First of all, I have to shamelessly toot my horn and say that it was an outstanding night for SILVA in terms of fight predictions. SILVA went 4-1 predicting the main card, and its prediction of a Fabricio Werdum victory turned out to be much closer to reality than most expected.
1. 265 lbs: Chad Griggs (29.07 SILVA) def. Valentijn Overeem (15.23) by Submission (Strikes), 2:08 round 1
I honestly don’t understand why the betting lines on this fight were so close to even. Did people think they were betting on Alistair?
2. 265 lbs: Daniel Cormier (48.97) def. Jeff Monson (35.04) by Decision (Unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Cormier lived up to expectations in this fight, as he completely shut down Monson’s attempts to take him down, and exploited Monson’s lack of striking skills standing. Cormier even landed a number of kicks throughout the fight; even though his striking isn’t the most polished in the division, it was effective, and having adequate striking to go along with world-class wrestling makes for an absolute force to be reckoned with. With the win, Cormier’s SILVA score jumps to a sky-high 51.43, which rates only below Cain Velasquez in the heavyweight division. While I don’t think Cormier is quite ready to be taking on the likes of Velasquez yet, I have a feeling that his entrance into the elite ranks of the division will happen sooner rather than later.
3. 155 lbs: Jorge Masvidal (32.09) def. K.J. Noons (22.80) by Decision (Unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
I really liked Masvidal’s strategy in this fight. He attacked the boxer in Noons with a number of knees and kicks. A head kick hurt Noons badly in the first round, and Masvidal followed up with a number of strikes in an attempt to finish the fight. In the later rounds, Masvidal mixed in some takedowns. The point is that he beat Noons by being a mixed martial artist, and the varied attack seemed to cause Noons to get very sloppy with his punching technique as the fight progressed. This was a very impressive victory for Masvidal, but I will say that despite the win, if he is given a title shot against Gilbert Melendez, he doesn’t stand much of a chance in my opinion.
4. Josh Barnett (46.46) def. Brett Rogers (28.99) by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), 1:17 round 2
The one thing that surprised me about this fight was the relative ease with which Barnett was able to lift Rogers in the air, take him down, and immediately move into mount. Once there, Barnett’s vastly superior grappling game took over. Rogers looked like he had no idea what to do; he seemed to be attempting to use brute strength to try to push Barnett off, but Barnett’s balance was way too good for that. I’ve seen some people panning Barnett’s performance because he didn’t finish Rogers in the first round, but I didn’t see it that way. I thought Barnett was very patient, and was playing a mental game with Rogers. In the first round, Rogers made a number of attempts to escape and was at least doing his best to survive. I think that when Barnett took Rogers down again in the second round, that it mentally broke Rogers. When Barnett applied the arm-triangle choke, Rogers was tapping out before Barnett really even finished the move (by jumping to Rogers’ side). In any event, I was impressed by Barnett, and I think he has an excellent chance of beating Sergei Kharitonov.
5. Alistair Overeem (32.37) def. Fabricio Werdum (35.03) by Decision (Unanimous) (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Wow. There’s a lot I can say about this fight, but I’ll try to keep it short. Watching the fight live, I scored it 29-28 Overeem, as I felt that Overeem’s strikes were more effective in the first two rounds, but Werdum landed much greater volume in the third round. I need to comment about Werdum’s takedown attempts in the first round. I’ve seen a lot of reaction about people being very frustrated at Werdum’s strategy, and I think people allowed their frustration to color their judgment of the fight. The result is a lot of 30-27 Overeem scores flying around, despite what I felt was a pretty close fight and a clear Werdum round in the final frame. But in what is sure to be very controversial, Fight Metric actually scored the fight for Werdum, both as an entirety and by the ten-point must system. I don’t agree with Fight Metric’s decision not to award Overeem with any takedowns, but I’ll also say that I don’t think Overeem should be awarded with very many points for those takedowns anyway (since he didn’t do anything with them).
The biggest story of this fight is Werdum being able to strike effectively against Overeem. This just goes to show that MMA striking is a lot different than K-1 striking, and although Werdum’s striking is vastly improved, Werdum wouldn’t stand much of a chance in the K-1 ring. I’m not going to say that SILVA should be considered to have predicted the fight correctly; I stand by my assessment of Overeem winning two out of three rounds. But I do think that what I said about Overeem being overrated stands, and I think the fight itself goes a long way towards validating SILVA’s estimates. Overeem is not an elite heavyweight fighter in MMA, and he’s not close to being the best heavyweight fighter in MMA. He got the win tonight, and I agreed with his getting the win, but if this version of Alistair Overeem shows up against Antonio Silva in the next round, Overeem absolutely will lose the fight.