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The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday extended its reach to Greenville, South Carolina, with UFC Fight Night 154. As always, some stocks rose and others fell.
Chan Sung Jung entered his main event opposite Renato Carneiro with his back to the wall. Following an injury layoff and a stunning knockout loss to Yair Rodriguez, “The Korean Zombie” needed a win in order to secure his place in the Top 15 rankings at 145 pounds. Jung made short work of Carneiro in the high-stakes confrontation, as he floored the American Top Team export with a vicious counter right hook. From there, he moved to the Brazilian’s back and went to work with ground-and-pound, promoting the stoppage 58 seconds into the first round.
Meanwhile, Randy Brown pieced together perhaps his most impressive victory in the UFC to date, as he dispatched Bryan Barberena with a series of nasty blows to the body in the third round. For the majority of the match, he succeeded at keeping Barberena on the outside, peppered him with kicks and long punches and refused to allow him to work his way inside. After two-plus rounds of work, Brown’s focus on the body paid off. He delivered a volley of knees and punches to Barberena’s midsection and forced the stoppage 2:54 into Round 3.
Finally, Jairzinho Rozenstruik made quick work of Allen Crowder with the second-fastest knockout in the history of the UFC heavyweight division. Nine seconds was all the undefeated prospect needed to get the job done against Crowder. Rozenstruik has knocked out both of his UFC opponents and appears to be in position to establish himself as a person of interest in the weight class, alongside Greg Hardy, Juan Adams and a few others.
Following a crushing loss to Jung, Carneiro finds himself staring at consecutive defeats for the first time in his 17-fight career. More importantly, he figures to fall outside the UFC’s Top 5 featherweight rankings while losing his place in the line of contenders forming behind 145-pound champion Max Holloway. It could be an uphill climb for the 30-year-old Brazilian, though fights with middle-tier featherweights like Shane Burgos, Ricardo Lamas and Darren Elkins could be in his not-too-distant future.
Meanwhile, Barberena has wound up on the losing side in back-to-back barnburners against Brown and Vicente Luque, having succumbed to strikes from both men. Should he fail to rebound from his loss to Brown, the MMA Lab representative could find himself on the chopping block. Barberena’s reputation for engaging in exciting fights only goes so far.
Finally, much was made about Ariane Lipski’s promotional debut in January, as she entered the UFC with a strong muay Thai pedigree and a nine-fight winning streak in MMA. However, it has not gone well for the “Violence Queen.” Lipski lost to Joanne Calderwood on points at UFC Fight Night 143 and did the same to Molly McCann at UFC Fight Night 154. Because of the lack of depth present in the women’s flyweight champion, Lipski’s job does not appear to be in jeopardy -- yet. However, she needs to prove herself quickly if she wants to stick around.