UFC 137 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
So for starters, my main card predictions weren't too bad, I got most of the winners. But my prelim predictions was way off this time. Let's dive straight in to it.
The obvious big winner of the night was Nick Diaz. His one-sided beating of BJ Penn was good to say the least. BJ looked good in round 1 and took it to Nick actually busting him up a bit. But in true BJ Penn fashion, he didn't training properly and gassed in the 2nd round. Diaz took advantage and put a beating on Penn throughout the rest of the fight that I've never seen him take. BJ was just run over.
After the fight, Diaz, called out GSP, calling him scared. GSP talked to Dana White after the fight and asked to fight Diaz instead of Condit. GSP stated that Nick Diaz was the most disrespectful human ever and he would destroy him. Well, Nick you got your wish to fight Georges. But now you'll be facing a motivated champion to not only beat you, but to destroy you.
Roy Nelson looked good in this fight. He fought a motivated Mirko Cro Cop who wanted nothing more than to get one more win before retirement. Mirko fought hard, but Nelson was just too much. Roy stood with Cro Cop and ate some big shots, at that point he took the fight to the ground and that proved to be the difference. Nelson's ground game was too good for Mirko to negate. The stoppage came early in the 3rd round when Nelson had full back mount and was just hammering shots to Cro Cop's head.
Going forward, I'd like to see Nelson fight Cheick Kongo. Both men are on the cusp of being a contender and this fight would help separate the pack at heavyweight.
Cerrone always comes to fight and Saturday was no exception. This was an exciting fight with both Cerrone and Siver just throwing kicks. It was a fun fight but Cerrone proved why he'll always be a contender with a beautiful kick that started low and shot high for a massive head kick that dropped Siver. Cerrone pounced and immediately took his back and sunk in a rear naked choke.
Moving forward for Cerrone several options. Wait for the Ben Henderson/Clay Guida fight and take on the loser. Or drop to featherweight like he's threatening to do to face Nam Phan. In the post fight press conference Cerrone was adamant that he wanted to keep fighting and fight as soon as possible. And to grant his wishes, the UFC just announced, Cerrone will face Nate Diaz at UFC 141 on December 30th. You've got to respect a warrior like Cerrone.
Bart finally made his UFC debut after losing his last WEC bout almost 11 months ago. And he looked good. Palaszewski fought Tyson Griffin, a man who after having a lot of initial success had lost 3 straight as a lightweight before dropping to featherweight in his last outing. Obviously the new weight class is difficult for Griffin who failed to make weight for the fight and then got KO'd by Palaszewski. For his UFC debut, you couldn't have asked for more. Palaszewski looked good, had crisp striking and made quick work of Griffin.
Moving forward, I'm thinking Palaszewski should face Erik Koch. It would be a good test to see where he stacks in the featherweight division.
Kongo won this fight, but he just didn't have that killer instinct he usually has. I think the fight with Pat Barry rocked him a bit mentally. Kongo was extremely tentative and didn't move forward until later in the fight. He actually allow the woefully inexperienced Mitrione to dictate the pace. Kudo's on the win, but it was lackluster to say the least.
Moving forward I'd like to see Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo to lock horns. I think that fight could push one of them back into the title picture.
I'm putting Nijem into the bad category despite a one-sided performance against Daniel Downes. Nijem totally upset my prediction while he utilized his superior grappling and dominated Downes. But despite having multiple submission attempts, he could not put away Downes. Nijem is still a work in progress though, and if he shores up his striking and works on diversifying his submission game, he could turn into a real threat in the lightweight division.
Next for Nijem should be someone like Cody McKenzie, or maybe a step up in competition and face someone like Mark Bocek.
Vera got a crack at redemption and another shot at the UFC and he took that opportunity to get a much needed win. Now 2 things land Vera in the Bad category for me. First, he didn't utilize his superior striking abilities. Vera just doesn't have the killer in him anymore. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg during the commentary questioned "When did Vera lose his killer instinct?" I will tell you, it was when he faced Tim Sylvia. Sylvia put a beating on him, derailed his title aspirations and Vera has never looked the same since. If Vera wants to make the most of his second chance in the UFC, he needs to find that killer again.
The second reason I land him in the Bad category is Vera has not improved his ground game at all in his time in the UFC. Evidence of that is Marshall's armbar that actually broke Vera's arm. That is bad for 2 reasons, the first is not being able to defend himself on the ground. The second, he's just one bad dude for not tapping and surviving to win the decision.
Next up for Vera, a cast, some rehabilitation and a long time off before his next fight.
Well, Mitrione wanted a step up in competition and a good test, he got one. Unfortunately for Mitrione, his inexperience and lack of aggressiveness were his downfall. Mitrione just couldn't seem to find his range and never really got off during the fight. Kongo who literally allowed Mitrione to dictate the pace early finally took some initiative and forced the fight to the ground. Mitrione showed he still doesn't have a ground game yet.
Moving forward for Mitrione I would love to see him matchup with Brendan Schaub. Both are up-and-comers, both possess good hands and both have fallen in recent step-ups in competition.
Hioki came into this fight with George Roop as the number 3 ranked featherweight in the world. Roop who is a solid fighter was clearly the underdog. Roop made this a fight, he really took it to Hioki who didn't seem to know what to do against Roop. Hioki a submission specialist never really pushed to get the fight into his arena on the ground. In my opinion, Roop won this fight. I truly believe he was robbed by the judges.
Now if Hioki had won this fight in convincing fashion, I believe he would be next in line for a title shot. Instead, I think he needs to prove himself after such a horrendous performance. So next for Hioki I think should be a contender fight with someone like Diego Nunes or Mark Hominick.
Siver lands in the Ugly category for the first time for me. He is a great kickboxer and he had nothing for Cerrone. He looked flat and after being rocked by the head kick, he showed he doesn't have a ground game being easily submitted by Cerrone. For Siver, this is a major set back.
Going forward, I think a matchup with Melvin Guillard would benefit both fighters. Both men like to strike, both are coming off of losses and it would be an entertaining fight for the fans.
Wow, what to say for Griffin. The man had great promise early in his career but has since really fallen on hard times. After 3 straight losses he dropped weight classes and earned a victory. In his second outing at featherweight, he did not make weight, and then he got run over by Bart Palaszewski. After Takanori Gomi knocked Griffin out, his chin has looked susceptible and Bart found the button to knock Tyson out again.
Griffin needs to re-evaluate his career. Not making weight is a cardinal sin of MMA. And then getting knocked out for the second time in his career isn't helping either. For a possible opponent, maybe someone like Mike Thomas Brown would be a good stylistic matchup.
Last but never least, BJ Penn. I hope he is serious about retirement. BJ is a legend of the sport, only the 2nd man to ever win titles in 2 different weight divisions. And a well trained BJ can beat anyone in the world. But his constant inconsistency due to his lack of cardio training is hard to watch. He's a legend, and he'll be in the Hall of Fame one day. I think it's time to let your fight career go and focus on other things, you're legacy is cemented.