Photo by Scott Petersen via MMA Weekly.
Despite spending time in the days leading up to the event talking about how it was, in fact, a poor card for a pay-per-view, I found myself ready to believe that it was going to deliver. If I sat back and really thought about it, I still didn't expect much, but I was willing to just sit back and see where it took me. The result was pretty much in line with my real expectations though, so let's run down the event as we eat greasy foods to counteract last night's mistakes.
- My internet set-up is less than ideal and the Facebook fights just would not stream for me without constant hitching. But I did seem to touch a nerve with people in both the comments and on twitter when I said "TIbau now 9-5 in the UFC. 1-3 main card, 8-2 undercard. I'm telling you guys. This means something." It's not that Gleison Tibau is a bad fighter. It's that he is pretty well a proven commodity. He will almost always beat the guys who aren't long destined for the UFC but against the top end of the division he will almost always come up short.
- Tim Boetsch looked good at middleweight, he was as strong as you'd expect but I wasn't thrilled with his gas tank. He did gut through what appeared to be some pretty big levels of exhaustion later in the fight to take advantage of Grove's inability to pull the trigger with strikes. I'm not sure how bright of a future I see for Boetsch with his cardio if he isn't producing finishes but I'm not going to write him off either.
- I will write Kendall Grove off though.
- Miguel Torres vs. Demetrious Johnson was a tremendous fight. It's very "stereotypical MMA fan" to say that a fight is something that you could show someone to understand that the ground game can be exciting. But this is probably one of those fights. I scored all three rounds for Torres because I felt that Johnson didn't do anything with his takedowns and it was Torres that was attacking the whole fight. I also felt like Torres was the one to actually achieve dominant positions when he had top control. Still, it's hard to be upset with the Johnson win given how close each round really was. People are being far too quick to write Torres off given how good the fight was and how good Johnson is. This fight not winning fight of the night is really upsetting.
- I still don't feel like Brian Stann has huge power. Jorge Santiago has huge chin issues and his defense just isn't good enough to reduce the amount of trouble it will cause him in his UFC career. What Stann does have, is a ton of aggressiveness, strength and a willingness to let his hands go from any position. That will get him very far in a mediocre division. His backstory will get him in a title shot a lot sooner than most other fighters as well.
- Stefan Struve doesn't have any clue how tall he is. I know it doesn't seem like it would be, but fighting to your height when you're a huge individual is something that some guys just never master. This isn't unique to Struve. He was pretty clearly beating Travis Browne and then he let the distance get closed and Browne tagged him with a spectacular superman punch. Still, I can't quit picking Struve. He could fight Cain Velasquez tomorrow and I'd probably pick Struve. The next fight will be the one where he fights like Semmy Schilt! I swear!
- As for Travis Browne, at the post-fight presser Dana White said that he is "in the mix." Someone is going to have to explain what mix Browne could possibly be in.
- I lack the ability to get excited about Rick Story fights. Something about the guy just doesn't click with me. He showed a big chin in the third though. Thiago Alves was really tagging him with some huge shots in the final round.
- Can we stop pretending that Roy Nelson has ever proven able to hang with top level heavyweights now? It's not a matter of needing to lose weight. He'd have to remodel himself completely as a fighter if he tried to do that, and it's just too late in his career for that to even be a half-way legitimate thought. There's no shame in being a top 25 but not top tier heavyweight. That's Roy Nelson.
- Frank Mir is Frank Mir. He'll beat those fringe top 20 guys, and most of the borderline top ten guys but I still can't see picking him against a guy who is a big, strong, power punching heavyweight who is able to bully him. But with Lesnar out for the foreseeable future, the only guys I'd pick with certainty to beat Mir are Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez. I actually think Mir matches up well with Junior dos Santos.
- The less said about the main event, the better. Quinton Jackson is a far better fighter than Matt Hamill and it showed. Hamill doesn't like getting hit and he isn't particularly dynamic. He's also 34, so we should probably stop pretending that he is a young fighter who is about to hit some sort of fantastic transitory period in his career where he becomes a complete fighter ready for the big time.
- Yes, Rampage seemed like he may have not been all that focused on this fight. I'm willing to venture a guess that it's because he never found Hamill to be a threat. That kind of proved out, didn't it?