We learned two things today. Yushin Okami, barring injury or Dana White's whim, is the next challenger for the UFC middleweight title. And Manny Pacquiao might have to move up to 160 pounds soon. Below, I attack the day's news with the ferocity of a Pacquiao six-punch combo.
- It can't be stated enough. Spike TV needs to start airing events live when the UFC goes abroad. There's no excuse for this anymore. It's 2010. Communication is instant. I shouldn't have to resort to watching a compressed Internet stream of a live sporting event. Spike is forcing fans to treat ESPN and the Internet like roaming zombies. It's time to grow up and air your premium content like adults.
- Antonio Margarito should not be forgiven. I got the sense that some people feel that Margarito atoned for his sins with the beating that Manny Pacquiao raptured upon him tonight. Not for me. Nazim Richardson caught Margarito attempting to load his gloves. And while there's no evidence to suggest so, it doesn't take Thomas Bayes to infer that Margarito probably wasn't taking his first trip to Paris. It says something about the state of boxing when the its writers and sporting media at large react with mere disgust and mild condemnation of all the proceedings instead of the righteous moral outrage that seems to be reserved for steroids in baseball.
- Plenty of other writers will be better able to describe the mastery Manny Pacquiao displayed again tonight. I found myself most impressed in the latter rounds. Margarito faded after putting up his last offensive stand in the middle rounds, and Manny began hitting him with precision and prolificity while moving laterally. Not just stepping to the side and throwing jabs either. Shuffling his feet and landing multi-punch combinations. Very impressive stuff.
- One last discussion point about the boxing. I had a brief Twitter conversation with the esteemed Dave Walsh over at Head Kick Legend about how the HBO crew handled all the backstage shenanigans leading up to the main event. While I agree with Dave that the crew should have refrained from interrupting the Jones/Soto-Karass fight multiple times, I do believe HBO and the broadcast team has an obligation to keep the viewer informed of relevant news regarding the titular characters. Especially for a card of that stature where a large percentage of the audience bought the pay-per-view for the one, big fight. There's a second point to be made in relation to MMA. You would never hear about this during a UFC broadcast. Not during an undercard fight. Not in between fights. Not leading up to the main event. In the UFC's world, these things might as well not exist. Take the rematch between Georges St-Pierre and B.J. Penn at UFC 94. According to multiple sources cageside, NSAC executive Keith Kizer freaked out when he witnessed Phil Nurse bathing Georges St-Pierre's body with Vaseline. No mention from Mike Goldberg or Joe Rogan.
- Who would you list as Nate Marquardt's best win? Demian Maia? Martin Kampmann? I think that's a fact people glossed over coming into this fight. Maia and Kampmann are both on the smaller side of 185, and Maia especially is a great style fight for Marquardt. That's not to take anything away from those wins, but...
- I picked against Okami (though I should note I pimped an Okami bet on Twitter during the event) in our Bloody Elbow predictions, citing his pattern of slow starts. So, of course, Okami comes out aggressive from the start. And the difference it made. Okami also showed off his continued progression in his footwork, which he utilized to keep Nate backed up along the fence for the majority of the fight.
- FightMetric released their report for the fight. Their algorithm scored the fight 30-28 for Okami, with a 10-10 second round. I scored the fight 29-28 for Okami, with Marquardt winning the second round. I saw a handful of Marquardt cards around the 'net, but three people I trust - Jordan Breen, Josh Gross, and Luke Thomas - all agreed with my card.
- Also from the FightMetric files, Amir Sadollah broke the record for leg kicks in a UFC fight with 46. He broke the record previously held by Anderson Silva (39 against Thales Leites in five rounds) and Forrest Griffin (38 against Hector Ramirez in three rounds).
- Even adjusting for its free status, I hope the assimilation of the WEC eliminates UFC events of this caliber. Marquardt vs. Okami is a legitimate B-show main event, though lacking in any sort of drawing power. Zuffa stuffed the undercard with a smattering of irrelevant bouts though. I understand there are other incentives at play for these overseas shows, but I'm not sure treating the German crowd to a glorified MFC show is going to ingratiate the sport to a new market. The fact that the show didn't suffer at all when it lost its co-main event is quite telling.