The UFC is home to the best talent that mixed martial arts has to offer. From top to bottom, you can honestly say that the best fighters on planet Earth compete for the company. However, just because the UFC is the cream of the crop for MMA, that does not necessarily mean that it always hosts the best fights.
With the UFC hosting an event nearly every weekend of the year and with more fights on each card, there are bound to be some flops. There has proven to be a lot of reasons as to why a so-called ‘main event’ can fail to live up to its name. Whether the UFC would rather capitalize on marketing or injury replacements had to step in or simply dropped the ball; these headliners failed to impress anyone.
Most of these fights have happened over the past three years. With the UFC’s ever expanding global and media presence, the roster has become stretched thinner by the day. Sadly, many of these fights happen in smaller markets that are so starved for top tier events that they will gladly pay to see anything.
It is not easy to tell if a fight is going to put on a main event worthy performance, as that is up to the fighters. However, these fights are the ones that bookers just got wrong.
15 Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva - UFC Fight Night 40
Matt Brown was the hometown fighter that was on a Rocky-level comeback in the UFC. After a middling career, the Ohio-born fighter had won six consecutive fights. Erick Silva was a wildly underwhelming opponent. The BJJ black belt had a 4-3 record in the UFC, but did not show a great ability to stand-up.
Silva fought back better than expected, considering he was being fed to Brown, but the home-towner won by TKO in the third round.
14 T.J. Dillashaw vs. Joe Soto - UFC 177
Joe Soto entered a Bantamweight title fight without ever stepping foot into the octagon. Soto, who was scheduled to make his UFC debut on the prelims, replaced Renan Barao who ended up in the hospital when attempting to make weight for the fight. Because of that, Barao pulled out less than 48 hours before the fight.
Soto fought admirably with such little notice, but ended up losing in the fifth and final round by knockout.
13 Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry - UFC Live 4
Originally Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry was just another fight on the card, but got promoted when Anthony Johnson and Nate Marquardt was cancelled.
Kongo was already known to be one of the deadliest kickboxers in MMA, but flopped around like a fish out of water on the ground. Berry was a kickboxer who got submitted by Mirko Cro Cop, who's not known for submission abilities.
Berry, though a competent kickboxer, never stood a chance against the much longer and skilled Kongo, who won by KO in just under three minutes.
12 Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlare - UFC Fight Night 62
Yet another card that deserved better. Originally, we were supposed to see Urijah Faber and Raphael Assuncao, but an ankle injury to Assuncao had that bout cancelled.
Damien Maia had the name power, but had proven to be only slightly better than average with losses against elite competition in the Welterweight division. LaFlare came into the bout undefeated, but all his fights came against pedestrian fighters and all by underwhelming decision victories.
The fight ended up being largely forgettable, with Maia winning via unanimous decision victory.
11 Dong Hyun Kim vs. John Hathaway - The Ultimate Fight China Finale
You can partially forgive this so-called main event. The fight was set to main event The Ultimate Fighter China Finale, so there needed to be an Asian contingent.
Nothing against Dong Hyun Kim, who has proven to be a capable fighter with some top-notch striking ability; however, ask anyone who John Hathaway is and you're likely going to hear "huh?"
Hathaway was a good 7-1 in the UFC, but fought almost exclusively in the UK as a homer.
As a shock to nobody, Kim won this snoozer via KO in the third round.
10 Tim Kennedy vs. Rafael Natal - UFC Fight Night 31
This fight main evented UFC: Fight for the Troops 3, which is the biggest reason Tim Kennedy was involved. Kennedy was a part of the American Armed Forces, eventually rising to the rank of Sergeant First Class in the Army.
This was only Kennedy's second fight in the UFC, but he had a proven track record in Strikeforce which included two Middleweight title fights.
Natal was an adept fighter, with a black belt in BJJ under Renzo Gracie, but never fought anyone on the same level as Kennedy.
Kennedy impressed his fellow troops with a first round KO of the Brazilian, in a match that looked the flash of a proper main event.
9 Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida - UFC Fight Night 16
The first card to be put on for the troops was to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, so the UFC needed to plug in brand names to generate buzz.
That meant Josh Koscheck would be in the main event. Koscheck had name recognition after becoming a reality sideshow during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Yoshiyuki Yoshida had an okay record in Japan, with this fight being just his second in the UFC.
Basically, the UFC wanted the American guy to win and Koscheck won easily, knocking him out after a couple of mniutes.
