I loosely steal the concept from ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook TMQ. I like it. Please send contributions to the different sections to TuesdayMorningSweep@gmail.com . The column will, hopefully, happen following Zuffa/Forza Fight weekends but will not only be limited to that fight card.
After a long layoff, thankfully aided by the UFC’s lack of numbered card, Tuesday Morning Sweep (heretofore TMS) is back with a look back at the weekend that was and the future that might be.
The weekend was headlined by Rashad Evans’ thorough beating at the hands of Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. Perhaps underwhelming in the violence department, especially considering the beatings Jones has imposed in his UFC career, the fight more than made up for it by the sheer tension throughout. Given the few shots that Evans managed to get through early in the fight TMS thought that all that needed to happen was a well placed right hand and that Jones could have been in trouble. The same tension was there waiting for the champion to come up with something that would take out the challenger.
What is perhaps most disappointing, looking forward, is that the Rashad Evans that showed up on Saturday was definitely the best Rashad we have seen in the stand-up department. He showed much improved footwork, nice form on his punches and kicks and was moving around the cage very well. That Evans beats everybody in the division, which leads to a limited amount of challengers for the champion in the future. Sure enough, there is always the monster of a right hand that is Dan Henderson that could be an interesting proposition. But after that? Silence.
Much, much more after the jump
Speed, Speed, Speed
Speed, or lack thereof, was featured prominently during the whole weekend, and perhaps was the most determinant aspect of many wins and losses. Here are a few examples of:
During their fight this weekend Mark Hominick had a lot of problems dealing with Eddie Yagin’s speed. Despite the fact that Yagin was throwing wide punches that seemed telegraphed, their speed and Yagin’s quickness to engage surprised Hominick all fight.
Marcus Brimmage had the same effect on Maximo Blanco during their preliminary fight. Brimmage consistently beat Blanco to the punch and left the Venezuelan scratching his head as what to do to beat his opponent. Perhaps the tape available for Brimmage is slim, but this much was clear from both his Ultimate Fighter run and his lone UFC fight: He is a good athlete with quickness to spare, and that is something that Blanco should have been aware of.
Eddie Alvarez’s hand speed was too much for Shinya Aoki. In a predictable finish, Alvarez got in and out quickly and showed fast hands in dispatching Aoki early in the first round. Despite the improving form of Aoki (which is not much to say) on his feet, Alvarez was too quick and cracked the Japanese
Defense, Defense, Defense
This week’s edition features mostly stand-up defense, or lack thereof.
Mark Hominick, him again showed poor judgement, throughout the fight by defending punches by putting his hands next to his face, as one would with boxing gloves, repeatedly. The problem here is that MMA gloves are not boxing gloves and doing that protects next to nothing and Yagin capitalized all fights with straights to the face or looping hooks behind the hands. Not a wise move.
Brian Rogers has power. Brian Rogers expects his power to overwhelm his opponnent. The problem is sometimes you face a tough guy like Andreas Spang that rolls with the punches a little better than most and can take one a little better than most. Since that power mostly leads you to victory, you put all your eggs in that basket, often forgetting to protect that basket. Rogers forget to protect his noggin’, and he paid for it with a brutal knockout.
In a similar fashion to Rogers, Brendan Schaub thought that Ben Rothwell would be overwhelmed by his speed and power. He thought that Rothwell was done once he touched him with any kind of force. He did hit Rothwell with a good punch. The problem is that Rothwell is known for surviving a hellish amount of punishment, that should have been in the scouting report. Yet Schaub went after the kill with his hands down and ready to get knocked out, which he did. There has to be questions now about Schaub’s chin, but really, the problem is not so much his chin, rather technical mistakes (trying to stiff arm Roy Nelson, hands down with both Nogueira and Rothwell.)
Miguel Torres is a TMS favorite, but his KO at the hands of Michael McDonald was brutal. One lazy jab that he did not pull back fast enough and the fight was over. McDonald was very quick to recognize the tendency and to capitalize on it. Torres simply left his arm out there and got hit hard with a good punch. Most impressive was the slip, and uppercut-left-uppercut combination that McDonald threw in a fraction of a second to put Torres on his back.
Rick Hawn is a fighter that has shown, in previous tournaments, to have very heavy punches. Yet, Lloyd Woodard advanced, hands down, towards Hawn moments before the right hand that put Woodard down. Lack of striking defense this poor warrants the unconsciousness he suffered. That Cupcake got flattened.
But perhaps the most amazing display of striking defence of the weekend has to be noted, even though it was not in MMA: Anselmo Moreno. Moreno dominated his oppent, David De La Mora, who only managed to land at a 18% clip during the whole fight, and it was not for lack of trying, Moreno is that elusive. Moreno stood in the pocket most of the fight and De La Mora just could not hit him in any fashion. If you haven't seen the fight, TMS suggests you have a look.
Sweet Moment of the Week #1
Nice bit of work by Vinc Pichel on the Ultimate Fighter by recognizing how close the fight was and taking down the wrestler in order to score points in case it went to the judges.
Sweet Moment of the Week #2
Sweet movements from Rick Hawn throughout his fight against Woodard. He managed the distance all through the fight, making Woodard frustrated as he wasn't able to make this a brawl. On top of it, the way he angled while retreating for the momentous knockout shows a very quick evolving fighter.
Sweet Moment of the Week #3
Despite the injury he suffered, Mac Danzig's escape from the Escudero heel hook was a thing of beauty. The poise and the incremental positional gains he managed to do was something to see. The spin to the back that followed was also noteworthy.
