The Five Count – Top Storylines from UFC Fight Night 68 Fallout

Dan HendersonJay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC Fight Night 68 from New Orleans, Louisiana #1 H Bomb – Less than three months shy of his 45th birthday, Dan “Hendo” Henderson is easily the oldest fighter still under contract with the UFC. Having lost five of his past six fights, the MMA legend was in desperate need of a victory. A loss would likely have seen his days in the UFC numbered and possibly his retirement from the sport. The pressure was on Henderson to get a win and make a lasting impression on the fans. That is exactly what Henderson did. In what took only 28 seconds, the California based middleweight landed his patented H Bomb on the aggressive Boetsch flooring his opponent. Hendo went in for the finish landing strikes before the referee was forced to end the fight. It was a classic turn back the clock performance from Henderson. With a win under his belt, look for Hendo to push past his 45th birthday and headline a fight night card later this year. #2 The Curious Case of Ben Rothwell – After being submitted by Gabriel Gonzaga in January 2013, the Kenosha, Wisconsin native had split his last eight fights and was falling into a zone of mediocrity. That’s when things began to turn around for the UFC top 15 heavyweight. He’s now won three straights in the UFC including wins over top 10 fighters Matt Mitrione and Alistair Overeem. While these wins are important, it was Rothwell’s unorthodox post-fight speech which has garnered most headlines. A comic book like villain speech has some people applauding while making others shake their heads. People can disagree on their opinion of Rothwell, but one thing they can all agree on is he certainly is being noticed now. Look the top 10 heavyweight to get a top 5 opponent in his next bout. A win there and he will certainly be in title contention. Winning is one thing, but now Rothwell is being noticed too. #3 Moving Up in Weight Has Its Advantages –Regularly we see fighters move down in weight in order to be more competitive. Rarely do we see fighters increase weight and have more success. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is probably the best example of this. He was an also ran at welterweight and middleweight, but making the move to light heavyweight increased his stamina and overall confidence. Enough that he was able to earn himself a title fight. Perhaps the next fighter to have success in the same vein is Dustin Poirier. “The Diamond” was no slouch at featherweight, but it was clear that he went throw a difficult weight cut to make the 145 pound limit. Since moving up to 155, Poirier has looked significantly bigger, stronger, and his confidence has been at an all-time high. The accuracy in his striking has been phenomenal. In his first round win over Yancy Medeiros, Poirier landed an incredible 75% of his significant strikes attempted. If Poirier continues to strike with this kind of contest, he will as dangerous a striker as there is in the lightweight division. #4 Making a Name – California born and raised featherweight Brian Ortega was coming off the lowest point of his professional career. Despite easily beating Mike De La Torre in his UFC debut, Ortega’s win was overturned to a no contest due to testing positive for drastanolone. Many people thought that Ortega would be a shell of himself without any additional supplements. On Saturday, he faced a solid veteran in Thiago Tavares. Early on it appeared that critics were correct, but as the fight wore on it was a completely different story. Ortega proved extremely savvy on the ground. In particular, excellent off his back threatening with submissions. Furthermore, he showed improvements in his striking causing a significant amount of damage to Tavares. As the fight got to round three, Tavares was badly hurt. Ortega was on his way to a 10-8 round before the ref stepped in and stopped the fight. It was a complete performance from Ortega and one that has him on everybody’s radar. At only 24 years of age, Ortega has made himself a name that the UFC can promote. That’s about all a fighter can ask for. #5 Night of Finishes – For a card with such little advance fanfare, Fight Night 68 is perhaps the most entertaining card of the year thus far. Of the 12 fights on the card, ten of them ended in a finish. Of those ten finishes, seven of them happened in the first round and two of them happened in the final minute of the third round. Even with an announced attendance of just over 6,000, it was a lively boisterous crowd that made me believe that New Orleans should be a yearly stop on the annual UFC road tour. It’s interesting that the fight cards that people aren’t looking forward to in advance always end up being the most entertaining events. That’s part of why MMA is so appealing. Expect the unexpected.

Written by Jay Primetown

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