Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 2.21.14 Rousey and McMann Preview
Posted by Robert Winfree on 02.21.2014
Thoughts on Lyoto Machida's win over Gegard Mousasi and the rest of UFC Fight Night 36! Plus news on Gilbert Melendez possibly heading to Bellator, a preview of UFC 170 and more!
Hello guys and gals, nice to see you back here and getting Locked in the Guillotine again. This week we've got a big PPV to look to, UFC 170 is coming to you live this Saturday and I'm breaking down the main card for you guys. Plus we had UFC Fight Night 36, so you'll get my thoughts on that. Also, some news about Gilbert Melendez and his future. While you're reading, or going about the rest of your life, give a listen to the Radulich in Broadcasting network. The network is home to a variety of podcasts for you're listening pleasure, I'm sure you'll find something that tickles your fancy. If you find something you like, tell your friends.
Popular Pop Culture Internet Radio with Mark Radulich on BlogTalkRadio
Now that you've got some quality internet radio going, let's get into the MMA action.
Tuhuov dominates: Zubair Tuhuov dominated Douglas de Andrade, winning a clear cut unanimous decision. Tuhuov controlled every aspect of the fight, his boxing was on point and his grappling was superior. This was a pretty good debut for Tuhuov, he was never really in danger and completely outclassed his opponent.
Alcantara wins a close one: Ildemar Alcantara defeated Albert Tumenov by split decision in a close fight. Alcantara was a little busier when he was on top of his opponent and had more forward motion, which likely was the deciding factor in this one. Neither man looked bad, though Tumenov was bleeding for most of the fight, he kept fighting and made a close fight out of it. So far the night is going pretty good.
Arantes beats Blanco: Felipe Arantes defeated Maximo Blanco by unanimous decision. Blanco has been completely unimpressive in his UFC tenure thus far, and this was no exception. Arantes landed a nice right hand in the first round that dropped Blanco, Blaco won the second round with some time on top, but didn't do a whole lot with the position. Blanco lost a point for a damaging, if accidental, kick to the groin, then lost the round to Arantes anyway to secure the loss. Three for three as far as decisions go so far.
Another Alcantara, another win: Iuri Alcantara defeated Wilson Reis by split decision. The fight wasn't terribly memorable, there were some fun scrambles on the ground but there was a lot of circling and struggling for takedowns. I didn't see as much of this one live as I'd have liked to, so I'm kind of going on memory, and I don't remember enough to say if I think the decision was wrong or not.
Trinaldo wins: Francisco Trinaldo defeated Jesse Ronson by split decision. The fight was a close one, both men had their moments on the feet and in the grappling department, but Trinaldo was a little better on the mat and a little busier on the feet. Ronson landed better shots, but landed a lot less of them. Another fight, another decision. This particular fight going the distance meant that 15 of the last 17 UFC fights had gone the distance. I don't hate decisions, I just want fights that aren't boring and don't all run together into a continuous blur when I think back on them.
Well it didn't suck: Rodrigo Damm defeated Ivan Jorge by unanimous decision in the best fight of the night so far. That isn't say a whole lot, but these two guys came in and at least looked like they were fighting. Both men threw a fair amount of strikes, Damm seemed to land a few more and had a little more pressure. Jorge looked good in the division, his first fight at lightweight here in the UFC, and the fight was watchable and a bit of a back and forth affair. It didn't have a finish, but this was a fight that was enjoyable enough. The problem was it followed a bunch of decisions that all kind of ran together.
Proctor gives him a beating: Joe Proctor defeated Christiano Marcello by unanimous decision, but in the second and third rounds Proctor was able to land a solid right hand with stunning regularity and constantly had Marcello backing up. Marcello's striking defense was bad, specifically his utter lack of head movement and bad habit of leaving his chin way up in the air. I feel like Proctor maybe could have finished Marcello, he landed some hard punches, but for whatever reason decided not to get too crazy. This was a one sided affair in the final two rounds, hopefully Proctor improves because there were some good things in this performance from him.
A finish: Charles Oliveira defeated Andy Ogle by submission with a triangle choke in the third round. Oliveira spent almost the entire first round with full back mount on Ogle and looking for a choke. The second was more even, Ogle had top position for a while, but it was another round that Oliveira won with striking and superior grappling. In the third round Oliveira got a triangle choke after Ogle had him against the fence and got a tap. The submission was pretty slick, and Oliveira got a finish when he needed an impressive performance.
Musoke wins: Nicholas Musoke defeated Viscardi Andrade by unanimous decision. Musoke got hit hard in the first, but survived the big punch and regained his senses. The second and third rounds belonged to Musoke as he out grappled Andrade, landing ground and pound or having dominant positions and looking for submissions. Musoke has won both of his UFC fights, and has shown some impressive skills.
