UFC 165 Biggest Winners: The Shirtless Putin Edition

Posted: September 23, 2013 in Biggest Winners/Biggest Losers
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shirtless putinUFC 165 is in the books with the after-effects lingering on like the heartburn from cheap pizza and flat beer. There was controversy, questions, and enough split decisions to make you wonder if mandatory drug testing should be required of MMA judges.  These are the guys that came out of it smelling like roses.  Without further ado, here are the biggest winners of UFC 165.
 
Khabib Nurmagomedov:  Joe Rogan may have questioned his choice of head gear but no one was questioning his skill after Nurmagomedov won an easy decision over Pat Healy.  Coming off a record setting performance in his last fight–he took opponent Abel Trujillo down 21 times–the Russian passed a harder test in Healy.  The tough veteran found himself in a precarious position when Khabib picked him up, took him across the cage and slammed him so hard on the mat that it probably knocked the taste out of his mouth. Nurmagomedov’s professional record now stands at 21-0 and just like great vodka and shirtless Putin pictures, he is a hot Russian product.
Brendan Schaub:  He pretended like he didn’t care what the critics said about his fighting style, but his performance showed otherwise on Saturday night.  Schaub decided not to make Mitrione his human snuggie for a 15 minute cuddle and opted for the finish in round 1 via d’arce choke. Showing no love for his former friend and TUF alumni, Brendan held the choke until Mitrione took a nap after refusing to tap.  This means he gets to stay around for at least one more paycheck.
Renan Barao:  After a two year absence, Dominic Cruz may still have the “real” title but Barao proved he is more than just an interim paper champ. The Brazilian made quick work of Eddie Wineland, earning knockout of the night for a highlight reel spinning back kick. Possibly one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC, Barao hasn’t been defeated since 2005.  He will be looking to unify the title and silence any critics with a victory against Cruz.
Alexander Gustafsson:  Yep, that is not a typo.  The big Swede may have lost the battle but he won the war. Going into his fight against the champ, he was given a snowball’s chance in hell of remotely being a threat to the reign of Jon Jones. After a 25 minute battle reminiscent of Gladiator times, Gus proved the critics wrong by taking the champ down for the first time and battering his face bad enough that a stoppage was considered. He is much more than just a tall guy with a decent reach hyped by the UFC marketing machine. His performance proved that he deserved that shot and more than any other current fighter in the division, he is the most likely to dethrone Jones. With the outrage amongst the vast majority of fans after Saturday night’s decision, a future rematch is certainly in the cards.
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