This was a doozie.. but first some quick thoughts from fight nights 31 and 32.
Fight night the 31st.
(I'm skipping a lot of these fights and fighters, but this post is already going to be a monster and quite frankly lets just keep this train rolling)
Germaine De Randamie has some very clean and vicious thai boxing, but she is flat terrible on the ground. An AKA product after the exit of Dave Camarillo and it shows. She did not have any fundamental Jiu jitsu and got tooled.
Amanda Nunes looked great in the fight. In the brief stand up portion she did not look out of her depth against De Randamie, and was the better grappler by an order of magnatude. Nunes seems to be hit or miss. She has wins over Julia Budd and Vannessa Porto who are solid fighters, but has lost to Alexis Davis and Sarah D'Alelio. I'm not sure if she's inconsistent, or just not quite ready for the next level. Either way, at 25 she has time to grow into a very formidable fighter.
Steven Siler needs to work on converting submissions against guys trying to power out of them. He had Dennis Bermudez in trouble a couple times, but couldn't control the TUF 14 finalist.
James Krause vs Bobby Green fight.. good grief. This one is tough. When a guy has been belted in the groin twice he's going to be sensitive. So that even if the final kick grazed the top of the cup it would have felt like complete hell for Krause. However.. it was a technically legal kick. So you can't call it against Green (probably resulting in a DQ). So this is an unfair one, but sometimes life isn't fair.
Colton Smith is a rarity. A wrestling based fighter that I can't stand. I think he tends to fight cheap, and his non-wrestling grappling is terrible. Evidenced by his inability to defend the Harai Goshi by Chiesa, and his very sloppy back control and attempted RNC finish in the first round. Staff Sargent get thee in a gi.
Tim Kennedy looked great in his fight, and can be officially said to be surging.
Fight night thirty-duce!
Jeremy Stephens looks tough at 145. He has some serious power, and is going to be a problem for a lot of folks.
Rony Bezerra needs to lighten up. He got caught with a head kick. You are not a rock star.. don't destroy the dressing room.
Brandon Thatch is 11-1 and hasn't lost in 5 years. It's time to get the guy a fight of some note.
I like Paulo Thiago, but I think he's past his sell by date. He's 2-7 since he choked out Mike Swick in 2010 and he did not look like he was in the fight against Thatch. A good ground game and heavy hands just wont cut it in the twenty teens.
Feijao rights the ship all be it against a guy who has no wins in his last 4 fights (one no contest). It will be interesting to see if the UFC feeds him a couple more cans to build him up as a contender, or if they drop him in the deep end and ask him to sink or swim.
The Daniel Sarafian vs Cezar Ferreira fight was a beaut. I am happy to see both of these guys in the UFC. I was hoping the more wrestling oriented Sarafian would win, but Ferreira was just too big too physical. Be interesting to see how the UFC treats each guy coming off this fight.
Hendo.. you got nothing left to prove. Just call it a day.
Vitor.. at this point you have to say he's the #3 guy at middleweight. The guy irritates me something fierce, and it's not the TRT or the god bothering.. ok it's mostly those things, but it's also this air of entitlement. How dare you ask me about TRT and the fact that I popped positive in 2006, I am Vitor! Yecch.
ok enough of that.
Sergio Pettis makes his debut against the unspectacular Will Campuzano. Wins unspectacular decision. At 20 years old. The guy is undeniably talented. We shall see if he can convert that talent into success.
Brian Ebersole does nothing great, but he does everything pretty well. Too young for the MMA senior circuit I think he's one more loss from the bus leagues.
Rick Story looked great. The guy is very hot and cold, so it's hard to say if Story has turned a corner and actually gotten a bit more polish on his striking, or if it was just a good match up for him. I'm more likely to think the latter.
I was impressed by the resurgent Thales Leites. He's actually put a good amount of effort into shoring up his weaknesses. We'll see where it leads. Kim Winslow's stand-up in this fight was terrible. Leites was on top in half guard working to pass and fishing for an arm triangle when suddenly and with little warning Referee Winslow stood them up. A shocking display of grappling ignorance. This could have easily pitched the fight in Herman's favor. Just terrible.
The on again off again Cowboy is on once again. He looked great against Evan Dunham. The guy is
I like Tyron Woodley. He has all the tools to be one of the top fighters at 170. I worry that he's not in a challenging enough camp. He need to be be at ATT training with the room full of killers down in Florida. Instead he's got his own affiliate in my home town of St. Louis, Missouri. It's too soon.
With four losses of his last 6 fights. Josh Koshcheck's time would look to be over, but he's lost to one of the most promising guys in the division (Woodley), a surging veteran (Robbie Lawler), the people's champion (Bigg Rigg himself) and the belt holding real deal champ (GSP). Is he going to be happy being at the bottom of the top? Probably not. At 35 years old, and having fallen out with the AKA brass. I believe him when he says it's time to retire.
Speaking of Lawler, the move to ATT has him nearing his potential.. FINALLY. At only 31 he's got a few more years of his prime left. As much as I think Pat Miletich is a good coach and for grappling oriented fighters (Matt Hughes) a great one. The MFS camp was all wrong for Lawler. He needed more technical coaching than the meat grinder of MFS. Now he's getting it and it shows.
Rory MacDonald.. where has he gone? Where is the guy who battered B.J. Penn pillar to post? Where is the guy who knocked out Mike Pyle and literally and figuratively battered Nate Diaz into the ground? Before the BJ fight MacDonald was 12-1 with 1 decision (the aforementioned battering of Diaz). Dana White likened his last two fights to "staring contests." Warlike Ares has become Mercury. Look, I'm no Tapout wearing 'just bleed' MMA fan, but I'm still in favor of fighting. I'm all for being technical, but the most important and impressive part of 'hit and don't get hit' is the hitting part. Couple more stinkers like this and this young Canadian may end up finding another line of work.
Uncle Chael, why did you pick a fight with a guy who is better than you at the thing you do well, and is bigger, faster and more athletic? Just a bad idea.
Ok.. lets get into it. I think Johny Henricks won that fight, but not by much. Knowing that the fight was in Nevada. Knowing that most of the judges are "converted boxing judges." I can see how round 1 went to GSP.. not that I think it should have, but how it did. 2 reasons. Thing the first: early takedown for GSP. Nevada judges tend to overvalue takedowns. Even though no damage was done and Hendricks got up quickly, he still got taken to the ground. Thing the second is more subjective and more problematic. In close rounds, with these judges who cut their teeth on boxing, the rounds tend to go to the guy who looks more polished. In this case you have the very classic GSP, and the clubbing Johny Hendricks, the round went to the pugilist and not the brawler. This is a major problem with the 10 point must system. If I absolutely clobber you for 2 rounds, and you eek out strategic wins of the other 3, you win the fight. It's not fair, but I don't know what a better system is unless you want to go back to PRIDE type rules.
As far as GSP goes. I hope his problems truely are as trivial as Dana White makes them to be, and I hope he does what he needs to do. He doesn't owe me, Dana White, Hendricks, or anyone else a damn thing.