Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 9.28.12 Review/Preview Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 09.28.2012
Thoughts on Jon Jones' successful title defense and the rest of the fights from UFC 152, a preview of the UFC's next outing on Fuel TV, Strikeforce cancels their next event, Dana White's list of the UFC's biggest PPV draws and more!
Hello one and all, and welcome once again to the best weekly MMA News report on Friday's on 411mania. Yeah there's plenty of qualifications in that statement, but you can bet that it's accurate at least. This week we've got some stuff to talk about. Another Zuffa event was canceled, there's UFC 152 to review, and a probably forgotten fight card on Fuel TV this week. That's all good stuff to talk about. You clicked, and as such you're Locked in the Guillotine once again, so let's get to it.
Guest#3221 was up first, and opined that Stephan Bonnar would destroy the possible super fight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre by defeating Silva. That's a gutsy pick, or you're really Randy Couture and just pick every upset knowing that inevitably you'll be right given the odds. Dirty had some harsh things to say about #3221's opinion. We'll have to wait and see which of you is proven right. Really? closed things out by asking if everyone had forgotten Vitor Belfort's black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu. I hadn't, but Belfort isn't exactly a submission machine. Most of his submission wins have come after landing on the feet. That's pretty much what led to his submission win over Anthony Johnson is his last fight prior to fighting Jon Jones. Before that you have to go all the way back to 2001 to see him pull off a submission victory, and that was over Bobby Southworth, who isn't exactly upper echelon in terms of talent. I don't think we forgot about Vitor's black belt, I just don't think anyone was expecting him to use it, and that seems to have included Jon Jones and Greg Jackson.
The Spaniard goes down: Kyle Noke defeated Charlie Brenneman by TKO in the first round. There was a touch of controversy over the stoppage, whether it was early or not given how quickly Brenneman can recover from shots, but the notoriously boring Brenneman lost quickly so I'm not going to complain. Good way to start things off.
The Gazelle is not the top of the food chain: Mitch Gagnon defeated Walel Watson by submission in the first round. Watson didn't use his reach, and in fact tried a sloppy superman punch that closed the distance for Gagnon, and Gagnon landed a huge left hand that spelled the end for Watson. Gagnon followed up with some ground and pound, took his back, and eventually got the rear naked choke that forced the submission. Gagnon could be a scary dude if he keeps improving, and it's not like 135 is stacked with talent.
Three prelims, three first round finishes: Seth Baczynski knocked out Simeon Thoresen in the first round with a beautiful left hook. Baczynski had been throwing the same type of jab hook combination for most of the fight, but landed that one beautifully and put Thoresen down and out. Thoresen actually looked ok standing until that point, so he should come back at least once more.
Hettes can't strike: Marcus Brimage defeated Jimmy Hettes by unanimous decision to start the FX preliminary card. This fight highlighted just how much room there is for improvement in the game of Jimmy Hettes. Hettes again displayed his very good grappling in the second round, but in the first and third it was all Brimage and his striking. Brimage scored a bit of an upset here, but he earned the victory here.
Pierson survives to get the decision: Sean Pierson defeated Lance Benoist by unanimous decision. The fight was contested almost entirely on the feet with Pierson getting the better of the exchanges. Late in the third Benoist landed a good left hand that wobbled Pierson but despite the flurry of blows he was unable to secure a finish, which he needed. Nothing terribly memorable here.
Great fight: TJ Grant defeated Evan Dunham by unanimous decision in an early contender for fight of the night. In the second round Grant landed a knee to the head that opened up a pretty nasty cut on Dunham's forehead. Grant taking the decision was correct, it looked like Dunham thought a late takedown in the first round stole it despite getting out struck for most of the round. Really good fight though.
Vinny is back: Vinny Magalhaes submitted Igor Pokrajac with an armbar in the second round. Vinny won the first round with his superior grappling, but at the end of the first round Igor caught Vinny with a pretty clean shot that rocked him, but the round saved Vinny. In the second Igor scored a takedown, but was instantly in a triangle position, which Vinny looked to lock up, but transitioned to an armbar that forced the tap from Igor. This fight just highlighted the great submission skills of Vinny, but his chin remains a bit questionable. Still, a good display for Vinny.
Swanson starts us off fast: Cub Swanson defeated Charles Oliveira by KO in the first round with a beautiful right hand that landed on Oliveira's eye. The big punch was set up with a really nasty Bas Rutten liver punch that sucked some of the wind out of Oliveira's sales. Pretty much everyone was picking Oliveira here, including me, but Cub Swanson is really stepping up his game and I said I wouldn't be too surprised if Cub landed a good punch that won it for him. Good showcase for Swanson, and I'm done sleeping on him.
