Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 2.8.13
Posted by Robert Winfree on 02.08.2013
News and thoughts on Jose Aldo's next title challenger and the UFC heavyweight title picture getting cloudier! Plus a review of the fights from UFC 156, thoughts on the "point fighter" mentality in MMA and more!
Hello one and all, it's Friday! Friday's are awesome, and made all the more awesome because that's the day you all get Locked in the Guillotine. Today we've got a review of the super fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, and it was a darn good one, plus the rest of the UFC 156. Then there's been some news, and a lack of news about the heavyweight title picture. Also this week something's been on my mind, something about a specific fighting style that I really need to point out and get off my chest. You'll get that at the end of the column, with plenty of goodies between here and there. Lots of stuff, let's see how your submission defense has come along as you get Locked in another Guillotine.
Rivera comes out firing: Francisco Rivera defeated Edwin Figueora by TKO in the second round. Rivera had a couple of scary moments in the first round, but gave as good as he got and his cardio held up into the second round. In the second round his accurate striking took over and he just abused Figueora until the ref stopped the fight. Good win for Rivera.
Kimura excels: Dustin Kimura submitted Chico Camus in the third round with a rear naked choke. Kimura showed off a very active guard during the first two rounds, including a near submission in the second, and in the third he managed to get top position and from there it was over for Camus. Pretty good win for Kimura, but his striking needs work because he was clearly at a disadvantage there.
Split decision: Isaac Vallie-Flagg defeated Yves Edwards by split decision to get the F/X prelims rolling. The fight was a fun encounter as Isaac constantly moved forward throwing punches and kicks at Edwards. Edwards landed some nice counters and he scored a takedown in the second round and got close to a choke for a finish. The third round had Edwards slowing down as Vallie-Flagg pushed forward and kept throwing and landing shots. The decision could really have gone either way because the first round was quite close while two and three were pretty clear cut. Nice win for Isaac, but he's got some work to do if he wants any kind of traction in the lightweight division.
Bobby Green arrives: Bobby Green defeated Jacob Volkmann by submission in the third round with a rear naked choke. I was really disappointed in Jacob Volkmann in this fight, the first round he looked good but in the second Bobby Green avoided the takedowns of Volkmann and started turning on the offense. In the third round Volkmann was pretty clearly out of it, I don't know if he was gassed out or just depressed with the fight or what, but he wound up giving up his back and getting choked out.
Woodley is here: Tyron Woodley blitzed Jay Hieron en route to a first round TKO. Woodley looked to make a big statement here as he arrived in the UFC and if he's really willing to learn striking with his powerful wrestling base and apparent power he could be a really good fighter.
Dunahm comes out swinging: Evan Dunham defeated Gleison Tibau by split decision using superior striking and his reach. I was really impressed with Dunham here, he'd cooled off after getting knocked out by Melvin Guillard but he looked back in form here. His striking was on point, his grappling both offensively and defensively looked really good. This was the Evan Dunham that people were talking about as maybe being a contender, good for him. As for Tibau, that's two losses in a row, even if most sane people think he beat Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Joseph Benavidez can't lose a three round fight: Joseph Benavidez defeated Ian McCall by unanimous decision in a fight that saw him land better shots over the course of the fight. I thought McCall's defensive wrestling would be better than it was, and his striking just wasn't quite on par with Benavidez. This was a great performance by Benavidez and he should get another title shot, though I'm still not sure I'd favor him over Mighty Mouse.
Fitch got Fitched: Demian Maia defeated Jon Fitch by unanimous decision. I picked Fitch because I thought he'd be better at keeping the fight standing than he was, but Demian Maia came out like an absolute beast. He consistently took Fitch down, maintained back control for a ridiculous amount of time, and never really let Fitch get going. I'm a believer now as far as Maia is concerned, if he gets another finish I'd say give him a title shot.
Overeem is overrated: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva defeated Alistair Overeem by KO in the third round with a huge barrage of punches standing. Overeem won both of the first two rounds with superior striking and actually some ground control in the second. But in the second Overeem gassed out and started giving up some strikes to Bigfoot. I said in my breakdown that Overeem doesn't respond well to pressure and his chin is a bit of a question mark, and in the third round Bigfoot brought the pressure to the tired Overeem, and landed a bunch of blows to put Overeem down and out. I know I picked Overeem and thought he would win, but given how smug he came off in interviews leading up to this fight there's part of me that is really happy Bigfoot just knocked the crap out of him. Sadly it does put the heavyweight title in a different situation because Overeem was supposed to be the next challenger. Normally you'd say Bigfoot gets it, but given that he got absolutely massacred by the champion Cain Velasquez when they fought it's a really tough sell. If Fabricio Werdum beats Big Nog he'll likely get it and then get wrecked by Cain while the only interesting fighter for Velasquez, former champion Juior dos Santos, gets rebuilt.
