Good weekend. Lots to do and lots done.. and some to be re-done.
Thoughts on the fights:
UFC on Versus 2:
Mark Munoz needs to change his training. He's a NCAA champ, but as a fighter he has no pop. He looks sluggish, something in his training has to change.
Jake Ellenberger looked great dismantling John Howard, solid on the feet, great on the ground. Might be a good first opponent for Jake Shields if the UFC want's to bring Shields in slowly.
Takanori Gomi still has some pop. He looked very sharp against a quality opponent in Tyson Griffin.
Griffin is in a tough spot. He's beaten some quality guys, but lately he seems to have hit the skids a bit. He's a young guy, hopefully he can right the ship.
Jon Jones looked good in beating Vladimir Matyushenko. No one was really surprised. Time to let this kid swim out into deeper water. A fight against a quality gatekeeper (Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, or Thiago Silva) should be next. Assuming he doesn't head up to heavyweight.
Phil Davis is a stud, and to my mind is a bigger/better prospect with a better upside than Jon Jones. He's more athletic. Has better all around grappling, and seems more content at 205 (Jones is already having trouble making 205, and will probably end up at 265. I don't think he can hang with the super heavies). We shall see.
Dennis Hallman is showing signs of life. Be interesting to see him back in the mix.
Dustin Hazelett needs to take some time, add some muscle and athleticism, and get better takedowns. McLovin has one of the best ground games in the UFC, but he has a hard time getting guys there. He's lost 6 times and 4 of those have been KOs. His stand-up is sub-par because of his speed and footwork, and his takedowns are terrible. All of which is too bad, because he's a genius on the deck and a lot of fun to watch.
Roy Nelson hit his ceiling. He's good, but he needs to relinquish some control to take his game to the next level. He needs a conditioning coach, and he needs to train at a camp so that he's outside of his comfort zone. I just don't know if his personality will allow it. Clearly he has the ability to set aside his ego, he's a BJJ black belt, you don't get that without being able to do so, but something has changed since then.
Matt Hughes looked great choking out Ricardo Almeida. I don't think he's ready to be in the title mix, but he's not Chuck or Mark Coleman staying at the party too long. It seems to me that when he opened his own gym, the level of competition was lowered (from MFS elite) so Hughes tarnished a bit. Now that some of his guys are starting to bring up their level (Matt Veach, Jon Madsen) Hughes' game is coming back on.
Clay Guida looked good, I just don't know how far he can go without being more dynamic on the feet. His hands are getting better, but his takedown abilities are based in persistence than anything.
Jon Fitch was supposed to get another shot at the title if he beat Thiago Alves. He did, Alves didn't even make weight, and Fitch still beat him (and beat him up). Now Dana White is hemming and hawing about the title fight. At least let him fight Jake Shields for the right to a title shot. Throw the guy a bone.
Alves didn't make weight.. AGAIN. Seriously? your whole job before fight day is to show up on weight with a mean face on. That's it. You have months to prepare. Get it done, or find a new line of work.
I wanted so badly for Chael Sonnen to beat Anderson Silva: I am tired of Anderson's antics. I am tired of the state of stasis in the middleweight division. I have a soft spot for wrestlers turned fighters. I think Sonnen is funny with a good sense of the "show." Besides he's a PNW guy, and a former Oregon wrestler (Oregon no longer has a program). And he did.. sort of. For 23 minutes he beat on Silva. He made Silva look like the slobbery chew toy and Sonnen was the dog. It didn't end up mattering. I watched Anderson pushing Chael's right hand, and shifting his hips. The whole thing happened in slow motion. It was awful. Before the fight I hoped he would pull it out, but fighting Anderson is like russian roulette for 25 minutes. It is very difficult to keep spinning that long and not lose.
Chael Sonnen needs to spend some time in a true BJJ camp/school: American Top Team, Cesar Gracie, Renzo Gracie, somewhere. Just work out of arm-bars and triangles for a year. In a fight that goes his way he spends the whole time in his opponent's guard. He needs to train tougher guard players.
Good fights the past week.
More on my life later.