- Tough break for a lot of fighters last night. Many, many, MANY fights that could have gone the other way.
- Brian Stann has absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of. He fought out of his ideal weigh class against a legend who was fighting IN his ideal weight class in his opponent’s “home” against a hostile environment. He stood toe-to-toe against a legend and pushed Wandy to his limit. A Wanderlei Silva 1-2 that lands jaw-behind ear would put 99% of the population in an ambulance, but Stann still fought back on his back. I hope this doesn’t affect him long-term, and he was his usual classy self in defeat. I hope he bounces back quickly.
- The Gomi-Sanchez decision wasn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, but it was bad. I had the fight 30-29 Gomi, but I could have easily scored it 30-27 without a regret. Yes, I had two 10-10 rounds, but those were leaning heavily towards Gomi. 29-28 Sanchez never crossed my mind.
- I thought he finally turned the corner. I thought that Struve had finally learned after his fights with Buentello, with Nelson, with Browne, that he would stop trying to engage big, slow, plodding, knockout artists and FINALLY use his length, ground game, and intelligence. I said there was NO WAY Struve would engage with Hunt, the ONE GUY he couldn’t afford to brawl with, that he was older, more mature, and a guy on his way to a title shot! I was wrong. Really, really fucking wrong. He had NOTHING for Hunt on the ground and preferred to stay in close, throwing nary a front kick. I hope Stefan is ok, but he deserved to lose that fight. That was awful on his part.
- Luckily, thanks to a certain seven-foot Dutchman. Hector Lombard’s Fight IQ wasn’t the worst of the night! Hooray! He loved to dive right into Okami’s guard despite being constantly controlled by Okami on the ground and refused to take the fight standing even after rocking Yushin. He’s down 20-18 with a minute left, he has Okami on the floor after rocking him…and he decides to play ground control. Are you fucking kidding me? To prelims with you, Lombard.
- Bryan Caraway was well on his way to victory until his corner told him to do….nothing. To coast?? Awful. Maybe Miesha needs to stay in the front row because she told him repeatedly he was up 2-0 when he clearly wasn’t. Caraway was eager to find out what he had to do to finish the fight and get the win but they gave him two tips: 1. Jack, 2. Shit. Awful. For our boxing fans, I tweeted that he couldn’t have had any worse advice if Naazim Richardson was in his corner.
- Siyar may be a killer, but he’s in the worst division possible to be weak on his back. This isn’t a gym in Hungaria against a 1-4 fighter, the welterweight division is a shark tank of wrestling and ground-and-pound. He would have been in even worse shape if not for Herb Dean, who, for some reason is now awful. The fuck happened, Herb?
- Something that I feel has gotten lost is the fact that Yushin Okami is a really, really damned good fighter. He controlled Lombard for two rounds, then withstood his onslaught in the third; something I didn’t think he had the chin for. Okami might never get another shot at Silva, but he has a very high-level gatekeeper and has squashed the title hopes of two men in his last two fights definitively.
Contributor: Nolan Howell:
- MARKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU HUNTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
- That’s literally all I want posted.
Contributor: Josh Hall
The UFC traveled to Saitama Super Arena for a flashback to the glory days of Pride FC, with Wanderlei Silva, Mark Hunt, and Takanori Gomi all appearing on the card. The card had its good moments and bad, but the final two fights redeemed everything wrong that happened previously.
Wanderlei Silva turned back the clock to 2003 and fought with reckless abandon and sheer will in an epic stand up battle against “All American” Brian Stann. The two men traded knockdowns in the first round, both refusing to stand down despite getting rocked. Stann suffered a nasty broken nose and was clearly affected in the second round, eventually getting blasted by a right hand and knocked unconscious with vicious ground and pound.
Mark Hunt is a relevant title contender in 2013. Let the beauty of that just wash over you. Hunt was 5-7 and offered money to go away; instead he has reeled off 4 straight wins including a jaw breaking knockout of Stefan Struve. The walk off after breaking his jaw was one of the more epic you will ever see, and Mark Hunt has learned how to grapple a little bit. Hunt voluntarily engaged on the ground with the dangerous Skyscraper, fending off submission attempts and even passing guard on multiple occasions. Hunt will certainly leap into the top ten, and a title eliminator could be up next for the Super Samoan.
Gomi was the worst victim on a night on a night of terrible judging. Diego Sanchez did nothing to win either of the last 2 rounds, and the decision has been pretty much unanimously agreed upon to be wrong by MMA media. Gomi came into the fight in good shape and fought a smart fight on the feet, picking Diego the vampire hunter apart with his boxing. It was painful to watch him on the short end of an incorrect decision, especially in that arena.
Hector Lombard fights with a negative fight IQ. After fighting two terrible rounds, he had his chance with Okami wobbled in the third, before inexplicably diving into his guard and subsequently throwing no serious ground and pound. The only thing worse than his finish was the 29-28 score he received from a judge, leaving us with a split decision in a fight where every round was obvious. Boo.
Rani Yahya has improved his wrestling a great deal, but his cardio has a ways to go. Nevertheless, it would was enough to win a decision over Mizuto Hirota. Hirota is another fighter to add to the list of Japanese fighters with poor UFC debuts.
Siyar Bahadurzada’s lack of wrestling or any real effective grappling was totally exposed by Dong Hyun Kim, who grinded him out in a one sided decision win. Kim never mounted much offense until an entertaining third round that included him baiting Siyar to hit him from his back and actual attempts to finish the fight.
The prelims were decent, but not particularly notable. Hyun Gyu Lin scored an impressive knockout over Marcelo Guimares, who may be a victim of the massive impending cuts. Speaking of cuts, and the name Marcel(l)o, say goodbye to Cristiano Marcello after a terrible performance against debuting Kazuki Tokudome. Alex Caceres won a questionable split decision in a less than enthralling affair against Kyung Ho Kang.
Brad Tavares was impressive in a unanimous decision win against a tough, but overmatched Riki Fukuda. Miesha Tate gave Bryan Caraway the worst corner advice possible, telling him to coast after the second round because he was up two rounds already. He lost the third round and a split decision. Oops. With the victory for Takeya Mizugaki, he has won back to back fights for the first time in his Zuffa career.
That’s all I’ve got. It felt like I stepped in a time machine back to 2003 for the last three fights, and that was one of the coolest things ever for me as a fan.