UFC Fight Night 29 had its share of entertaining bouts and a few upsets as well. A few fighters made strong statements with their performances, others failed to live up to expectations, while some were downright awful.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from UFC Fight Night 29 held on Oct. 9, at the Jose Correa Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil:
1. Rousimar Palhares
Palhares made his welterweight debut against Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29, and he couldn’t have looked any better. 31 seconds was all he needed to force Pierce — who has held his own against top welterweights like Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks in the past — to tap, instantly establishing himself as a contender in the welterweight division.
2. Jake Shields
Shields rocked the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division rankings with his upset victory against Maia at UFC Fight Night 29, beating the Brazilian at his own game. Shields proved he was the better grappler, escaping from multiple disadvantageous positions (ending up on top afterwards for the most part), nullifying Maia’s submission game, smothering Demian with his top game.
3. Dong Hyun Kim
Kim showed a lot of heart during his UFC Fight Night 29 encounter against Erick Silva, pushing the pace during the first round, getting decent work done grappling-wise. Kim survived a few tough moments during the second round when Silva turned things around, and he kept moving forward even though he was clearly hurt and gassed.
Kim’s perseverance eventually paid off when a massive left hand put Silva to sleep.
Notable mentions: Igor Araújo, Raphael Assunção, and T.J. Dillashaw (even in defeat)
1. Demian Maia
Maia has enjoyed an aura of invincibility — which earned him his first UFC headliner spot in his native Brazil — ever since he dropped down to the welterweight division. But that came to an end at UFC Fight Night 29. To his credit, it was a close fight which could have gone either way, but Maia certainly won’t be getting a title shot anytime soon.
2. Erick Silva
For a moment, it looked like Silva was a punch or two away from putting Kim away at UFC Fight Night 29, but the rising welterweight star got a bit sloppy with his defense. Kim managed to sneak a big punch through, knocking Silva out cold.
In Silva’s defense, Kim was a tough matchup for him, but at the end of day, it’s the type of matchup he needs to win if he wants to establish himself as a contender in the UFC’s welterweight division.
That’s 0-2 for Silva against high-level wrestlers inside the Octagon.
3. Matt Hamill
Watching Hamill — who has always been one of my favorites — during the latter rounds of his fight against Thiago Silva wasn’t easy, as the Brazilian picked Matt apart with vicious shots. Hamill’s cardio clearly wasn’t where it should have been (Silva’s wasn’t there either), and there were several moments during the bout were he looked like he didn’t even want to be inside the Octagon.
It might be best for Hamill hang up his gloves once again; after all, MMA can be a very dangerous sport, especially for fighters who have lost their killer instinct.
Notable mentions: Iliarde Santos and Ildemar Alcantara.