UFC Fight Night 23 represented a very good night of fights for a great cause. This Fight for the Troops 2 event, deemed such because it benefitted those in our military that suffer from brain trauma via the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, was an eye opener in many ways. Along with this, we’ll attempt to detail five things we learned from UFC Fight Night 23 below.
1. Melvin Guillard now has the stuff to give anyone in the lightweight division a run: Guillard was always a seriously dangerous striker. That speed and power of his was once again on display Saturday night. From the punches he landed while Dunham held his leg in the air, to that one-two that initially dropped his adversary, to the way he threw knees that eventually ended the fight, Guillard showed a level of athleticism and striking skills that could not be denied.
The real clincher, however, was the way in which he got up after Dunham achieved a takedown. He looked as calm as could be below the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt as he scooted to a sitting position along the cage wall and eventually rose to his feet.
Remember- seven of Guillard’s eight losses have come by way of submission. Once this guy gets to a certain level on the ground, he’ll be as dangerous as anyone. In the end, if Guillard is improving on the canvas as much as people are saying he is with Jackson’s MMA- and there was some evidence of it against Dunham- on any given night he will be able to take out anyone in the lightweight division.
2. Matt Mitrione on the verge of big fights in the UFC: No one could deny that Mitrione had some talent during his TUF 10 stint. However, to see what he has become during his four fight UFC winning streak is really something to behold.
Mitrione is a very fast, technically sound, and powerful striker, which he showed once again against the much more experienced Tim Hague at UFC Fight Night 23. He has literally run through the opponents that the UFC has offered him to date. Marcus Jones, Kimbo Slice, Joey Beltran, and now Hague have all looked pretty inadequate on their feet against him. What’s more, Mitrione once again showed good takedown defense against his opponent on Saturday.
Time for this Roufusport product to take on another level of competition. He’s that good.
3. Cody McKenzie is a tough and talented guy: McKenzie looked pretty tough while participating on TUF 12. But you never really know how performance on that show will translate to the big time. Against Yves Edwards, we found out that he was for real.
McKenzie took a lot of punches in round one. In round two, the same happened, but that didn’t stop him from attempting a couple of spinning back elbows and taking Edwards’ back on the ground, where he pounded on him from behind for a significant amount of time. When you can do that kind of stuff against TUF competitors, it’s always difficult to figure how that kind of performance translates, as they’re all works in progress. But against Edwards, although McKenzie made an error that cost him the fight, he looked like an up and comer worth noticing.
By the way, that toughness was on display when he refused to tap from an Edwards rear naked choke that eventually put him to sleep.
4. Yves Edwards can still impress: Edwards has now won three in a row, including two in the UFC. The formerly uncrowned UFC lightweight champion showed solid striking, toughness when McKenzie took a superior position on the ground against him, and the ability to finish with his rear naked choke victory on Saturday. In the end, he took out a really tough and unorthodox guy in McKenzie. It was a huge victory for him.
5. Matt Wiman is ready to step up: Cole Miller is a really tough guy. We’re talking about a very valid submission threat that always comes to fight. So the fact that Wiman literally destroyed him last night both on his feet and on the ground with ground and pound says something.
It says that Wiman has now won three straight in the UFC impressively. He may be ready for another shot at the Jim Miller‘s of the world.