This weekend was fairly full of MMA goodness (a word that is a stretch as a modifier for some of what went down). With Strikeforce's Diaz vs. Daley, Maximum Fighting Championship 29, and Bellator 40 all going down, there's plenty to talk about. I couldn't possibly talk about it all, so I'll try and stick to the finer points, or at least the points that were important to me. It's my article, I'll do what I want to.Let's start off with Friday night's MFC 29. First off, we have to be honest about what the MFC is before we can critique one of its events. It's not big budget. It is making NO attempt to compete with anything run or put out by Zuffa. It's a smaller show based exclusively out of Windsor, Ontario. All that being said, if you can appreciate it for what it is, it's a nice little show being put together by Mark Pavelich. They have some nice up-and-comers, a few recognizable ex-UFC'ers, and potential to be a nice place for fighters to develop before they make it to the big show.
If I had to sum up the entire show in one concise paragraph, it'd look something like this: I watched the Hermes Franca knockout 5 to 10 times, because, for the life of me, I could not see where he "clipped" his opponent, Robert Washington. There are two possibilities: 1) Washington has the weakest chin in all of MMA, and I won't get into the 2nd possibility. It isn't worth it. You watch the replay and be the judge. Marcus Davis looked okay. He dominated with wrestling and clearly won all three rounds. That being said, he was never close to finishing DeMarce, and his face got cut open like a jelly donut. His facial soft tissue is going to be an issue. He should visit Wanderlei's surgeon. I'm gonna get blasted by the trolls for this, but I like Ryan Jimmo. I know he's not super exciting. He is a counter striker and that can be boring to watch. Did I mention this was a show based out of Windsor? You should give him time, and here are two reasons why: 1) He is a HUGE Light Heavyweight with a build and athleticism comparable to a 205 pound Junior Dos Santos (go head trolls....you may now read the words "Jimmo" and "Dos Santos" in the same sentence and ascertain that I am comparing Jimmo to Dos Santos....bring on the comments), and 2) He can do THIS.
On to Bellator 40. I'm still having trouble watching this broadcast and enjoying it. It feels super amateur-ish. MTV does not do a good job with the production. Plus, it's on MTV2, which still is not offered in HD in most national markets. Have you ever watched SD programming on an LCD flat-screen TV? It's brutal. I'm gonna focus on the Askren fight for this one. First off, the negatives. His stand up is not very good. Top level WW's will destroy him on the feet. He can be boring at times to watch, and needs to work on finishing moves. He isn't fighting anyone at Bellator, and he never will. They have nothing there for him. Nothing. The positives. His takedowns are crazy good. Nick Thompson is not top ten by any stretch, but he's a veteran guy. Thompson had zero answers for Askren's td's and could not get away from bottom position. Summary: Askren reminds me of Koscheck in a lot of ways. I have trouble saying, at this point, that Askren could beat Koscheck. I'm not even a Koscheck fan, I'm just making a comparison, and trying to point out that Askren still has a ways to go before he could make a serious UFC run. Just like Eddie Alvarez, Askren has reached his ceiling in Bellator. It's time to find out what he can do against real opponents (Sorry Jay Hieron and Rick Hawn. No one except Bjorn Rebney wants to see either of those match-ups). Last thing, can you please stop putting "Super Fight" in front of all your fights? Silva vs. GSP would be a 'Super Fight'. BJ Penn vs. GSP was a 'Super Fight' (though the result was obviously less super for BJ than Georges). Askren vs. Thompson is not a 'Super Fight'. It's not a super-anything. Stop it.
Last, but certainly not least, let's delve into Strikeforce's Diaz vs. Daley. I'm not going to do fight recaps. This post assumes you've seen the fights. If you didn't, check Bloody Elbow for some excellent recap articles. I just wanted to give my reaction to the results of some of the fights. First off, I have got to comment on the Jardine vs. Mousasi decision. The Internet has been lit ablaze with criticism, and I have to say, I don't get it. I'm sorry. I disagree with Strikeforce fighter fanboy Mauro Ranallo. Mousasi did not put on an impressive show. I think he did just barely enough to get the win....had he not had a point deducted in the first round. You can't discount it. It happened. In my humble opinion, Mousasi lost that round aside from the point. Neither fighter wowed me, but Jardine scored several takedowns and Mousasi had not warmed up yet with his striking. In my mind, it was a clear 10-8 round for Jardine because of the illegal upkick. Mousasi won the next two rounds 10-9 each, which makes it 28-28. If you thought this was one of the worst decisions you've ever seen, I think you are either being dramatic or don't know what you're looking at. You may not have agreed with it, but come on, settle down.
Gilbert Melendez did much to backup his claim of being the #1 LW in the world. He destroyed Kawajiri in brutal fashion. It was really fun to watch, but I couldn't help thinking: "Man, I wish this guy was in the UFC." Look, we're getting closer to it. Coker alluded to it. Dana is starting to admit it. Melendez got on the mic and rallied the 'unification' cry. The problem is that Dana doesn't do unification. He only does unification bouts when the other organization is completely dead (see: Hendo vs. Rampage at UFC 75). It's going to happen soon, but the issue is one of 'how?' Melendez's deal is not public. All we really know is that it was signed in February, is multi-year, and has a "championship clause" (as long as he has the strap, he can't leave...technically).
Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley may have been one of the top 5 one-round fights I've ever seen. It was everything it was advertised to be. There was trash talk, clowning, near fight ending strikes...and a knockout win with 4 seconds to go. As to the talk of an early stoppage, you need to go back and re-watch it. I thought the same thing at first. My initial verbal response was: "Diaz was in way more trouble than that several times and McCarthy didn't stop the fight." I strongly felt this way....until I saw Daley try to get up and wobble off the stool. His eyes rolled back, his arms straightened, and Big John did the right thing. Does that mean Daley couldn't have recovered in those 4 seconds and been ready to go by Round 2? Hard to say, but McCarthy wasn't considering the clock and he shouldn't have been. He did the right thing. This was a fantastic fight, and Diaz shut up the critics once again.
So now we have the same issue with both Melendez and Diaz. Both have multi-year contracts with championship clauses. White isn't interested in cross-promoting, and truthfully, I don't blame him. It's confusing, and don't cite boxing as the model for why this can work. Boxing has not been successful in this regard at all. Who's the boxing heavyweight champion? Quick. Tell me. That's what I thought. We don't need that in MMA, and I don't think we'll ever get it. I could look back on this in a year and feel like a moron for having said this, but I really think this is all an elaborate facade. I don't see Strikeforce making it past the end of 2012. Its existence stands in the way of progress, and Zuffa won't allow that. Don't get used to THIS.
Written by Kevin Haggerty of MMA Buffet
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