Well, that kind of sucked: Matt Hamill defeated Roger Hollett by unanimous decision in a pretty awful fight. I predicted Hamill winning by uninspired decision, and that's exactly what happened. I'm not happy about that. Nothing at all here, unless you need to cure some insomnia.
The Bisping dance pays off again: Michael Bisping defeated Brian Stann by unanimous decision. The fight was pretty much a Michael Bisping fight, he landed a couple of punches at a time, circled, scored the occasional takedown, and won a decision. I'm honestly hoping we see Bisping get in the cage with Anderson Silva just so Silva can slaughter him. Not an exciting fight really, but nothing horribly offensive.
Mighty Mouse is the champ: Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez by split decision to become the first ever UFC flyweight champion. I was a little surprised that this fight wound up as a split decision, because I thought Mighty Mouse pretty easily had three rounds to two. Johnson again displayed his great timing with his takedowns, and his striking was more accurate than Benavidez's through the fight. Congratulations to Mighty Mouse on becoming the first flyweight champion.
Jon Jones is still the champ: Jon Jones defeated Vitor Belfort by submission with an americana in the fourth round. There was a huge scare in the first round when Vitor Belfort grabbed a pretty good armbar that looks like it hyper extended Jones' right arm. Jones didn't tap and managed to escape, and the fight was all Jones from there on out. Jones battered and bloodied Vitor on the mat for the rest of the first round. The second and third were more fighting on the feet, and included Vitor getting dropped with a kick to the body in the third. In the fourth Jones secured a takedown and got to side control, then moved to the mounted crucifix and after some elbows he locked up the americana to force the submission. Jones said after that his arm was numb and he just gutted through that. Courageous performance for Belfort, who apparently didn't get the note that he didn't have a chance to win. Good win for Jones, hopefully he works on his submission defense as he preps for his next fight.
Melendez out, card canceled: Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez separated his shoulder while sparring with Jake Shields, and was forced to withdraw from his upcoming fight this week. After that, Zuffa decided to scrap the entire card though all the fighters will be paid their show money. This is less shocking coming from Strikeforce than the UFC, Strikeforce has been putting on one fight cards for a lot longer than the UFC. This sucks for the fighters because they wont get sponsor money, but at least their show money will help.
Training Changes: Welterweight prospect Rory MacDonald recently said he plans on making changes to his training regiment so he can fight more often and be injured less. Anything that cuts back on injuries is good, and I hope it works out well for him. If it does work out, hopefully other fighters will take a similar style to avoid injuries. Yes freak injuries happen during training, they always have and always will, but maybe an adjustment to training style can cut back on them.
UFC's PPV draws are: While doing the post fight press conference for UFC 152 Dana White decided to piece by piece take apart an article put up by the Toronto Sun. The article was critical of the UFC in many ways, among those was the fact that Brock Lesnar walked away from the company. The article claimed Lesnar was the UFC's biggest Pay Per-View draw, and that his loss hurt the UFC's drawing power on PPV. Dana White disagreed, claiming that welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre was always a bigger draw than Lesnar during Lesnar's tenure. White then revealed the top five PPV draws the UFC has now. That list consisted of Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen, and Rashad Evans. Two of those names do not belong on that list.
My issues with Chael Sonnen are well documented, but putting aside any personal bias, a guy who has twice been finished by the champion of his division, and competes in a less than marquee division at that, should not be near the top of a PPV draw list. The fact that Sonnen is in the top five draws the UFC has right now should be a very scary thought. Ditto Rashad Evans in many ways. GSP, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones are all dominant champions who have established themselves with great performances as well as consistency. But take a minute to think about the other champions in the UFC, and the next wave of title contenders and possible champions. Junior dos Santos suffered a lower buyrate in his last headlining PPV mostly because his original opponent, Alistair Overeem, had to pull out and was replaced by Frank Mir. While Mir is a former champion, I don't think too many people gave him much of a chance to actually beat dos Santos. Benson Henderson is coming off of a controversial split decision victory over Frankie Edgar, and neither of them have a proven history of being big draws. Going down to featherweight or lower is almost laughable in terms of drawing power.
The reality is that the UFC has a hard time creating real stars, and at the moment they seem to rely more on their brand selling as opposed to specific fights or fighters.
