UFC on Fuel TV 2: Rising Contenders

Along with many, I have been pretty hard on the UFC brass for their decision to have such an event heavy schedule to start the year. However, after a month without any events, I found myself going through some withdrawal pains – and actually really looking forward to UFC on Fuel TV 2. While the event didn’t display anything near the likes expected from Evans v. Jones next week – it was a chance for a group of fighters to make a name for themselves and establish themselves as contenders.

Since their inception the UFC TV non-PPV events have been a breeding ground from some of the most promising fighters in the sport today: Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves all got their start on non-PPV events. UFC on Fuel 2 gave a new set a fighters a chance to make the same impact.

DaMarques Johnson was a star on TUF, and at one point seemed poised to be the next big thing at 170 lbs; however, he has been erratic and inconsistent at best since. Saturday night was no difference, as the TUF alumnus fell prey England’s John Maguire.

Denis Siver was well on the road to a title shot before falling prey to Donald Cerrone at UFC 137. UFC on Fuel TV 2, would be his chance for redemption at a new weight class (featherweight). The challenge put before Siver was not easy one in former contender Diego Nunes, also looking start his road back to the top. After two dominant first rounds, Siver almost fell prey to the Brazillian’s pinpoint striking – but, in the end managed to eek out the decision.

Paulo Thiago has been a fighter to watch since he stormed onto the scene with KO victory over Josh Koscheck. Thiago was given a stepping stone to help him to get back on the right path in Siya¬†Bahadurzada. Unfortunately, Thiago’s night was short and sweet, as he fell to a devastating left hand from Siya.¬†Bahadurzada may be a man to watch – but, I truthfully hope not, if for no other reason than that last name is going to cause problems for MMA reporters around the world.

Brian Stann made a lot of noise in 2011 after a couple of big wins of Jorge Santiago and Chris Leben – many thought he would soon be ready for a title run; unfortunately, after a loss to Chael Sonnen it was back to the drawing board. A fight against Alessio Sakara proved to be a redemption song for Stann, with a decisive first round knockout.

The main event was a match-up between two hyped up light heavyweights in Alexander Gustafsson and Thiago Silva. Silva back, looking a lot leaner, after a steroid suspension wanted to prove that he belonged in the elite at 205 lbs, Gustafsson wanted to prove he wasn’t all hype. In the end, the hometown boy in Gustafsson proved that he is “in the mix” with a decision win.

The fighters on this card did their job. They fought like it was their last, and put on an impressive displays of fighting and violence. If Dana White and the UFC keeps these cards coming, I don’t think any of us will have anything to complain about.

… and that is the last word.