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Intelligent, unique MMA analysis
I’ll be totally honest. Outside of the Francisco Trinaldo fight, I wasn’t too interested in the preliminaries for this fight card. As a result, my post-fight thoughts will be limited to the main card only.
-I hope Luke Rockhold will be OK after Vitor Belfort stole his soul with a devastating head kick. For crying out loud, Belfort is a destroyer on the feet. He doesn’t land a lot of strikes, but what he lands counts. I don’t think there’s a fighter in MMA who could withstand the kick he landed on Rockhold.
Going back to the Rich Franklin fight, this is four times I’ve picked a striker to beat Belfort, and now I’m 1-3 picking those fights. Only Anderson Silva emerged victorious. At this point, I have little choice but to acknowledge that anybody who chooses to strike with Belfort is in grave danger of being knocked out. His sheer power is simply unmatched in the sport.
At the same time, Belfort is kind of stuck in the middleweight division. The UFC could give him a rematch with Silva, but I have serious doubts about Belfort’s ability to win that fight. And if Chris Weidman manages to upset Silva, Belfort could challenge him, but Weidman is the perfect antidote to a fighter like Belfort: a wrestler who will take him down and neutralize his power. Belfort might truly be the world’s third-best middleweight, but I think that’s as far as he’s going to rise.
-Much respect to Chris Camozzi for taking an extremely difficult fight against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, but Camozzi didn’t have much of a chance there. Camozzi has never landed a takedown or a knockdown in the UFC, and that meant he would have to stuff Jacare’s takedowns and out-point him if he wanted to win. That’s far too narrow a path to victory for a fighter to have.
If the UFC is reluctant to promote a rematch between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort, we may see Belfort fight Jacare instead. If that fight happens, it would be very intriguing… as long as Jacare sticks to Belfort like glue.
-Direct from my predictions piece, on Rafael dos Anjos against Evan Dunham:
What’s more important is that the fight is in Brazil – if this really is a 50-50 type of fight, the judges might be inclined to give the decision to the home favorite. That’s enough for me to pick Dos Anjos to win this fight, but I only favor him by the slightest of margins.
I hate having to type things like that, but sure enough, Dos Anjos won a very questionable decision. I was a little off in my pre-fight analysis; I thought Dunham would out-pace Dos Anjos on the feet and Dos Anjos would win the takedown battle. Instead, the striking was very even but it was Dunham who landed takedowns. Either way, it seemed that Dunham had done enough to win, but once again, the judges for the fight saw it differently.
-I expected Rafael Natal to beat Joao Zeferino. What I didn’t expect was that Zeferino would gas out first. There are two ways to deal with Natal’s pressure: either focus on effective defense, and force Natal to put too much energy into his techniques, or rush Natal and fight at an even higher pace. Zeferino chose the second option, and while he looked good early, he was exhausted by the middle of the second round.
With that said, I wasn’t impressed with Natal’s striking in this fight. Natal has been taking on lower-level UFC fighters for a while now; it’s time for him to take a step up in competition, and prove that he truly belongs in the UFC. I’m skeptical that he would be able to pass a tougher test.