I didn’t watch UFC 177 tonight. This doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of the UFC, it just means that there’s only so much I’m willing to pay 45 dollars to watch. A lot of people have said the fights were great. I don’t doubt it – just like I don’t doubt that sometimes Cage Warriors or Legacy FC puts on a great show. Ultimately, I don’t think there’s a correlation between the ranking of the fighters on a UFC event and how good that card will be from an entertainment standpoint. I would never tell somebody to not watch a UFC event – I just felt that this card fell short of the standard I’m looking for. This is coming from somebody who bought UFC 147 (Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva, Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow, and a bunch of TUF Brazil fighters).
From watching some highlights and looking at Fight Metric stats, here are some quick thoughts:
-The highlights made it look like T.J. Dillashaw and Joe Soto had a back and forth fight. I didn’t expect Soto to make it to the fifth round or land 62 significant strikes, so props to him for that. I have nothing but respect for Soto. However… Dillashaw landed 151 significant strikes and two takedowns, and finished by knockout at 2:20 of the fifth round. What’s kind of spooky is that in Dillashaw’s last fight, against Renan Barao: 140-64 significant strikes and a knockout at 2:26 of the fifth round. Almost identical numbers, except Joe Soto isn’t anywhere near as good as Barao. I think.
-Tony Ferguson and Danny Castillo each landed 23 significant strikes, but Ferguson landed 71 total strikes to Castillo’s 30. I think Fight Metric could come up with a better distinction than to call some strikes “significant” and others “not significant.” Cain Velasquez landed 29 significant strikes in three rounds against Cheick Kongo at UFC 99… but don’t tell me the other 232 “not significant” strikes Velasquez landed simply didn’t matter. I’m starting to wonder if including these “not significant” strikes could help my statistical methods and FPR.
-If the statistics are any indication, then one call I got right: Shayna Baszler is just not a good striker, period. Bethe Correia was 68-8 in significant strikes, including 42-4 at distance. I also credit Correia, whose fundamentals looked on point to me when I watched her fights on tape. She’s a good fighter in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Not anywhere near ready to be competitive against Ronda Rousey, but I don’t think there’s a woman alive who is (except for MAYBE Cyborg).
-Ramsey Nijem gets knocked out again. Nobody should be surprised by this. Nijem would have the worst chin in the UFC if it wasn’t for the existence of Charlie Brenneman and Jared Hamman. The real story here: Carlos Diego Ferreira might be the real deal as a top prospect at lightweight.
-Derek Brunson may not have put on the most exciting fight, but if he can fight third rounds without being gassed out, then I’m going to start hyping him again. I was on his bandwagon until his cardio completely failed him against Yoel Romero, but he looked fine in the third round against Lorenz Larkin. I’m not back on the bandwagon yet, but I’m walking alongside it…
-So much for Cain Carrizosa beating Chris Wade. I’m starting to think that if two fighters are making their debut, one of them is a wrestler, and the other isn’t: just pick the wrestler. Wade looked really bad on tape, getting hit hard repeatedly in a WSOF match against Ozzy Dugulubgov. However, we’ve all seen wrestlers develop their skills very quickly. Wrestling itself can take a fighter a long way as well. Never in a million years would I have thought Colton Smith would win TUF 16… but then he did, with little more than wrestling prowess.
If you did watch UFC 177 tonight, I’m glad you saw an entertaining show. Here’s hoping I never skip a UFC event again.