It's never an easy night when you have to cover one show that ends around 1 a.m. ET and then get through a Tivo'ed three hour show. As such, I'm in pretty rough shape this morning.
That being said, I'm also really happy with the action from both the Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito and Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. Having had a night, or at least part of a night, to sleep on it, let's go through the events of last night for some thoughts.
- Michael Bisping vs. Jason Miller went pretty much exactly as I expected. Bisping hasn't exactly beaten the best fighters in the world, but being active against at least good fighters is a lot better than the two years Miller has gone since fighting Jake Shields.
- In the end Bisping is simply a better fighter. He takes a bit to get going sometimes, as was the case last night, but even when Miller was working toward the mount he wasn't ever in danger. Once Mayhem tried to secure it, that's when Bisping felt the trouble and stood up. And in terms of cardio, striking and just general all around fighting ability, Bisping is the better fighter.
- Diego Brandao has huge flaws in his game, he wings his strikes so wide that he is easy to counter or take him down, but he is a blast to watch. Dennis Bermudez fought well and took advantage of the ease with which Brandao can be hit, but he left an arm in for just a second and that was all it took. Brandao has a killer instinct that some fighters just never pick up, and that will serve him well in his career.
More thoughts after the jump:
While I believe that size absolutely matters in the fight game, speed can make up for it when the skill levels are close. That's what allows John Dodson to look so good and hurt so many bigger men as he did against T.J. Dillashaw. He's able to get in, hit hard and quickly and then get out of danger if needed. While it'll be interesting to see if Dodson can continue to be as effective against the UFC's 135 pounders. The speed will serve him well, but as the skill level of his competition increases the size may come into play.
Tony Ferguson and Yves Edwards put on a fun fight that saw both men have their moments. I wasn't really scoring the fight as I watched but it seemed clear to me that Edwards had won at least one round. I'm not sure where 30-27 Ferguson comes from, but that's just me. I still have my doubts about Tony's future as he seems like a talented guy who might not always fight up to how talented he truly is.
Like I said in the predictions, the UFC seemed to want Johnny Bedford to stick around and matched him to get that done.
On the HBO pay-per-view boxing card, the fights were interesting but the crowd and announcers actually took away from a fun undercard. During really good fights between Brandon Rios and John Murray as well as Pawel Wolak vs. Delvin Rodriguez, the commentary and production crew spent most of their time talking about the main event and desperately trying to fit in as many shots of Cotto and Margarito backstage as possible. And the crowd was just dead as they were mostly Cotto supporters waiting for the main event.
Mike Jones looked way better than I thought he would against Sebastian Lujan. Lujan is a pressure fighter that breaks guys down over the fight and Jones has had cardio issues in the past. Rather than getting pulled into an ugly fight, he used his size and technique to just outclass Lujan.
Pawel Wolak vs. Delvin Rodriguez 2 was not as good as the first fight but was still very good. Wolak simply can't be in a bad fight and Rodriguez has a good style compliment. Delvin did a really good job of using the keys he figured out in the first fight in the rematch. Understanding when to catch him on the way in, to use uppercuts and hooks and just wear out Wolak.
Brandon Rios looked awful for much of the fight against John Murray. He was sluggish and by the third or fourth round was taking deep sighing breaths. But, despite all his character flaws, he has tremendous heart and guts. Despite clearly being affected by the bad weight situation he just kept punching and punching and took advantage of Murray's tremendously bad defense. It was a decent showing for both men but may have been the best kind of thing Rios could do. Proving the level to which he is willing to go to win. Now, let's just hope that his camp tells him that he is not a lightweight anymore.
Miguel Cotto got his revenge and it's hard to say a lot about. The feeling was always that Margarito was a pretty shot fighter. He has looked tremendously slow since the Mosley situation and for some reason he hasn't been able to hurt anyone with a punch since he was caught with his corner loading his handwraps. Cotto was too good, too fast and too strong for Margarito and blasted away at his bad eye until the doctors were forced to stop it.
One got the feeling when Cotto said that Margarito is now nothing to him, he truly meant it. He's now poised for another huge payday with potential fights against Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, while Margarito is reduced to likely being an opponent for someone like Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. who just need a name opponent they can beat.