This one is a little more succinct than the other one. You could call it 1.5 if you wanted. I was not planning on writing one but ended up with things to say.
The weekend saw a Strikeforce card that was neither major or significant but had potential for interesting fisticuffs. Unfortunately we got neither. The card was a disgrace in terms of scoring, refereeing and the fights just did not deliver in terms of competitiveness and entertainment.
Perhaps the most entertaining fight of the night was Tarec Saffedine beating Tyler Stinson by decision. Although TMS thought that Saffedine won the fight, Adelaide Bird, judge for the NSAC, thought one better, scoring the fight 30-27 for Saffedine. Given that Saffedine was stunned at the half point mark of the first round and was then continually on the defensive as Stinson looked like he was close to finishing him. If Saffedine's defense was just a little more deficient, he very well could have been done. How Bird thought Saffedine won that round is a mystery.
That score came right after the worst scoring of the night where Nah-Shon Burrell should have lost a decision to James Terry, although he had a great performance in third round. The result seemed to have shocked Burrell himself, but Glen Throwbridge and Marcos Rosales thought Burrell won.
Much, Much more after the jump
Bad Black Polo Shirt of the Week
Kim Winslow. Everybody knows why, so TMS will not pile on this particular back.
Sour Moments of the Week
Gian Villante, moment after rocking Trevor Smith ends up defending a weak leg lock attempt from Smith and dropping hammer fists to the latter's head (including some questionable ones to the back of the head.) While Smith might have been eating a significant amount of shots to the head, he was still trying for a submission. Kim Winslow (TMS lies sometimes) decided she had seen something nobody else did and stopped the fight.
Lorenz Larkin had showed relatively potent takedown defense in the past, most notably against the aforementioned Villante. But it became really clear, really early that his takedown defense almost entirely relies on his significant athleticism. Unfortunately for him, Muhammad Lawal was a bigger, stronger and more technical fighter tonight and plainly dominated him for the duration of the fight.
Glenn Throwbridge, him again, scored the Woodley-Mein fight 29-28 for Jordan Mein. TMS was pulling for Mein, rooting patriotically, but there is no way Mein won two rounds of that fight. Perhaps Mein incurred a little bit more damage than Woodley in the second round, maybe.
Woodley, for his part, with the safe gameplan he employs against strikers, employed a very effective strategy. What TMS feel is unfortunate is that Woodley would not attempt to pass the guard and try to incur a little more damage. Granted, that would risk some scrambles from Mein and perhaps a submission attempt or two, the rewards would have been worth it. TMS feels like Woodley might not have the most stout submission defense and that he is really worried of getting caught (which probably happens quite a bit at ATT.) The problem here is that Mein is hardly a submission wizard an that the risks were relatively minimal.
Sweet moments of the week
Technique winning over athleticism. While Muhammad Lawal is a good athlete, it was his technique that won his fight against a very athletic Lorenz Larkin. Wrestling technique was also on display for James Terry manhandling a larger man in Nah-Shon Burrell that, despite his superior athleticism, should have lost his fight as he spent most of two rounds on his back
Sweet and Sour Moment of the Week
Sweet: In the thied round of his tilt against Tyrone Woodley, Jordan Mein -finally- manages to stay on his feet after a Woodley takedown attempt. Sour: A second after stuffing the takedown Mein attempts a dispirited hip-toss that might have worked against a lesser opponent but certainly not against somebody with the hips of Woodley. Mein, two rounds down, and with a significant advantage standing, had no reason to try to get this fight back on the ground, the place he ended up being, with Woodley on top.
Sweet: Luke Rockhold getting tagged a few times by Jardine and staying focused on his striking attack. In this fight Rockhold looked much more comfortable throwing in the pocket, which with his long range game being already very efficient, this development makes him all that much more dangerous. Sour: Keith Jardine still unable to defend a left hook, his demise in most fights.
Sweet: Luke Rockhold winning a good fight against a grizzly veteran that has fought some of the best in the world and passed the test with flying colours. Sour: All this talk about Rockhold and the UFC. Rockhold is not going anywhere and he shouldn't. As impressive as he has been, he is still a relative novice in the game and really has only two victories against credible opponents. He is not a world beater yet and certainly not in the same situation as Gilbert Melendez, who has cleaned most of the lightweight division, in and outside of Strikeforce. Rockhold still has credible opponents that could be brought in for title defenses. Mahmed Khalidov could be an interesting matchup. Mousasi could drop back down, Jorge Santiago could be signed for a fight or two. Patrick Coté just won three in a row and would be a nice name on the resumé. Rockhold needs rounds before he can compete with the best in the world.
