Zuffa’s latest free offering came and went this past Saturday night with UFC Live 6, an all-around enjoyable show minus a few minor flubs on the part of officials. However, the twenty men actually booked to battle on the card definitely brought it as evident in the fact 8/10 fights featured finishes and both decisions were not only competitive but highly entertaining.

Now for a few specific thoughts…

Josh Neer’s return to the UFC was a sight for sore eyes. “The Dentist” is one of the more underrated competitors in MMA and has wowed on multiple occasions inside the Octagon including a spectacular comeback against Melvin Guillard after suffering huge gash to his forehead. The 28-year old Neer has finished 28 of the 32 opponents he’s beaten including seventeen TKOs and eleven submissions. Three of his four total losses since 2008 have come via decision (Gleison Tibau, Kurt Pellegrino, and Nate Diaz) while the lone exception was a somewhat understandable stumble against Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez. He’s well-rounded and always comes to fight, though I’m concerned about his size in relation to being a welterweight and would prefer to see him drop back to 155 pounds if the cut isn’t too detrimental to his chances of success.

Paul Sass is the future of the lightweight division if he can add some striking to his fantastic ground game. That being said, I can’t get too excited about his Heel Hook win over Michael Johnson because his attack reeked of desperation and won’t get him far against higher-level adversaries. Also, consider that five of Johnson’s six losses have been the result of a tap-out and it becomes evident he’s not much of a BJJ guy to begin with.

If Mac Danzig vs. Matt Wiman II is the norm when a referee screws up a stoppage I would like to propose the participants of every bad ending in the history of MMA be re-matched immediately. The lightweights deservedly won “Fight of the Night” for their three-round rumble (in comparison to a guy like Anthony Johnson who got a “Knockout of the Night” bonus despite having not actually knocked Charlie Brenneman out). Wiman continues to grow on me as a “must see” Mixed Martial Artist based on his fearlessness and growing arsenal of skills, while Danzig is enjoyable to watch in most instances and hopefully held on to his job with the showing against “Handsome” Matt. I’m not normally supportive of guys with losing records in the UFC maintaining their employment but Danzig earned the right to exemption, at least in my eyes, after leaving everything he had in the infamous eight-sided cage.

Pat Barry, on the other hand, is no Mac Danzig. He’s got a tremendous personality and a great heart but he’s not UFC caliber, at least if the promotion wants to continue representing itself as being the cream of the MMA crop. As I argued Saturday morning, the UFC is a success-driven working environment and not solely a popularity contest. He’s 3-4 in the UFC and been finished in every defeat. His striking is sublime, at least in terms of power, but he doesn’t have the grappling to stack up against guys who are good on their feet and the ground. As much as it pains me to say it, because I truly like Barry and what he represents, it’s time for Dana White to take a cue from his favorite vendor of frozen delights and pink-slip Barry.

Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez for the first UFC Flyweight Championship in history sounds delightful for 2012.

Oh, and Dominick Cruz won a decision. In other words, water is wet and Georges St. Pierre will drive somewhere this week in a SUV while jamming out to French rap music. Cruz has won nine straight in WEC/UFC with eight of the bouts going the distance and the other involving an injury-based stoppage. He will now face the winner of Brian Bowles vs. Urijah Faber, a future title-fight undoubtedly determined by whose hand breaks first and whether or not the ringside judges stay awake for the full twenty-five minutes.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!