Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 9.21.12 Fights are actually Happening Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 09.21.2012
News and thoughts on Frank Mir's injury, Michael Bisping causing more drama, the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, plus a preview of the main event of UFC 152 and more!
Hello hello my loyal readers, or those stopping by for the first time, I'm just happy you clicked and are willing to read what I'm putting out there. Hopefully it's good. Kind of a crazy week, another injury, some drama from Michael Bisping, and finally a UFC fight card to preview. I can't tell you how happy that makes me, not just because I really want to see some fights but because I realized I enjoy breaking down fights. Yeah I'm not the most accurate guy in the world, or even here at 411mania, but I enjoy it. So there's news, and a big fight card to break down, and of course our little section dealing with things we hate about MMA. That's plenty to get through, hope you've been working on your defense because you're Locked in the Guillotine again.
Guest#7816 had the only comment last week, but he had plenty to discuss. The big takeaway point was that injuries aren't only crippling cards, but negatively impact your enjoyment of the sport. While there have always been injuries in MMA, it does seem to be getting worse and several cards that have been put out there don't feel special. It is a problem for us fans, but hopefully things settle down in the near future.
There's finally a big UFC card to preview! I can't tell you how happy I am about this. Plus this card should actually be a good one. Let's take a look.
Matt Hamill vs. Roger Hollett: Oh, Matt Hamill has come out of retirement. I'm not gonna lie, I've never been a big fan of Hamill. He's had some good fights, but the UFC spends too much time discussing his being deaf. This fight is pretty much a gimme for Hamill, Hollett hasn't fought anyone with Hamill's level of skill. Hollett is still something of a live choice given his striking, but this is designed to get Hamill back on the winning track.
Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira: Now this will be a good fight. Cub Swanson seems like he's actually found his stride, look at his last fight with Ross Pearson. On the other side of the cage is Charles Oliveira, a one time lightweight contender who seems to have found himself at featherweight. Oliveira has only lost twice in his career, once by submission to Jim Miller and once by TKO to Donald Cerrone. Both of those guys are some of the very best at lightweight in the world. Oliveira seems to struggle against guys who can grapple with him, or guys who can stand with him. I'm not sure Cub Swanson falls into either category, though he likely has more power than Oliveira. Oliveira has good striking skills, and Swanson doesn't have the variety of striking techniques or the chin of Donald Cerrone. I think Oliveira takes this one, possibly by submission if he gets Swanson on the ground, but I expect this to be a great fight.
Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann: And the featured bout of the evening should be a good scrap. Michael Bisping got a really raw deal in his last fight, because for my money he won his fight with Chael Sonnen. Plus part of me really wants him to fight Anderson Silva just so Silva can massacre him in glorious fashion. Brian Stann's last fight was also against Chael Sonnen, and he lost by arm triangle in the second round. Grappling has always been Stann's weak point, but since both he and his coaches know it he's undoubtedly been working on it. The big question seems to be if Bisping will try to grapple with Stann or if he'll go the striking route. On the feet the fight is something of a push, both guys use kicks and knees as well as punches, but Stann definitely packs more power of the two. The other side of the coin is that Michael Bisping has only been knocked out once, and that involved the right hand of Dan Henderson and Bisping circling directly into it. Stann could certainly stop Bisping with strikes, he stopped Chris Leben who had previously only been stopped by Anderson Silva. Bisping is also likely to use his famous jab and dance routine, the question is whether or not Stann will be ready and able to counter that strategy. This fight could really go either way, but I'm going with the guy with more power, I think Stann takes this one.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson: I'm not going to lie, I'm not terribly excited by the prospect of this fight. I am interested in the flyweight division, and this will crown the first ever UFC flyweight champion, but the more I think about this fight the less excited I am by the prospect of it happening. I hope I'm wrong, I really do. The flyweight division has a big opportunity to make a name for itself, and either Benavidez or Johnson could emerge as a legitimate star after Saturday. The addition of Jon Jones to the card was a huge boon to the buy rate, because a fight card headlined by Benavidez and Johnson wasn't going to draw big numbers. Now having Jon Jones fighting on the card will boost the viewing audience and give both guys a chance to make a name for themselves. Unfortunately I'm not sure they will.
Let's get one thing clear first and foremost, this fight will go five rounds. While Benavidez may have stopped his last opponent with a big right hand, Johnson wont be stopped so easily. Both men are reliant on their wrestling to be successful. Johnson does a good job of transitioning from striking to shooting, but he doesn't have a big speed advantage and Benavidez is a great wrestler in his own right. Now this likely means we'll get both guys standing and just trying to land the better shots, or there will be plenty of clinching against the cage as one guy looks for a takedown. Like I said before, I hope I'm wrong and we get a barn burner of a fight, but I remain hesitant. As for the winner, I don't think Johnson has anything that Joseph Benavidez hasn't seen and beaten before, this is Benavidez's fight to lose.
Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort: How did it come to this? Well, injuries mostly. Jones was originally set to fight Dan Henderson at UFC 151, but Henderson injured his knee and had to pull out. Jones was then expected to fight Lyoto Machida on this card, but Machida decided he didn't have enough time to prepare for Jones, and losing two fights to the champion can mean the end of your championship dreams in a division. After Machida turned down the fight the UFC looked for a new replacement, and it wound up being former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort. That statement is a tad misleading, because he won the championship from Randy Couture after a freak injury cut the inside of Couture's eyelid. Couture had previously beaten Belfort, and wound up beating him again to reclaim the title. Vitor Belfort still has incredibly fast hands, and make no mistake about his power, Belfort hits hard. For Belfort to win he'll have to close the distance quickly and land a flurry on Jon Jones. Of course there's 84.5 inches of Jon Jones' reach between Belfort and his chin. And Jon Jones knows how to use his reach, both with punches and kicks. Even in close quarters Jones is no picnic, he has a variety of trips and throws he uses, and being in close means you're in elbow range, and Jones has vicious elbow strikes. Belfort's only chance is on the feet, and he has to get in close and land a barrage of blows to the head of Jon Jones. I don't think that will happen, Jones will use his reach, and his wrestling, and finish Belfort, likely in the second round.
Injuries again: Frank Mir was forced to withdraw from his fight with Daniel Cormier with an undisclosed injury, though rumor has it that it was a knee injury. No replacement has been named just yet, but Fabricio Werdum has said he'd be willing to take the fight. That seems as good an option as any other right now, and I'd still favor Cormier.
Ratings aren't good: The season premier of The Ultimate Fighter took place last week, and the numbers aren't good. The ratings indicate less than one million viewers tuned in to watch the fights to get into the house. The premier is usually the highest rated show of the season, so this doesn't bode well for the rest of the year. Dana White seemed plenty grumpy with some of the fights, but we all know Dana hates wrestling or clinching, and there's a good chance that you see plenty of that with these fights. Nelson and Carwin seem to get annoyed with each other easily, but really there's no animosity that makes me want to see what they'll do, and of course White doesn't like Nelson. The reality with this show is that it's completely forgettable and not relevant anymore, and people are realizing that. Something has to change, and change drastically, if the show will continue to air at all.
Bisping is upset: Michael Bisping is apparently upset at Joseph Benavidez. Now Bisping has always been a bit of a drama queen, but this situation is also entirely his own doing. Bisping went on the record a while ago saying that no one was going to pay to watch flyweight fighters, because they're too small. Now since Bisping took the Kevin Nash approach to the "vanilla midgets", Joseph Benavidez took exception to that. In a recent video he was asked by Urijah Faber if he, Benavidez, thought he hit harder than Michael Bisping. Benavidez answered that he did think he had more power than Bisping, and that seemed to really upset Bisping. Bisping has a serious chip on his shoulder about his punching power, or lack thereof. This was actually a bit of personality from Benavidez, which is good because normally he's as bland as raw tofu.
The Superfight inches closer: The big superfight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre seems to be inching closer and closer to reality. In an interview on Thursday UFC middleweight champion and pound for pound king Anderson Silva said he hopes his next fight will be with Georges St. Pierre. Silva is currently set to fight Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 in Brazil, and Georges is set to defend the welterweight championship against Carlos Condit near the end of the year. All signs seem to indicate the big fight between the two of them will happen during the first quarter of 2013, maybe at the Super Bowl show? I'm still not getting excited, injuries and scheduling could easily derail this, but I am hopeful it happens.
At this point, I hate The Ultimate Fighter. The original season was ground breaking, and helped jump start the MMA boom. In fact the first five seasons were all pretty solid. Yes the fourth season, the Comeback, has a divisive impact with people either liking or hating it, but at the same time it was something a little different from the previous three seasons and had a somewhat interesting premise. The fifth season featured a cast of all lightweights as the UFC was set to reintroduce the division, and also had two lightweight greats coaching with BJ Penn and Jens Pulver. In fact the fifth season produced plenty of talent that remains with the UFC, Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard, Joe Lauzon, Cole Miller, and even Manny Gamburyan all came out of that season.
Unfortunately everything dipped in quality after that. In fact, just one season later the only names that still have a modicum of relevance to come from that season were Mac Danzig and George Sotiropoulos. That should tell you just how far things fell, and believe me it only gets worse if I started looking further. The only other fighters who are still scraping close to relevancy after season five are Ryan Bader and Roy Nelson, who came from seasons eight and ten respectively. Even then, Bader seems unable to step into the discussion of elite fighters, and Nelson is much the same. Judgment should be reserved a bit for season fourteen, which was all bantam and featherweights and designed to help flesh out both divisions.
I am personally sick of the show, it's become bland and unremarkable. I mean really, name me any good fighter or great moment that came from the show between seasons thirteen and six. You probably can't, because they all blur together. They all feel the same, there's nothing special about the show anymore. It helped start the new era of MMA, but it hasn't changed or evolved. It's all the same thing now. I don't need to see the same thing over and over again, especially on a Friday night. Something needs to change. I'm also sick of hearing about it, it seems there's always a commercial, or Dana White hyping that this will be the best season ever, or how he's looking for future world champions. It gets old fast. I'm done with the show until something interesting happens with it.
Alright, that does it for this week. Next week I'll be breaking down what happened at UFC 152, which is hopefully a fun card with exciting fights. I'm just happy to have something guaranteed to talk about next week. I'm also going to call my shot for next week's Hate segment, I plan on taking aim at judging in MMA. We all knew it was coming, and unless something more topical comes up in the coming week I'm going to let loose some personal animosity next week. So that should be at least entertaining for you guys. Looks like you have indeed been working on your submission defense, you've escaped the Guillotine again. I'll see you next Friday.