Sunday, August 10, 2008

UFC 87 Review

I was 100% right about this card. The three main fights were absolutely awesome and the other two that were televised were very solid (I would actually say the Demian Maia fight was good). All three fights were very impressive although I wouldn't put the Florian v. Huerta fight in the "Fight of the Year" category but it was really good. In fact the only underwhelming part of the evening was the presentation which is normally top notch. I don't know about anyone else but the sound cut out on my presentation for about a minute at one point and they made a huge mistake by showing the Cheick Kongo fight. The fight lasted too long and they had to cut short the interview with GSP as well as abandon all wrap up/credits just to come in under their 3 hour time limit. That was very unusual and surprising for the UFC as they are pretty much the leaders of MMA presentation. They usually have it down to a science but I guess with three of the 5 main bouts going to decision including the 5 round title fight it threw them off their game a little bit. However, it certainly did not take much away from what was overall a great night of fights and what in my opinion was one of the best cards top to bottom I have seen this year. Let's see how my fight predictions shook out.

Luke Cummo v. Tamdan McCrory: This was fight wasn't televised however I picked it right on the nose with McCrory winning by decision.

Ben Saunders v. Ryan Thomas: This fight also wasn't aired. I got the pick right but not the prediction with Saunders winning by submission in round 2.

Chris Wilson v. Steve Bruno: Once again this fight was not shown but again I got the pick right but not the prediction with Wilson winning by decision.

Cheick Kongo v. Dan Evenson: This fight went exactly like I thought it would. They both stood up and traded but Evenson was just outclassed by Kongo's strong and technical kick boxing and Kongo TKO'd him in round 1 just like I predicted. Put it on the boaaaaaard! However, is it just me or did Kongo seem like a total prick? He was calling for the title belt and then just walked away from Rogan's interview. This guy would be decimated by Rodrigo Nogeiura. Go back to the gym Kongo and fight someone who matters and then let's talk about title shots (however I was laughing pretty hard because the way he pronounces title made it sound like he was asking for a "titty shot").

Jason McDonald v. Demian Maia: This fight also went pretty much as expected. This fight did go to the ground early and often and people got an amazing display of BJJ. Both fighters looked good on the ground but Maia appears pretty untouchable there. He finally tapped out McDonald in the third so I got the pick right and almost got the prediction right I just didn't get the right round. Maia is making a strong case for a title shot.

Manny Gamburyan v. Rob Emerson: This fight was over as soon as it started. Manny came out like the Tasmanian Devil and was efficiently knocked out but Emerson. This is first fight I picked wrong tonight.

Brock Lesnar v. Heath Herring: This fight went pretty much like I thought it would with a couple serious exceptions. In the first 30 seconds Lesnar faked a shot and landed the most devastating right hand I've ever seen. It literally sent Herring careening ass over head backwards. How he wasn't knocked into next week I'll never know but he survived only to get pounded on by Lesnar. Lesnar looked great in this fight. He took no damage. He looked tough, athletic, quick, strong, and imposing. The one thing that worries me about Lesnar in terms of his fight was his base. As a wrestler he should've done a lot better when he got into dominant positions. However, Herring escaped his mount twice. Also, Lesnar allowed Herring to turtle up and never really did much damage besides a few knees to the body from there. I was a little disappointed in that regard but otherwise Lesnar looked great. He went into the cage, after a loss, against a legend in the sport and handled him easily. He is not in line for a title shot anytime soon but give him about 5 more fights and if he wins those he'll probably have a title shot in his future. He needs to get a lot better on his feet. He needs to train his BJJ extensively. He also needs to understand how wrestling translates to MMA. But he is so physically gifted that if he keeps his head on straight (which I'm starting to doubt after his demeanor in the cage last night) and can add even a few legit MMA skills to his physical tools he will be a very serious contender in the next year or two. Where Herring goes from here I'm not sure. He's now 2-3 in the UFC and your third loss in the UFC is usually a death knell. However, with Herring's history and drawing power I think he'll hang on for a little longer. To cap this fight off I picked this fight right on the button with Lesnar winning the decision.

Kenny Florian v. Roger Huerta: I have to give it to Kenny. He really had a great game plan and executed it to perfection. He went in and stayed calm, cool, and collected and pulled out the decision. Huerta came in to brawl like he usually does and Kenny did a great job counter striking and taking Huerta to the ground a few times. Kenny's attack also was solid. He didn't land any major blows but he was very accurate. I really thought Huerta would be too strong and aggressive for Kenny but Kenny proved he can fight a larger opponent after his loss to Sean Sherk. I was a little disappointed in Huerta. He looked very mentally weak. He looked defeated and frustrated after the first round and he wasn't his usual ball of energy. With that said though I have to give major props to Kenny who I actually found myself rooting for by the end of the fight because it was such an impressive performance. Unfortunately Kenny will probably have to fight one more time before his title shot as the GSP v. Penn fight is imminent after their face off in the ring last night. However, if Kenny can win whoever the UFC throws at him next he definitely deserves another shot at the title. I'm not sure where this leaves Huerta. He only has one fight left on his contract but after a miscommunication about his feelings on the UFC there could be trouble in paradise brewing. It will be interesting to see how this drama plays out in the next 3-4 months.

Georges St. Pierre v. Jon Fitch: This proved once and for all that GSP has to be one of the top 4 P4P fighters in the world. He was so dominant and so smooth in all aspects of the game last night that there are only a handful of people in the world who could touch him. He just did everything so well. He out struck Fitch on the feet. He took Fitch down. He passed his guard (which no one had ever done before). He laid down some serious ground and pound. He didn't showcase his BJJ skills but that's only because he didn't have to. For everything Jon Fitch did, GSP had the answer and wound up in the dominant position. GSP really is the next evolution in MMA. He isn't the best in the world at any one skill but he puts it together better than anyone in the world possibly other than BJ Penn. Fitch did a great job of hanging in there as GSP hit him with a few shots that could've knocked out two men let alone one but Fitch survived and went five rounds with one of the best in the world. He has nothing to be ashamed of. He fought his heart out and did the best he could but GSP is just the best in the world at 170 it's as simple as that. Fitch hopefully will rebound quickly and get back on track and improve his game to make his next title shot a little closer but this was a great fight from start to finish. GSP obviously will fight BJ Penn next and if Thiago Alves keeps winning he has the next title shot most likely, so GSP will be busy over the next 6-12 months. The question is after those two who can the UFC throw at GSP (assuming he keeps winning)? To cap this fight I got the pick right but not the prediction with GSP winning the decision.

I had a really solid night going 7-2 with 4 bonus points for getting the prediction right and getting submission of the night right. Obviously Emerson gets KO of the night and fight of the night was GSP v. Fitch. Last night was a great night of fights and great step forward for the UFC as they entered another new state with a sold out crowd watching an amazing card. I can't wait for next month as the UFC travels to Atlanta where I will finally go and see the UFC live and in person! It might be a little slow until then however I will try to keep you all up to date on any ongoings in the MMA world as well as revise my division and P4P rankings. Last but not least in about a month will be my UFC 88 preview before jetting off to beautiful Atlanta, GA (my second hometown) to take in what should be an amazing night. Keep you eyes peeled,

Soccer kicks and head stomps...

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