In the wake of the TUF 10 Finale, and the rather dull affair that was Kimbo Slice vs. Houston Alexander, I thought of something which is an amusing anomaly in MMA- when a fight that's supposed to produce fireworks ends up being a terrible fight.
For instance, nobody in their right minds would've predicted that Slice/ Alexander would've gone to decision- I mean, let's be honest, they both have subpar chins, big power in the standup, and tend to be rabidly aggressive in their fights. Kimbo has been known to throw some hard leather, and Houston has looked like Conan the Destroyer with his clinch knees and power punches, as well as devastating leg kicks he used against Sherman Pendergarst. Instead of the epic, wild standup firefight that everyone expected, Houston decided to respect the power of Kimbo's hands, and circle away/ flick the occasional lead leg kick at Kimbo's arthritis ridden left knee. Ironically, the 1 time he actually committed to a leg kick it buckled Kimbo, but at that point it was too late.
Aside from the big leg kick in the 3'rd round, Kimbo produced the only exciting moments of the fight- the kimboplex, moving to mount, his flurry of little girl punches, etc. But this isn't the only fight where everyone thought that there would be unbridled action and excitement. Off the top of my head, I can think of:
Anderson Silva vs Cote/ Leites- 'The Spider' Silva, a proven spectacular finisher, was supposed to engage in a dynamic standup fight with Cote, in a bout between 2 granite chinned strikers, pitting technical brilliance and versatility against the heavy handed, brawling style of Cote. The result- 3 rounds of Anderson easily evading Cotes wild haymakers and potshotting him with single straight lefts, knee strikes, and kicks until Patrick's knee inexplicably blew out. In the Leites bout, they pitted the overmatched Jiu Jitsu player against Anderson in what was supposed to be a showcase match, where either Silva scrambled Leites' synapses with his kickboxing wizardry, or where Thales tied Anderson in knots on the mat. The outcome- 5 rounds of Anderson throwing a side kick to Thales' front knee, and then Leites flopping to his back and showcasing his butt- scoot.
Almeida vs. Cote- Almeida, who was unable to consistently take Cote down and work his submission game was stifled by Cote, who was afraid to commit to his power punches in fear of the takedown. Result- boring split decision for Cote in another fight where either a submission or Knockout seemed guaranteed.
Aoki vs. Shaolin Ribeiro- match between two LW grappling wizards, ended up being a conservative standup bout in which Aoki was able to use his improved muay thai skills to potshot his way to a decision victory. Many had thought that this bout would turn out to be an epic grappling war on the scale of Newton/ Sakuraba.
Arlovski/ Sylvia III- Both of their first matches had ended in devastating, swift fashion, with Arlovski taking the first by rocking Big Tim early and finishing with a slick leglock, and Sylvia taking the second match by catching Andrei being too aggressive after getting hurt early once again. What was already a very dynamic history between the two men was tarnished when they both played a very conservative, timid striking game in which Timmeh took the decision victory.
Now this isn't to say that the matchmakers shouldn't keep searching for potentially exciting bouts with dynamic style clashes, but it just goes to show you how unpredictable and dynamic MMA really is, that a match like Kimbo/ Houston could end up being a snoozefest, but that a more low- key matchup between two wrestlers like Frankie Edgar and Matt Veach ended up being an adrenaline injected, back and forth fight with an exciting finish.
Any fights I missed, that were billed to be epic showdowns that ended up as duds? Am I way off base here, or is this a legitimate phenomenon in MMA? I'd love your feedback =D