Josh Thomson earned 'knockout of the Night' honors for his brutal finish of Nate Diaz.
Josh Thomson: A
Josh Thomson, the former Strikeforce lightweight champion, returned to the UFC with a bang, and placed himself right in the middle of the already talent-stacked lightweight division, with his second-round stoppage of Nate Diaz. Thomson looked spectacular in his UFC return and could be one or two fights away from a title shot.
Lightweight champion Benson Henderson retained his title in a controversial split-decision.
Benson Henderson: +B
The UFC lightweight kingpin was pushed to the brink during five-round battle with former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. The matchup was fast paced and full of action. Henderson was not as dominant as he was during his last outing, but that had a lot to do with Melendez and the caliber of athlete that he his. Henderson retained his belt and will move on to the winner of the Gray Maynard versus TJ Grant bout at UFC 160 in May.
Gilbert Melendez: B
Melendez fought an excellent fight and tested the champ in ways that only Frankie Edgar had tested him before. ‘El Nino’ got the better of Henderson for the first two rounds and looked like he might be able to dethrone the champ. However, Melendez’ paced slowed over the last three rounds and the former Strikeforce champ was unable to take advantage of the golden opportunity that was within his finger tips. What Melendez was able to prove is that he was in fact an elite lightweight all along and will be a force in the UFC.
Daniel Cormier (black trunks) controlled Frank Mir for a three-round unanimous decision.
Daniel Cormier: C+
Cormier fought a smart fight and controlled Frank Mir for three rounds. The former Olympian showed glimpses of his potential, but fought a lackadaisical fight overall, and was content to win a three round decision, when he could have finished Mir instead. Nerves may have gotten the better of Cormier, but with this excellent striking and elite-level wrestling, the AKA academy representative should be a force in whatever division he decides to fight at.
Cesar Gracie jiu-jitsu: D
Even though Melendez did an admiral job against Benson Henderson, the loss was the fourth time in the last two years that a Cesar Gracie jiu-jitsu representative came up short in a UFC title fight. Gracie manages, advises and trains Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, and the Diaz brother’s, Nick and Nate—all of whom lost title bouts against either Henderson or Georges St. Pierre.
Frank Mir: D-
Mir looked out of sync and was never able to get into a rhythm of any sort or get any significant offense in. The former heavyweight champ fought like he was lost in the ring, and had no strategy whatsoever. It may be time for Mir to begin thinking about hanging up his gloves and stepping away from the octagon. The sad truth is that Mir is no longer an elite fighter.
HP Pavilion Fans: F
The fans in attendance during the event were just horrendous. After eight straight fights that featured a knockout, they began booing the Frank Mir Daniel Cormier matchup early in the second-round, once they released the fight would be more of a technical matchup instead of a brawl. However, that was not their worst offense of the night. The fans booed Benson Henderson during the post-fight interview as the Champ proposed to his girlfriend in the center of the octagon.