These were the three biggest surprises and the three biggest disappointments from UFC 189. The Surprises Robbie Lawler — Every time Lawler is counted out, he seems to come through with flying colors. Lawler and Rory MacDonald went all-out for four full rounds of bloody MMA for the welterweight title, but in the fifth Lawler was able to badly hurt MacDonald and finish him. It was another incredible showing by the champion, and now he should finally get some respect in the betting lines. Jeremy Stephens — I wrote a whole breakdown saying how I liked Stephens to knock out Dennis Bermudez, but after Stephens missed weight I had to pass on the fight, and I even switched my pick. Now I regret it after Stephens knocked Bermudez out in highlight-reel fashion. What a knockout by Stephens, one that firmly entrenches him in the top 10 at 145lbs. Matt Brown — What a performance by Brown. I thought he was dead in the water against Tim Means, but it was the other way around. Brown survived some big shots on the feet, then hurt Means with elbows to knock him down and then he submitted him with a guillotine. It was a fantastic performance by Brown and keeps him ranked highly in the division. The Disappointments Brandon Thatch — Thatch was looking like a future title contender at 170lbs, but back-to-back submission losses to Benson Henderson and Gunnar Nelson means it’s pretty clear he has a lot of work to do. Not only that, but Thatch got knocked down by Nelson too, so his chin isn’t as iron as he once thought. He’s a good fighter but he has a lot of work to do to become the fighter we all think he can be. Cathal Pendred — The fight between Pendred and John Howard was a closely-contested one, but at the same time Howard was the rightful winner. Ultimately, Pendred just didn’t do enough in this fight. He had a chance to win it but he just wasn’t aggressive enough on the feet. Pendred is now 4-1 in the UFC, which is still a decent record, but losing to Howard means his stock takes a big hit. Yosdenis Cedeno — Well, Cedeno’s fight played out pretty much like I expected it. I said if he didn’t get the finish on Cody Pfister in round one that he could be at risk of being outwrestled in rounds 2 and 3, and that’s exactly what happened as he lost a unanimous decision. With a 1-3 record in the UFC now, Cedeno is going to be sent packing. Let’s hope he decides to work on his cardio.
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