The Surprises & Disappointments of UFC 181

Raquel-Pennington 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 were the three biggest surprises and the three biggest disappointments from UFC 181. Surprises Robbie Lawler — The list of surprises at UFC 181 wouldn’t be complete without Robbie Lawler, who took home the UFC welterweight title with a split decision win over Johny Hendricks. The decision was iffy, at best, due to how the points structure works in MMA, but no one can argue Lawler seemed to want it more. He’s now the champion of the world, and there’s a whole slew of contenders lining up to fight him. Josh Samman — He was looking awful for nearly two full rounds, but Josh Samman was able to right the ship with a blistering second-round head kick knockout on Eddie Gordon. After all Samman went through the last two years, for him to get a victory like this was nothing short of impressive. Samman can only improve from here and I can’t wait to see what he does his next time out. He absolutely needs to work on his takedown defence, though. Raquel Pennington — Not many people were giving Raquel Pennington a chance against newcomer Ashlee Evans-Smith, but she showed she should have been the favorite all along as she was able to secure a highlight-reel submission in the first round via bulldog choke. Pennington is now 2-1 in the UFC and is definitely one of the top 15 female bantamweights on the roster at this point of time. Disappointments Urijah Faber — I know he won by submission as expected, but I was disappointed by Urijah Faber’s performance against Francisco Rivera on the undercard. I thought Rivera was easily stuffing his takedowns and outstriking him, and Faber got luck that an eye poke that led to the finish wasn’t seen by the referee. Good for Faber to get another win, but I view this one with an asterisk. It should be changed to a No Contest on appeal, if you ask me, although I doubt the commission will admit the referee made an error. Anthony Hamilton — There was a bit of a backing for Anthony Hamilton against Todd Duffee, but clearly he wasn’t even in the same league as he was finished by knockout in just 33 seconds. Hamilton is now 1-2 in the UFC and barely looks UFC caliber. He’ll get another fight because heavyweight is shallow, but he’s just not a very good fighter. Abel Trujillo — He was the underdog and was supposed to lose, but I was disappointed by Abel Trujillo’s cardio against Tony Ferguson. Trujillo looked fantastic in round one but couldn’t get the finished, gassed bad, and was tapped out in round 2. He should have known Ferguson has a great chin and would be hard to put away, but instead of pacing himself he blew his wad in round 1 and it cost him the fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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