Danzig is an interesting case: Much like multiple title contender Kenny Florian, Danzig is not a particularly physical or athletic fighter that has excellent technique in all phases of combat. However, there is a significant difference between Danzig and Florian, and it appears to fall squarely between Danzig's ears, much to many's chagrin.
Sour Moment of the Week #1
Here is a note TMS wrote as Alessio-Bocek was getting ready to start: "This fight should prove to look like two puddles of molasses slowly converging towards each other. Slowest lightweights." It did.
Sour Moment of the Week #2
Sour Moment of the Week #3
Maximo Blanco, on of the most explosive athlete we have seen the cage, being so passive in the cage it was depressing to see. As the first round started, Brimmage was hesitant and he bit on every Blanco feint, yet Blanco never capitalized and never engaged in order to take over the fight. Slowly, Brimmage's confidence grew and Blanco basically let the fight go.
Sour Moment of the Week #4
The whole Clements-Wisniewski fight. The whole thing was a public address message to all aspiring fighters as who NOT to defend on the ground and how NOT to defend on the feet. And it had a Yamasaki screwing up.
Sour Moment of the Week #5
Some people will try to think that the Anthony Njokuani victory over John Makdessi validates the superiority of Muy Thai over Tae Kwon Do but I stop it right there. Njokuani won because of superior movement and footwork, not better kicks or punches, and that movement has very little to do with what you see in Muy Thai fights. Makdessi's problem here was him following Njokuani from the first minute to the last of the fight, instead of cutting him off. Admitedly is it harder for the shorter man to cover the distance necessary to do it but Makdessi made no effort to even try.
Sweet and Sour Moment of the Week #1
It wasn't pretty but a submission win is a submission win, and a bonus helps. Travis Browne hitting that double knee was a thing of beauty, something very few heavyweights would be able to perform. And then he followed that with one ugly arm triangle.
Sweet and Sour Moment of the Week #2
Rory MacDonald dominated a mediocre Che Mills. Yet TMS finds itself wondering about the future of the young contender: If a mediocre fighter such as mills manages to hit him fairly square on the jaw at least a few times during their brief standup battle, it would be interesting to see what happens against a better striker. On top of that, there is no indication he can dominate a superior wrestler like the many wrestlers that populate the top of the division. What happens when he faces a Johnny Hendricks that he can't take down that throws fireballs towards his chin. Happy for the victory, scared for the next phase.
Sweet and Sour Moment of the Week #3
Andreas Spang, after scoring the upset against Brian Rogers, sweet, manages to almost lose his shot against other finalist Maiquel Falcao. Fortunately, losing 20% of his meagre purse for a chance at a 100,000$ seemed like proper motivation. Spang, however, loses it when he faces off with an opponent, acting like a street thug for no reason whatsoever. This is fight promotion, not a fight behind Moe's Bar in Springfield. Grow up Mr Spang, your futures depends on it.
Obscure Fight of the Fight Finder
On May 27th 1998, UFC 145's fighter Keith Wisniewski lost a unanimous decision after a single 10 minute round against Mark Hominick's cornerman Jeff Curran in his fourth documented amateur bout. Wisniewski is a tall 170lbs fighter, to think that he fought the diminutive Curran, who now fights at batamweight, is a little comical. Those were the days were weight class mattered little and that smaller fighter had to fight way above what was probably safe.
Obscure Statistic of FightMetric
On November 10, 2007, Jonathan Wiezorek, he of UFC fame by getting battered, by Wade Shipp, for a whole round before pulling a victory out of nowhere, faced Antonio Silva on EliteXC. Wiezorek managed a blank stat line during the fight according to FightMetric, while Silva battered the poor man before finishing him with a rear naked choke.
MMA Statistic of the Week
Chad Griggs, much like Wiezorek, blanked from the stat sheet by Travis Browne according to FightMetric. Griggs did not manage to land a strike or anything else during his UFC debut. It was all defense from the get go for the Grave Digger, and he was pretty mediocre at that part too.
Brutal Sports News of the Week
In what might be the longest suspension for an in-game play, not a fight or anything like stomping on another player, Raffi Torres of the Pheonix Coyotes leveled Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Torres, a repeat offender, was suspended for 25 games, in the playoffs no less, for his troubles. There has been some long suspensions in hockey, Chris Simon for stomping on another guy with his skate, Dale Hunter hitting, from behind, Pierre Turgeon as the later was celebrating a goal, but this one is the first for something that was deemed legal just a few years ago. It is interesting to see how sports evolve with rule changes and how some players can't seem to adapt to those rule changes.
The other interesting part is that as brutal as that hit was, it would certainly have made the top of Don Cherry's Rock 'Em Sock 'Em best hit of the year had it been performed anywhere in the 90's or 80's. (Hey, look, Wikipedia inform TMS that they did those VHS/DVD until 2010, had no idea...)
Bad MMA Ink
In this week's edition, TMS proposes the classic Edwin DeWees:
Mr DeWees apparently has his genitals on fire. TMS is not quite certain how this is a good thing. Perhaps in an attempt to not have a tramp stamp, he decided that his package shooting flames. I hope his partner is flame retardant.
MMA Link of the Week
Just in case you haven't seen this: Colossal Concerns
James 'Colossus' Thompson's amazing blog, with the big man going into details about his thoughts on traditional martial arts, Fred Ettish and other important MMA subjects. Bookmark it.