The beast falls.
Wow, what a crazy card...
I like Tom Lawler, he just beat a very tough guy in Patrick Cote, and looked great doing it. Hopefully he's back on the upswing.
Court McGee looked great and terrible in his fight with Ryan Jensen. McGee is a likeable guy and a game fighter, hopefully he'll put things together.
Brendan Schaub looked good in his defeat of Gabriel Napao . Crisp standup. Good head movement. Decent takedown defense. Time to climb the ladder.. and get a new nickname.. "the hybrid?" Just terrible.
I wonder about the wisdom of Gabriel Gonzaga moving to Boston. He's lost three of his last four, and been outboxed in all of them. This is a classic example of a guy winning a big fight by KO (Crocop) and falling in love with his standup. He needs to dance with the one that brung him, and work on his takedowns, get some fights to the deck and win. ATT would be perfect.
For better or worse it looks like Diego Sanchez is back. He looked great after "Hulking out" early in round 2. He needs to put on some quality mass before he's a real contender, but there's no questioning that he's gotten back to the camp and mindset that earned him 17 straight wins. Wrestling is still his kryptonite. Sanchez is a good High School level wrestler. He got beat by Koscheck and Fitch who are 1-2 levels above that. He needs to round out his game, and fill out his body if he intends to compete with those guys. Still good progress for a guy who is still not yet 30.
Paulo Thaigo has some ragged luck. Just when it looks like he's going to make the leap to the next level, he gets buzz sawed. His wrestling is a little weak, but he has good moments.. His conditioning looked pretty sorry in this last fight, but looked ok in others.. I can't figure out what his problem is.. because he's a different guy from fight to fight. Maybe it's time to think about quitting his day job and concentrating on fighting full time. He made almost $90k in this last fight, that goes a good long ways in Brasilia.
Matt Hamil looked pretty good in his defeat of a pretty well washed Tito Ortiz. His hands are still stilted and awkward, and his top game is controlling, but lacks finish.. or finishing ability. Once again he over-cut (he weighed in at 203.5, a full 2.5 lbs under) while that may not seem like much, go to McDonalds and buy 10 quarterpounders (cheese optional) and stick them all over your body, that's how much more muscle Hamil could be carrying and still make weight. I still say he needs to go to a better camp if he's going to fulfill his potential (and he has miles of potential).
Martin Kampmann is a good fighter. He just got out hustled this past weekend. He was in a winnable fight, but his ego, and Jake Shields' will to win got in his way. Kampmann could have won a sprawl and brawl fight.. he chose not to.
Shields looked awful. He's been a pro fighter since 1999. He was a collegiate wrestler before that, he should be able to make a weight cut in his sleep. Either he overlooked Kampmann, which brings to question his intelligence, or his preparation wasn't up to snuff. Either way if he makes the same mistake again he's going to get roundly beaten.
After UFC 100 I said "The only Heavyweight that can possibly give Brock Lesnar problems is Cain Velasquez." Then I started watching training footage of Lesnar, and bought into the hype. A major thing to remember when watching hype shows: they only show you the things that make the fighters look good. So if they suck at hitting the mitts, you won't see much footage of that. If you watch the Lesnar footage from primetime they showed him sparring with Chris Tuchscherer (who is 1-2 in the UFC) or grappling with Pat Barry (who is not exactly Rickson Gracie) The same thing goes for conditioning footage, trainers break out drills and things that their guys are good at, not what they do all the time. All that footage of Manny Pacquiao doing agility ladders on 24/7 means his trainer knows Manny has good feet, and will make them both look good, not that doing agility ladders will give you good feet.
Back to the fights:
Lesnar won the takedown game. He took Cain down twice. Cain only took him down once, after stunning him. However, the difference maker was Velasquez's ability to get off his back without taking any punishment. Once he got up, I knew the champ was in trouble. Velasquez is young, he's got all the tools. I think other than getting clipped (which can happen in any heavyweight fight) he poses a real problem for everyone in the division.
Brock Lesnar is now fighting the clock. He's been blueprinted. There is a way to beat the beast, he has to work to close those holes and climb the ladder again before he passes his "sell by" date. The only thing I ask is that the UFC not subject us to another Lesnar vs Mir fight. I just don't care.. that fight has been decided.. it's over. Give it a rest.