Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 12.13.13: Hunt for the Bigfoot Edition
Posted by Robert Winfree on 12.13.2013
News on Cain Velasquez undergoing shoulder surgery and the UFC adding a new women's division! Plus thoughts on Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva's battle, a preview of UFC on FOX 9 and more!
Hello everyone and welcome! Nice to see you back and Locked in the Guillotine yet again. There's a lot to talk about this week, the fight between Mark Hunt and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva happened and definitely gets covered. Plus the rest of the card, which was pretty darn good from top to bottom, and news. The UFC made a big announcement for the twentieth season of The Ultimate Fighter which will also be covered below. Plus there's the FOX 9 card, headlined by a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez to talk about. Yeah it's likely gonna be a long one this week, but last week was surprisingly short so hopefully this makes up for it.
While you're reading this, or other articles here at 411mania, I'd encourage you to check out one of the many quality podcasts on the Radulich in Broadcasting network. The Long Road to Ruin just wrapped up looking at the Die Hard franchise, the 411 Ground and Pound radio show is there, as is my own show, Everyone Loves a Bad Guy which is looking at Disney villains right now. Plus we've got The Casual Heroes, and The Right Hook, it's just filled with awesome content. Give it a listen.
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Alright, onto the MMA!
Mini Lombard is here: Alex Garcia, who bears a scary resemblance to Hector Lombard, knocked out Ben Wall in the first round with a nasty short range uppercut. Garcia was looking for that punch as soon as the fight started, Wall was constantly dipping his head and looking for a shot so it was a smart tactical decision. Garcia looked awesome, it was a short fight but man was this a great way to make a debut.
Yeah, that was there: Kryzsztof Jotko defeated Bruno Santos by unanimous decision in a completely forgettable fight. Neither man wanted to engage for the first two rounds, and a lot of the third. There was clinching, a few punches, lots of circling. If you need help sleeping this is the type of fight that will help you.
That will wake you up: Justin Scoggins defeated Richie Vaculik by TKO in the first round. This was all action from start to finish, Scoggins threw some early kicks, landed some good punches, but on the ground he just overwhelmed Vaculik. He was landing some punches from back mount, and enough of them landed flush to get the official to stop the fight. Vaculik protested a little bit, he wasn't unconscious or anything, but he was taking a lot of shots. Scoggins really impressed here, he looked good everywhere.
Ring loses: Caio Magalhaes defeated Nick Ring by unanimous decision in a tough fight. While both men were tired in the third round, neither really took a round off. This wasn't a spectacular fight, but it was a grueling fight between these two. Magalhaes came on at the end of round two and owned round three to get a decision. Again, nothing spectacular but a tough fight.
Now that's a fight: Takeya Mizugaki defeated Nam Phan by unanimous decision to wrap up the prelims in what was hands down the fight of the night to this point. Mizugaki worked the body over in the first round, and hit Phan really hard in the second and nearly finished him. Mizugaki got tired after trying to finish Phan and Phan kept coming and got stronger in the third round, which one judge scored a 10-10 which I didn't feel was wrong. This was a great fight and a big win for Mizugaki, who I wouldn't mind see take a step up in competition. Phan has skills, but he can't seem to get going soon enough in most fights, hopefully his next fight at bantamweight will show him working on that issue.
Correia with the decision: Bethe Correia defeated Julie Kedzie by split decision to get the main card going. It was a close fight, both women were active, but neither was terribly effective with their offense. I don't have a whole lot to say about this one, both missed a lot of punches and it really could have gone either way. I said before that if Kedzie lost here she should seriously consider calling it a career, and I stand by that. If she wants to keep fighting the UFC will likely keep her around but she's not really a top level fighter at this point. Decent debut for Correia who remains unbeaten as a professional.
Injuries suck: Clint Hester defeated Dylan Andrews between rounds two and three when it was revealed that Andrews dislocated his shoulder throwing a punch. The right punch Andrews threw was dangerously close to the stupid windmill like punch that has become the bane of my existence, Hester blocked it and the force wound up separating the shoulder. Hester was winning the fight anyway, he had a big second round in particular, but that sucks for Andrews. Let me also say, that is another reason I hate that stupid overhand right, the way the force gets distributed gives you a great chance to injure the shoulder joint.
