Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 8.17.12 Champions and Exposure Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 08.17.2012
News and thoughts on Chael Sonnen vs. Forrest Griffin being set, the latest on Jason Miller's arrest, Benson Henders fighting Nate Diaz next and more! Plus thoughts on UFC 150 and a preview of Strikeforce's weekend show!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, you've wandered into a dangerous neck of the woods this time. Here at Locked in the Guillotine we've got some interesting things to look at this week. For one, there's of course the UFC 150 card to review, with all of its highs and lows. There's also a Strikeforce card this Saturday, who knew right? It features a main event of Ronda Rousey looking to defend her woman's bantamweight title against former champion Sarah Kaufman, so you get to read my expert and peerless analysis of all the fights there. This week I'm starting a series in the final section of my column looking at negativity in MMA, why there's so much of it, and maybe even a few suggestions on how to be more positive. That makes for lots of reading, and hopefully lots of thinking on your part. Your neck is exposed, and now you're Locked in the Guillotine again, let's see how long you can hold out.
Two comments last week, which was up from the previous week. Friday has become crowded, and I was actually coming around to the notion of moving this column to Monday now that Dustin James has stopped writing The Ultimate Writer, but alas someone else took that spot, so hopefully at least Friday will be less congested and more of you can read this and enjoy it. Guest#4812 predicted Benson Henderson to murder Frankie Edgar "Matt Brown style." Obviously that didn't happen, but more on that in the review of UFC 150 just below this section. guest guest asked if we all remembered a time when Jake Shields was considered a top three welterweight. Yes I do, but times change and the sport evolves, and Jake Shields hasn't, and at this point seems happier fighting at middleweight than welterweight.
Thanks again for the comments guys.
The Carny impresses: Nik Lentz defeated Eiji Mitsuoka by TKO in the first round to make a successful debut at featherweight. Lentz was a borderline top fifteen guy at lightweight, and given that he looked to make the cut to featherweight relatively easily the guy could be relevant in the division. Finishes are always good, especially to start the night off.
Camus wins in his debut: Chico Camus defeated Dustin Pague by unanimous decision in a fight that wasn't really that memorable. Camus had some good control from the top, but neither guy really stood out.
Well that was quick: Erik Perez made quick work of Ken Stone, defeating him my TKO in the opening minute of the first round. Perez landed a nice right hook and followed Stone to the ground and kept landing a barrage of strikes that forced the stoppage. I've got to question Stone's chin a little at this point, he got stopped by Scott Jorgensen when Jorgensen was inside Stone's guard. This wasn't long enough to really get a good look at Perez, but what he showed was enough to record the fastest bantamweight stoppage in Zuffa history.
Hamman goes down: Michael Kuiper defeated Jared Hamman by TKO in the second round. Hamman must have a jaw made of rubber, because that guy gets hit a lot but takes forever to stay down. Kuiper landed a couple of decent throws, but it was a torn muscle in Hamman's right quad that caused him the most trouble. Kuiper showed some pretty good power, and Hamman showed toughness, but a torn muscle in your leg makes fighting very difficult.
Bermudez impresses again: Dennis Bermudez defeated Tommy Hayden with a standing guillotine near the end of round one. Hayden landed a good knee but Bermudez recovered. This was a pretty good one round fight, and another good performance from Bermudez as he looks to improve his stock in the UFC.
Liver shot!: Max Holloway finished Justin Lawrence at the end of the second round with a nice left hook to the liver. The fight was contested almost entirely on the feet, Lawrence threw in a couple of takedown attempts, but none were really successful. Body work in MMA seems to becoming more prominent, which it should because most MMA fighters haven't trained to take body shots. Anytime I see a body shot finish I have this reaction.
Good way to start the main card, and another good win for Holloway.
Okami got the win: Yushin Okami defeated late replacement Buddy Roberts by TKO in the second round. On the feet Roberts actually seemed to have an advantage, but once Okami got the clinch and got Roberts down it was clear that Okami was the superior fighter. Okami really needed a win here, and he got it via stoppage. Not a bad fight at all.
