Amidst the well-earned post-event buzz regarding the kick seen 'round the world, the seven-fight undercard from Thursday's WEC 53 event went unnoticed, mainly because none of the fights made TV, which is a rarity these days.
But the results will tell us a lot about who is likely to move onto the UFC in 2011 and who will be left behind.
Eddie Wineland Beat Ken Stone by First Round TKO (slam) at 2:11
Since debuting in the WEC with a loss, Wineland has won four fights in a row, the last two by T/KO. The 135-pounder (18-6-1) will be a relative unknown to UFC audiences but did come out to Hulk Hogan's old entrance theme "Real American" Thursday.
Wineland won $10,000 for Knockout of the Night.
This was Stone's WEC debut. Talk about bad luck.
Shane Roller Def. Jamie Varner by First Round Submission (rear naked choke) at 3:55
Coming off a tough loss to now-champion Anthony Pettis, Roller (9-3) rebounded nicely with a victory over Varner. He's won four of his last five and most likely will be brought over into the 155-pound division.
Roller earned $10,000 for Submission of the Night.
The same may not be the case for Varner (16-5-2) who is 0-3-1 in his last four. It feels like a long, long time ago when he last held WEC gold, but he just might get a shot based on his name alone. Hey, it worked for Tito Ortiz, right?
Danny Downes Def. Zhang Tie Quan by Unanimous Decision
It was an all-around great night for the Duke Roufus camp as Downes (7-1) got a nice win to get back on track after losing to Chris Horodecki earlier this year. It was Quan's first defeat (12-1), and as the UFC wants to expand into China, there's zero chance he gets cut. These two lightweights move on.
Danny Castillo Def. Will Kerr by First Round KO at 1:25
Castillo (10-3) now has put together consecutive wins after losing to Pettis. At 31 years old, he'll get a shot, but it's not guaranteed in the deep 155-pound division. Kerr (9-3) has lost two of his last three and should probably have to fight his way back into the UFC.
Brad Pickett Def. Ivan Menjivar by Unanimous Decision
Before losing to Scott Jorgensen earlier this year, Pickett (20-5) had won nine fights in a row. The England native will be a good addition to the 135-pound roster and will likely have his chance to fight in front of his home crowd in 2011.
That was Menjivar's WEC debut and just his second fight back in MMA after retiring for four years. At 21-8 he's got a good mark, but I have no idea where he's at in his career.
Yuri Alcantara Def. Ricardo Lamas by First Round KO at 3:26
Alcantara came through big in his WEC debut, knocking out Lamas to extend an 11-fight winning streak. Best yet, he's a finisher and this was the first of a five-fight Zuffa deal. He'll be an interesting prospect to watch in 2011.
Lamas came into this fight on a three-fight win streak, but five of his nine wins have been decisions.
Renan Barao Def. Chris Cariaso by First Round Submission (rear naked choke) at 3:47
Barao is another Brazilian prospect that made a splash Thursday, a 135-pounder that now sits at a staggering 25-1 after a quick win. Cariaso (10-1) had won four in a row before Thursday and had finishes in three of them. Both guys will definitely move on.
Josh Nason is a New England-based freelance MMA journalist that covers live events, has written for FIGHT! Magazine and frequently does radio/podcast appearances. He asks for your "like" for ESPN Boston to cover MMA. Follow him on Twitter.