UFC 96 Thoughts

This was a thoroughly enjoyable show.  A lot of fights were short and one-sided, but sometimes that makes a show really entertaining.

Gray Maynard got another ugly win.  He had some nice body shots, and as soon as it was clear Miller couldn't get him down the outcome was inevitable.  I still think Maynard has a long way to go though before he can hang with someone like BJ Penn.

The Hamill fight was a good reminder that MMA wrestling is not the same thing as amateur wrestling.  I let myself get caught up in the hype for Munoz's wrestling without remembering that Hamill just has a much more well-rounded game.  This KO was sickening too.

Matt Brown looked good, but man Yves Lavigne deserves to be fired for his performance in this fight.  First he stops the fight, then gets bullied into restarting it, and then he refuses to stop a fight that should have been stopped three or four times.  This was beyond terrible/

I'm still kind of in shock over Shane Carwin's win.  The fight started just like I suspected, with Gonzaga landing a great shot and getting him down.  The fact that Carwin was able to melt Gonzaga with a short right was incredible.  Carwin is still very green, but he's obviously got insane power.  To beat him guys will have to avoid getting hit at all.

The main event was a great fight.  I thought the commentary bias was terribly pro-Jardine due to Rashad's presence, but I suppose it doesn't matter.  It was interesting to see Jackson try to clinch up and go for a slam right away when swarming Jardine has always been the best strategy.  He even admitted after the fight that he deviated from the plan.  He fought Jardine's fight, but still ended up on top.  I thought he won the first round too now that I've seen it with the sound off, those kicks weren't doing much damage and Jackson had the harder shots.

Jardine showed great heart surviving two knockdowns.  He answered any questions about his chin tonight, and if Rampage beats Rashad I'd love to see a five round rematch.  Jackson busting out two takedowns was surprising, but Jardine stood right up, something his teammates have told me he does all the time in practice.

I loved the trash talk, it's nice to have some lighthearted fun in the sport, and I found the whole thing extraordinarily entertaining.  It was also interesting to finally see Rampage as a fan favorite among a heavily white UFC crowd.  Dana White said today that Rampage and Rashad will get the next UFC: Primetime treatment.  That is a huge fight.

The entertainment value out of this show provides a good glimpse into why the UFC does so well.  Even when a card is weak, there's always a chance for breakout performances and exciting fights.  Star power isn't everything, and this isn't the first time a weak looking card delivered a home run.

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