There was certainly an element of "ring in the new/ring out the old" at last nights UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem especially as rising contenders Johny Hendricks and Alexander Gustafsson made short work of veterans Jon Fitch and Vladimir Matyushenko.
Hendricks (12-1, 7-1 UFC) became the first fighter to finish Fitch (23-4-1, 13-2-1 UFC) in the UFC when he caught him with a crushing overhand left and followed up with some quick ground and pound. The win is easily the biggest in Hendricks' MMA career. The former NCAA champion wrestler entered the bout ranked #18 in the welterweight division according to the USA TODAY/MMA Nation Consensus Rankings. Fitch was ranked #2, a position he's held for years.
For his part Gustafsson's win was a less shocking upset, but still represents a big step up the career ladder for the rangy Swede. The 24-year-old Gustafsson (13-1, 5-1 UFC) has been picking up a bit of hype as a fighter who could potentially threaten Jon Jones' hold on the UFC light heavyweight title.
Beating the veteran Matyushenko (26-6, 7-4 UFC) in emphatic fashion adds some real credibility to the hype around Gustafsson. He entered the bout ranked #13 in the USA TODAY/MMA Nation Consensus Rankings and while beating the #18 ranked Matyushenko won't give him much of a jump in the rankings, it should raise his profile with fans.
For the 33-year-old Fitch, a formidable but notoriously boring fighter, the loss might do irreparable harm to his career. He had to win his first 8 straight UFC fights to get a title shot in 2008. After getting pasted by champion Georges St. Pierre for five rounds at UFC 87, Fitch put together a five fight win streak going into 2011. Unfortunately he only managed a draw against B.J. Penn at UFC 127 and now tumbles down the ladder with the loss to Hendricks.
The 40-year-old Matyushenko was riding a two KO win streak coming into UFC 141. Now he'll have to consider whether or not its time to retire as he clearly won't be contending for another title shot.