Hulk smash: Soa Palelei defeated Pat Barry by knockout in the first round. Barry threw a flying knee that allowed Palelei to land a takedown. Palelei then passed into mount from half guard and reigned down some punches that knocked out Barry. Barry looked really unhappy after the loss, this was one of the few fights where he showed negative emotion. Palelei won about how you would expect him too, and this was the performance he needed after his poor performance in his prior fight. Barry might need to look at what he's doing and change things up at this point. Neither guy is making legitimate waves in the division, but a win for Palelei is a win.
Bader goes the distance: Ryan Bader defeated Anthony Perosh by unanimous decision. This fight was brutal, in bad ways. Bader beat up Perosh for the whole fifteen minutes but never got too close to finishing. Bader still can't defend properly, he backs up in straight lines and doesn't know how to throw counter punches. Perosh got a bit more hype because he survived a mauling while Bader couldn't finish a 41 year old Perosh. Bader, based on skill, isn't going too high in the division because he hasn't improved all that much as a fighter.
Rua rolls back the clock: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua knocked out James Te Huna in the first round. Rua looked awesome, he actually threw some leg kicks so I hope his knee is feeling better or at least he's comfortable using kicks. Rua landed a short left hook as Te Huna was coming forward that knocked him out. Now before everyone starts claiming that Rua is "back", let's not get too crazy. Rua may have looked good, but this was also a fight that he absolutely should have won. I'll wait until his next fight before trying to make a determination about his future. This might just be a final feel good moment for Rua, but if that is all it winds up being then so what, this was great.
Holy crap: Mark Hunt and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva fought to a majority draw in the main event of the evening. This is one of those fights that I'm really of two minds about. On the one hand there was so much wrong here, both men got tired, neither had much technique to speak of after a bit so in some respects it was bad. On the other hand, neither man quit, both men kept fighting, we had an awesome atmosphere, and I couldn't stop laughing during the fight. That was in equal parts derisive laughter and genuine joy at a display of heart and guts from these two men. I personally thought Silva won the fight. The scores were 48-47 for Hunt and 47-47 twice for a majority draw, and I was really surprised at those scores as Hunt only won two rounds and I didn't feel either of his rounds were 10-8 material. I want to talk in depth about this fight below, so if all you want is my analysis of this encounter feel free to scroll down to my Final Thought this week.
Shane del Rosario passes away: UFC heavyweight fighter Shane del Rosario passed away this week. Del Rosario suffered a massive cardiac arrest last week and in fact was erroneously reported deceased on a couple of occasions. Well it seems he actually has passed on this week, condolences to his friends and family, del Rosario was 30 years old.
The women are coming: The UFC announced this week that not only will they be introducing a strawweight division for female fighters, 115lbs, but that they will be introduced on the twentieth season of The Ultimate Fighter. The season will feature 16 women, and the eventual winner will become the first ever UFC female strawweight champion. No word on the coaches yet, though personally I'd be happier if they went with a setup more like season 4 instead of opposing coaches, but the season will begin filming in May of 2014 and will likely start airing in September. Announced as 11 of the 16 competitors of the tournament, all coming from Invicta FC while the last five slots will be filled via national tryouts next year. The announced fighters so far are:
This will be an interesting season, especially ratings wise because if the lure of watching fighters, one of whom will become champion, can't get people to tune into the show then it's likely beyond making a legitimate impact.
Hunt injured: In the wake of his fight with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, Mark Hunt revealed he broke his hand in at least two places. He will need a dozen screws placed in his hand to get the healing process going and will likely be out of action until the second half of 2014. Get well soon Mr. Hunt.
UFC's digital network talk: I don't want to go into too much detail about this as there hasn't been too much released about it. What we know for sure is that next year the UFC wants to start a digital subscription network that will cover most, if not all, foreign cards as well as the preliminary fights from any given show. This will allow the UFC to hold foreign cards at a time when people in the area can make the show instead of having to hold an event so it could air live during prime time in the United States. No word yet on the price of this service or what other content it will carry.
