UFC 197 was a pretty significant event as Demetrious Johnson took one step closer to beating Anderson Silva’s title defense record and Jon Jones took one step closer to regaining his title. While there were a few other big fights those were the biggest storylines coming out of the event. Now, that does not mean they were the top performers for the fight card. Who came away with a big win? Well, continue to red and find out.
#3 Yair Rodriguez
Yair had not been too impressive since winning his international season of TUF, but he had won three straight fights, all by decision. Given one of those fights was also a split decision where he won a fight of the night bonus as well. Rodriguez had never really been known as a finisher, but he proved he can be in this fight when he stopped his opponent with one of the craziest flying knockouts ever. It was one of only two finishes on the main card but it was easily the most impressive finish of the night.
#2 Edson Barboza
Anthony Pettis begged to face a striker and he may have not liked the outcome when facing Edson Barboza. Barboza has always been tough and dynamic fighter that has floated around the top ten and occasionally broken into the top five. He started off his UFC career at 7-1 with only one really weird loss. Unfortunately, before this weekend’s win he had gone an abysmal 3-3. None of his wins were over big names, but he suffered big defeats to two fighters who have or ma have challenge for the title and against one fighter that he should have to continue being relevant. Still, at just 30 years of age he just pulled off his biggest win by taking out former champion Pettis by decision. It was a performance of the night due to the fact that he pulled off the victory in the third win he has been known to fade and just demolished Pettis’s leg. maybe 2016 will be a return to form for Barboza.
#1 Demetrious Johnson
Demetrius johnson was seen as a boring fighter at the start of his Zuffa career since he pulled off eight victories by decision in his first nine fights since leading up to winning the belt or nine out of ten if you count his first defense. The script has flipped in his last seven title defenses where he has finished five of those seven wins. It started off with he first round a submission of john Moraga and was followed up with a first round TKO of Joseph Benavidez, he decisioned his next fight, but pulled off a second round submission of Chris Cariaso and last second armbar in his next fight. He decisioned John Dodson in a rematch although it was very dominate and then obliterated Henry Cejudo this weekend with knees. Now, nearing the age of 30 he is only becoming more dangerous. Time will tell how far he will go, but this victory this weekend showed the champion he has become from the fighter he once was.