UFC 119 Mir vs. Cro Cop: 10 Things Learned

Evan Dunham UFC 119

Evan Dunham is a Monster

Regardless of what the judges said, Evan Dunham (a) won his fight with Sean Sherk, (b) won a truckload of new fans and (c) showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a run at the lightweight championship is in his future.

Dunham dominated Sherk in the final two frames of the fight, surviving a nasty gash over his right eye that left him leaking blood on the canvas in the first round. While the judges gave the decision to Sherk – gave being the operative word here – Dunham scored a bigger victory overall in cementing his status as a true threat in the division.

This one will go down similarly to Jon Jones’ “loss” to Matt Hamill; the results say one thing, but the MMA community knows the truth: Evan Dunham took it to Sean Sherk, should have scored a win and is ready to compete with the big boys of the UFC’s lightweight division.

Sherk Still Has Something Left

Lost in the anticipated controversy calls surrounding Sean Sherk’s win over Evan Dunham is the fact that after sixteen months on the sidelines and myriad injuries, the former lightweight champion came back and held his own against a tough kid on the rise.

The 37-year-old wrestler delivered a couple serious slams in the opening frame, and while he left his neck open for a pair of tight choke attempts, Sherk managed to maintain, dropping a major elbow into Dunham’s head and pushing on through for a full fifteen minutes.

While he faded down the stretch and lost the fight on many at-home scorecards, Sherk proved that he still belongs in the discussion at the top of the lightweight division, and he should only get better now that he’s shaken off the ring rust and gotten some live action minutes under his belt.

Potential Firefight turns into Two Guys Afraid to Play with Matches

Everyone and their mother were excited to see lightweight leather-throwers Melvin Guillard and Jeremy Stephens go toe-to-toe in the opening bout of the pay-per-view broadcast. All the elements of a first-rate fireworks display were in place: they seriously and legitimately don’t like each other, both have explosive hands and little inclination for going to the ground, and they said they were going to bring the thunder.

That last one should have clued us all in.

What could have been an epic clash of two emerging talents turned into a game of chicken where neither fighter wanted to be the guy who got tagged. Guillard flitted in and out, landing one or two while Stephens loaded up for power and failed to connect more often than naught.

Not a single takedown attempt was offered, interesting since each has a severe allergy to ground attacks, and the would-be slugfest turned into a tepid boxing match that ended up as a pre-cursor of things to come.

Ah what could have been…

The Maturing of C.B. Dollaway

Don’t look now, but C.B. Dollaway is becoming a more complete and impressive middleweight contender with each passing fight.

The TUF 7 finalist earned his third straight win with an impressive guillotine choke of Canadian Joe Doerkson on the Prelims LIVE portion of the event. Ryan Bader’s long-time teammate and training partner initially sunk in an arm-in choke early and showed great poise in not shooting the moon early. Instead, Dollaway waited for the right opportunity, adjusted his grip when the moment presented itself, and rolled through some scrambles with Doerkson to secure the Submission of the Night award.

A great wrestler coming into the UFC, Dollaway has shown improved all-around skills over his last three fights, and continues to climb the ladder in the 185-pound division. Each of his last two bouts have now been his best performance to date, and that is the mark of a maturing fighter coming into his own.

Mitrione Impresses Again, Fires Agent on Live TV

Matt Mitrione followed up his third consecutive victory by firing his agent on live television. And you wonder why people think he’s a little left-of-center?

First and foremost, the TUF 10 grad showed continued development as a fighter, handing Joey Beltran his first UFC defeat via unanimous decision. After dropping the first round when Beltran rocked him and put him on his back, Mitrione responded by winning the second and third in convincing fashion, earning the best of the exchanges in both rounds and looking like he could go another ten minutes if needed.

The former football player then told his agent, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, that he was fired to close out his interview with Joe Rogan. Mitirone explained the situation in a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani, citing Kawa’s lack of sponsorship income for a televised fight as the cause for his dismissal.

There is never a dull moment with Matt Mitrione in the cage.

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