tailored opponent for him. Smaller, slower, one-dimensional, other than a hail-mary, how exactly was Silva going to win that fight? Let's get Gustafsson another fight or two before we even dream of putting him up against Jon Jones. Lyoto Machida would be a nice test for The Mauler. Let's see speed, technique, and movement against the unorthodox Machida.
Also, I think we need to put Mike Goldberg out to pasture. His relentless comparisons of Gustafsson to Jon Jones were making me sick. And this coming from a guy who never notices bad broadcasters. rarely have anything bad to say about any broadcasters, but Goldberg's cliches and incorrect analysissessesses are out of control.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR (8.5)
UFC on Fuel TV Started with Brad Picket vs. Damacio Page and they started quick. They were both a blur of striking exchanges, quick take downs, and reversals. Both fighters are well rounded and I could have seen the fight going either way. Pickett's ground game has improved and his striking was too much for Page. This was a great fight. I love the 135 pound fighters! Great way to start this event.
DaMarques Johnson vs. John Maguire matched two well rounded welterweights. Mcguire's (BJJ) Gypsy Jiu-Jitsu was too much and he tapped Johnson in the second round with a nice arm bar. Good fight, but nothing fantastic.
I was very excited to see Dennis Siver in the next fight because this was his first fight at 145. I had heard he missed weight on his first try and wondered how the cut would affect him in this fight. Diego Nunes is one of my favorite fighters and I thought he would match up nicely against Siver. The first round was fast paced and was great, both men exchanging with strikes landing early and often. The second round provided more of the same. The third round slowed some and Siver was cut over his left eye. Siver won a razor close and well deserved decision. I loved this fight. Siver is a very real and immediate threat at 145.
The Paulo Thiago vs. Siyar Bahadurzada match up was a bit of a surprise to me. Thiago is such a high level grappler and a well rounded MMA fighter, this match didn’t make sense on paper. However, once I realized Bahadurzada fights out of Amsterdam, the match up started to make sense. I would have bet my pay check Thiago was going to tap out Bahadurzada in the first round. Instead, what we got was a 45 second KO of Thiago. This was a great knockout. Thiago is 1-4 in his last five fights and may be headed to Bellator soon.
Brian Stann vs. Alessio Sakaro is another fight I did not understand. Even though Stan was beaten by Chael Sonnen at UFC 136 this past October, I feel he is two or three fights from a title shot. Sakara is not even close to the same level as Stann. See the previous paragraph as to why they do not ask me to match up fighters. I know the first round stoppage will be controversial, but in my mind, Stann had finished Sakaro and referee Marc Goddard stopped the fight at the right time. Sakaro was out, if only for a second. Stann stopped punching as soon as he realized Sakaro was out. Brian Stan is all class. Great finish.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Thiago Silva is a fight I have been looking forward to since it was announced. I think Gustafsson is a bit overrated and Silva has always had too much hype behind him. I thought round one went to Gustafsson. Silva was cut in the center of his forehead and took more damage on standing. He was also dropped by a nice right from Gustafsson. Round two was more of the same. Gustafsson used his longer reach and kept Silva away with his jab and great foot work. Round three was pretty much a repeat of round two. Silva could not find his range and Gustafsson’s kickboxing is world class. This was a lopsided win by Gustafsson and he raised his stock in my book with this decision victory. Great fight and a great overall night of fights.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST: (7.5)
UFC delivered a better card on Fuel than I would expect from most FX or Fox cards in terms of fight quality and excitement. Gustaffson did exactly what most expected him to and beat the daylights out of Thiago Silva. Brian Stann also shined renewing his build towards the top with a great knockout on the ground, and Siyar Bahaduraza showed the world what hes made of with incredible striking to put Paulo Thiago to sleep in just under 45 seconds. The fights provided the high-octane feel the UFC needs to bring more interest to Fuel TV, and if they continue to deliver on this level even on their smaller cards the execs at Fox will remain happy. It was a great afternoon of fights, and definitely worth the watch.
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