UFC Fight Night 24 was a reasonably fun night of action for a Spike TV effort. While no one on the show is close to competing for a title, the show was entirely watchable. Let's take a quick run through the event and see what we can take away from the action:
- We can officially stop the Phil Davis as title challenger talk. Davis absolutely won the bout and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is no joke, but Davis showed that he still has a lot of growing as a fighter to do before we consider him among the elite 205'ers in the world. Davis' boxing needs work but his kicks are solid. As for his wrestling, I don't care how much Mark Munoz had been working with Nogueira, Davis' wrestling should have been much more effective. The future is still bright for Phil, but we need to be fair as fight fans in letting him develop rather than rushing him in against a much more advanced fighter in Jon Jones.
- The reaction to Anthony Johnson's win has been strange. I've seen a lot of backlash for his use of wrestling rather than going in and slugging it out with Dan Hardy. Hardy's wrestling is awful, if you can avoid standing up in the one area where he may be able to find success...do it. Yes, Johnson can strike and has tremendous power. But it's unfair to give him grief simply because he had a portion of his game that his opponent had no answer for.
- As for Dan Hardy, it's time to move to America and drill nothing but wrestling for months on end. He doesn't have enough power in his strikes to be completely one dimensional. Unless he learns how to keep upright he'll find himself fighting for peanuts soon enough. His focus should be takedown defense, not working ineffective submissions from his back.
- I had picked DaMarques Johnson to defeat Amir Sadollah because I didn't think Amir could stop takedowns enough to not lose two rounds. I had not counted on Amir to have turned the corner I kept waiting for. He'd been lauded for his technical striking but I wasn't yet high on his stand-up game because he lacked a certain "meanness" that you should have to be a true stand-up fighter. Last night Amir looked like he was throwing strikes with severely bad intentions. I don't know how high his ceiling is as a fighter but he has a good game off his back, is effective in scrambling to his feet and now appears to have put the meanness with his technical striking.
- Chan Sung Jung may be one of the biggest draws in the lighter weight divisions. He clearly has a ton of fan support and to see that when he was coming off a bad KO loss was impressive. I'm not saying he is a huge money fighter, but he appears to be the featherweight Clay Guida in being a guy who doesn't have to be great to have people love him. Using a twister certainly isn't going to hurt that fan favorite status at all.
- I'm hoping that the myth of Leonard Garcia is finally dead. The loss last night to Jung should have been his eighth in a row. He also has a total of three KO wins in 23 career fights yet we hear about his "ridiculous power" non-stop. He throws huge arm punches and saps what power he does have. He's only KO'ed Victor Estrada (one of the three TKO's on Antonio McKee's resume and 1-4 coming into the bout), Hiroyuki Takaya (who has proven susceptible to being stopped) and a shot Jens Pulver. We've got a knockout artist who doesn't knock anyone out who should be 0-8 since 2009. Personally, I'll be just fine not having him take up valuable TV time again.
- Not a whole lot of meaningful action on the undercard. I never bought into TJ Waldburger having anything for Johny Hendricks, Alex Caceres is nowhere near a UFC quality fighter and it's pretty clear that the John Hathaway hype train has stalled out. Oh, and I was entirely correct about a certain one-trick pony with bad stand-up and a worse gastank.