Word on the street was that heading into this event general fan interest was down and likely to result in a low buy rate. But here at Inside Fights we were rather stoked on the card, how did it turn out and did those who turned their nose up at the event really get left behind?
1. I gave out hearty negative reviews to both UFC 134 and UFC 135 and I pointed the finger almost exclusively at UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. There is really no good excuse for babying the Brazilians through their home turf and then turning around and booking two main card heavyweight fights in the thin air of Denver. But here I thought he did a pretty good job but the end result was an only slightly better product. Sure we got screwed out of an awesome heavyweight bout between Mike Russow and Dave Herman thanks to a so-called contact high but Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia more than pulled their weight on the main card. I would say the main flaw here was lackluster performances from people who know how to deliver the goods. Where was the Jose Aldo of old or the Showtime in Anthony Pettis?
2. As usual though Chael Sonnen was well worth the price of admission. After being out of action for 14 months the UFC made no mention of what kept him on the shelf which is interesting since he is already such an effective heel. Nonetheless he played the role pro wrestling baddie perfectly after disposing of “All American” (ad nauseum) Brian Stann. He opened up his post fight interview with “Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!” and finished it with a proposed Loser Leave Town match in which Silva’s place in the middleweight division and Sonnen’s place in the UFC would be on the line. Those stakes are a bit high for my taste but if that is what it takes to make this fight happen then I’m all for it.
3. As somebody who regularly roots for chaos I couldn’t have been happier when I saw that 10-8 round come in for Gray Maynard in the opening round of the main event (a la UFC 125). Another draw may have very well sent Dana White into cardiac arrest and even though he claimed that there would be no 4th fight no matter the outcome it would have seriously weakened the lightweight title. But after that Maynard collapsed even worse that he did in their January meeting allowing Frankie Edgar the opportunity to lay waste to him with a violent TKO in the 4th Round.
4. I know that Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg add far more to a fight than an outsider like Gus Johnson does but their hyperbole and outright cheerleading is obnoxious especially because we know they are just doing the bidding of Dana White who is only doing the bidding of the frat boys out there who want to see wild, undisciplined fighting. Listening to the commentary of the Phan/Garcia fight I fully expected Rogan to kiss Garcia on the mouth during the post fight interview. Ideally we would have people as knowledgeable as Rogan without the corporate ties to the promotion running the show.
5. What a mess the lightweight division has become. Since the whole title picture was placed on hold for 10 months due to the UFC 125 draw we have seen a multitude of contenders go down. Sotiropoulos, Pettis, Miller and now Guillard. The big winner here may be Gilbert Melendez who is finally on his way to the UFC roster and has remained dominant this year though he was fighting slightly lesser competition. If I were Joe Silva I’d set up a fight between Frankie Edgar and the winner of Ben Henderson and Clay Guida. Then I would take Melendez and put him in a title eliminator against the winner of the upcoming Donald Cerrone/Dennis Siver showdown.
6. I will admit to being conflicted on this issue because I would never give Georges St. Pierre an ounce of crap for not finishing his fights or not being exciting. However we have come to expect something different from Josa Aldo. He expect awesome fights and explosive knockouts. But since moving from the WEC to the UFC his two fights have found him grounded and all too human. I’m not ready to move him down a peg from his #3 pound for pound slot but he does seem to just be getting by, fighting conservatively and doing whatever it takes to get the W… which is absolutely the name of the game, I just know that there is something better inside of him.
7. Perhaps it is nothing more than his growing body and the difficult weight cuts he has had to endure. I don’t see him giving up the title but when exactly would it be safe, career-wise, to jump up to the lightweight division which is where everybody seems to think he belongs these days?
8. We’re used to Japanese fighters coming over from Japan and failing miserably but having a Brazilian import himself from the Land of the Rising Sun only to strike out badly in his first two efforts is a new one. Jorge Santiago was dominant in the far east winning 7 of the 8 fights he took over there. But since re-entering the UFC he got mashed by Brian Stann (in an undeserving Fight of the Night) and bored the living hell out of Houston as he got shut out by Demian Maia. I would assume that one more slip up will cost him his job but I also expect them to throw him a slightly easier bone (Nick Ring?).
9. I would be remiss if I didn’t send some love to Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia for their ugly yet thrilling slug fest that brought the house down and severely tested Joe Rogan’s gift for exaggeration. I was mostly happy for Nam Phan, a fighter I like who has obviously fallen on hard times. Of course he is going nowhere in the division but assuming he can keep putting on fights like that I hope that White/Silva have the good sense to keep the guy around.
10. Speaking of cuts I know the UFC loves Joey Beltran because he throws punches with reckless abandon, and in general I think the UFC should do less cutting but it really is time this guy got sent down to the minors. He is sloppy and slow and really only has a weirdly tough chin going for him. I’m not saying he should end his career I am simply saying that 3 wins on the local circuit would do him a world of good.
Tags: anderson silva, Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen, Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Joey Beltran, Jose Aldo, Leonard Garcia, Melvin Guillard, Nam Phan