Tuesday, July 5, 2011

UFC 132

I failed my attempt at a new 400lb deadlift max today, so that was sad. But I watched the latest UFC, and that was awesome.

UFC 132 was really exciting, with more first-round finishes than any recent event, and some exciting upsets.

Here's my analysis:

Carlos Condit v Dong Hyun Kim
Welterweight (170lbs)

Not much to say about this fight. It starts out with a takedown by Kim, but Condit defends with a half-butterfly guard then sweeps to top position followed by a scramble to the feet. Kicks are flying back and forth. Three minutes into the first round, Condit ends it with a flying knee that strikes Kim pretty flush on the chin, dropping him near the cage. Condit jumps in with some ground and pound, but it was unnecessary. Kim was out and didn't defend a single punch.

Condit's really been bringing the heat. With this win and his previous win over Dan Hardy, he's definitely working towards a title shot.

Tito Ortiz v Ryan Bader
Light heavyweight (205lbs)

Bader stepped into this fight 13-1, with only his loss to Bones Jones in the top contender fight. He came into this fight wanting to prove that he's still a contender, and I'd bet he thought he was going to walk through Ortiz, who hasn't won since 2006.

Ortiz and Bader are near mirror images of each other, except that Bader is younger. Bader began as a boring lay-n-pray wrestler, but developed some strong ground and pound. Ortiz practically invented GnP back in 1997 when he debuted in the UFC. It's easy to forget that he's only 36 because he's been with the UFC for so long.

Tito controls the center early, with Bader circling. The feeling out period is very short. Tito charges in and lands a right so short that it's impossible to tell if it was a straight or a hook. He called it an uppercut. It was so unextended that it was just a big strong right. Tito dropped in for GnP, but saw that Bader was going to defend it and recover, so Tito did the unexpected and pulled guard to get a tight guillotine. That's a hard submission to pull off on a thick-necked wrestler, but he cranked it and Bader tapped less than 2 minutes into the fight. Another first round finish.

Most people don't like Tito. A lot of the time I don't particularly like Tito. But Bader has a long, mediocre career ahead of him and it would be nice to see Tito make one more run for the title. I've got a feeling that Bones Jones is going to settle down some of the chaos 205 has seen since the elimination of the 220 weight class, and Tito doesn't stand a chance against him, but still.

Dennis Siver v Matt Wiman
Lightweight (155lbs)

Dennis Siver is kind of a weird fighter. He's short for 155, so that he looks like a grappler. Wrestlers are best able to take advantage of the extra strength that being short for a weight class provides. But he's a kickboxer with a karate background. The extra strength has allowed him to use a unique style. He's muscular enough to throw untelegraphed karate kicks that still do damage. He also has legs just the right length to plow devastating back kicks into his opponents.

Wiman and Siver trade early, but it's obvious that Siver is getting the best of it. Wiman tries to take Siver to the ground, but Siver's takedown defense is excellent. Both men are throwing huge punches, and the fight is a few inches from being over time and time again. When watching it was hard to say who won the first round. Both men were aggressive and confident. Siver got the best of the standup exchange, but Wiman managed to end the round on top.

Second round, Wiman shoots and presses Siver to the cage. Stalemate. Wiman keeps getting singles, and with Siver's balance and flexibility, it's just not cutting it. After a big scramble Wiman lands on top, and Siver ends up on bottom and with a big cut on his forehead from an elbow. Wiman's elbows are vicious and slashing, intended to make cuts. Wiman ends the round on top, having obviously won.

The third round is another very close one. Siver stuffs a takedown and lands some good strikes on Wiman, but Wiman goes for some interesting submission attempts.  The fight ends in another crazy scramble. Overall, a very active, intense fight. Exciting from start to finish. Dennis Siver gets a unanimous decision. Can't argue with it due to the 3 round system, but it's not exactly how you wanted to see it go, consider Wiman had done the majority of the damage and won the second round big.

Melvin Guillard v Shane Roller
Lightweight (155lbs)
Melvin Guillard is so athletic, so light on his feet. His reflexes are excellent. He fights with his hands down in a style reminiscent of Anderson Silva, but more reliant on athleticism than an ability to see three seconds into the future. About two minutes in, Guillard lands a knee that rocks Roller. Roller makes it to his feet but eats a straight punch, after which Guillard smashes him with some unnecessary GnP for another first-round finish.

Guillard is young,  talented and very experienced. Since he's stepped up his training by joining Greg Jackson's camp, his natural skills are really being put to use. He's won his past five fights, and with one or two more should be positioned for a title fight.

Wanderlei Silva v Chris Leben
Axe-Murderer v Crippler
Middleweight (185lbs)

In the pre-fight interview, Silva says, "My style is to go in there and kill the guy, you know?" Silva doesn't do defense. He's all offense, which forces guys to back off. He comes in with a flurry, Leben weathers it, lands uppercuts, and the fight is over within seconds.

Silva hasn't done well in the UFC. He keeps getting fights because his fights are always entertaining, but his fighting style just isn't suited to the new MMA rules. He was a champ in Pride because he'd get a guy to stumble then stomp and kick him half to death. If you want to discover if someone is a sociopath, show him Silva's Pride highlight reel. If he can watch the entire thing without weeping or puking, he's a sociopath.

But even under Pride rules, Leben would have won this fight. If it weren't for Leben's recent loss to Stann, I'd expect to see him fighting Anderson Silva before long. It would be an interesting fight, with Leben's chin. But his chin can only last him so long. Ask Big Nog.

Oh, that's another first-round finish.

Justin Bieber v Joe Rogan's Laughter-Stifling Ability

The camera shows Bieber in the audience throwing a scissor-finger mafia sign, and Rogan loses it.

Dominick Cruz v Urijah Faber
Bantamweight (135lbs)

This fight went all five rounds, and I don't want to give a blow-by-blow. Cruz fights in a really weird, mobile style, constantly changing distance and lead foot. Faber seems to have lost all of his knockout power in dropping two weight classes. Yes, he's short, but I don't know if the drop to bantamweight was the best idea.

These two tiny fighters couldn't hurt each other, so it all came down to points, which were impossible for me to count as they moved so quickly. Cruz got the decision, as he should have. The judge spread was funny, though: 50-45, 49-46, 48-47. Faber thought he'd won, but he seems to have forgotten that the challenger has to take the title. If there's any doubt as to who won a fight, it should go to the defender.

Goldberg and Rogan are trying to make UFC fans excited about this weight class, talking about how it's the absolute best, but that's crap. At lower weight classes, little guys can still do damage because of the small gloves and the submissions. But Bantamweight is so small. Faber is one of the strongest, and he didn't leave a mark on Cruz, though he landed a number of punches. It takes a sport that has become combat and takes it back to a sport, one decided entirely by points. Bantamweight fighters don't worry about getting KOed, so yeah, you see some weird shit, but it's not the best example of real fighting.

I'm not saying bantamweight fights aren't legit. I'm just saying not to feed me the line that it's the best class, because it's obviously not.

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