Rundown of UFC Fight Night 25 post-fight news and notes…
— Despite a weak card, UFC Fight Night 25 still managed to attract 7,112 UFC fans to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans for a live gate of $685,000.
— Jake Ellenberger took home an extra $55,000 for knocking out Jake Shields in the first round. TJ Waldburger earned Submission of the Night honor for choking out Mike Stumpf with a triangle. Matt Riddle and Lance Benoist earned Fight of the Night honors for their bloody bout.
— Jake Ellenberger did something that no one, not even Georges St. Pierre or Dan Henderson, has been able to do in over a decade. He stopped Jake Shields. Ellenberger actually called the knockout back in July, but even he didn’t think it would happen a minute into the first round.
“I definitely could have envisioned myself winning this fight – but not that quick,” Ellenberger said. “It happened fast, but I trained hard for this fight and I knew I was ready. … The ref’s job is to stop the fight, so I’m going to go until he stops me.”
Ellenberger added that it was one of the biggest wins of his career.
“This is one of my biggest wins,” Ellenberger told UFC.com following his victory in the evening’s main event. “I can’t take anything away from what Jake Shields has done. He’s a multiple-time world champion and that’s just [the kind of competition] that I want, so I’m going to keep working hard.”
“We’ve been training so hard. These last eight weeks were hell. They were not fun at all, and it was all for this night,” he said. “My coaches are there for me all the time. They believe in me. It’s hard to believe. The sky is the limit — that’s what they tell me every day, and tonight it really showed. I worked my butt off and it helped out tonight, big time. And that [feels] awesome.”
Meanwhile, Jake Shields wasn’t convinced that the fight should have been called.
“I’m just frustrated,” said Shields after the fight. “I got hit with a good shot. I wish I could have fought a little more. I don’t want to take anything from Jake Ellenberger but I thought I had a little bit of fight left.”
It’s definitely a tough loss for Shields, but he should be given a pass for this considering he lost his lost his father unexpectedly a few weeks ago.
— Court McGee credited his heart for his win over Dongi Yang.
“Luckily, I was born with heart. I feel you’re either born with it or not. Thank goodness tonight I was. I may not be the prettiest fighter, but I’m tough. That played a role in it tonight. I’ve got good parents, and I’ve got a real good work ethic. That’s what I do. I can’t always come out and do the best that I think I can do, but I tried to do my best tonight.”
— Alan Belcher successfully returned from a long layoff last night against Jason MacDonald. Belcher said he was pretty nervous before the fight, but afterwards he felt confident he can make a title run.
“Even up until [the fight], I was kind of uncertain of what I wanted to do,” Belcher said following his win over Jason MacDonald, which aired on Spike TV from New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. “I gave my all in this training camp and everything, but I was nervous as hell going into this fight, coming back. I missed the feeling, and I feel like I can definitely continue down the path I was on, trying to go for a title shot. I think that’s what I’m going to do now.”
Belcher added that he’s approaching his career with a whole new mindset following the eye injury.
“I think before I had the injury, I was in such a hurry to try and get a bunch of wins and get to the top and everything,” Belcher said. “Through this whole experience, it just taught me to be a lot more patient. I think now that I’m a lot more patient.
“My new mindset, I think it’s going to come a lot faster now. I’ve got a feeling that the title shot is going to come faster than I want it to now, so I’m not really worried about it now.”
— Joe Rogan moderated an amusing interview/promo with Jon Jones and Rampage Jackson during last night’s broadcast. Rampage was clearly trying to press Jones’ buttons. Check it out below.