The UFC is back on Fuel TV on Friday, with a card that is very underwhelming on paper. Now I don't say that lightly, but in terms of just name value and interesting fights this is a really weak card. That said, every fight card on Fuel TV has delivered exciting fights to this point so I'm not going to be too down on this before it happens. But I wouldn't be shocked if this one winds up being middle of the road or worse.
Che Mills vs. Duane Ludwig: This is a fight between two strikers, and it's here to just get the main card kicked off in exciting fashion. Fortunately this should deliver, because neither man is well known for their grappling. This should at least be fun to watch, both guys are coming off of losses and need to get back on the winning track. Duane Ludwig was last seen being knocked out by Dan Hardy and forcing us all to endure more of his fights, which means I now hold a pretty serious grudge against Ludwig. Mills was run over by the truck known as Rory MacDonald in his last fight, and in reality Mills is more at risk of being cut than Ludwig should he lose. Look for some fireworks here, and I'm picking Ludwig to win because I think that's what will happen. I wouldn't at all be upset to see Mills take this one though.
Paul Sass vs. Matt Wiman: This one has some interesting potential in it. Paul Sass is a deadly submission artist, but we've seen very little of his striking be effective, and he seems more likely to pull guard than secure a takedown. Matt Wiman will be the better wrestler, and he should do everything possible to keep the fight standing. On the feet Wiman will have an advantage, unless Sass has made significant improvements in that area. I feel more confident picking Sass here, his submissions are very good and at some point the fight is likely to hit the mat. Wiman winning wouldn't shock me though.
Yves Jabouin vs. Brad Pickett: This is another kind of toss up fight. Brad Pickett is imminently entertaining, and Jabouin is no slouch in that department either. Both guys are again mostly strikers, but Pickett probably has more power, though the edge in diversity and technique goes to Jabouin. This is pretty close to a fifty fifty fight, so I'll toss a coin. My coin says Jabouin, and I'll add on decision to that.
John Hathaway vs. John Maguire: Remember when John Hathaway was on the rise and considered a possible future title contender? Yeah, that was a long time ago wasn't it? Hathaway has good striking, though not dominant, and his offensive and defensive wrestling are both solid. John Maguire is much the same way, though I think Maguire is a little more submission savvy. This is another close call, but Hathaway has only lost once, and while he hasn't looked like a world beater lately I think he's good enough to take this one.
Amir Sadollah vs. Dan Hardy: Oh, a Dan Hardy fight. I know there are plenty of guys who like watching Hardy fight, as a general rule I'm not one of them. The same is true of Amir Sadollah, so I'm not really looking forward to this fight in terms of personal investment. I can't help but feel this is a designated win for Hard, because Sadollah will stand and trade with him. Hardy is always going to struggle against guys who can take him down, and then complain that they took him down instead of "really fighting" him. Sadollah has some decent muy thai skills, but one area he is good at is cardio fighting. Amir pushes a pace, makes you fight him, and either you stand up under the pressure or you wilt under it. Amir also has some decent grappling skills, and it wouldn't shock me if he attempted takedowns from the clinch. I'm going with Sadollah here, mostly because I don't pick Dan Hardy to win fights if I have a borderline legitimate reason to pick against him.
Stefan Struve vs. Stipe Miocic: And this is your main event. Yeah, not exactly awe inspiring as a main event is it? Still, free TV and all that. The good thing about this fight is Stefan Struve doesn't have boring fights. He either wins or loses in pretty impressive fashion, and generally does so rather quickly. Stipe Miocic is undefeated and has good boxing as well as wrestling. He'd be ill advised to try and grapple with Struve, because Struve has some pretty slick submissions and knows how to use his long limbs to his advantage. On the feet Struve's chin is something of a liability, though when fighting at heavyweight you need a head like a brick to not have a bit of a liability there. I'm going with Miocic here, but Struve winning wouldn't shock me in the least.
I know I said I'd go over judging and judges this week for my Hate Everything segment, but honestly I just couldn't muster up the anger. Maybe I'm not as hatefilled as I used to be. Maybe it's just been too long since the last judging atrocity and as such the outrage isn't as fresh in my mind. Whatever the case, I just don't have it in me to rant about MMA judges, the scoring system, or things of that nature this week. I apologize to all of those who were looking forward to that, but something tells me I'll be back to full hatred next week, and I do still plan on taking aim at judges. It'll just have to be next week instead of this week. On the plus side you're Locked in the Guillotine for less time this week, so congratulations on escaping early. I'll be back next week with a review of the Fuel TV card, and of course my own take on all the happenings in the MMA world. I'll see you then.