Upset city: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira defeated Rashad Evans by unanimous decision in a rather uneventful fight, but one that continued the trend of upsets for the night. Rashad Evans did almost nothing in this fight, he only attempted four takedowns over the entire fifteen minutes and landed just one in the first. On the feet Evans couldn't seem to find the range and Nogueira used his reach advantage to land more shots. Not a great fight, but little Nog definitely needed a win there. For Rashad, bad performance to put him on a two fight losing streak.
Aldo retains: Jose Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision to retain the featherweight title. Frankie Edgar again displayed his heart and gas tank, but he couldn't avoid damaging shots from Aldo enough to win rounds. I personally agreed with the 49-46 for Aldo as Frankie clearly won the fourth but I had Aldo with the third and fifth which were the only debatable rounds. Aldo didn't look as great as he has in the past, but Frankie Edgar is a really good fighter as well and he should continue fighting at featherweight for at least two more before deciding if he should change again. Decent win for Aldo, though it seems the UFC is pushing for Aldo to maybe go up to lightweight and he seems comfortable at featherweight.
Failed test: Thiago Tavares failed a drug test for his fight at UFC on F/X where he was massacred by Khabib Nurmagomedov in the first round. The slightly more interesting story is that when word was first leaked that someone on the event failed a drug test fingers immediately began pointing at Vitor Belfort. Belfort has failed more than one drug test in the past, but it seems everyone jumped to claim it was Belfort. Belfort was given a TRT exemption for his fight with Michael Bisping, something which remains a bit controversial in and of itself, but did not test positive for any banned substances.
Cain wants to fight, no one's available: In an interview this week UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez said he plans on fighting this summer. The problem is a severe lack of legitimate challengers for the champion. It seems that a fight this summer between Cain Velasquez and his wrestling coach Daniel Cormier is unlikely. While neither has expressly said they wont fight each other, if that fight does happen it wont happen this summer. With Alistair Overeem being knocked out by Bigfoot Silva there is a large void at the top of the heavyweight ranks. While it seems a third fight between Cain Velasquez and former champion Junior dos Santos is inevitable, after the thrashing JDS took in their last fight he could use at least one win before he gets another shot. The other likely candidate, Fabricio Werdum, is out of action filming the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil opposite Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The other options are a rematch with Bigfoot Silva, who Cain mauled in the first round, or a fight with winner of the upcoming fight between Stefan Struve and Mark Hunt. Think about that for a moment, Mark Hunt might get a UFC title shot. Personally I wouldn't hate that just because if he landed a miracle punch and KO'd Cain I think Samer Kadi's head might explode.
Barnett passes: Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett declined the contract the UFC offered him. Barnett and his management said there were certain unacceptable clauses, though didn't specify which ones met that criteria. Barnett is in a tricky position now, because the only other big name in North American MMA, Bellator, has appeared hesitant to sign Barnett. Bellator's hesitance is certainly understandable, Barnett has failed drug tests in the past and previously held up the UFC for more money, something the smaller promotion likely doesn't want to deal with. While Barnett could easily, and I mean easily, walk through a Bellator tournament and become champion, his business history makes a promotion like Bellator hesitant to get involved with him. What this likely means is Barnett will be fighting on smaller cards all across the country for a bit until things become clearer. So don't miss your chance to see Josh Barnett when he comes to a local promotion near you.
Showtime meets Aldo: In the wake of his successful title defense against Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo's next title fight has already been set. He will meet former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in August. I shouldn't have to explain why I'm really excited about this fight. Pettis reportedly cuts little to no weight to make 155lbs so he should be more or less the same fighter at featherweight. I now really can't wait for this fight, both Aldo and Pettis are explosive fighters who have looked great lately. Now let's just hope there's no injuries.