That was expected: Erick Silva defeated Takanori Sato with strikes in the first round. This was exactly what everyone said would happen, it took Silva less than a minute to pound out Sato while Sato held onto a single leg takedown attempt. Silva really needed a win here, he was knocked out cold in his last fight and has had some consistency issues, but if he couldn't look good against an opponent the caliber of Sato he had no business in the UFC. This was obviously a get well fight for Silva, and he did what everyone thought he would. I'm more interested in what he can do against legitimate competition.
The Alligator wins: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza defeated Francis Carmont by unanimous decision. I had all three rounds for Souza, he had the back of Carmont for almost the entire first round but couldn't get a choke. The second was mostly striking, and was closer but Jacare has improved his striking by a lot since he lost the Strikeforce title to Luke Rockhold. The third was more of the first, Souza had Carmont's back and just couldn't quite finish the choke. Carmont offered almost nothing in the way of effective offense, Souza called out the champion, whoever that happens to be after the win. He's likely got to fight at least one more time, depending on a few losses or possible injuries, but Souza has looked great in his UFC run so far.
Machida prevails: Lyoto Machida defeated Gegard Mousasi by unanimous decision to cap off the night. I'll admit I underrated Mousasi when previewing this fight, I expected him to lose his cool and be vulnerable to the counter striking of Machida but he made smart adjustments and kept the fight competitive. Machida gets another win at middleweight and could easily be the next title contender, or if that doesn't work out let him and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza fight to be the undisputed title contender. Mousasi had a good performance, he didn't look like a fool against Machida and plenty of people do, I'm not sure if he's sticking around at middleweight or will move back up to light heavyweight but I'm interested what he does next.
Melendez could be Bellator bound: I didn't discuss this story last week because it broke way too late for me to have any amount of information on. I knew there were negotiations between Melendez and the UFC going on, and given some comments from UFC President Dana White I surmised they weren't going well, but when news of Melendez possibly jumping to Bellator came about I wasn't in a position to really talk about it. Well, this could be a big deal. Gilbert Melendez is easily a top ten fighter in the lightweight division, and I'd personally argue he's easily a top five fighter in the division, and if he makes the jump to Bellator it could be a sign of things to come. Now there are a few mitigating factors here, which are very important. First of all, Melendez's last fight against Diego Sanchez was the last one on his old Strikeforce contract. Now I don't have the specifics of Melendez's contract on hand, but I think it's safe to say he was making more money on the Strikeforce deal than he would be with what the UFC was offering. Melendez was a big deal in Strikeforce, he was a champion, had some name value, had some of the better fights in the promotion's history, and was a valued part of the roster. Melendez is just 1-1 in the UFC, his loss was a close decision loss to then champion Benson Henderson, and it's not at all out of the question to speculate that the contract offered by the UFC was a pay cut for Melendez because he's not worth as much to the UFC as he was to Strikeforce. The second thing worth considering is job satisfaction. Melendez was pretty listless in his last couple of fights for Strikeforce, it's been speculated that he was just killing time before he could go to the UFC, but once in the UFC he might not be all that happy. Melendez lost his title fight, and then fought a guy who hasn't been relevant in the sport since BJ Penn split his forehead open with a high kick. Melendez might be happier being a big fish in a smaller pond in general. The third point of consideration here is Dana White, because White has been on record making less than pleasant comments about his fighters, perhaps Melendez just doesn't want to work in a promotion that will make him feel devalued if he doesn't perform the way Dana White thinks he should. Bellator made Melendez an offer, but as of this writing the UFC still has matching rights, which means if they choose to match the terms agreed to by Melendez and Bellator than Melendez will be staying with the UFC.
Now if Melendez does go to Bellator, it could be a big deal for the promotion. Not only are potential fights for Melendez with Eddie Alvarez or Michael Chandler very interesting, this could be the first legitimate talent that Bellator has taken away from the UFC. While I respect what Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has done in the world of MMA, he's not in his prime anymore and hasn't had a truly great fight or performance in quite some time. Gilbert Melendez is one of the top lightweight fighters in the world, and if he makes a point about moving to another promotion, others could follow. I'm not expecting a mass exodus of top level talent, but Melendez would be making a point that it's not just guys who can't cut it in the UFC that make the move to Bellator, and there are other fighters who could well follow his example.
UFC changes bonus structure: The UFC announced last week, though again I didn't have time to get full information or properly process the information, that they're changing their bonus structure. The promotion will still give out a Fight of the Night bonus, but now instead of Knockout or Submission of the Night there will be two Performance of the Night bonuses. Now ostensibly this frees up more money, and provides more opportunities for guys to get bonuses. We've had cards that feature only one type of finish, be it strikes or submissions, leaving one of the bonuses unclaimed. I mean, the way we've been going it's not out of the question to have a card without a single finish on it and this lets the UFC provide bonuses to fighters who give impressive performances but aren't able to get a finish. The cynic in me can't help but think the UFC will wind up giving these bonuses to fighters who perform the way Dana White wants them to, and slowly skew the way guys fight back towards mindless brawling that Dana White enjoys. Now that is terribly cynical of me, and it's unlikely to see things play out that way, but that thought did cross my mind. Hopefully this is just a way to properly recognize fighters who are unable, for whatever reason, to get a finish but have a great performance.
