Former UFC middleweight champ Lloyd Christmas. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
I'm not really sure how to feel about tonight's UFC 147 card. The main card was full of highs and lows, so it's hard to peg it as an underachiever or an overachiever. The weird meme about weak cards ending up awesome should probably be put to death after tonight, but I was still oddly entertained by the event. The prelims kicked booty and three out of the five main card fights delivered in my eyes. My wallet is still yelling at me for spending 50 bucks on that card, but I may or may not be the guy that spent 300 bucks on ECW tapes back in the day as well. Quote the Raven - Nevermore. Enough about my spending habits though, let's get down to business.
Rich Franklin: It was easy to write off Ace after his extended absence from the cage but he showed off some vintage Franklin tonight. There might not have been a ton of sizzle, but Franklin is all sorts of smart in the cage and that's what won him the fight. He was in huge trouble in the second but was intelligent enough to continually keep his opponent as far away from him as possible when things went sideways. And other than those 30 seconds, he controlled the fight. He even threw caution to the wind down the final stretch and made the last minute of the fight everything that UFC on FX 4 wasn't, which should earn him some bonus points. Dropping Wandy at the final horn was just icing on the cake. I thought it was a masterful performance from one of the best in the game, and you should too.
Cezar Mutante: That probably wasn't the way he envisioned it going down before the fight, but he's the first TUF Brazil middleweight champ. The fight was extremely frustrating - there was either absolutely nothing going on (for 14 minutes of the fight), or it was two seconds from ending after some crazy flurry (for one minute of the fight). Clearly Mutante got the fight he wanted considering Serginho's formidable skills on the floor, but who would have predicted that Moraes would come close to finishing with strikes? A lot of people will look at the fight with rose-colored glasses and say "wow, that Serginho/Panther guy has better standup than they thought he did". This negative nancy sees it differently - Cezar has some pretty porous striking defense. Neither of these guys are going to be threatening in the middleweight division anytime soon, that's for sure. I can't wait until Daniel Sarafian is healthy enough to come back and school Mutante. He was the real middleweight star of TUF Brazil.
Rony Jason: He's the P4P crying champion, I'll give him that. Who cries on their way to the cage? Has that ever happened before? I thought his fight with Pepey was all kinds of terrible, but I blamed a lot of that on his opponent. Pepey went like 3 for 3498 on the feet and pulled guard approximately 92 times. Really? I've seen people land more punches in a game of cribbage (it was in Ireland though, so I guess that makes sense). Jason did the best he could and I think he has a lot of potential, but their bout was not good.
Fabricio Werdum: This was a no-win situation for Vai Cavalo, but he went all Kobayashi Maru up in that b*tch and made it a win anyway. Yes, that was a Star Trek reference on BE. It's not like Russow had a ton of buzz outside of places like this, but that Werdum uppercut was a thing of beauty and he took his time to finish it in style. The uppercut was so awkward though - all I could think was "Damn homie, that's what Cigano ruined your world with!" Werdum using it to pick up his biggest UFC win to date was all sorts of weird, but effective at the same time. He turned a negative (fighting an unknown on the Siberia of UFC cards) into a positive, and threw his hat into title contention. Not bad for 148 seconds of work.
You can catch the losers after the jump.
Wanderlei Silva: It hurts my soul to put one of my heroes in this category, but it is what it is. He didn't show enough urgency for large portions of the fight and he probably gassed himself out trying to end it in the second round. I love the fact that he almost finished the fight and I turned into a fanboy as soon as he hurt Franklin, despite having money on Ace. I didn't even make any sense apparently - according to my 82-year-old father, my exact words were "Get him kill him soccer kick!" Wandy lost, but that sequence was enough to satisfy his fans. The last 30 seconds of the fight were amazing too, and I had a huge smile on my face when the final horn sounded. Silva might have lost the fight, but he isn't a loser by any means.
TUF Brazil: I think my recently-referenced dad covered it best - "These guys are the finalists? They're actually better than the guys that fought earlier? How?" The Ultimate Fighter has needed a reboot for a long time, and TUF Brazil delivered that on every level imaginable. It was full of the reality drama that people crave and had a ton of solid fights as well. All it needed to cement success was a finale that established the top guys as legitimate threats - and that most assuredly did not happen. The four finalists basically pooped the bed. TUF Brazil will continue and it will prosper, but tonight's main card was a huge black mark on the relevance of the show, unfortunately.
Mike Russow: I rarely have trouble writing these, but I'm honestly not sure what to say about Russow right now. It wasn't a fight he deserved in the first place, but he got schooled by a dude that's never been known for his striking (yes Werdum's made improvements, blah blah. He still isn't a killer on the feet). Despite his 4-0 record in the UFC coming into the fight, no one ever really took Russow seriously so no one should be surprised that he lost. Russow's an honorable man and I respect him for what he does in the real world. That's about all I can come up with.
Anistavio "Gasparzinho" Medeiros: I like to believe I'm smarter than reality TV, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Gasparzinho getting his ass beat. I guess I bought into his bullpoop and made up my my mind about this kid because he was all kinds of annoying on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. Everyone had to win their way onto the show so I can't say he was completely devoid of talent, but he didn't seem to be at the level of his fellow competitors.That was proven by Rodrigo Damm tonight, who absolutely schooled him and made him tap in the first round. I might have got suckered by some reality show BS but watching Gasparzinho lose got a pop out of me. You win this round, TUF Brazil producers.