Sunday, 13 November 2011

UFC on Fox - Did it deliver?

Wow, the latest UFC event featured two brilliant events at the top of the card, each great for their own reasons. It was, as I suspected, a mile a minute war between Henderson and Guida and those guys should feel slightly affronted that their fight didn't receive the promotion or attention it deserved.  Having said that, you can't argue that much with a fight that was available for free on Facebook and and I am pretty sure that fight will be aired a few times on some channel in the next few weeks.  The title fight?  Well that did not last long but for Junior Dos Santos it was enough time to win the Heavyweight Championship and prove his own words prophetic, that if you are a positive person good things will happen to you.

Image from MMAweekly

Velasquez vs Dos Santos

Highlights of the UFC Heavyweight Title fight can be found here.

The fight lasted for all of a minute and UFC execs will potentially be a little disappointed that the fight did not gain the sport a bit more exposure.  The fight started with Cain looking pretty comfortable standing with JDS, obviously aiming to pick at him with leg kicks.  Junior Dos Santos could be seen stalking Cain, getting his timing and distance and waiting for his opportunity.  That opportunity came when Dos Santos connected with an overhand right, just behind Velasquez' ear and the big Mexican was dropped.  The Brazilian swarmed and finished Cain off with heavy punches, before the champ could regroup.

Alot the talk of the post fight press conference centered around Velasquez' failure to make any real attempt to take Dos Santos down.  Of course Velasquez did not plan get countered while throwing a hefty left hook.  He  most likely planned to give Dos Santos plenty to think about before taking the shot.  After all, the Brazillian has great take down defence and is a great counter striker, you certainly don't want to go in with a predictable game plan.  In my previous post about this fight I said that the fight would depend on who could keep this fight in the area of their expertise.  I was very surprised to hear Joe Rogan wax lyrical about Velasquez' stand up.  I was sure that he would struggle to match a fighter of Dos Santos' boxing calibre on the feet.  I just expected the fight to last longer and for Cain to begin getting the fight to ground as Dos Santos tired.

Velasquez is not going anywhere.  He did not have enough time here to show the best of himself but it seems very unlikely that he is a much worse fighter than we thought he was a few days ago.  He will feed back into the talent pool against one of the top guys, probably sooner rather than later.  As for Dos Santos he faces the winner of Overeem and Lesnar next and neither fight will be a walk in the park.

Henderson vs Guida

Image from MMAweekly

This fight was great!  Just as with the Miller fight, I had no idea Henderson would be able to stay so dominant over Guida.  Guida claimed in the post fight presser that he thought the fight was close but I do not think so.  Guida was in it right untill the end and even caught Bendo from time to time but Henderson was the clear winner in each round for me.

The things I liked most about Henderson in this fight were his ability to stuff take downs, beat Clay up on the fence and to spring back up.  At times he looked like BJ Penn, punching Guida in the face while hopping on one leg, avoiding the takedown.  Against the fence he delivered vicious knees to the stomach that looked frankly horrible.  Guida managed to embroil him into a messy, hairy brawl at times, but even then Henderson used the cleaner, crisper striking to take the advantage.

Henderson's fight against Frankie Edgar is going to be great too.  It will be interesting to see how he deals with being the scrappier, pluckier striker when faced with Edgar's great boxing.  As for Guida he falls back down the pecking order for a little while and looks to climb the ladder again.  Maybe him a Miller could fight next?

Bits and bobs

I am really chuffed that the Junior Dos Santos won.  He seems a super nice guy and I like his street fighter-esque jump and point before a fight.  I prefer MMA when nice guys with great talent succeed and that is what happened in California.

Like many people I am a bit disappointed that Dana White has chosen to question Velasquez' tactics and talk more about the strength of production than he did about the strength of Dos Santos.  Dos Santos had just knocked out Cain Velasquez for goodness sake.  No-one else had done that before.  Sometimes the UFC's spokesman tends to get carried away with promoting the organisation and forgets to promote the fighter.

Finally, I am a little bit concerned about the heavy weight division.  In some ways there seem to be more elite fighters at that weight class than ever before, but the worry is that there is a massive gulf between the likes of Pat Barry and Roy Nelson and Alastair Overeem and Junior Dos Santos.  There is a top four or six fighters who might well end up fighting each other quite alot in the next few years, I hope the UFC does not use up all its big fights too soon.

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