Saturday's UFC Fight Night 206 event is in the books, and now that the dust has settled in Las Vegas, it's time to go to the scorecard to see who the big winners were at the UFC Apex.
1. Michel Pereira
For a while there, it looked like Michel Pereira was going to be thrown into the wasted potential pile at 170 pounds. He was too erratic, too interested in having a good time in the octagon to actually make a run at the best of the best in the division. But after winning his fifth fight in a row last weekend, the Brazilian may actually be on track to reaching that potential. Is the 28-year-old a finished product? No, but in a three-round Fight of the Night scrap with Santiago Ponzinibbio, he proved that he can mix fun with discipline and not only score points and be entertaining, but also win a dogfight. The rest of the year should look quite interesting for "Demolidor."
2. Chidi Njokuani
Speaking of pre-conceived notions, Chidi Njokuani appeared to be one of those veterans who was going to have a nice career for himself, but on the regional scene. Then came an opportunity to compete on Dana White's Contender Series, and Chidi "Bang Bang" punched his ticket to the UFC in impressive style. But he was just getting started. In a pair of octagon appearances, the 33-year-old has posted highlight reel "Performance of the Night" knockouts of Marc-Andre Barriault and Dusko Todorovic, and yeah, that nice career is continuing; only know it's continuing in the big show.
3. Chase Hooper
Out of action for nearly a year, Chase Hooper returned to the octagon last weekend with a lot of questions over his head? Was he going to experience ring rust? How had he evolved over the last year? Was he still a legit prospect or just a flash in the pan? Well … no, a lot, and yes, legit. In fact, Hooper looked like a different fighter in his third-round stoppage of Felipe Colares. Is he still raw? Yeah, a bit, but he is getting better, and with another year of fights under his belt, he's going to be a threat at 145 pounds.
4. Jailton Almeida
Everybody and their brother were talking about Jailton Almeida last week, and the Brazilian didn't disappoint in his first-round submission of Parker Porter. And he did it up a weight class from 205 pounds. That's impressive, and while he's expected to move back to light heavyweight, the reality is that he has the size and skill to compete in both divisions if he chooses to do so. That's scary.
5. Ketlen Vieira
The talk on Monday following Ketlen Vieira's split decision win over Holly Holm isn't necessarily about the Brazilian's victory, but the scoring of a fight many believed Holm deserved to win. That's a necessary conversation, but it does overshadow a win that may have put Vieira next in line to challenge for the bantamweight title once Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes settle their business at UFC 277. Did Vieira show anything last weekend that makes her a threat to either fighter? Absolutely. But she'll have to show those aspects of her game for 25 minutes to take the belt.
This story first published at UFC.com.