Brian Ebersole These were the three biggest surprises and the three biggest disappointments from UFC Fight Night 68. Surprises Dan Henderson – After losing five of his last six fights and getting knocked out in a minute by Gegard Mousasi, I really thought Dan Henderon was done, but he showed with a blistering first-round KO over Tim Boetsch that at 44 he still has something left in the tank. Even though he’s old and slow, he still has a ton of knockout power, and after beating Boetsch, he’ll get a top-15 opponent his next time out for sure. Brian Ortega – Brian Ortega was the RFA featherweight champion, and in his UFC debut submitted Mike de la Torre in the first round. Then he got caught for steroids and missed a year. Most people figured the juice was a big helper for him, but as he showed against Thiago Tavares, juice or no juice, this guy is just an awesome fighter. He and Tavares went back-and-forth for nearly a full 15 minutes in one of the best fights of the year before he finally was able to knock Tavares out late in the third. A breakthrough performance by Ortega, for sure. Anthony Birchak – In his first UFC fight, Anthony Birchak was tapped out in the first round by Ian Entwistle. In his first UFC fight, Joe Soto went five rounds with TJ Dillasahaw before being knocked out late. So it was quite surprising to see Birchak knock Soto out in brutal fashion in round one at UFC Fight Night 68. It’s just more proof that MMA math doesn’t always work, and more proof that Birchak is better than we all think he is. Disappointments Matt Mitrione – It’s really unfortunate about Matt Mitrione. While he’s a talented striker and freaky athletic, he also has horrendous fight IQ and he has no ground game whatsoever. He was beating Ben Rothwell on the feet and then for no reason shoots and takedown and gets choked out. What? It was just awful to see. “Meathead” will stick around the UFC for a while, but he’ll never fight for a title. Brian Ebersole – Minutes after Brian Ebersole quit on the stool against Omar Akhmedov, he announced to reporters he was retiring from MMA. Well, it seemed like he made up his mind before the fight, because he did absolutely nothing in it. He just danced around Akhmedov, ate some big leg kicks, and then retired due to an apparent knee injury. Just an awful performance by Ebersole, and an awful way to go out after a solid 70-fight career otherwise. Derrick Lewis – I think it’s time I officially hop off the Derrick Lewis hype train. The guy was a killer in Legacy FC and he looked good in his first few UFC fights, but lately he’s looked awful, losing by KO to Matt Mitrione and now Shawn Jordan in two of his last three fights. He’s a big dude and obviously has power, but his strike D is bad, he’s slow, and he doesn’t have a good chin. He seems like a good guy, but he is no contender, that’s for sure.


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