Monday, March 12, 2012

Hiatus Recap

Since it's been awhile since my last blog, let's do a recap of recent events.

Let's start with UFC on FX, Guillard vs Miller. In typical Guillard fashion, he couldn't figure out jiu jitsu defense. Miller again showed why Guillard will never be a contender. In my opinion, it's just sad to me to be at that level of competition and not be able to defend against jiu jitsu. Until Guillard finally develops a ground game, he'll never be a top level fighter. And at this stage of his career, it may be too late.

On the same card, we saw another prime example of Guillardism, when Josh Neer guillotined Duane Ludwig. I'll admit, I'm a fan of Ludwig due to meeting him on several occasions. He's a genuinely good guy and has great striking skills. But like Guillard, he'll never be a real threat until he learns jiu jitsu defense.

I hope Guillard and Ludwig are at peace with being gatekeepers, because they'll never be anything more.

Now let's look at UFC on Fox 2, Evans vs Davis. I got what I expected. Evans proved he was the better fighter in a completely one-sided contest. Davis just didn't really have anything besides his wrestling, which Evans shut down. Now we all get to finally see Jones vs Evans. I'm looking forward to April 21.

The co-main event on UFC on Fox 2, featured Chael Sonnen vs Michael Bisping. I think the whole world (excluding the U.K.) thought Sonnen would run over Bisping. But, Bisping had a different idea. Sonnen looked feeble fighting Bisping. Every time Sonnen managed to get Bisping down, Bisping would shoot back to his feet. Sonnen couldn't control him on the ground and on the feet Bisping was the more active and better striker. But aggression and octagon control proved to be the deciding factor in the decision as Sonnen secured the decision. Now we will all be able to see if Silva vs Sonnen was a fluke, or if Sonnen really can pull off the unthinkable and unseat Silva.

I will be the first to say that I do not like Michael Bisping. But in defeat, in a fight I thought he won, I earned a ton of respect for him.

I also want to talk about the Chris Weidman vs Demian Maia fight. Maia is a submission expert. I'm still scratching my head as to why he thought he was a boxer. I know Maia is trying to work on his stand-up game since losing to Anderson Silva, but come on, when you are losing, go back to your bread-and-butter.

UFC 143 pitted Carlos Condit vs Nick Diaz for the interim welterweight title. Most of the MMA world was hoping Diaz would win so that the GSP/Diaz fight would happen. Condit decided to spoil the party. I'm a big Condit fan and have enjoyed watching him fight since his days in the WEC. But on my score card, I had it even going into the final round. Then Diaz secured the takedown and got Condit's back, I looked at my friends and said "Diaz just won the fight with that." It appears I was wrong. With great counter-striking Condit won the decision.

Now, I don't want to take away from Condit's win, but this make me think of the Diego Sanchez vs Martin Kampmann fight. Kampmann was spectacular in his counter-striking, defended 14 of 15 takedown attempts, beat Sanchez into a bloody pulp and lost the decision. How then, does Condit win the decision doing the same thing, but less effectively. Judges definitely need some training.

Here's a nice picture of Diego Sanchez after winning the decision against Martin Kampmann.

UFC on Fuel TV Sanchez vs Ellenberger. Ellenberger was just the better fighter. The Sanchez hype machine appears to be derailed again. I don't have anything else to say about this fight.

UFC 144 Edgar vs Henderson. This card was full of interesting fights. Let's begin with the title fight between Edgar and Henderson. The official scores may not quite reflect how close of a fight this was. I actually had it scored 3 rounds to 2 for Edgar, but again, it appears I was wrong. Since it was such a close fight, the UFC has granted the immediate rematch, again putting all of the lightweight division on hold for the remainder of the year. I hope the rematch has a finish so we can move on an stop with all the immediate rematches.