Well, it was a Jake Shields fight: Jake Shields scored a unanimous decision victory over Ed Herman in a typical Jake Shields fight. Shields was able to get Herman down from the clinch and control him on the ground. That's basically what Jake Shields does if he wins, and while it isn't pretty he's been successful with it. Not a great fight here, but one fight like that per card is about what you have to expect.
KO of the Night: Donald Cerrone defeated Melvin Guillard by knockout in just over a minute in the first round. Guillard caught Cerrone with a nice left hook early, but Cerrone has proven more than once that he's got a great chin, and he survived the onslaught. Cerrone then glanced Guillard with a head kick that wobbled him and followed up with a big right hand that put Guillard out cold. The fight itself was just over a minute long.
Henderson Retains: Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar to retain the UFC lightweight championship by split decision. OK, I'm not going to beat around the bush here, after the five rounds I thought Frankie Edgar had won the title back. I've watched the fight again, and I still think Frankie probably should have won. With that said, watching it a second or third time, it becomes easier to see how Benson Henderson could have won. Round three was incredibly close, and a lot of people had the fight even heading into the fifth round. I'm not saying the split decision was correct, but the more you look at this the more obvious it becomes that when looked at round by round Henderson could have won three rounds. I'm not necessarily defending the decision, but rather I'm trying to understand how the judges arrived at their decision, and while I don't agree with them, I can at least understand how the got there.
All TRT fight set: In the wake of his crushing second loss to Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen announced his next fight would be at light heavyweight and he would take on former champion Forest Griffin. I don't think Chael will be all that successful in this fight given Griffin's submission game and size advantage, but it should be entertaining to see the buildup and the eventual fight.
UFC on FOX five will be big: The UFC confirmed three fights for their next outing on big FOX, a welterweight fight between a returning BJ Penn and Rory MacDonald that was postponed after MacDonald suffered a cut in training, but the fight itself remains very interesting. A big step up in competition for Alexander Gustafsson as he takes on former light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. The main event is set to be for the UFC lightweight championship and will feature champion Benson Henderson looking to make the second successful title defense of his career against Nate Diaz. If this show stays together and avoids the injury epidemic, with the additional benefit of being promoted during NFL season on FOX, this could be a big ratings draw for FOX and the UFC. If the fighters hold up, you can bet every MMA fan who can will be watching those fights.
Mayhem arrested: Former UFC fighter and all around MMA personality Jason "Mayhem" Miller was arrested during the week. He was apparently found naked in a church and engaged in some hijinks with a fire extinguisher before being taken into custody. In a bit of shocking news, I've got exclusive footage of Mayhem's mini rampage through the church. Fair warning, it could be disturbing.
Strikeforce has a show on Saturday, this one featuring Ronda Rousey looking to make her first successful defense of the Strikeforce woman's bantamweight title. And there's other fights, none of which are all that inspiring, but let's take a look anyway.
Ovince St. Preux vs. TJ Cook: There's a pretty obvious theme with every fight on this card except the main event, and that's one fighter being very over matched. In this case, TJ Cook is essentially being fed to St. Preux, whose hype train was derailed by Gegard Mousasi. TJ Cook isn't nearly as good as Mousasi, so I expect OSP to take this one pretty easily.
Lumumba Sayers vs. Anthony Smith: Anthony Smith has been around the MMA game for a while, but I think he's not faced the level of competition that Sayers brings. Sayers is a pretty safe bet to take this one, likely by some form of stoppage.
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Roger Bowling: Speaking of guys who are in over their head, welcome Roger Bowling to the discussion. Tarec Saffiedine is someone that Strikeforce has been trying to make a real star, and if he hadn't been smother-humped by Tyron Woodley he'd be there right now. Saffiedine has good wrestling, though he's better offensively than defensively, and has some good striking. Bowling has been with Strikeforce for a while now, but again there's a higher level of experience for Saffiedine here. The real question is if Saffiedine will get a finish or not, and I'm actually leaning towards a decision for him, but a clear cut one.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson: This is a pretty big mismatch from everything I've seen. I'm willing to be wrong about Brunson here, but the guy just lost a split decision to Kendall Grove. Ronaldo Souza is still one of the better middleweights in the world, and it seems like Strikeforce wants to get him and Luke Rockhold to fight again. Souza should have the advantage everywhere but straight wrestling, and even then his submissions are very very good. Souza gets the win here, and likely a finish to go with it.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman: And finally we get a fight that doesn't look like a sure thing. Sarah Kaufman has some serious striking power and technique, and if Ronda Rousey tries her moving forward face first approach she could very well find herself unconscious. That said, Kaufman can't let Rousey clinch with her, because if Rousey gets her hands on you there's a good chance you'll wind up on your back, and that isn't a good place to be. Kaufman is very much a live pick here, but I'm going with Rousey, by armbar of course, though it wouldn't surprise me if Kaufman gets out of the first round and makes a fight of it.
