Monday, November 7, 2011

UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

To start this blog off, I have to say I'm embarrassed. I bashed this card up-and-down for its lack of star power and in my opinion lack of decent fights. Wow, was I ever wrong. This card delivered some exciting fights and great finishes. This is the only card of 2011, so far, that has had a finish in all the main card fights. So let's do the UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

THE GOOD

Mark Munoz
We have to start with Mark Munoz. He did in fact look like a "wrecking machine" on Saturday. He not only grounded Leben and took away his striking ability, but after that cut opened up, I think he actually broke Leben's will. Munoz's wrestling looked much better than usual and his ground-and-pound was just vicious.

After the fight, Munoz stated that he wanted a shot at the title. Now, I know he's riding a 4 fight win streak, but the win over Demian Maia is the only legitimate top 10 fighter he's beaten. It would be nice to see him avenge his split decision loss to Yushin Okami. However, Okami has slipped down the rankings after losing his title fight to Silva, so that doesn't make much sense to put the rematch together. I think a fight with the winner of Bisping and Miller would help establish a contender.

Renan "Barao" Pegado
Barao looked amazing in his fight with Brad Pickett. His striking was crisp and accurate and he took Pickett apart which lead to the 1st round rear naked choke finish. Pickett to his credit, came to fight and he threw big bombs the entire fight. Barao ate a couple of them and showed a good chin. But in the end, Pickett was too wild and Barao dropped him with his better, crisper, and more accurate striking.

After such a dominate performance, coupled with his 17 fight win streak, puts Barao on a short list to Dominick Cruz. I think his next fight should be with the loser of Faber and Bowles, because the winner is almost assured a shot at the title. Taking on the loser would solidify Barao as the number 1 contender at that point or put loser right back into the title hunt. 

Thiago Alves
Alves got the honor of welcoming Papy Abedi to the octagon. Abedi a highly touted prospect will definitely have a great career. But in this fight, he bit off more than he could chew in Alves. Alves actually looked a lot like the fighter he used to be and really let his hands and legs fly. After dropping Abedi with a nice crisp boxing, Alves mounts Abedi and starts raining bombs. Abedi gives up his back and Alves scores his first ever career rear naked choke victory.

Moving forward, Alves appears to be getting his career back on track with a big win. I have several match-ups that I think would be interesting. First, a rematch with Josh Koscheck would put him right back into the title picture and Koscheck may be open to this fight since he'd get a chance to avenge his loss to Alves. Second, for pure striking fun, I'd love to see Alves and Dan Hardy square off. That fight would be sure to end in a knock out. But as crazy as it sounds, I'd like Alves to rematch Matt Hughes. Hughes has stated he doesn't want to retire yet, and he is looking for fights that interest and motivate him. A chance to avenge his loss to Alves should get Hughes' juices flowing.

Terry Etim
Wow, what can be said about a flawless performance. I'll have to watch the fight again, but I don't think he even got touched in the fight. 17 seconds of crisp boxing and one nasty guillotine.

I guess all of my suggestions are rematches today. I think Etim should face off with Rafael dos Anjos, the last man to beat Etim.

THE BAD

Anthony Perosh
Even though Perosh had a dominant performance in beating Cyrille Diabate, he still needs major work on his stand up and takedown abilities. At this point in his career, and at the age of 39, I have to think it'll never happen. Perosh is a wizard on the ground, but if he can't hold his own in the striking department to set up takedowns, he'll continue to get destroyed by good strikers with solid takedown defense. With that said, kudos on a win.

Having a guy like Perosh on the roster can't be easy for matchmaker Joe Silva. He's a decent fighter but so low in the rankings. Who do you match him up with? Maybe someone like Nick Catone, or Eliot Marshall (I haven't heard if he's been cut or not by the UFC).

Chris Leben
Leben makes the bad list after a pretty poor performance. I know Leben is a zombie and takes punishment all day long, but that can't bode well for career longevity. Leben did land a few big shots and threw a lot of punches and elbows from the bottom, but never truly mounted an offense in the fight. Leben shows flashes of awesomeness in one fight, then he looks like a bum off the street in the next. Consistent performances seem to be Leben's crippler.

Moving forward, I would actually like to see Leben and Alan Belcher fight.

Papy Abedi
Abedi was aggressive, seemed to be following a decent game plan, but got caught by a better striker. I think Abedi has a promising future ahead of him, but jumping into the UFC against a top level opponent was a mistake.

Next for Abedi should be someone with a similar experience level. I think a match-up with Amir Sadollah would a good fight for both fighters.

THE UGLY

Brad Pickett
I know that Pickett was trying to make a big statement by trying to knockout Barao. But the statement he made was that throwing haymakers like Leonard Garcia has the same results, a loss. Pickett just threw bombs and Barao dissected him. Needless to say, working on some boxing, made a jab and some straight punches. Throwing nothing but huge hooks didn't work out too well.

Going forward to Pickett, a fight with Eddie Wineland would make the most sense. Both are on losing skids now, and both are still very relevant in the bantamweight picture.

Cyrille Diabate
Zero ground skills score Diabate the Ugly list. So afraid of being taking down in the fight, he never got off with his striking. And when Perosh did finally get it to the ground, Perosh just worked him over at will. In the second round, Perosh mounted Diabate and just abused him like he was some sort of mannequin sparing dummy. Diabate had absolutely nothing to offer on the ground.

Going forward, Diabate needs to work on some ground skills. At a minimum, takedown defense and how to get back to his feet. Next up, (again, if he hasn't been cut) Eliot Marshall or maybe Ricardo Romero.

Wrap-Up
So, there you have it, my UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. This event definitely surprised me with some big performances. Next up, UFC on FOX, next Saturday.

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