More MMA reality shows: At a joint press conference held by Bellator and Spike TV they announced their new reality show involving MMA, Fightmaster: Bellator MMA. The show will feature 32 welterweight fighters vying for a spot in an upcoming Bellator tournament and a $100,000 prize. The fighters will be able to choose their coaches, their options will be Frank Shamrock, Joe Warren, Randy Couture, and Greg Jackson. Personally there's no way I'd be coached by either Shamrock or Warren, but that's just me. While his appearance on this show was a big part of Randy Couture's deal with Bellator and Spike, and he's subsequently been banned from all UFC events by UFC President Dana White, apparently no one knew that Greg Jackson of the famed Jackson-Winklejohn camp out of Albuquerque New Mexico would be involved. It seems unlikely that the same issues will arise for Jackson as he's specifically a trainer, not a personality or analyst for Zuffa, and his camp includes some of the best and most popular fighters in the UFC, such as light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Clay Guida, Leonard Garcia, Donald Cerrone, John Dodson, and several others. While Dana White has had critical things to say about Greg Jackson in the past, the man is first and foremost a trainer and coach and this show provides him with an opportunity to increase his gym's name value.
Something was brought up recently, specifically following the Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar title fight, that has been getting on my nerves for a while now. When asked about the decision Frankie Edgar had some odd things to say. His interview portion begins at around three minutes if you want to skip ahead.
I am personally sick to death of fighters claiming they "did enough to win". Guys like Frankie Edgar, Jon Fitch, Gray Maynard, Clay Guida, Leonard Garcia, Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley, and many others tend to fight to win rounds. They make little to no effort to finish the fight, they land punches, takedowns, and clinch against the fence in an effort to score points. Their goal is not to look for a finish, their goal is to maintain dominant positions and win decisions. They fight to score points. I am beyond tired of this style of fighting. It is not limited to grapplers as plenty of strikers, like Leonard Garcia and Alistair Overeem, fight to score points standing. They don't look for finishes, they look to land better strikes and not get controlled or knocked out. The sad thing is the current judges and scoring system reward point fighters.
Let me be clear, I do not hate decisions. At high level MMA decisions are going to happen, and happen often. When Frankie Edgar said he finds himself in these types of fights, meaning close decisions, my reaction was that he doesn't look for finishes. Of course in many ways that is unfair. Frankie Edgar's last fights have been against BJ Penn, Gray Maynard, Benson Henderson, and now Jose Aldo. Those are the elite of the elite, they don't get finished. Even then Frankie did manage to finish Gray Maynard in their second title fight. Should I be upset with Frankie Edgar because he was unable to get finishes against that level of competition? No, that is unfair. My criticism is aimed at his fighting style. Frankie Edgar doesn't really look to land hard punches, he doesn't look to hurt his opponent, he looks to outwork and outpoint them. That strategy didn't work against Jose Aldo because Aldo's harder blows landed consistently and had more impact on the fight. Clay Guida scored a split decision win over Hatsu Hioki that I felt he did not deserve at all. Guida is very good at taking guys down, especially against the cage, but his ground and pound, his guard passing, his submissions, they're all not good. Guida's attempts at guard passing consist of throwing one leg up and over hoping that it lands on the other side of his opponents leg. He wins because, in large part, judges overvalue top position, especially from the guard. Hatsu Hioki was much more active off of his back during the second round than Guida was on top, yet his efforts were ignored because he was on bottom.
Again, decisions are inevitable. I don't think we should go back to no limit rounds, I am fine with the current system. While I know plenty of people will point to the PRIDE system of scoring, that weighted attempts to win the fight and scored the fight as a whole, as a thing to implement I have to disagree. PRIDE had more than a few questionable decisions and we should be careful not to look back on that company with rose colored glasses. My issue is with fighters who fight only to win decisions. Michael Bisping has more than once said his entire goal in a fight was to outpoint his opponent, specifically following his decision victory over Chris Leben some years ago. If you look at the track record of Chael Sonnen the man seems incapable of winning in any way but decision, and he fights like he wants to win a decision. Again, decisions in and of themselves aren't bad, fighters who make no attempt to finish and only win decisions are a bad thing. They tend to make for boring fights, they don't improve as fighters because the skills they have win decisions, and they tend to be entitled people. They think they should win every round, that decisions should go their way because they "did enough to win" any given fight. That mentality, that style of fighting, they don't work against high levels of competition. Good fighters can pick apart a fighter who's trying to win a decision, they land better shots, they counter positions, and they beat the points fighters. Look at the first fight between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar, look at the fight between Tyron Woodley and Nate Marquardt, look at Michael Bisping against Dan Henderson or Vitor Belfort.
Yes, any excuse to use this picture
So with that final thought, that wraps up this weeks edition of the Guillotine. I would like to hear your thoughts on point fighters, agree, disagree, have thoughts on guys I might have forgotten, leave a comment below. I'll be back again next week, I always am, so I'll see you back then. With that in mind, you survived another Guillotine and I know you'll be counting the days until next Friday.