Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report 3.28.14: Rematch
Posted by Robert Winfree on 03.28.2014
News and thoughts on Chris Weidman's injury causing a shake up of the UFC cards and Gilbert Melendez getting his fight with Anthony Pettis! Plus thoughts on the results out of UFC Fight Night 38 and more!
Greetings and salutations everyone, nice to see you all get Locked in the Guillotine again. Well we got a rematch to possibly the greatest UFC fight of all time last week, plus a bunch of "evil foreigners" taking on the hometown Brazilians. It's professional wrestling 101 and the UFC is just now catching onto it. Also news, a title fight gets moved, another gets scheduled, and some guys lose their jobs. While reading give a listen to the Radulich in Broadcasting network, there's something for everyone and it's all quality stuff.
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Alright, enjoy your quality internet radio and let's get to the MMA.
Pepey avoids the ax: Godofredo Pepey defeated Noad Lahat by KO in the first round with a double flying knee strike. Pepey wasn't looking great prior to the finish, he was getting tagged and missing a lot of his punches, but he kept his head about him and saw an opening to land a big strike that hit flush and left Lahat unconscious. Gonna be hard to top that for one of the post fight bonuses with that finish. Pepey really needed this win, he was 1-3 in the UFC prior to this and on a two fight losing streak, bordering on being expendable. Nice finish to get the night going.
Stringer wins: Hans Stringer defeated Francimar Barroso by split decision. I personally scored the fight for Stringer, but there is an argument for Barroso to have won. The fight itself was contested mostly in the clinch, with some striking and a couple of ground exchanges. Nothing too special here, but nothing offensive or terribly boring either.
Not paid by the hour: Kenny Robertson defeated Thiago Perpetuo with a rear naked choke in the first round. Robertson landed a head kick almost immediately that opened up a cut around Perpetuo's right eye, but Perpetuo got on top of Robertson. Robertson almost got the back in a pretty crafty sweep, got up and secured a body lock takedown right into full mount. From there, some ground and pound, Perpetuo gave up his back, and Robertson got the choke. Robertson has some solid grappling in the cage, good win for him here to quiet the Brazilian crowd.
Jorgensen falls: Jussier Formiga defeated Scott Jorgensen with a rear naked choke, more of a neck crank if you want to get technical, in the first round. Formiga was ranked as the best flyweight in the world at one point, but his UFC career to this point has been less than inspiring. This was a win he needed, unfortunately the finishing sequence was started off because of an accidental headbutt from Formiga that let Formiga get the back and eventually the rear naked choke. Formiga needed the win, his lone win in the UFC wasn't terribly impressive and was sandwiched between stoppage losses to Jon Dodson and Joseph Benavidez. Jorgensen is now 0-2 at flyweight, he might want to consider a return to bantamweight in the future.
Liver Kick: Thiago Santos defeated Ronny Markes via TKO in the first round. Santos landed a nice body kick that landed right to the liver of Markes, who went down and was finished with strikes on the ground a few seconds later. Markes missed weight by five pounds for this fight, and I have no patience for fighters who miss weight, much less by such a substantial margin. Quick finish, and Santos looked like he could make the cut to welterweight, so we'll see what the future holds for him.
Jason shows up: Rony Jason defeated Steven Siler via TKO in the first round. Jason landed a right hand behind the ear of Siler, then a left to follow up and Siler went down. Then the ref stepped in, but Siler was throwing an upkick and was aware of his surroundings. I personally felt the stoppage was early, which unfortunately casts a pall over the rest of the fight, because Siler had been hit and rocked, he just wasn't that close to being finished.
Well that was odd: Michel Prazeres defeated Mairbek Taisumov by unanimous decision. The oddness came about because Taisumov was docked two points, one in round one and another in round two. The first was because of an illegal soccer kick, the second because of grabbing the fence. I'm not opposed to more use of point deductions, but it just felt like an odd time for an official to suddenly become that strict about the rules. Prazeres would have won anyway, I had him taking all three rounds before deductions became an issue, but it was an odd bit of business that Mario Yamasaki decided this was the fight he was going to start taking a hard line on rules that had previously been regarded as a little softer.