Velaquez out: UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez had shoulder surgery this week, not sure if it's the same shoulder he had surgery on before, and no immediate time table has been set for a return. Velasquez previously had shoulder surgery following his heavyweight title win over then champion Brock Lesnar so hopefully this isn't a recurring issue. No word yet on what Fabricio Werdum will be doing, a fight against the winner of the upcoming Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne or a rematch with former champion Junior dos Santos both make sense. Werdum has also stated previously that he's happy to wait for a title shot, though hopefully his position will become clear in the near future, likely once we have a time table for the return of Velasquez.
The UFC will be having another event on big FOX this week, headlined by a flyweight title fight featuring "Mr. Fox" himself, Demetrious Johnson. Let's take a look at the main card and see what will happen.
Chad Mendes vs. Nik Lentz: Since this event is being held in Sacramento California we naturally are going to see as many members of Team Alpha Male as possible since that camp is located in Sacramento. Nik Lentz is a tough fighter, but if he can't take you down he has a really hard time winning, and I don't think he can take Mendes down. Mendes has won his last four fights by TKO, though I personally only found his victory over Clay Guida really impressive. Mendes should be fighting for the title by all rights, and with a win here he should get a rematch with Jose Aldo for the belt. Lentz is a tough guy, but I think he's out classed here.
Joe Lauzon vs. Mac Danzig: This fight got bumped to the main card after Matt Brown suffered and injury and his fight with Carlos Condit had to be scrapped. I've actually gone back and forth on this one, Lauzon looked like crap in his last fight while Danzig has always been really flaky in terms of his performance. If this hits the second round Danzig should be able to win, but if Lauzon can get top position in the first round he could grab a submission. I just can't get the way Lauzon looked in his last fight out of my mind, so I'm going with Danzig.
Michael McDonald vs. Urijah Faber: Now this is a fight I'm interested in. The rule of thumb when talking about Urijah Faber fights is that you shouldn't pick against him unless it's a title fight, and this isn't a title fight but I find myself leaning towards McDonald. Michael McDonald has some serious punching power, especially for the division, and he's proven difficult to take down and even off of his back McDonald is active and dangerous. Granted I don't think he'd be well served to find himself under Faber, even with his active guard it's unlikely he could catch Faber in an armbar or a triangle choke. Faber has a pretty decent chin, but McDonald doesn't just hit hard, if his fight with Brad Pickett is any indication he's learning to be smart about flurries or possibly punching himself out, and I don't think Faber's chin is as stout as Pickett's. This might be a little crazy, but I'm picking against Faber, I think McDonald has a live chance, and it's better than just they mythical punchers chance.
UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez: Mr. Fox is back on Fox, who'd have thought. Demetrious Johnson has been ruling the roost at flyweight since he scored a minor upset when he beat Benavidez the first time for the inaugural flyweight title and he's held into that belt with an iron grip ever since. Johnson has good movement, good angles, solid punching fundamentals, and he gets stronger as time goes on. Benavidez has solid wrestling and definitely has more punching power than Johnson, but Benavidez will have to get the fight into his rhythm early and keep it there. If Johnson excels at anything, it's fighting at his pace, at his rhythm, and making you fight that same way. Johnson is vulnerable in the opening round or two, that's when Benavidez had success against him in their first fight and it's when Jon Dodson had his most successful moments against the champion, but as the rounds keep coming Johnson just gets better and better. I'm just not comfortable picking against Johnson when he's taking on anyone at flyweight right now, and that includes Joseph Benavidez.
So, Mark Hunt and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva had a fight. If you haven't seen the fight in question by now, a week from the date this goes live, I'll have to encourage you to do so. The fight itself garnered an incredible live response from the crowd, the commentary team, and just about anyone watching. Plenty of people have begun calling it the Fight of the Year, though I am hesitant to add my name to that list as of yet. This year has had some great fights, and just because this one happened in recent memory it gets a lot of the immediate chatter. But please don't forget, earlier this year when Brian Stann and Wanderlei Silva had a gun fight in Japan plenty of people called it a front runner for Fight of the Year. So why do I feel compelled to discuss this fight in particular? This was the first time, in my personal recent history, that I had no idea how to react to a fight. Well, a more accurate description is that I don't know how to analyze my reaction, because rest assured I reacted.