I said last week I'd start looking at things that make us negative about MMA. Because really, we all love the sport, if we didn't we wouldn't devote as much energy as we do to it. You don't devote time to writing an internet column for free, or flying from event to event and interview fighters, for something you don't enjoy. There's easier ways to kill time or make money. So what happened? How did those of us who profess to love MMA, to put as much time and effort into it as we do, sour on it? Where did it all go so wrong? Well for the next several weeks I'm going to look at it, at what fuels the negativity we all feel at times. I'm going to hope that several writers from this and other websites can contribute to the discussion, the comments are always open, and most of the writers here know how to reach me on twitter or via e-mail, so please feel free to help out the discussion.
For the first week I want to touch on maybe the most obvious cause, overexposure. I'm not going to start a debate about if the UFC is running too many shows, because from purely a fans perspective getting to pick and choose which shows you want to pay for and which you ignore is pretty sweet. There's enough product that even if you miss something, it's not really a big deal because you haven't likely missed too much. Even if there is something you missed that you want to see, there's this glorious thing called the internet, the reality is that while it may not be the most legal thing, you can find a fight online that you want to see.
For me, I've pretty much got to see all the MMA I can. I preview it, review it, think about it, talk about it with other writers, follow news feeds for what's happening in the world of MMA, it takes up a large portion of what I do during any given week. I know my quality isn't the greatest, but I take comfort knowing that there are much much worse out there. Don't believe me? Check out a few pieces over at bloodyelbow, or over at thebleacherreport. Now that I look much better by comparison, there's still a lot of MMA stuff to sift through out there. When you spend that much time in and around it, things start to annoy you. Maybe little things that previously were a minor annoyance become rage inspiring aggravations capable of fueling rants that go on in excess of fifteen minutes. In many ways the other things that will be discussed here later are a function of this. Seeing so much of it, you see things that start to annoy you, hear things that really get under your skin after a dozen or so repetitions. And guess what, it doesn't stop, it just keeps going. Some fighters are never going to learn how to properly throw a punch, guys on commentary aren't going to change catchphrases or speech patterns, some fighters just aren't ever going to finish a fight, and some guys get attention from the media that is really undeserved.
And there's nothing we can do about it. We just have to endure bad commentary, ugly technical aspects of fights, and fighters who always want to see their names in the headlines. It can get a little grating at times.
So how do we deal with this? We look ahead to fights we want to see, we become fans of specific fighters so we can look forward to seeing them fight or listen to their interviews. We sometimes watch with the mute button firmly pressed to get away from commentary, and in places like this, where we must discuss MMA and all that comes with it, we vent our frustration. It isn't really fair to you the reader, or listener depending on the medium, but it happens. The counterpoint, when something is awesome we are just as excited. The anticipation for a big fight, the fascination as a great fight unfolds before us, these things drive us, they are why we love the sport. On occasion there is just too much dross to wade through and we snap, we release the wild snark, we can't find anything good to say. There is one upside though, it means we care. As crazy as that sounds, if I couldn't find anything good about MMA I wouldn't write this column. If I didn't love the sport, didn't know the heights to which two men fighting to take me to, didn't love to see the skill, the technique, and the reality that anything can happen, I wouldn't get angry about it. I wouldn't rant and rave, I'd just stop watching and find something else.
That does it for me this week, but you all know I'll be right back here next Friday. You can't get rid of me that easily. Next week, a review of Rousey vs. Kaufman, and the next thing on my list of reasons we get negative about MMA. You guys are harder to tap out than Benson Henderson, you survived another Guillotine, and I'll see you all back here next week.