Now that I’ve had time to settle down, I’d like to produce a more formal post talking about what happened at UFC 139, and what it means for the participants on the card.
I’m thrilled to no end that the fight between Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is getting praise as one of the best MMA fights of all time. When you’re watching in the arena, things sometimes seem much more exciting or amazing than they actually are. That wasn’t the case for this fight – it was really one of the best MMA fights ever, and it seemed that way both in the arena and on TV.
Watching live, I thought that either the judges would give the fight to Henderson, or it would be a draw. My personal scoring was draw because I thought the fifth round was clearly 10-8 in favor of Rua, but I wasn’t surprised at all when Henderson was announced as the winner. At the time, I was in no mood to be irritated, as I was just thrilled to have seen such a great fight. Looking back, I do believe that Rua was ripped off, as he clearly won the fourth round, and clearly won the fifth round in my opinion. I wonder if the judges are averse to scoring fights as a draw, because that was a pretty darn dominant round on Rua’s part.
Wanderlei Silva and Cung Le put on a great fight as well, and let me say that I’m officially out of the business of telling fighters they should retire. I did it with Tito Ortiz, and he responded with a first-round submission of Ryan Bader. Now, I’ve done it with Wanderlei Silva, and the result was an extremely exciting fight, and a great second-round TKO win for Silva. That’s not to say that I think the future is bright for either Ortiz or Silva – both fighters are still well past their prime – but I will say that just because a fighter is past his prime and struggling doesn’t mean that fighter has nothing left.
Urijah Faber made my preview for his fight with Brian Bowles look really stupid. He was more aggressive, more active, and really fought for the finish. Bowles is very tough, and kept fighting at a point that some fighters would have quit, but Faber was just the better man on Saturday night. I’ll have another post written about SILVA’s predictions later, as I feel I need to talk about SILVA going 0-5 on the UFC 139 main card, but for now, I’ll just say that I was wrong about Faber and that he earned his rubber match against Dominick Cruz.
- Martin Kampmann said after his fight against Rick Story that he thought the judges might “screw him over” again, and while I sided with Kampmann against Diego Sanchez in his last fight, I actually thought Story won this one. Story seemed to land more strikes in at least two of the rounds.
- SILVA was way off on Kyle Kingsbury. Perhaps Kingsbury just hasn’t been tested on the ground before (I haven’t seen all of Kingsbury’s fights), but when Bonnar took him down, he very much resembled a fish out of water. As for Bonnar, it’s an interesting dichotomy… when Bonnar fights exciting, he’s most likely going to lose, but when he fights to win, he isn’t nearly as fun to watch.
- Ryan Bader still has a ton of power, and despite his loss to Tito Ortiz, is still a force to be reckoned with at 205 pounds.
- Chris Weidman showed why he’s considered such a great prospect, taking out Tom Lawlor in short order. Watching in the arena, I was worried that the referee stepped in a bit late. I’ve often thought that the worst position for a referee to be in is to not know whether or not a fighter has been choked out. In those positions, referees should be very active in communicating with the fighter being choked, both verbally and physically, to ensure that they stop the fight exactly when it should be stopped.