Thoughts on UFC 110:
The folks in Sydney were one of the more educated, and respectful MMA crowds I've seen. It was actually kind of refreshing to hear people cheer good ground work instead of booing guys who are actively trying to finish the fight (on the floor, but finish none the less).
We learned almost nothing from the Cro-Cop fight. Anthony Perosh was well out of his depth, even against the aging Croation. Game dude though.. good on 'em for that.
Keith Jardine needs to make some sort of change. Tactics, weight class.. something. He just can't throw sneaky leg kicks and eek out victories when people know he's going to try to throw sneaky leg kicks and eek out victories. I don't know how hard the cut to 205 is for him, and if 185 is feasible, but he's got to change something.
Ryan Bader showed that he has heavy hands (which we knew) and has no real plan C. (plan A: land a right hand and knock the guy into next week, plan B: takedown and lay and pray) I would like to see the UFC brass put him in against someone who isn't tailor made for him.. someone who will drag him into deep water and see how he responds...Thiago Silva would be interesting.
I had a sneaky suspicion that George Sotiropoulos would give Joe "Daddy" fits, but I had no idea he would so completely dominate him. Stevenson just had no answer to the Aussie's boxing, and while I'm not a fan of 10th planet style jiu-jitsu but Sotiropoulos has the physical skills to make it work very well (I don't.. which is my problem).
I was hoping that Wanderlei Silva would have the confidence to go out and Knock Mike Bisping's face off.. Unfortunately, in spite of the pillow-throwing brit's lack of pop, Wand showed him a lot of respect (probably the product of a couple of highlight reel KOs in recent history) and beat him even if he didn't beat him up.
Wanderlei becomes a gate-keeper at 185 and is still a draw against up-and-comers and way-back-downers. Bisping is in difficult territory, he's got some wins and a few losses against gatekeeper level talent, but at the same time is the face of the UFC in the UK. The powers that be will continue to feed Bisping more guys they think he can beat, at least until Paul Daley, Ross Pearson, or Dan Hardy (or someone else for that matter) are ready to take up the promotional baton.
I was worried that Cain Velasquez would be too fast, too athletic for Nog. I was worried that Cain would beat him to the punch over and over. That Nog wouldn't be able to stand, and wouldn't be able to take the fight to the ground before he got his lights put out. My worries were not unfounded. There is a significant separation in size and athleticism between the top of the Heavyweight division (Fedor, Lesner, Carwin, Velasquez.. maybe Mir.. tbd) and everybody else. It's created a heavy middle class of fighters with good skills, who just aren't big/strong/fast enough to compete with the top guys.
It'll be interesting to see how the promotions shake that out. There's talk of a 220 or 215 weight class.. which only makes sense if you're going to raise the heavyweight ceiling to 285.. which would cause a lot of work for the sanctioning bodies (who are notoriously lazy and bureaucratic.. but easily influenced by certain promoters) All that aside it would be a good place to stick popular fighters like Couture, Nog, and the like, but ultimately that would just be watering down the talent pool to keep likable guys afloat, and only for a short time at that.
we'll see how it shakes out.