I will admit that I underestimated Lamas and Pettis last night. Nonetheless, I was correct in calling the main and co-main events. Here is my reaction to each fight:
Koch vs. Lamas: After seeing Lamas cut Koch open while stacking and then pound him into oblivion with elbows in Round 2, it became clear that he is a top featherweight contender. I still don't think that he will defeat the winner of Aldo vs. Edgar, but he will certainly put up a valiant effort if he gets a title shot.
Cerrone vs. Pettis: I thought that "Cowboy" would put an end to "Showtime" after he kneed Pettis during that cartwheel kick. However, it later became apparent that there was a method to Pettis' madness. He stunned Cerrone with a kick to the torso near the cage, then got him with a matrix-style knee strike after rebounding off the cage. Then he caught Cerrone with a brutal liver kick, followed up with a hard left, and finished him on the ground, giving "Cowboy" his first career loss by KO. The winner of Henderson vs. Melendez is definitely going to have their hands full with this guy.
Jackson vs. Teixiera: Rampage went out like a man, slugging it out with Texiera, but ultimately succumbing to the Brazilian's superior wrestling and better technique. In retrospect, the fact that Rampage made weight foreshadowed that he was going to do his best in his last outing in the UFC. I was hoping that he would go out with a win, but six takedowns later, it became apparent that it just wasn't meant to be. Texiera won a well-earned unanimous decision after mounting and pummeling Rampage in the final round. After the comments that Rampage has made about the UFC brass in the media, I'm not surprised that his final interview wasn't aired. Nonetheless, I do wish that the higher road had been taken and that we got to hear his final words from the octagon.
As far as Texiera goes, he is definitely a contender in the light heavyweight division. That being said, I don't think he is ready for Jones just yet. He should take on a top five opponent before he gets a title shot.
Johnson vs. Dodson: We use the Muay Thai clinch a lot in Krav Maga, and now I see why! The tide turned in the match in Round 4, when Johnson got Dodson in the clinch against the cage and hammered him with knees. Up until that point, I thought that the match was pretty even. Even though "Mighty Mouse" took down "The Magician" for the first time in his career, Dodson rocked the champion twice with powerful lefts. In Round 4 and 5, that changed and Johnson clearly earned the decision to retain his title, ending the last round with more knees from the clinch.
Regarding that illegal knee that everyone was talking about, it looked like Dodson had lifted up his hand before taking that knee to the face on the replay. That being said, I understand why the refereee would like to err on the side of caution. In my opinion, that rule is dumb, anyway (along with the 12-6 elbow rule), but hey, it is what it is.
At any rate, the matches were great and hopefully, it will get more casual fans to take MMA more seriously. Now it's time to look forward to the match that will determine who is the best fighter below the welterweight division: Aldo vs. Edgar!