The Surprises & Disappointments Of UFC Fight Night 51

Paulo Thiago Surprises and Disappointments is a column featured on after every UFC event, highlighting three fighters who had surprising performances and three fighters who disappointed. Here’s the three biggest surprises and the three biggest disappointments from UFC Fight Night 51. Surprises Andrei Arlovski — A few years ago, Andrei Arlovski was on a four-fight losing streak and on the verge of retirement. Now, he’s one of the top 10 heavyweights in the world. Arlovski, the former UFC heavyweight champion, knocked out Bigfoot Silva in brutal fashion in the main event of UFC Fight Night 51 to move into the top 10 and earn back everyone’s respect. He looked fantastic in the bout and I’m excited to see who UFC matchmaker Joe Silva gives him next. Godofredo Pepey — I was never a fan of Godofredo Pepey, the TUF Brazil 1 vet, but I’ll admit he’s grown on me a ton over his last two performances. First he knocks out Noad Lahat with a flying knee, and know he submits Dashon Johnson with an inverted triangle armbar. The guy is pretty talented and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m very much looking forward to his next fight. Rani Yahya — Despite being the favorite heading into his first fight against Johnny Bedford earlier this year, Rani Yahya was the underdog heading into the rematch after the pair’s No Contest in April. But he showed that minute he spent with Bedford in the cage didn’t prove anything as he took his opponent down and handed him his 10th submission defeat in the opening bout of UFC Fight Night 51. Yahya is a solid fighter and I’m looking forward to his next match. Disappointments Wendell Oliveira — There was some hype behind Wendell Oliveira heading into UFC FN 51, but getting knocked out in brutal fashion by Santiago Ponzinibbio surely cooled those flames. Oliveira looked horrible in the fight and it really makes you wonder why the betting public flipped the line in his favor. He’ll get another chance in the UFC, but he better win that fight or he’ll surely be cut. Larissa Pacheco — She was highly touted coming into UFC Fight Night 51, but Larissa Pacheco showed she has a lot of work to do as she was defeated via first-round submission by Jessica Andrade. Pacheco, who was undefeated heading into the bout, is only 20 years old so she still has lots of time to work on things, but clearly her ground game needs a lot of work if she’s going to make a run up the 135lb women’s ladder. Fortunately, though, time is on her side to make the right adjustments. Paulo Thiago — I wasn’t sure why the UFC gave Paulo Thiago a four-fight contract after losing to Gasan Umalatov earlier this year, but I’m pretty sure that with his latest loss, a decision defeat to Sean Spencer, he won’t carry out the terms of the deal anyways. Thiago, who was once a top contender at 170lbs, is now 2-7 over his last nine fights and, even though he is popular in Brazil, I can’t see how the UFC justifies keeping him around. At this point, I don’t even think he’s WSOF quality. Time for Thiago to hang ’em up.

Written by Adam Martin.

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