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Intelligent, unique MMA analysis
As soon as the main event of UFC 150 ended, I went straight to updating SILVA scores. Naturally, I had just gotten started doing this when there was a power outage here in 110-degree Fresno. I’ll have updated SILVA scores later tonight or tomorrow. For now, here are my thoughts on the fights:
-First of all, the decision win for Benson Henderson over Frankie Edgar may be considered controversial by some, but not me. I personally scored the first round for Henderson, the second and fifth rounds for Edgar, and the remaining two rounds for who the hell knows. It was such a close fight that I would have been just fine with a draw (the UFC and the fans in Denver likely disagree). Perhaps Henderson deserved the slight edge, based on the significant strike data, but as I often say, not every significant strike is equal. (A quick look at Fight Metric shows different totals than were displayed on the UFC broadcast – 66 significant strikes for Edgar, 62 for Henderson.) As much as I would have loved a decisive conclusion here, sometimes that just doesn’t happen.
-Melvin Guillard nearly scored a quick knockout of Donald Cerrone, then was taken out with a quick kick to the temple and a follow-up right hand. Cerrone said in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that he knew Guillard would follow up his big punch with some knees, and I wish Guillard wouldn’t do that. His hands are what hurt people in the first place; he should use his punches to finish the job. But credit goes to Cerrone for recovering well from Guillard’s strikes to finish by a beautiful KO.
-Part of what makes fighters like Jake Shields successful is that they know what they’re good at, and stick to it. Shields is an excellent grappler and mediocre striker. He knows this, and therefore always tries to take fights to the ground, where he can out-grapple and perhaps submit his opponent. That’s why it was frustrating to see Ed Herman willingly clinch with Shields so much. Herman was clearly the better striker in my opinion, but he lost because he played Shields’s game.
-Props to Buddy Roberts for taking the fight to Yushin Okami, lighting up the former title challenger with a barrage of strikes early. Unfortunately for Roberts, he had no answer for the clinch and grappling of Okami. This should serve as a red flag for Okami, who has never been known for precision striking, but looked slow and ineffective with it against Roberts. His grappling is still very good, but he won’t be able to hang with the best at 185 pounds if he doesn’t tighten up that striking defense. By the way, I was completely fine with the referee stoppage; this is a regulated sport we’re talking about, and if Roberts can’t move while Okami is punching him from back mount on the ground, it’s checkmate.
-Max Holloway and Justin Lawrence were a little more patient and calculating than I expected, but they put on a great fight. And Holloway showed he has a pretty solid chin, because Lawrence hit him very hard a couple times early in the fight. Sadly, Lawrence’s conditioning held him back again, as he visibly faded in the second round before being stopped with a body shot. Great performance by Holloway, but one which probably extinguishes whatever hype Lawrence had behind him going in.
-Just like Dennis Bermudez said, it seems he can’t win a fight without getting hurt by a strike at some point. This time, it was a well-timed knee on the part of Tommy Hayden that put him down, but Bermudez did a great job of recovering to end up winning by submission. I was happy to see Hayden have more success in this fight than he did against Fabricio Camoes, but I have to question whether or not he has what it takes to compete in the UFC – he’s now been finished in the first round twice. As for Bermudez, I can’t get excited about his potential until he wins without getting decked.
-Just as I would hate to be a judge for the main event between Henderson and Edgar, I would hate to be a referee in one of Jared Hamman’s fights. The man takes so much punishment, and looks so awful in the process, but somehow just keeps fighting back. And he did land a huge number of strikes on Michael Kuiper – they just weren’t nearly as solid as Kuiper’s punches and leg kicks. Honestly, I’m a bit concerned about Hamman’s health if he fights for too long, as he seems to get knocked silly multiple times whenever he fights. By the way, great job by Kuiper in getting his first win against a quality opponent; here’s hoping we see him take on a tough wrestler next, and see if he’s improved that takedown defense.
-Ken Stone may be known for a fragile chin, but wow, Erik Perez took him out quickly. The stoppage was perfect in my opinion, as Perez knocked Stone out with one punch, and then woke him up with the next. Here’s hoping Perez’s next fight goes a little longer than 17 seconds so we can learn more about him.
-Chico Camus put together a solid performance in his UFC debut against Dustin Pague. Camus was caught in a couple tough situations, but did a good job of staying calm and not getting too close to being submitted. As for Pague, I’m sure he’ll get another chance in the UFC due to his willingness to fight on short notice, but at 1-3 in the UFC now, he really needs to win next time.
-Nik Lentz absolutely decimated Eiji Mitsuoka. Mitsuoka had no answer for any aspect of Lentz’s game. Lentz is probably an above-average UFC fighter at featherweight, but even with this win, I’m not sure about the idea of him making a title run. When he beats somebody like Ricardo Lamas, then we’ll talk. Mitsuoka, on the other hand, has had a quality professional MMA career, but I really got the feeling his chance in the UFC came too late, as he’s fought for 11 years and is now 36 years old. He really didn’t look like somebody who could hang in the UFC against Lentz.
Bonus Analysis: I was hoping that Bruce Buffer saying “It’s FIGHT time!” at UFC on Fox 4 was just some kind of slip on his part. It seems I was wrong. Why he changed his catch-phrase is completely beyond me.