If you are unfamiliar with the system, this is how it works. An independent, non-bias viewer (in this case, yours truly) selects the three top performers from the event to name as the “three stars”. If you couldn’t figure it out on your own, the first star is the most impressive performer from the event, the second star is the second most impressive, and so on and so forth.
The “three stars” are judged off the effectiveness and overall impact of their performance. Still following? Good, cause here is the “three stars” from UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera.
Third Star – Mike Swick
There is no way to feel anything other than inspired by Mike Swick’s win at UFC on FOX 4 and his life story leading up to the fight. After competing on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and opening his UFC career with a 9-3 record, Swick disappeared from the sport for two-and-a-half years, plagued by health issues and training injuries. It was a long road for Swick to make his return to MMA competition, but he did it, and it did successfully at UFC on FOX 4.
Simply fighting again was an accomplishment in itself for Swick, but the fact he fought through adversity in his fight only to knock out his opponent DaMarques Johnson in brutal fashion was icing on the cake. “Quick” looked like he needed some time to adjust to fighting in the cage again, and once he figured it out put Johnson away. Swick was extremely emotional after the win, and he had every right to be, UFC on FOX 4 marked his first UFC victory since June 2009.
If simply winning wasn’t enough for Swick, the 33-year-old also picked up an additional $50,000 in bonus money for the ‘Knockout of the Night’. His win was certainly the feel-good story of the night in Los Angeles.
Second Star – Joe Lauzon
Joe Lauzon had one of the best fights of his career at UFC on FOX 4, finishing Jamie Varner by submission with slick triangle choke in the third round. Lauzon was patient with his attacks, weathered an early storm from Varner, showcased brilliant striking defense and waited for his opportunity to pounce on Varner.
After a back-and-forth first two rounds, Lauzon’s opportunity came during a scramble in the final frame. The Boston native reversed Varner and transitioned to the choke for a finish that would make any jiu-jitsu practitioner proud. Lauzon earned both the ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonuses for his efforts and passed retired UFC welterweight Chris Lytle for the most post-fight bonuses in UFC history with 11. Lauzon may never be world champion, but it is nearly guaranteed that every time he steps into the cage his fight is going to keep you on the edge of your seat.
First Star – Lyoto Machida
In a night full of outstanding performances, Machida took the cake with his phenomenal knock out of Ryan Bader.
Machida became the first man to finish Bader with strikes when he put “The Ultimate Fighter” winner to sleep in the second round of the UFC on FOX 4 co-main event. Machida ended Bader’s night with a beautiful counter right punch square on the button that sent Bader crashing to the mat. The Brazilian once again displayed the patience and accurate striking ability that has made him such a difficult puzzle to solve throughout his career. According to FightMetric stats, Bader only hit Machida a total of seven times in the entire fight, none of which caused any damage.
UFC president Dana White said the most impressive light heavyweight on the UFC on FOX 4 fight card was going to be granted a title shot, Machida was that man. It was another highlight reel finish on the resume of “The Dragon” and one that earned him an opportunity to fight for the light heavyweight championship in his next outing.