Thoughts from UFC 120:
Fighters coming off the Ultimate fighter are not (generally) ready for the top tier of the UFC. They still need some seasoning.. I would love to see another "comeback" season of TUF. Bring in guys who are going to be cut and say here's your chance. Watching grizzled veterans fight for one more chance is far more compelling than watching 20 something numbsculls beat each other and then get thrown in way over their heads. Seasons 6-10 the only guys who look to be sticking in the UFC are Ryan Bader (who is a legitimate talent), Ross Pearson (being brought along slowly for UK branding), and Roy Nelson (who was a gatekeeper level talent ignored by the UFC because he's not a "company guy.")
I had the Kongo v Browne fight as a draw too. Browne could be a decent fighter who choked in his first fight with a 'name.' He's got fast hands and good head movement which is why he can get away with such crap fundamental striking. If he's going to fight in the UFC he's going to have to clean those up. Along with his wrestling fundamentals. He tried big brothering Kongo to the ground a few times and failed. He's in deeper water and that's not going to work any more.
Mike Pyle looked great. That said he's tailor made to beat Hathaway. He was tighter with his stand-up. His head movement frustrated the brit, and he was able to stop the only two takedowns Hathaway knows: the power double, and the weird running head and knee takedown that Hathaway, Pearson, and Bisping all do.. and that I've never seen on a wrestling mat.
Pyle was able to transition from striking to wrestling to striking more smoothly than anyone not named GSP. Most guys have a visible shift. You can see them go "ok, Go TAKEDOWN." "that didn't work, back to striking." Pyle was shooting and coming up with crisp punches, and had one beautiful trip off the Thai Plum. I can't tell if Pyle is finally making a surge, or he's just found his range. This was a good wake-up for Hathaway. He needs to diversify his training. Spend some time at Team Quest, ATT or Xtreme Couture.
Carlos Condit is one of my favorite fighters (I've probably just doomed the poor guy to never win another fight). He's genuinely tough. He's well rounded. He knew when to jump to a bigger camp. He knows his place in the pecking order, and goes after what he perceives to be tough, but winnable fights. I'm interested to see him climb the ladder.
Dan Hardy is overrated. That is all.
Speaking of overrated Mike Bisping beat Sexyama. Color me surprised. I even though Akiyama like many of his countrymen is fighting a full weight class above where he should, and has worse conditioning than I do. I figured Bisping's ego and utter lack of beard would cost him this fight.. it did not.. almost did, but Slipperyama didn't go in for the finish. Bisping recovered, and threw pillows for the next 12 minutes to coast to a win. Bisping wants another shot at Wand. I say, No way. No more fighting guys whose best years were spent in the PRIDE ring. You can have Chael Sonnen (the two mouthiest SOBs in professional fighting). Win that fight and we'll talk.