Pat Healy vs. Jim Miller
What started out as a confusing fight between two ginger twins with slightly different facial hair turned into a back and forth Fight of the Night scrap. Jim Miller took the fight to Pat Healy in the first, hurting Healy so bad at the end of the first round that doctors checked him out to make sure he was okay to continue. Not only was he able to continue, Healy turned things around and put the stomp on Miller through round two and send him off to dreamland in round 3. All of a sudden Pat Healy knows what it’s like to be relevant. He’s been toiling away in the B-leagues for so long where anything amazing you do can be downplayed by “Yeah, but that’s Strikeforce / MFC / the IFL.” Now people finally have to take him seriously as a contender.

Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes
Does endless trash talk make for shitty fights? Last night certainly made the case for it as all the passion and aggression shown outside the cage was curiously absent during the fight. I suppose we shouldn’t be all that surprised at how everything turned out. It was a given that Phil Davis would use his wrestling skillz to keep the fight standing, and a sad reoccuring trend in MMA history that the jiu jitsu wiz wouldn’t have the takedowns to force it to the ground. From there all it took was Davis being perfectly content to pick Magalhaes apart for the decision and you got yourself an anti-barnburner.

Cheick Kongo vs. Roy Nelson
You always get the feeling like Roy Nelson is one more bad performance away from getting fired / forced onto a diet or something. Dana White has never been a fan of more rotund heavyweights, and Roy was once told five years ago to check back with the promotion when he lost the gut. He somehow still managed to get into the promotion without shedding any pounds where he regularly pisses off Zuffa brass with his antics. You get the feeling like the company blames him for his season of The Ultimate Fighter tanking, even though it was the staler than stale production values that were really to blame. So to say Nelson needed this win was an understatement. The knockout itself, not so much of an understatement.

Alan Belcher vs. Michael Bisping
Another case where mad shite slinging did not translate into a great scrap. These two guys a lot of time yapping at each other on Youtube betting on who was gonna knock who out in the first round. But when the fight started, we got Michael Bisping picking apart a stunned and tentative Alan Belcher for three rounds. A decent fight if you’re a fan of Bisping, but there aren’t many of those around are there? To top things off, it ended with a brutal eyepoke that left Belcher looking like he’d had his eyes gouged out by King Joffrey. The fight summed up all the ways UFC 159 was kind of a crappy event.

Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
Kudos to Chael Sonnen for actually fighting, and that’s about the only positive thing I can say for him. A lot of guys thrown into matches against opponents way out of their league tend to freeze or lock up, but Sonnen was aggressive and throwing and pushing for an advantage … for the four minutes he lasted. Jon Jones turned up the heat over the first round and by the end had Sonnen trapped up against the cage where he unloaded until the ref (prematurely) stepped in to stop things. And yeah, watching the replays it was an early stoppage. It probably wouldn’t have changed things, but this is the Ultimate Fighting Championships, no the Probably Fighting Championships. In a title fight – even one as farcical as this – you gotta give people the chance to fight out of bad spots. Who knows … if Chael had managed to get back up and finish the round, he might be champion via TKO (Injury). How crazy would that have been?

(pic by Brad Penner for USA Today)