On what planet does the challenger break the champion's face and get a unanimous decision loss? Were the judges playing Angry Birds during the first three rounds of that fight? Even though Gustafsson got screwed, the championship fight was awesome. Most of the other matches were pretty good, too. Here are my thoughts on each bout:
Healy vs. Nurmagomedov: Man, that running slam in Round 3 was epic! Even before that, "The Eagle" was holding his own. In spite of being on the losing end of the striking game, he demonstrated his superior grappling by taking "Bam Bam" down several times. However, that slam put an exclamation point on his victory. Combined with his undefeated record, it definitely made his request for a title shot sound pretty reasonable. Since the lightweight division is extremely stacked, I think he'll have to settle for a top-five opponent first. Nonetheless, I feel that Anthony Pettis should take notice.
Philippou vs. Carmont: Even though this fight was dull, I have to hand it to Carmont. He was able to grind out a decision over a top-ten middleweight with relative ease. He took Philippou down and smothered him for three rounds, using some ground-and-pound once in a while. Was it fun to watch? No, but at least it worked.
Schaub vs. Mitrione: I knew that "The Hybrid" would win, but via a beautifully executed D'Arce choke? Now I've seen everything! It's nice that he got his first-ever submission victory. I still don't think that he will get the belt, but I'll keep an eye on him for exciting fights.
Barao vs. Wineland: This is the fourth spinning heel kick knockout in the UFC in less than a two-year timespan. Once again, it was by a Brazilian. Barao's finish was so quick that I missed it and had to watch the replay. I don't see Cruz beating this phenom. Nonetheless, I hope that the champion heals by early 2014 so that we can find out if I am right.
Jones vs. Gustafsson: Not even a crappy unanimous decision can put a damper on this awesome fight! Gustafsson took Jones to boxing school, busting the champion open with left jabs and straight rights. In addition to outstriking him for the majority of the fight, he was the first guy to ever take Jones down. In fact, he managed to do it twice. He even pulled off a spinning hammerfist in the final round. In spite of this, "Bones" went out like a man. He rallied in the middle of Round 4, nailing Gustafsson with a spinning elbow and catching "The Mauler" with knee strikes afterwards. He also took Round 5 by finally taking the challenger down and finishing strong with a flying knee strike. He truly did show his warrior spirit in this "Fight of the Year" candidate.
On a side note, Dana White replied to my tweet about the fight, which is pretty freaking awesome! I hope that he gives Gustafsson an immediate rematch. Even if he doesn't, I don't think that it will be too long before Jones and Gustafsson collide again.