In fact I spent much of the final three rounds laughing. It was the single oddest reaction to a fight I've had yet during my MMA experience. I don't know what exactly prompted that response, I'm sure part of it was derision, especially when Jon Anik said "Look at the agility of Mark Hunt!" Mark Hunt has many great attributes, agility is not one of them, and the circumstances when that phrase was uttered just increased the relative stupidity of the comment. I am just as sure that my laughter was in part because watching those two behemoths punch the daylights out of each other was awesome to watch, and laughter seemed the most appropriate expression of that emotion. This is also the first, though I doubt it will be the last, time my analytical and critical side clashed with my fandom. Generally I have managed to keep those sides separate, when I was a pure fan I didn't tend to analyze the action and for the last while my analysis has generally kept me from deeply and emotionally connecting to the product. I think this fight was the first time I'd felt my internal pendulum swing back from analytical to fandom. As pendulum's do it will continue to swing, eventually it will settle in the middle and I will be able to enjoy and analyze fights in equal parts. That day hasn't arrived yet, and I was left a little confused after the event was over and I had to process my feelings. If you heard the 411 Ground and Pound radio show you heard a bit of that process. So if you don't mind my waxing a little verbose here, I want to walk you through some of what went through my head.
I should hate that fight. Silva's takedown attempts were poor, rarely set up, and frequently ineffective. Mark Hunt's ground and pound in the third round was borderline anemic, he never fought to improve his position or even fight Silva's wrist control to land better shots. By the fifth round both men were gassed, neither had any mustard behind their punches, because if they did either man could have finished the other, and viewed objectively it resembled two slow moving trains bumping into each other. So why don't I hate it? In an attempt to reconcile my differing opinions I ventured into comparative territory, something that should be done cautiously at best, and came up with the following conclusions based on comparing MMA fights to another medium, film.
I thought back over some of my favorite fights, and sought a rough comparison in the realm of film. Fedor vs. Cro Cop, both Henderson vs. Pettis fights, the two title fights between Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar, the first fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Henderson vs. Edgar, GSP vs. Hendricks, Alvarez vs. Chandler both times. This is by no means a conclusive list, but hopefully it gets the point across. These are technical and perhaps more importantly tactical battles, fights that as a self styled analyst I watch more than once to study the nuances of. These fights are like great films, The Godfather, No Country for Old Men, The Silence of the Lambs, the list goes on. I watch those fights to study details, to learn more, to become better at what I do. Similarly I watch those movies not just because they are great, but to study the acting, the cinematic choices, the wardrobe decisions, and so on and so forth. These are not just great on first viewing, you can go back to these over and over, you can learn something different each time you see them and if you want to improve your craft you study them. They are richly layered experiences to be digested slowly, more than once, and hold up under scrutiny.
So what of Mark Hunt and Bigfoot Silva? Well, I sought similar fights to compare it too. Sanchez vs. Melendez, Rua vs. Henderson, Sanchez vs. Guida, Silva vs. Stann, Silva vs. Jackson, Griffin vs. Bonnar, it seems to fit comfortably in with those fights. Delving back into film comparison, I found a home for these fights within the realm of action. Commando, Die Hard, The Expendables, Pacific Rim and others that aim to wow with situations and visuals. Much as I dislike the term "turn off your brain", it has become the watchword for enjoying films like that. These are not technical films, they rarely hold up upon multiple viewings, they aren't studied, and frequently you find snobby or snarky people turning up their noses at them. Those fights fall into the same general category, they don't usually hold up after seeing them more than once, the technical aspects of their fighting game aren't on display, I don't rewatch those fights to gain insight into the decisions made by fighters inside the cage.
Yet, from time to time, I do rewatch them.
I may love a movie like The Silence of the Lambs or There Will be Blood, and I do wish every movie could reach the soaring heights of those, the day that I can't watch Die Hard or The Rock on little more than a whim I know there's something seriously wrong. By the same token, I may choose to watch GSP display tactical dominance, or watch the mechanics of Jose Aldo throwing a leg kick, but if I find myself having no reaction to a fight like we saw between Mark Hunt and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva then something is seriously wrong.
That does it for me for this week, you've all managed to escape the Guillotine. I'll be on the 411 Ground and Pound radio show this Sunday at 9pm eastern time where the panel will be talking about UFC on FOX 9. If you want to call in the number is (323) 657-0901, it is a call in show so if you want to voice your opinion that's a great forum to do so. I'll see you all back here next week, until then keep your heads up and your necks safe.