Here is my laughably late take on UFC 166. Remember UFC 166? It was pretty good.
After spending the better part of the last two weeks moving out of a roach infested building (thanks, greasy hoarder slugs formally in the apartment below us), my mind was fried. Podcasts were my only outlet, the only way I could be entertained that didn’t involve spending time with my family. I got so tired that actually having to watch something seemed like too tall a task. You might as well have asked me to explain the pythagorean theorem in Polish.
On top of that, this card didn’t look all that scintillating on paper. I like Junior dos Santos, but in my heart of hearts, I knew the guy would get plastered again. He might as well buy a Buffalo Bills jersey and get it over with. Dan Cormier vs. Roy Nelson? Why? Melendez taking on Diego Sanchez? Yikes. I just wasn’t that interested.
Kyoji Horiguchi went freestyle swimming on Dustin Pague’s face.
While it’s true that this point is basically me going "Damn, that was violent and awesome!", and nothing more … damn. That was violent and awesome.
Horiguchi has obvious improvements to make, and he’s undersized (which should really be every Japanese fighter’s nickname), but this guy can thump with the best at 135. I’m just tickled pink at the idea of a Japanese prospect getting an impressive win in his UFC debut, which hasn’t happened since 1977.
The whole "my nickname is directly correlated to my last name" thing has to stop.
Elliot "The Fire" Marshall. Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon. Kenny "KenFlo" Florian. Ron "H20″ Waterman. And now, Andre "Touchy" Fili. This shit has to stop.
Look, you could round up all the "Pitbull"s in Brazil, and you’re still not topping Andre "Touchy" Fili. Do fighters think this is somehow funny or cute? Let me assure all of you that it is not. I’d liken it more to the experience of seeing a child screw up at a piano recital. First you feel embarrassed for them, then you just want to leave.
Regardless, Fili dazzled in his UFC debut, absolutely manhandling Jeremy Larsen with a wide array of rangy punching combos and some grimy knees in the clinch. Be excited about this man.
Hector Lombard dropping to welterweight was clearly a great move, and it probably should have happened sooner.
Simply calling this a change of weight classes doesn’t do the move justice. This was an outright transformation. Gone was the clunky, doughy lunk who stood there with his hands outstretched like a blind man reaching for a doorknob. This Lombard looked cut up, hungry, and rejuvenated. Granted, Nate Marquardt has definitely been around the block a few times, but the fact remains that he’s only been KO’d by knockout artists. I don’t think Lombard will morph into a contender, but he showed that he belongs in the octagon fighting good fighters, which was an uncertainty beforehand. Kudos to him.
Two 30-26′s for Tim Boetsch? Two 30-26′s for Tim Boetsch.
Before I complain about judging, I must make a confession; I watched this fight with the sound off, so I didn’t realize that they took a point from Dollaway in the third round for repeated eye pokes. That aside though, two judges still gave Boetsch every other round, and you see their rationale. Boetsch was taken down repeatedly. He was boxed around the octagon and outmoved by a guy with superior footwork. Basically, Boetsch did everything you’d want a guy to do to win a judges decision, except the exact opposite. Awesome work.
That is THE worst scorecard I’ve seen this year.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez was great, but let’s pump the brakes on calling it the fight of the year.
In fact, let’s pump the brakes on praising this fight at all. Sure, it was entertaining, but it was mostly entertaining because Gilbert Melendez put a hall of fame beatdown on Diego as he tried to fire back and took what was undoubtedly TONS of brain damage. I can’t say this enough: This was a BEATING.
In the heat of the moment, Joe Rogan started talking about how crazy the exchanges were, and after the fight, even went so far as to call it the greatest fight he had ever seen. Whoa, buddy. Those were barely even exchanges. They were one guy wading in and hoping for the best, while the other guy timed right hand counters to the point that it honestly seemed like Diego enjoyed being hit by them. Watch those "exchanges" in slow motion. Diego lands like 3 out of 45 strikes. If that.
Diego Sanchez’s toughness cannot be denied. This is true. The way he was able to somehow mount a spirited comeback in the third round (a prime candidate for "round of the year", and still a round Sanchez probably lost) was basically a triumph of the human spirit after he’d been force fed a 7 course meal of Melendez right hands. But damn. This was too one sided of a beating to be the fight of the year.
Junior dos Santos needs a hug.
Before this fight, the narrative among fans was basically two pronged, and these are the two prongs:
1. These are clearly the two best heavyweights in the world, and this third fight amongst them was clearly the best option, and something that needed to happen.
2. That being said, Cain Velasquez is going to beat up dos Santos again.
Well, there you go. Alot of people said that, even if Cain beat Junior up again, they’d still want to see these two fight over and over. While it’s still true that these two are the best heavyweights, I’d be curious to see if those same people are still interested in seeing this fight again. Do we really want the modern day version of Jake LaMotta losing 5 out of 6 against Sugar Ray Robinson? I sure don’t. Let the Werdum’s and Barnett’s of the world get their shot, and then, if Junior is still loony enough to want a fourth fight, make it happen. But yeesh.
Junior did everything right in this fight. He swung big punches in the first round and connected, but Cain was unaffected. He ably defended takedowns for most of the fight, and was a much more mobile and strategic fighter. And it just didn’t matter. Cain Velasquez is ridiculously violent and evil, and so is anyone who enjoys watching him ruin the lives of perfectly nice people like Junior dos Santos. Good luck locking something up, Fabricio.