Maldonado surges: Fabio Maldonado defeated Gian Villante by unanimous decision. Villante had a strong first round, and a pretty decent opening two minutes for round two, but just seemed to check out after that. Maldonado absorbed a knee to the head that opened him up, but it also seemed to be the catalyst for him to begin turning up the pressure. Maldonado moved forward, landed his jab accurately, hit the body and head, and Villante did nothing but move backwards and try not to be finished. Maldonado gave a couple vague hints he might be heading down to middleweight in the future, he still has to shore up his grappling and wrestling weaknesses but Maldonado had a heck of a rally after a bad round and a half. Villante mentally and physically quit in this one, he did nothing but back pedal the entire third round and if the UFC is in the time of year when they're trimming the roster, Villante should be given the ax.
Well that was there: Norman Parke and Leonardo Santos fought to a majority draw. The draw came about because the official took a point from Parke in the second round for grabbing the shorts. Now what makes this questionable was this was the first time Parke grabbed the shorts, it looked to be relatively inadvertent, and in and of itself affected nothing. To make matters worse, neither man turned up the pressure after the foul, both men seemed jarred by the break in their rhythm and couldn't get back into the mode of actually fighting. It wasn't a great fight before the point deduction, but it just dragged to a dead halt after. Neither man made any effort to improve their position in this one.
At least it was fast: CB Dollaway defeated Cezar Ferreira with strikes in the first forty seconds of round one. Ferreira decided to come forward and throw wild hooks, Dollaway found an opening to counter, did so, and finished Ferreira. Dollaway seems to do well in Brazil, but beating cab drivers doesn't carry tons of weight. Dollaway is on a decent run, and if he's really ready to make a run it's time to put him in there with a top fifteen guy and see how he does.
Hendo comes back: Dan Henderson defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua via TKO in the third round. Shogun was winning the fight, he rocked and dropped Henderson in the first and second rounds, was landing leg kicks and punches while avoiding the plodding right hand from Henderson. Unfortunately for Rua, in the third round Henderson landed a right hook on the break from a clinch and followed it up, including four or fight hammerfists to the back of the head, and forced the stoppage. It was a nice feel good moment for Henderson, but if this was the best he's capable of at this stage in his career, anyone near the top of the division will maul him. Plus, lest we forget, Hendo was on TRT for this fight and wont have that ability in the future. Now Henderson himself has said he can continue without it, but I wonder what kind of impact it will have on his performance. Any of the top fighters shouldn't be fighting Henderson, Jon Jones, Alexander Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier, Glover Teixeira and the guys up at the top would wreck him. Fabio Maldonado took to Twitter after the event and asked for a main event fight against Hendo, which is not the worst idea in the world for all parties. Shogun will likely get another fight he should win, but realistically both men are nearing the end of their careers.
Weidman out: Well, UFC 173 took a hit this week. The event, which will take place May 24 this year and comes from Las Vegas, was to be headlined by a UFC middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Well this week news broke that Weidman suffered a knee injury and had to pull out of the fight. This is a pretty big deal, the co-main event was a heavyweight clash between former champion Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic, which is a fine co-main event fight, but not exactly an encounter that will draw as the main event. The fight between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva was initially linked to this event before being moved to Brazil, and it wouldn't be the worst idea to try and get that fight back here. The UFC hasn't announced their plans for the event yet, throwing a lighter weight title fight as the main event is a possibility and it would be nice to get the flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson back on PPV after three consecutive fights on FOX. The middleweight title fight has been moved from UFC 173 to UFC 175, which will take place July 5 and as of yet has no other fights announced.
Pettis and Melendez get a date: The lightweight title fight between champion Anthony Pettis and challenger Gilbert Melendez got a date this week, the two are scheduled to clash at what is likely UFC 182 on December 27. Pettis and Melendez are going to coach opposite each other on the upcoming twentieth season of The Ultimate Fighter on a season that will introduce and crown the first ever UFC women's strawweight champion. I'm on record saying I don't think this fight happens, unless the UFC get Pettis and encase him in bubble wrap I'm saying he gets injured between now and then and can't make the fight. Hope I'm wrong, because I very much enjoy Pettis when he actually gets into the cage, but that's my prediction and I'm sticking to it.
