I’m going to make these brief…
-As I anticipated, Martin Kampmann was able to take Carlos Condit down repeatedly in the first round of their fight. What Condit did that was so impressive was A) he made Kampmann work hard for each takedown and B) he didn’t let Kampmann do much to him on the ground. Kampmann looked visibly fatigued after the first round and once it was clear he couldn’t land takedowns anymore the fight was effectively over.
–Dana White wondered on Twitter why Kampmann, who he called one of the UFC’s best strikers, would turn into a wrestler against Condit. That’s the thing – Kampmann really isn’t a good striker. He doesn’t know how to defend strikes effectively. This is five fights in a row now that Kampmann has been out-struck. Striking is his weakness, not his strength.
-I think Condit breaks my FPR model. FPR gives Condit a ton of minus points for getting taken down all the time, but Condit is so good at making each takedown just not matter very much. This will be something to keep an eye on in the future.
-It’s a little frustrating to watch Donald Cerrone sometimes. He has a fantastic submission game – putting Rafael Dos Anjos on the defensive on the ground like Cerrone did is impressive. He’s also a very talented offensive striker. What’s frustrating is that he doesn’t protect his chin. He leaves his hands low and his head stationary. Dos Anjos knocked him down in the first round and hit him with a lot of clean shots throughout the fight. If Cerrone figured out how to move his head he’d be a legit title contender. As it is, he’s merely “good” at 155 pounds.
-What’s tricky about breaking down fights between inexperienced fighters is that they’re likely to make a sudden improvement. That’s exactly what happened with Kelvin Gastelum. On The Ultimate Fighter, Gastelum was a fairly good wrestler but made a lot of mistakes on the ground and was not a great striker either. Against Brian Melancon, Gastelum looked like a different fighter. He punished Melancon with tight combinations on the feet and then finished him off with a submission when Melancon was hurt. Very impressive performance by Gastelum.
-Some people online complained about Court McGee’s decision win, but Fight Metric had McGee out-striking Robert Whittaker 88-48. How a judge scored the fight 30-27 for Whittaker is beyond me. Whittaker was more competitive than I thought he would be, but McGee sets an extremely high pace that makes it very difficult to beat him on points. Either way it’s clear Whittaker should not have been favored to win.
–Erik Perez was exposed against Takeya Mizugaki. Perez throws slow, looping hooks that leave him open to be countered with stiff strikes, which is what Mizugaki did. Perez landed five takedowns in the fight, but did very little with any of them. I was happy to see Mizugaki awarded the decision victory despite those takedowns.
-I wish I could say good things about Brad Tavares’s performance against Bubba McDaniel, but I can’t. The Tavares I saw put on a volume striking clinic against Riki Fukuda and Tom Watson didn’t show up. Instead, we saw a fighter who was tentative to throw strikes against one of the worse strikers in the UFC middleweight division. Tavares even dropped a round to McDaniel. If Tavares wants to be a title contender in the UFC, he really needs to be more impressive in fights like this.
–Roger Bowling was well on his way to winning against Abel Trujillo when Trujillo landed a knee flush to Bowling’s chin while Bowling had a knee on the canvas. I’m in the camp that would like knees to the head on the ground made legal – but as long as it’s illegal the rule needs to be enforced. The referee could argue that Trujillo didn’t throw the knee intentionally, but that begs the question: what does a fighter have to do for a referee to consider it an intentional strike? As far as I’m concerned, Trujillo’s knee was a very direct shot. It’s not like he aimed for the body and then caught the chin – he aimed for the chin. I suppose a fighter needs to verbally announce “I intend to land an illegal strike” for a referee to consider it intentional. Bowling deserved a disqualification victory.
I only have two days to cover UFC 164 this Saturday. My current plans are to write one post briefly covering every fight except the main event tomorrow. On Friday, I plan on having a detailed write-up of the main event between Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis at JasonSomerville.com. After that, hopefully I can get back to detailed coverage of each fight. Thanks for reading!