Story by Anthony Springer
Photos by Chris Cozzone
If you’ve followed the UFC for several years, you know that the world’s biggest MMA promotion typically has a stacked card. UFC 108 was initially slated to be among those when all was said and done in the history books.
And then the injuries happened.
One after another, news of fighters going down in training camp or freak accidents. Main events were lost, co-main events were lost, and preliminary bouts were promoted to the main card. Fans initially panned the card as a failure—and with an injury list that included the likes of Carlos Condit, Gabriel Gonzaga, Tyson Griffin, Rory Markham, Sean Sherk, and Antonio Noguiera, it was difficult to put up an argument to the contrary.
Hell, even matchmaker Joe Silva fell victim to the curse of UFC 108, blowing out his MCL days before the event.
If any lesson can be taken from UFC 108, it’s never judge the quality of a fight card by the names on the bill. Despite a lack of star power, the event did not disappoint and fans were treated to a slew of (T)KO’s and submissions.
Check out Fight News’s list of winners and losers:
Joe Silva- Ok, so blowing your MCL doesn’t exactly inspire fist pumps, but the matchmaking guru made a way out of no way. With headlining bouts and fighters dropping like flies, Silva managed to set up fights that kept hard-core fans talking. When all was said and done, many who doubted UFC 108 were forced to eat their words.
Rashad Evans- Credit Rashad Evans with becoming a more complete fighter. When Evans first entered the UFC, he was a wrestler known for grinding out the finish. After knocking out Chuck Liddell, Evans seemed to turn in to the second coming of Tyson overnight, abandoning his bread and butter in favor of the standup. A lop sided beating at the hands of Lyoto Machida forced Evans to go back to the drawing board. Six months ago, Rashad Evans may have engaged in a firefight with Thiago Silva—and if the third round is any indication, it’s a fight Evans would’ve likely lost. The return to wrestling shows that Evans ascent back to the top of the division is likely to give any fighter who can’t stop the takedown fits. In addition to watching out for fast hands, Evans’ future opponents will have to worry about staring at the lights after being driven into the cage. With a headlining fight against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on the horizon, Evans will need every tool at his disposal to best his new nemesis.
Paul Daley- Two UFC fights, two stoppages. Daley knocked a fresh Dustin Hazelett across the Octagon en route to earning a $50,000 knockout of the night award. All 170-pounders are officially on notice: “Semtex” is here.
Junior Dos Santos- With previous Octagon victories over Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga, Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos was always thought to be one big win away from being considered a top contender in the UFC’s growing heavyweight division. The Team Blackhouse fighter didn’t have to wait long for that victory to come. “Cigano” caught veteran striker Gilbert Yvel with a vicious counter left hook in the opening stanza of their three round title fight, ending the “Hurricane’s” night early. The shot served to put the rest of the heavyweight division on notice: Junior Dos Santos is the real deal. Unless fellow teammate Antonio “Minotauro” Noguiera reclaims the heavyweight title, look for Dos Santos to headline a UFC by year’s end.
The Lauzon Brothers- Both brothers lost their bouts, but looked good in defeat. Unlike other fighters who have vowed never to fight their training partners, Joe and Dan have made no such pact. In an October interview, Joe said the pair “would have no problem” stepping into the Octagon to face each other. With the UFC headed to Boston this year, we can’t help but wonder if Lauzon vs. Lauzon will make the main card.
Thiago Silva- Patience was clearly not a virtue for Thiago Silva, who showed that he is still rough around the edges in the loss to Rashad Evans. After being too aggressive in a loss to current champion Lyoto Machida, Silva displayed the opposite in the headlining bout. After rocking Evans in the final frame, Silva—perhaps suffering from fatigue—failed to finish off the former 205-pound champion. The time wasted allowed Evans to get back into the fight, leaving Silva a loser in two of his last three contests. And while there’s no shame in losing to Rashad Evans, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is a hard pill for any fighter to swallow.
Paul Daley: Yes, Paul Daley separated Dustin Hazelett from his senses, but not making weight is as unprofessional as they come.