So the UFC returns to PPV this week, and we've got the biggest star left in the UFC after Anderson Silva got injured and Georges St-Pierre took his sabbatical, as UFC female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey puts her title on the line against fellow Olympic medalist Sara McMann in the main event. Let's take a look at the main card. If you want my perlim thoughts check out the 411 Round Table for the event.
Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker: This is a solid choice for a hot opener, at least on paper. Both Thompson and Whittaker are strikers, but have very different styles. Whittaker bases his striking in boxing while Thompson has a kickboxing background, actually Thompson has an undefeated kickboxing record with over a hundred fights. I see this fight going the way of Thompson, the two men will have a first round spent getting each others timing and distance, then I think Whittaker get's hit with a head kick he doesn't see coming and winds up unconscious.
Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger: I'm cautiously excited for this fight. Pyle and Waldburger are both good grapplers, but Pyle has been improving his striking and showing that aspect of his game lately. Waldburger hasn't had the best of luck with his striking, he tends to rely on his submission game to get the win, and that's a dangerous gameplan against Pyle. I think Pyle catches Waldburger with a knee on a takedown attempt in the second or third.
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia: This is a really important fight in the career of Rory MacDonald. He's coming off of a loss, and back to back underwhelming performances, this is his chance to redeem himself and return to the form that saw plenty of people touting him as a future world champion. If you listened to the latest Ground and Pound radio show, which I encourage, you heard me air my grievances with the current crop of Tri-Star fighters, and I have nothing of substance to add to that here. I hope MacDonald returns with the fire he's had in the past, because he's shown moments of true brilliance inside the cage and I would love to see him return to that form. He's got the tools to win, his wrestling is better than Maia's, as is his striking. I think MacDonald gives us a refresher course in why we all thought so highly of him a few years ago.
Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins: I was really crushed when Rashad Evans had to pull out of this fight, Evans provided some interesting challenges for Cormier, plus Cormier would be making his debut at light heavyweight against one of the very best in the world. Instead we get some scrub who trained with Cormier when Cormier was preparing for the Olympics. If Cormier doesn't beat this guy in the first minute something will have gone drastically wrong with his weight cut, because if this was at heavyweight it wouldn't get outside of the first frame. Cormier should drop him in the first and move onto bigger and better things.
UFC female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann: This is a really interesting fight. Ronda Rousey has steamrolled every single opponent she's had in her career thus far. Ronda has proved to be simply better than anyone who's stepped into the cage with her, and why wouldn't she, she's competed at the highest level in Judo for years. Most MMA fighters enter the sport after there's nothing left for them to do in their starting discipline, be that wrestling, judo, boxing, jiujitsu, etc. Normally this means they've failed to become relevant on the world stage, or college stage as the case may be. Ronda moved on from Judo because she'd become an Olympic medalist. That level of competition, and experience is invaluable. For the first time Rousey will be facing off against an opponent who has been to the top of the mountain. Sara McMann won an Olympic silver medal in the 2004 games in freestyle wrestling. These are two women who have been under the brightest lights possible, and who have found success there. The gameplan for each woman will be interesting, Rousey is of course going to look for a throw and the armbar, that's more or less what she does in every fight. The interesting thing is she's facing an opponent who might be able to stop her from doing that. McMann, if she looks for a takedown, will be looking for dominant position right away. In her last fight we saw Ronda on her back in the first round, and she didn't slow down for one second. Whether it was throwing hammerfists, attacking with triangle's or armbars, Ronda wasn't deterred by using her guard. Granted McMann's top game is different from Miesha Tate's, but I don't think Ronda will close guard and look to be stood up by the official. McMann needs to get to at least half guard to try and use ground and pound, because Rousey's offensive options from half guard, or side control, are severely limited. Don't be surprised if McMann looks to secure the mounted crucifix if she gets dominant position on the mat. On the feet, it's kind of a crap shoot. Neither woman is known for punching power, or great technique, but it wouldn't be too shocking to see McMann test the waters on the feet. If she can stop the shot, or the clinch game of Rousey she might take a round to see how things play out in the striking department. This is the first fight I've seriously considered picking against Ronda Rousey, and part of me is hoping McMann wins just for the Dana White meltdown, but I can't do it in good conscience. I think Rousey gets a finish late in the fight, fourth or fifth round, via the armbar.
Alright, that wraps this up. I will have the live coverage here at 411mania for UFC 170 this Saturday, so stop by and say hello, or mock my scoring, it's all good. I'll be hosting the 411 Ground and Pound radio show this Sunday at 9pm eastern time as the panel will be reviewing UFC 170, so tune in for that. I'll be back next week, right here, to Lock on the Guillotine again. Until next time keep your heads up and your necks safe.