Last night felt like a big night for Women's MMA. Glancing around twitter at the beginning of the main event, there seem to be real energy in the hardcore fan base for Rousey vs Tate. What will be very interesting to me to find out how this fight played with non-hardcore MMA fans. Miesha Tate did this card no favors by telling everyone that Ronda Rousey was not a legitimate title contender every chance she got, it was a very odd way to try to hype a fight. But as Ben Thapa pointed out to me, to him it came off like a high school drama where a popular student is being threatened by the new girl, and this Mean Girls dynamic may have appealed to more fans than we my like to admit.
And it was a good thing the girls were there, because before Sarah Kaufmann and Alexis Davis took to the cage, it was a fairly pedestrian card. It was not bad by any stretch, but it was nothing to write home about. But Kaufmann and Davis gave Columbus, Ohio a shot of energy when they put on their wild, Forrest/Bonnar-esk brawl. And after that sloppy, but fun fight Rousey and Tate put on a fight that was technically brilliant. The girls stole the show last night and launched Women's MMA to the top of the discussion on a weekend that saw both a Strikeforce and UFC card.
- Rousey vs Tate was an excellent fight, one of the most enjoyable fights I've seen in a while. The ending was just brutal, Tate basically forced Rousey to not just break her arm but mangle it. Mark Matheny needed to step in and stop the fight on Tate's behalf before her elbow got turned inside out. I normally love a good armbar, but this one had me cringing. That arm will take a while to heal and could have a lasting impact on Tate's career.
- Rousey put on a judo clinic on Tate, throwing her all over the cage. Tate made a lot of the idea of Judo vs Wrestling in the lead up to this show, and I've heard this idea brought up before by other fighters. Ultimately judo, wrestling, catch wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu, sambo and other grappling arts are all just different approaches to the same thing: grappling. Some arts may be more complete than others but when two grapplers meet it is all about who is the better grappler. Tate is a good grappler, but it takes something special to get an Olympic medal in Judo or Wrestling, and we saw that something special last night.
- Josh Thompson, despite his own views on his fight, did a good job reminding fans that he is in fact a damn good lightweight. K.J. Noons had nothing for Thompson, as the Punk took Noons down pretty much anyway he wanted and took dominate positions seemingly at will.
- No matter how you scored the fight, Paul Daley did not look good. He worked more wrestling and takedowns than we've from Semtex before. This is a good sign for Daley because there is an expiration date on the pure sprawl-and-brawl style that he has used in the past. That is really the only good thing that Daley can take away from this fight.
- Jacare really put on a full ranging display of all his skills. His striking was more than up to the task to deal with Marunde, Jarcare also flexed some good wrestling and then performed a mercy submission in the third round. Not Jacare's best fight, but not a bad showing for him either. Part of this was due to Marunde appearing to know he had no shot at winning and focusing purely on not getting added to Jacare's highlight reel.
- Not going to get too much into this subject, but how the heck did a Neo-Nazi sex offender get on this card? Seriously, does Strikeforce do background checks, or looking a guy's tattoos or just talki to the fighters for about ten minutes? If they did any of that it should have been pretty obvious what this guy was. That aside, it was deeply satisfying to watch Roger Bowling put a beating on that man, major props to Bowling.
Time for some bonus perspective as we had a second fantastic cards this weekend. Down in Sydney, Australia the UFC had a great night as far of action inside the cage was concerned. But all that has been overshadowed by a mistakes that took place out side of the cage. Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson was awarded a split decision over Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall, when actually the fight had been scored a majority draw.
By the rules of the Flyweight tournament, a draw demanded a fourth "sudden victory" round. Not only were fight fans robbed of five more minutes of excellent action, but the Flyweight tournament is on hold now until the two can be re-matched so a proper winner can be declared. And what makes this really galling is that the fight had been flat out excellent, good busy stand up and on the mats great scrambles, sweep attempts and epic ground and pound from Ian McCall had fans wanting more. And the fact that is all stems for a basic literacy error makes this just unforgivable. We can only hope their April rematch results in as much action, but looking back on such a fantastic night of fights I don't want to linger on this too long.
- Martin Kampmann playing the role of comeback kid should have been the talking point coming out of Friday night. It was awesome. This was an excellent fight to have on FX because the much talked about casual fan got a window into what makes this sport so exciting. Kampmann showed great heart and technique and I'm willing to bet he converted a few new MMA fans.
- To bring back up the McCall/Johnson debacle, I think this is an excellent example of why 10-8 rounds should be used more liberally in MMA. There is plenty of debate on who won the first two rounds, but I think we can all agree that McCall won the third round by a sizable margin. But according the the score cards, Johnson won the second round by the same margin that McCall won the third round and that is not an accurate reflection of what took place in the cage. The 10-point must system can work as the scoring system for MMA, but it needs to be used in a manner where scorecards can accurately reflect fights.
- Joseph Benavidez was my pick to win the Flyweight tournament, and it was mostly based on his ability to finish fights, both with submissions and with his hands. He looked great a Flyweight and his KO of Yasuhiro Urushitani was excellent.
- The undercard rocked, which is sad because I had to watch it after the fact because I don't have Fuel (thank you very much Comcast). I love armbars, they are my favorite submission to see done and pull off in rolling and T.J. Waldburger's made my Friday. And that was right after Daniel Pineda locked on a sweet mounted triangle that turned into a triangle armbar. It was a bad night for elbows, though not as bad as Saturday night.
- The Aussie crowd was a little odd, laughing at weird times and booing at the drop of a hat. But it appeared to be a full house, so despite the idicoy with scorecards expect the UFC to return to the Land Down Under.