I always need to sleep on an event to really come to terms with everything that happened. UFC 131 was a show that I was pretty excited for, even for an event that wasn't likely to sell much better (if better at all) than UFC 130. I was much more interested in the 131 card than 130 and in most ways it delivered a very entertaining event. Let's take a quick point by point look back at the event:
- I wasn't doing the live results for the Facebook fights so I missed a good portion of them and will be spending my afternoon catching up on them. I did catch the Aaron Rosa/Joey Beltran fight which was ugly, but still entertaining enough on that portion of the card as well as the Dustin Poirier/Jason Young fight which I found very interesting and another nice showing from Poirier.
- Chris Weidman is a very exciting prospect but he needs to work on his defense in the stand-up a little bit. Jesse Bongfeldt rattled him a few times before he stuck his head into a standing guillotine choke. Bloody Elbow community member SSreporters suggested Weidman against Tim Boetsch as the next step in Chris' career and that seems like a fantastic bit of matchmaking.
- I'm a huge Yves Edwards fan, going back to the old days of tape trading as the way to catch MMA events from around the world. It was really rough to see him get knocked out completely clean by a left hook from Sam Stout. That bout was shaping up to be an interesting stand-up battle before Stout absorbed an Edwards punch like it was nothing before unloading the brutal left hand. Stout has now won four of his last five with the only loss being a split decision against Jeremy Stephens. There's pretty much never a time when I don't want to watch a Sam Stout fight.
- Vagner Rocha had no business in the cage with Donald Cerrone. I know it was a late replacement situation but it was actually sad to watch Rocha get leg kicked by the third round as he flailed with desperate takedown attempts. I also fall into the camp of people who wanted to see Donald go for the finish on a clearly beaten foe, but that's not a huge knock on his performance for me. Just something I'd have liked to have seen. Hopefully Cerrone's next fight is one that truly shows where he fits in the overall UFC lightweight picture.
- Jon Olav Einemo looked pretty much as I expected. Which is to say, he looked decent but flawed and very "unfinished." He had the chance to put away Dave Herman a few times but Herman's ability to recover as well as his very awkward style led to a tremendous comeback win. Still, I'd be lying if I said that I expected big things from either of these guys in the future. I'd be higher on Herman if he didn't have a well established pattern of just getting lazy during fights.
- I think it's a bit of a crime that Einemo/Herman got fight of the night over the battle between Demian Maia and Mark Munoz. Maia and Munoz put on a back and forth contest which saw a higher level of skill and technique than the heavyweight fight, but I guess it's not entirely surprising. I scored the bout 29-28 for Maia but giving the same score to Munoz is far from a travesty. This is also the perfect fight to explain why five round fights should not be limited to main events and title fights. A hotly contested battle between two title contender worthy fighters should be given the two extra rounds to make clear who the better man really is.
- Diego Nunes was impressive in not being a simple opponent for Kenny Florian's trip to 145. I'm sure the UFC is going to really push to put Kenny in the title challenger role but I didn't see anything that makes me think he should get a title shot without at least one more fight at the weight. Florian didn't look like "the bigger man" and he was caught being reckless several times in the fight. I'd like to see Kenny given another fight to prove that he is a top guy at 145 as well as let him continue to adjust to the weight. His cardio held up surprisingly well but he didn't "look" like a featherweight.
- While we're on the Nunes/Florian fight. I got excited when Joe Rogan pointed out that featherweight in the UFC (145) is basically welterweight in boxing (147). But I got completely confused when he used Oscar De La Hoya and other retired fighters to talk about to reference that they're not "small" guys. Arguably the two most recognizable fighters on the planet in Floyd Mayweather Jr. And Manny Pacquiao are welterweights. Reference the guys that people can immediately conjure in their minds. Not DLH who was always kind of surprisingly little and lanky when he'd get in the ring.
- I guess it's time for me to stop doubting Junior dos Santos. He looked much better in his defense standing than he had in a lot of other fights. His ability to shut down Shane Carwin's attempts to close distance with a jab and left hook was fantastic. Goldberg deciding to only talk about Junior's uppercut so that he could wait for it to get thrown and do his "there it is!" act was frustrating the hell out of me because it ignored the shots dos Santos was having his greatest success with. Then again, this is a guy who called for a jab/uppercut combo to the body from distance. So, maybe it's time to go back to just ignoring Mike and paying attention to the beautiful striking Junior put on display.