Monday, March 29, 2010

Thoughts on 111 and UFC on Versus 1.

First off, is there a more awkward title in sport than "The UFC on Versus 1?" Couldn't it be fight night 21.5 or something? Killing me.
anywho.. here goes..

Alessio "Legionarius" Sakara (aka that one Italian fighter) actually looked good taking out what appeared to be a statue of James Irvin made from beef jerky. I was a little surprised, but only because I've only seen Sakara fight Houston Alexander, Chris Leben, and Drew McFedries (ugly KO loss, KO loss, and KO loss) I don't know if Irvin can keep making this cut, but this loss does not bode well.

Cheick Kongo seems to have learned that wrestling and ground fighting are a necessity. It's only taken him 4 years in the UFC to figure that out.

Everybody's favorite doughy everyman fighter Paul Buentello just got outclassed. He didn't have enough pop to keep Kongo from just grabbing him and big brothering him to the ground. That fight was over, what's the point of getting beat on for another 4 minutes. Buentello is either going to have to upgrade his athleticism, drop to 205, or find another line of work.

Junior Dos Santos was very impressive in his fight on Versus. He finished the always tough Gabriel Gonzaga in the first, and more impressively managed to get back to his feet after being taken down. Getting out from under Napao Gonzaga is no small feat.

I am not a huge fan of Brando Vera, his gameplanning is terrible, and he needs to get stronger*, but he's a reasonable gatekeeper. Jones handled Vera on all fronts. He mitigated his clean muai thai, executed a couple slick throws, and broke Vera's cheekbone to boot.
* I am all for TRX training. I think it's a great conditioning tool. They have made Brandon Vera their MMA poster boy.. which is great, I'm all for fighters finding legit sponsors, but Vera needs to add some strength. He is consistently getting out-muscled in the clinch, and it's killing his career.

Joe Rogan being "heavily muscled" doesn't make you out of shape, neglecting your conditioning for strength training, and constantly muscling into takedowns or out of submissions does.

Rodney Wallace has one of the worst cases of "looks like Tarzan, fights like Jane" I have seen. Sloppy stand up, middling takedowns, but no base in guard are not going to keep you in the UFC. Your corner wasn't telling you anything, very clearly you are beyond the best guy in your camp, if you go to sherdog, you're the ONLY guy in your camp. Go someplace with fighters (good ones) train hard, get your but kicked. Earn your nickname (which is one of the best I've seen)

Jared Hamman needs to cut to 185. He did a fine job of neutralizing the athleticism of Wallace, but at the weigh-ins there were middle-weights that were visibly bigger than him. This is not a good thing.

The commissions should consider outlawing the heel hook. It is a submission that has a small margin of error, but if successful almost immediately damages the fighter to the point of needing surgery. In fact every successful heel hook that I can remember resulted in the losing fighter out for several months. This is not good business. Fighters having knee surgery are not making money, and the promoters are not making money off of them.

While we're talking heel hooks,The NJ state athletic commission suspended Rousimar Palhares for 90 days for applying a heel hook to Tomasz Drwal for about 5 seconds after the Drwal had submitted. Seems like something doesn't it, but a 90 day suspension is not much of a penalty for a fighter that lives outside the U.S. and generally fights about twice a year. Palhares is a great fighter, but that is ugly business and UFC needs to make a stand .

Another excellent, but terminally boring performance by Jon Fitch. Personally I find fights like that entertaining. Purely dominating the other fighter, keeping him out of his game and imposing your will.. but then again some people find me terminally boring.. so what do I know?

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes was easily the fight of the night. Rarely do two grapplers get into the cage and do what they do well, normally what happens is they stuff a couple takedowns each way, and it turns into the world's crappiest boxing match. This fight was very technical and high paced, with Pellegrino coming out on top.

Sorry Frank Mir, you can't put muscles on your chin. I have to say, I was heartened by the resurgent Frank, he seemed humbled, and he made things interesting: a BJJ guy in a sea of wrestlers. But I don't know what options he's got left.

Shane Carwin dwarfed, bullied and outmuscled Frank Mir, then Brock Lesner walked into the ring and dwarfed Carwin. It's going to be a heck of a scrap.

I knew it was a long-shot for a guy who got taken down by Marcus Davis to be able to keep vertical against GSP, but a puncher's chance is a puncher's chance. In the end Hardy had the striking of a Thai boxer, and the wrestling of an Englishman, and it proved his undoing. It will be interesting to see if there are any injury reports for Hardy after the two vicious Kimora's and the one arm-bar that should have submitted him.

If GSP beats Paul Daley I don't know who else there is.

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