8 Gunnar Nelson vs. Rick Story - UFC Fight Night 53
Fight fans in Stockholm, Sweden were hurt by a UFC roster that was stretched thin on this day. On the same day, there was a UFC card in Halifax, Nova Scotia that got most of the company's push with legitimate top tier fighters.
Since the UFC insists on placing 'hometown' fighters in the main event of cards, Gunnar Nelson was pegged to highlight the event, as he was at least European (he was born in Iceland). Nelson came into the fight with a solid track record and showed the potential to be a budding contender and the UFC must have assumed that Rock Story, who alternated wins and losses in his previous eight fights, was a stepping stone for Nelson.
Instead, Story won a split decision victory over Nelson in a bout that offers no value in rewatching.
7 Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami - UFC 134
Two fights before Silva would fight Stephan Bonnar, he would clash with Yushin Okami. The Japanese-born fighter had won three matches coming into the fight, two by decision and another by doctor stoppage.
This is yet another case of somebody being fed to Silva because he had cleared out all the reputable fighters in the Middleweight division.
Okami would go onto to lose by TKO before going 3-2 in the rest of his UFC career.
6 Tim Boetsch vs. Dan Henderson - UFC Fight Night 68
UFC Fight Night 68 should have seen a far better main event. Originally, Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader were set to clash, but after Jon Jones was stripped and fighters were moved around, New Orleans got a headline fight of Tim Boetsch and Dan Henderson.
Heading into the fight, Boetsch was a 34-year-old mediocre fighter with a record of 2-3 in his previous five fights. Henderson was a burning out star, a once formidable legend that was merely a shell of his former self.
The fight was mercifully short for fans, with Hendo winning in twenty-eight seconds.
5 George Sotiropoulos vs. Ross Pearson - UFC on FX 6
There were a lot of reasons this mediocre fight headlined a UFC event. For one, it was the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, as well as George Sotiropolus being a 'homer' and the UFC holding another card on the same day.
Sotiropoulos came into the fight losing two-straight, but did have a tendency to put on entertaining fights. Pearson came into the fight dropping three of his past five and had been average, at best, in the UFC.
Pearson picked up the win, which would be part of Sotiropoulos' five fight losing streak which now continues at Titan FC.
4 Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin - UFC Fight Night 14
This is a fight all about storytelling. Anderson Silva was going to climb up weight just to prove that he could handle the heavy handed James Irvin. To his credit, Irvin was coming off a scary eight second knockout victory.
Irvin was always the big fish in WEC, but never grain proper ground in the UFC. But the company could still bill him as a former champion for Silva to face.
Long and short, this fight was a sideshow.
Unsurprisingly, Silva knocked out the much-hyped Irvin in a minute and one second.
3 Evan Dunham vs. Melvin Guillard - UFC Fight Night 23
Evan Dunham was supposed to face Kenny Florian in the main event, a fight that was supposed to take place at the UFC 126 pay-per-view, but KenFlo got hurt and Melvin Guillard was plugged in.
Dunham was coming into the fight off his first career loss, a split decision to Sean Sherk. Though Dunham was in the UFC for a while at this point, he should never have been a main event fighter. Guillard on the other hand, was a fighter who had enormous potential but kept screwing up. He had been caught greasing and had tested positive for cocaine before a fight.
Guillard ended up winning in the first round before finding his calling as a catchweight fighter (meaning he could never make weight).
2 Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar - UFC 153
Silva entered this fight with his aura of invincibility stronger than ever before. 'The Spider' dispatched every viable contender in his path, so we were left with Stephen Bonnar. You know, the guy that had that one memorable moment and then faded into obscurity in a not so quiet way.
Not surprisingly, people paid to watch Silva destroy another fighter that was beneath him in the first round.
1 Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Filipovic II - UFC Fight Night 64
Gabriel Gonzaga booked himself a space in highlight reels forever with his headkick knockout of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in their first meeting. Unfortunately for fight fans, that was nearly five years before this fight.
Since then, Gonzaga bounced around the middle-tier of Heavyweight competitors in the UFC and was coming off two consecutive defeats. Cro Cop on the other hand was signed for this fight after being out of the UFC since 2011.
This fight was merely a ploy to get tickets sold for the UFC's trip to Poland, as Cro Cop is from Croatia (close enough for UFC, I guess).
Fans were treated to a bland fight, with Cro Cop getting his retribution.