Best Sleeper Moments Of The UFC’s Blockbuster Weekend

Jeff Bottari|Zuffa LLC|Zuffa LLC

Jeff Bottari|Zuffa LLC|Zuffa LLC

Last weekend, the UFC laid their best cards down on the table, going all out with the stacked UFC 194 event and two solid free cards in the days preceding it. Conor McGregor and Frankie Edgar scored stunning first round knockouts in their respective main event bouts to a huge reaction from the MMA world and Luke Rockhold claimed the UFC's middleweight title, handing Chris Weidman his first loss in the form of an extended beating. To give ourselves a break from the talk of last weekend's marquee fights, let us appreciate the best moments that went under the radar. Biggest Upset: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist Leonardo Santos scored the biggest upset of the weekend, defeating hot prospect Kevin Lee at UFC 194. Most expected Lee to keep the fight standing and out strike his man en route to a decision or even a stoppage win; Santos' only shot at victory was thought to be on the ground. The Jiu Jitsu ace shocked his opponent and the odds makers by dropping Lee with a beautiful counter right in the first round, following up with big ground and pound for the technical knockout win. No one gave Santos a chance against Lee on the feet, so this result was utterly stunning. At 35 years of age Leonardo Santos is clearly still improving and will definitely be a fighter to watch the next time he competes. Best Fight: Many knew that the bout between top ten lightweights Tony Ferguson and Edson Barboza had fireworks written all over it, but few expected it to end up being the best fight of the weekend, let alone one of the best fights of 2015. That was exactly what Ferguson vs. Barboza ended up being; a display of what MMA is at its best. Tony Ferguson came out wild, pushing forward with punches, elbows, kicks and takedown attempts, even rolling across the mat in search of a leg lock Imanari style several times. Barboza met the aggression of "El Cucuy" with the lightning fast kicks and blistering counter punches, resulting in non-stop exciting exchanges between the dynamic 155 pounders. The intensity only increased when Ferguson and Barboza painted the canvas red in the second round, having both suffered significant cuts in the same exchange. While "El Cucuy" ended Barboza's night with his signature D'Arce choke it was impossible not to recognise the heart and skill of the Brazilian. Both men brought the best out of each other in an incredibly technical brawl, with Ferguson's relentless aggression and unorthodox techniques ultimately winning the day. Most Underrated Performance: Magomed Mustafaev looked terrifying in his destruction of Joe Proctor. Proctor is a solid lower tier action fighter who is often in fun and competitive fights, but Mustafaev blew him straight out of the water. The Russian waded forward with no respect for Proctor's leg and body kicks, lighting his man up against the fence before unloading a huge knee from the clinch which dropped Proctor. The Massachusetts native would recover to his feet, only to be crushed by another knee and hammered with ground and pound which left referee Mark Smith with no choice other than to intervene. Mustafaev has stopped every opponent he has defeated and this fight made it very clear why. He put on an a scary performance which is well worth watching if you missed it. Best Comeback: Sergio Moraes was losing in a big way going into the third round of his bout with Omari Akhmedov, having been dropped in the opening stanza and clearly outstruck in the second. A high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner who had never recorded a win via knockout, Moraes found himself unable to get the athletic Russian to the ground and was forced into a kickboxing match which he was doomed to lose. That was the case for two and a half rounds, but the infamous "anything can happen in MMA," maxim proved itself again when Moraes caught Akhmedov with a bomb of an overhand right midway through the third. The punch left Akhmedov on queer street and led to a referee stoppage, an improbable comeback victory for the standout grappler.

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