That time of year again: It looks like the UFC might be entering another roster trimming time of year. The UFC released Melvin Guillard, Ivan Menjivar, and Will Chope this week. Now Chope was cut for some legal troubles in his past, personally I think the UFC wasn't aware of them and chose to cut him because the company has shown in the past they're willing to work with guys who have criminal records. Guillard and Menjivar were released for performance reasons, Menjivar was on a three fight losing streak and had a pretty boring fight with Hatsu Hioki when Menjivar returned to featherweight. Guillard has been in win-loss mode for awhile but his last performance was puzzling and given the expectations UFC President Dana White had for his bout with Michael Johnson, it all likely contributed to the decision. We'll have to wait and see if this is just the start of a round of cuts or if these three were isolated incidents that happened to occur close together.
I've touched on this subject before, but I want to talk about it again: personality in the world of MMA. The UFC hasn't been doing the best business in the world lately, buyrates that just two years ago would have been considered horrible have become commonplace, the two biggest stars in the business have gone down very recently, and no one seems to be positioning themselves to take over those spots. While the UFC is quick to dismiss concerns over business in the wake of Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva going away, Silva said he might be able to take a fight early in 2015 while GSP might never come back, by claiming the same concerns were raised when Chuck Liddell retired, the reality is the situations are barely comparable. Liddell retired on a substantial losing streak, plus the UFC had GSP doing blockbuster business, Anderson Silva was starting to legitimately gain ground as a draw, and Jon Jones was looking like the next breakout star for the promotion. In short, when Liddell retired he was, from a business perspective, an expendable commodity. While the Iceman helped elevate the UFC, brought in millions of fans and dollars, his time was done and the next generation of fighters and personalities were in place and doing great business at the time he hung up the gloves and took a desk job. The situation when GSP and Anderson Silva left is shockingly different, there is no substantial drawing figure in the promotion to pick up the slack. Jon Jones is still recovering from Dana White's public character assault following UFC 151 being canceled, plus some of his personality traits have rubbed fans the wrong way, two champions seem to take yearly injury sabbaticals, and the UFC can't seem to generate any kind of buzz around itself.
Some of this is the fault of the promotion, though for the moment I'm looking at the other side of the equation. How many people out there even listen to post fight interviews anymore? I ask because there seem to be a set of answers that every fighter gives to the questions asked of them, and it gets repetitive really quickly. A post fight interview is a chance for a fighter to make an impression, it's a couple of minutes of live mic time in front of a substantial viewing audience and fighter after fighter doesn't maximize that opportunity. Now granted they've likely been hit in the head a few times very recently, are likely tired from physical exertion, but the horrible sameness of what these guys are saying makes no impression at all. Now you don't need to rip off a professional wrestling promo, all you need to do is inject some personality, give me a reason to care about you and what you're doing, make me excited to see you fight again. One of my favorite examples of this comes from Lyoto Machida after he won the UFC light heavyweight title, it wasn't over the top, it wasn't generic, it was heartfelt, got the point across, and made a connection with the fans. Travis Browne pointing the fans in the cheap seats and saying he fought for the blue collar guys in the cheap seats was smart, and felt genuine, and made an impression. Any point in time when a fighter has the opportunity to speak to a large audience should be capitalized on, be it a post fight interview, a TV special, or anywhere. Too often fighters are content to spout the same thing over and over again, and as a viewer I don't care. I want to care, I enjoy the sport and want to be invested in those who step into the cage and fight, but you have to give me a reason to care. Every single time a fighter speaks to an audience, if they're not selling a fight or an event they should be selling themselves. Again, you don't have to turn into a professional wrestler, you just have to give me a reason to care, and right now more and more fighters are making me apathetic as opposed to excited.
Alright guys and gals, on that note you've escaped the Guillotine. The 411 Ground and Pound radio show is live this Sunday at 9pm eastern time, and you'll want to be there this week. It's going to be a big show. I'll be back next week, and as there's no card to discuss next week I'll have another Final Thought segment dealing with something topical in the world of MMA. I hope to see you all back here for that, until then keep your heads up and your necks safe.