It's the fight fan dilemma. A card which has little long term meaning, lacks big names, got no promotion but which delivered excitement on the main card. It can be exciting and enthralling but what does it mean? Is it okay to be upset that a numbered UFC event was that weak on paper?
In the end I'll remember UFC 138 for a main card which delivered enough action to gloss over an honestly terrible undercard. That doesn't erase the fact that this is a business failure, not sold at all heading in and insulting many in the overseas market the event took place in. But it's enough to not leave a bitter aftertaste.
Chris Leben lost in some sort of ultra-Lebenesque fashion, being flat-out beaten up by a better fighter in Mark Munoz but always looking to find a way to win. In many ways, the image of Leben screaming as he tried to finish off a guillotine choke on Munoz, blood pouring down his face is some sort of ultimate moment capturing Leben's essence as a fighter. Battling through punishment and skill disadvantages to try his best to find victory.
In Munoz he simply met a man whose wrestling finally delivered what was promised. He scored takedowns with enough ease to not make one question what his credentials on the mat truly mean and punished his foe with punches to the head and body, all delivered with truly bad intentions.
Leben went out in a way he can be proud of but Munoz made the statement that he wants a title shot both with actions.
- Brad Pickett simply doesn't have enough power in his strikes to get into a slugfest with a man like Renan Barao. Both men were landing in a firefight but it was clear that Barao's strikes were the ones doing much more damage and that allowed for him to eventually hurt, drop and move to the back with shocking ease to finish off Pickett.
- It's certainly "in the moment" talk but I'm quite into the idea of Barao vs. Dominick Cruz.
- Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi was a blast. Abedi looked good standing, confident in delivering combinations and forcing Alves back into the cage. The problem was that Alves is a patient, experienced fighter who rode it out until he found space to land a hard punch that hurt Abedi and put him down where the submission finished it off. Alves remains a force at 170 but it's hard to not be interested in Abedi's future.
- Anthony Perosh got beat up a bit on the feet, but Cyrille Diabate hesitated far too much in the stand-up. Perosh was allowed to find his way to takedowns with less to worry about as Diabate feinted more than attacked.
- Terry Etim was given the gift of Faaloloto and took advantage. Faaloloto is sub-UFC level but Etim did what you do when given such an opponent and got him out of there quick.
- The same can be said for the biggest impression made on the undercard. Che Mills dominated his bottom tier foe in Chris Cope, taking him out with strikes like it was nothing.
- Someone has to explain to me why Justin Edwards was going for takedowns to punctuate his stand-up combinations when he was clearly winning on the feet. He fought into the plan of John Maguire and it cost him the fight.
- The less said about the rest of the Facebook fights, the better.