10 Things We Learned from UFC on Versus 4

END OF THE LINE FOR STEVENSON

I know I should be talking about the quality win Javier Vazquez earned on Sunday night, but the truth is that Joe Stevenson and his precipitous fall is the much more intriguing angle.

For the fourth straight fight, TUF 2 winner Stevenson walked out of the cage after being handed a defeat. Sometime in the next couple days, he’s probably going to be handed his walking papers as well. It’s the harsh reality of the sport, and too bad because Stevenson is a great guy, but his performance in the cage has completely fallen off.

There just seems to be a disconnect with “Joe Daddy” right now. The aggression that he showed in his last two wins over Nate Diaz and Spencer Fisher has disappeared. While he feints and follows, he can’t seem to pull the trigger, leading to him going 3-7 over his last ten fights.

It’s hard to say what the future holds for Stevenson at this point.

On one hand, he’s technically young enough to go out and regroup; it seems crazy because he’s been around for so long, but Stevenson is only 29-years-old. On the other hand, 13 years and close to 50 fights takes a toll on a person, mentally and physically.

Whether he just needs to rediscover something he’s lost or this is the end of the line, Stevenson has been a consummate pro and a pleasure to watch, and I wish him the best.

LAUZON LOOKS GREAT, NOW HE’S GOT TO DO IT WHEN IT COUNTS

Sunday night, Joe Lauzon took home Submission of the Night honors for the beautifully nasty kimura he cinched in against Curt Warburton.

It was an impressive performance from the Bridgewater, Massachusetts native; the kind of effort that has routinely had pundits pegging Lauzon as a potential contender in the lightweight division.

Here’s the thing, though: Lauzon always looks good against the Warburtons of the world, and always comes up short when the chips are down. As impressive as this performance was, he needs to carry it forward against a real contender next time out.

His best win to date is a victory over Jeremy Stephens, who — while tough as nails — isn’t exactly a championship contender at this point. Every time Lauzon has been given a step up, he’s stumbled, and he needs to put an end to the trend in his next fight.

He’s just now entering his athletic prime and showed Sunday night that he has the tools to compete. All that’s left for Lauzon to do is get in there and get a win against someone a little higher up on the totem pole than Warburton.

GREAT FIGHT MARRED BY UNFORTUNATE MISTAKE

Even though their fight didn’t make it out of the second round, Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira earned every penny of their Fight of the Night bonuses.

The opening round of their lightweight contest was one of the best rounds in recent history, and the second was shaping up the same until Oliveira made a mistake.

Let’s get a couple things clear here: yes, the knee was illegal, and no, he didn’t not mean to throw it.

For those who are going to ask how I can possibly know Oliveira’s intent, just go back and look in the kid’s eyes after the fight was over. The 21-year-old Brazilian is either a great actor or he was genuinely remorseful and on the verge of tears for landing the knee that decided the outcome of the fight.

To put it another way, he looked the exact opposite of Michael Bisping at UFC 127.

Regardless of the unfortunate series of events that led to the ending, this was a great fight and I can’t wait for the rematch. Lentz showed an aggressive side that had been lacking in most of his previous outings, while Oliveira confirmed why he’s viewed as a potential superstar.

WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF THE ILLEGAL KNEE

Hey Chip Snider – what the hell were you thinking?

I know that refereeing is a thankless position and a daunting one at that; you don’t get any credit for the 99 things you do right from critics like me, and your one mistake is made into a major story. It sucks, but that’s the nature of the beast.

As such, Snider is going to be under heavy fire over the next few days, and he deserves every round.

For starters, that was a very obvious illegal knee. Everyone in the building noticed it, everyone at home noticed it, and it should have been addressed. What compounds things is that Snider noticed it too.

When the commission official came in the cage at the close of the bout, we (or at least I) overheard Snider say something to the effect of, “I was going to jump in, but he was already…” The last part wasn’t picked up, but probably spoke to Oliveira being en route to the finish, but it doesn’t matter. Snider should have stepped in and he didn’t, and that is unacceptable.

On the whole, this was a bad night for the officials.

In addition to Snider’s gaffe in the Oliveira-Lentz fight, all the officials spent way too much time offering instructions to the fighters. I heard as many calls to “keep it moving” and “do something here” as I did commentary from Rogan and Goldberg.

I’m all for an official giving guys instructions when they’re needed, but they’re not needed every 15 seconds, no matter what is happening.

Additionally, what the hell was with that third round stand-up in the Story-Brenneman fight? I always thought that you let the guy who is trying to sink in a kimura the chance to keep working. Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

Like I said, Sunday was a bad night for the officials.

A PARTING WORD ON THE NATE MARQUARDT FIASCO

All in all, this sucks.

In the coming days as more information becomes available, the media is going to be littered with opinion pieces damning Marquardt, saying that Dana White is over-reacting and everything in between. Most will have merit and be well done, but there is a possibility that they’ll all miss the mark in one regard.

At the end of the day, Marquardt made a mistake, whatever it is. Some mistakes are certainly more serious than others, and actions have consequences. His consequence is no longer fighting in the UFC, and maybe more, depending on what’s at the root of this weekend’s drama.

But in the grand scheme of things, this is still just a sport, and in addition to being an athlete, he’s also a husband, a father, and a human being, and he made a mistake.

The media has done a tremendous job in handling this situation thus far, keeping away from the speculation pieces plenty of people assumed were coming.

I just hope that when the facts come to light, we continue to keep things in perspective.


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