Young fighters made some noise on UFC on Fox 5 in Seattle on Saturday night. Rory MacDonald, Mike Brown and Alexander Gustaffson all scored big wins.
The torch was passed among welterweights as B.J. Penn was beat down for three rounds by the bigger, faster and younger Rory MacDonald, who took the decision 30-26, 30-26, 30-27.
Penn, a legend in MMA whose first fight was at UFC 31 in 2001, had no answers for 23-year-old MacDonald. Penn was wobbled by a left late in the first round. He survived just to take such a beating in the second round that the fight doctor came in between the second and third to check and see if Penn could continue.
In the third round, MacDonald continued to land strikes, but added taunting to his arsenal. He dropped his hands and made faces at Penn, which the crowd in Seattle didn't appreciate. After the bout, MacDonald said he Penn was his hero, but he had to treat him like every opponent.
"Like I said to BJ after the fight, he was the one guy I really really looked up to growing up. He's a hero to me," MacDonald said to UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
MacDonald also asked to fight Carlos Condit, the one fighter who has beaten MacDonald in his 15-fight career.
Alexander Gustafsson needed a big win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua to get the next shot at the UFC light heavyweight belt, after Chael Sonnen challenges champion Jon Jones. He did it with a dominant decision, winning 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Rua was strong early, managing a leg lock attempt in the first round, but he wasn't able to do much after Gustafsson got out of the submission attempt. Gustaffson used his reach and long legs to land huge knees and kicks throughout the bout.
With the win, Gustafsson is now 15-1. He won his last six fights, with his last loss coming in April of 2010 to Phil Davis.
Matt Brown started the main card off with excitement. In the second round of his bout with Mike Swick, Brown landed a perfect right hand. It stiffened Swick, who was out before he hit the ground. The fight was stopped at 2:31 in the second round.
At one point in his career, Brown had lost three fights in a row and it wasn't clear why the UFC didn't cut him. Now, he is on a four-fight win streak, with three of the last four coming by stoppage.