Statistics (study) of the week
In this three part study, Sabermetrics Research tackles on the subject of the Hockey ‘make up penalty’, which is basically the referees trying to even up penalties between the two teams as the game progresses. The study shows that there is a small but prevalent tendency towards a compassion effect in hockey and that referees just call penalties to even things out. The common wisdom, in most team sports is that referees try to "manage" the game as best they can, whether that is fair or right. The referees make sure there is no escalation in violence or illegal tactics by making sure everybody calms down and call penalties to everybody to varying degrees. Like the links above show, some referees call more penalties per game than others. The great coif, and now TSN columnist, Kerry Fraser was a great example of the referee trying a little too much to manage the game (mostly for his own celebrity status.)
This leads me to question the place and the MMA referee in reference to these team sports referees. Just like in boxing, the MMA referees and ultimately more important to the proceedings than just stopping the fight when someone taps or can"t defend themselves. The point taken away from a fighter because of illegal tactics, the tactics that they let happen and those goddarned stand-ups are all things MMA referees impact the way a fight evolves. Does anybody keep statistics on the MMA referees so that people could start analyzing their performance? Maybe Nick Lembo has his own database but it sure is not available to anybody else. It would be interesting to see statistics on the standups, from which position was it done and correlate it to the end of the fight, the type of offense that followed. Fightmetrics, help TMS out.
Another interesting question is: What should the performance metrics for MMA referees? The NFL has a protocol in place to evaluate their referees, reviewing every play of the season to rate their umpires. What should be the protocol for MMA? What makes a good MMA referee?
(note: TMS wrote this section before the whole Winslow debacle.)
Statistic of the Week #2
Interesting tidbit from the Jordan Breen friday chat: From Rory from Nova Scotia: Four biggest MMA shows attendance-wise in 2011 were UFC 129 and 140 (Toronto), Fedor vs. Monson (Moscow) and UFC 127 (Sydney). While there is evidence that attendance numbers don’t necessarily mean much to the UFC (they often don’t sell out, especially in Las Vegas, and sometimes almost voluntarily hike ticket prices despite weaker cards presented), it is telling that all the cards showed here are outside of the United States. Although it is not a surprise per se, it is interesting because it is indicative of how hard the economic downturn had hit the US, and that the push for international cards from the UFC, notwithstanding the Japan card that is pure vanity, is probably where the money reside in the future. Of course there is always the little problem of the Pay Per View (PPV) model being the most significant revenue stream at the moment, but it will be interesting to see if television deals end up being more lucrative than PPV.
Obscure Fight of the Fight Finder
Robbie Lawler, who fought this weekend, started his Zuffa career at UFC 37 with a bout against the incredibly durable Aaron Riley, who was, back then, on his twenty third fight. Riley lost his UFC debut by decision to Lawler, quite a feat considering the size of the two men in question. But Riley’s previous loss, the second in the series, was against Yves Edwards at Hook n’ Shoot Showdown, once again by decision. While he has been knocked out a few times in recent years, Riley was a tough customer back in the day (still is), and only lost to Falaniko Vitale via (T)KO in his first 24 fights. The Hook n’ Shoot card also features the MMA debut of a certain Francisco Santos Miranda, or Frank Mir, who beat the Jerome Smith also by decision.
Unfortunate MMA Ink
Since he decided to take a leave of absence from his current place of employment, TMS has to have an homage to one of the great contributor of bad MMA ink: Brock Lesnar. But TMS being the bastion of integrity in hard talk on the web that it is, no penis-shaped atrocity will be discussed in these pages. Oh no, that would be way to easy. The focus of our scorn will squarely placed on the massive drawing that Mr Lesnar sports on his back, the very imagery that became synonymous with his Death Clutch camp:
This, ladies and gentlemen is the focus of this section incarnate. So unfortunate is this design that it becomes the very part of a very unfortunate personality. This thing is just the kind of things teenage metalheads used to doodle in the margins of their high school notebooks. Just like the early career Pushead design that never made it to any Metallica or S.O.D t-shirt because it was just a horrible idea. It appears that Brock does enjoy a little Slayer from time to time, but Slayer never had anything this ridiculous on any of their art. TMS seems to be unable to find any kind of statement behind the tattoo, except maybe ‘it looks evil, not really that scary’.
Obscure Sports Moment of the Week
TMS was at the McGill University Redmen’s hockey game this past Saturday as they were taking on the Ryerson University Rams. The most impactful player of the game? Francis Verrault-Paul. The pride of Mashteuiatsh, Lac St-Jean, Quebec, Canada had a goal and two assists on top of of fourteen minutes of penalty. The only thing missing, from the diminutive forward's game, was a fight, to make it even more memorable.