(This probably would have been a more competitive fight. But not by much.)
My serial procrastination, uncommonly busy employment schedule and inability to stare at glowing rectangles within a few hours of a whiskey hangover tend to afford me the luxury of reading what others have written about an event before putting my thoughts into text. In other words, I'm late again. Sorry, everyone. Once my legalities are resolved and my semester is underway, I'll be giving you more to hate and mock. I promise.
- Most of the Facebook prelims weren't very good. Natal looked decent when interested (which was infrequent at best), Mike Brown gassed pretty hard after a dominant first while proving that Nam Phan has a lot to learn, Hendricks and Pierce fought a relatively entertaining war of attrition (that I feel was correctly judged, even though I picked Pierce) and Ivan Menjivar's performance can't be celebrated because he came in fat. I wasn't very happy, but I did go 3-1 on my picks there (damn you and your magnificent beard, Hendricks!).
- The Spike ones, however, were thoroughly enjoyable, and not only if you were smart enough to pick Alexander Gustafsson to beat Matt Hamill. Even if you were still enthralled by Hamill's seemingly forgotten wrestling past and enamored by his story, one couldn't help but be impressed by the way the Mauler (great nickname, by the way) eviscerated the Hammer by using his range and making Matt pay for his halfhearted take down attempts. That kid has a future at 205, and his loss to Phil Davis is nothing to be ashamed of. I think Rich Franklin made the right call when he turned down this particular opponent.
- Kenny Florian getting a title shot over Chad Mendes is bullshit. Yes, he descended down from 155 after losing to Gray Maynard and promptly defeated a solid top 10 contender in Diego Nunes. Inexplicably, beating the #8 FW in the world means, for Florian, a #4 spot in the USA Today rankings and a title shot against consensus #1 Jose Aldo. Meanwhile, Mendes - who is 6-0 in Zuffa since 2010 with wins over Eric Koch, Michihiro Omigawa, Javier Vasquez and Cub Swanson - dominates Rani Yahya (fresh off of a decision victory over Brown, the former champion) and is now stuck in the all-too-familiar "wait for a title shot or fight again?" conundrum that's created by either a) injuries or b) crappy matchmaking. In this case, I'd advise Mendes to take some time off. Nobody's going to leap frog him as the #1 contender in the interim.
- Rory MacDonald's a helluva fighter. It's dumb to say that anyone is the next GSP or Anderson Silva, much as it's dumb to say anyone is the next John Elway or Mickey Mantle. He's got a lot to prove, but with Pyle and Diaz down, Rory has two legitimate wins under his belt at an absurdly young age. He's shown great grappling, an evolving striking game (he's made strides since the Condit fight) and a killer instinct that finished Pyle's night early. Pyle didn't even have a bad game plan - MacDonald just blew it up.
- I'm semi-intrigued by Costantinos Philippou, but he's got to work on his gas tank and pray he doesn't fight a wrestler at any point... ever. I was having a lot of fun when Alessio Sakara and Jorge Rivera were both riding 3 fight winning streaks, but those days are long, long gone. Middleweight could use some new blood, especially ridiculously unproven blood, like that which courses through Hector Lombard's veins.
- Mike Fagan was way off base when he wrote this piece over at Bloody Elbow. My revulsion to Dennis Hallman's ring attire was due completely to functionality (as evidenced by a picture linked to in Fagan's piece), shamelessness and the general asshattery that comes with wearing a Speedo in public. Homophobia is a serious problem, in America and in MMA - serious enough that the accusation should not be thrown about willy-nilly when it's completely unrelated to the task at hand. I was rooting for Brian Ebersole because I picked him (this fight made me 7-2, with my other screw-up being Rivera), but I started rooting for him more when I saw Hallman's ridiculous get up, and I don't have a homophobic bone in my body. Severe overreach by a guy that I normally enjoy reading.
Okay. So I get that you already saw me squabbling with Fagan (for the record, we both love you very, very much, it's just that Mommy and Daddy yell at each other sometimes. It's not your fault, honey!). Still, though, you should drop by Head Kick Legend and check out the rest. Brent Ducharme has a bunch of videos with face kicking and stuff, David Castillo on how "the brain" is "important", and Austin Martin going through writer puberty. It's all very, very exciting. Join us, won't you?