The co-main event was Rampage and Bader. I fully expected Rampage to retire after the fight. He missed weight badly and then looked like garbage with the one exception of his slam. Rampage has not looked good in a fight since he defeated Dan Henderson. He has essentially become a one-trick pony completely relying on his boxing skills and then makes excuses when he loses. In a recent article I read, he actually tweeted that he wants the UFC to cut him so he can go fight in other promotions. In my opinion, Rampage either needs to find his own motivation to fight, or see if he can get Hollywood to make another A-Team movie. This is another case of a fighter past his prime who thinks he is better what his skills now show. He obviously is having a problem with the upper half of the light heavyweight division's fighters. So, either he finds happiness in gatekeeper status fighting up-and-comers or he should just retire.

Mark Hunt looked good for the first time in the UFC with a nasty KO of Cheick Kongo. I have to say, I was was shocked that K-1 Hunt finally resembled the shades of his former Pride glory.

Jake Shields and Sexyama on paper looked like a good fight. This fight was an absolute snoozer and I am scratching my head as to Sexyama's gameplan. At no point in the fight did he truly engage. He rarely initiated and rarely counter-punched. He just stood there looking at Shields and then would perform a beautiful judo throw late in the round and think he won the round. It was a sad fight.

Tim Boetsch vs Yushin Okami was a great fight. After 2 completely dominant rounds put in by Okami, he looked like he had a firm grasp on the victory only to have Boetsch go all "barbarian" on him and KO him in the 3rd round. It was an amazing comeback.

My last comment on UFC 144 is about Joe Lauzon. Every time I begin to believe in him, he forgets he's in a fight and gets finished. Be it Sotiropolous by kimura or Pettis by headkick. I just wish he would fight to his full potential.

UFC on FX 2, Alves vs Kampmann. In another fight dominated by one man for 2 rounds only to be finished in the 3rd, Alves and Kampmann put on a show. Alves completed dominated Kampmann for 14 minutes only to be submitted by a guillotine with 48 seconds to go in the fight.  It was an amazing comeback to add to the slew of recent comebacks (Edgar coming back to KO Maynard, Kongo coming back from the brink to KO Barry, Mir being rocked and almost submitted to snapping Nogueira's shoulder, Boetsch KOing Okami). It's been a fun 6 months of fights.

Official Scorecard

Now, on to the flyweight tournament. Benavidez elevated himself to the "guy-to-beat" with a brutal KO of Urushitani. In the other fight, we had some controversy. Johnson and McCall battled toe-to-toe for 3 rounds and it should have gone to the first ever sudden round. But we can all thank poor reading skills. I myself had it 2 rounds to 1, but I was leaning towards a 10-8 round in the 3rd. It appears one judge saw it that way and now we get to put the tournament on hold to have an immediate rematch. When your job is to read score cards and tally the scores, you would think that paying attention to what is written would be a pretty big part of your job.  

Bellator 60. Pat Curran may have to get a lawyer for attempted murder charges after the referee doesn't stop the fight and lets Joe Warren get brutally KO'd. It was a pretty competitive fight up until Curran landed a counter knee as Warren shot in for the takedown. After that was about 30 seconds of pure sadistic punishment as Curran essentially knocked out Warren 3 times before the ref finally stopped the fight. Big congrats to Curran for finally winning a title. I hope to see him in the UFC someday.

Strikforce: Miesha Tate vs Ronda Rousey. This fight was epic. Tate came out throwing bombs, Rousey didn't like it and judo tossed Tate. Then sinks in an armbar. I said "Wow, this looks like all of her fights." Then Tate manages to escape, takes Rousey's back and tries for a rear naked choke. Rousey defends, then they get back to the feet. Tate starts throwing bombs again. Again, Rousey says "no thanks" and judo throws her. This time when she sinks in the armbar she makes no doubt and dislocates it in nasty fashion before Tate finally taps.

TUF 15. My finally thoughts are on the first episode of season 15 of the Ultimate Fighter. I won't go into details, but I will say, "Wow". What a murderer's row of competitors. With the killer instincts and great finishes, this season looks like it will shine. I am truly looking forward to my weekly fix of the Ultimate Fighter this season.