a collection of random thoughts after 168 and reading some of the comments. Appy polly logies if it makes even less sense than usual, o my brother.
Weidman looks extraordinarily scary. He blends elements together so well that it’s difficult to say what he’s good at other than "MMA". He’s dropped Silva twice, he has unbelievable timing on takedowns, can bust out head, body and leg kicks and then put out something like that leg kick check. Able to switch between vicious ground and pound, and the kind of patient positional clinic he put on Munoz in the first round of their fight.
Weidman is going to smosh Vitor, holy smokes. Patrick said in one of the threads that this would be like the early going of Rumble-Vitor and I agree entirely. Vitor has become better at Vitor things, but I have no reason to assume that (like Overeem) his flaws aren't still entirely present. Weidman is neither incredibly sluggish like Henderson or a hittable, slow starter like Rockhold or Bisping, and he has a much better double leg and top game than any of them. Vitor can theoretically headkick him, I suppose, but he's no Jesse "The Water" Bongfeldt.
The leg-break itself was deeply, deeply sad. That said, I put it in a similar general area to Cote’s knee blowing out. The fight up until then had been one-way traffic. Silva and Weidman have now spent around 12+ minutes in the cage, and it’s hard to say that Silva won a single minute of it. Horrible ending to a fight, a year, and probably a career.
On a technical note, lets please forget the fluke angle. This is the second time this year someone came into a fight with someone famous for his leg-kicks, actually checked one, and it broke bones (KZ-Aldo).
Mark Hunt didn't specifically mean to break Struve's jaw, but he did mean to hurt him. Weidman didn't mean to break Silva's leg but he did mean to hurt him. Let it go.
The first UFC fight Silva ever had was against Chris Leben, and it was particularly poignant to see them both go out in such upsettingly apropos ways- the kill-him-to-stop-him brawler with his no mas moment and the immortal champion looking so fragile and human and old.
Are we there yet? "Busted" prospects make good:
- Macario's underperformance in his first UFC fight can be put down to a combo of octagon jitters and a slightly rougher style matchup than Voelker - he’s only 22 after all. I hope that Zuffa Barbozes him a bit, rather than being unnecessarily Mein and throwing him into the meat grinder.
- Michael Johnson has beaten two high level fighters in succession who should have been nightmare matchups for him.
- Uriah Hall performed well enough against the stylistic gift of Leben's corpse, but it's still a little annoying to watch him land everything he throws, and then go back to being so inert.
Regardless, perhaps a good New Years MMA resolution is to have more of an acceptance that not everyone can be Jon Weidman, and some guys have a bit of a slower trajectory, from your Phil Rockholds to arguably your Robbie Belforts.
If looks could kill. I get the impression that John Howard gets booked in much the same way that Cheick Kongo used to for the heavyweight division- he's an intimidating looking muscular black dude who is purportedly a kickboxer. Therefore, if you pair him up with other strikers, you're guaranteed fireworks!
Unfortunately for the UFC, in both cases they neglected to notice that said athletic-and-explosive strikers were not quite taking the approach which they'd hope for. Howard has a surprisingly well-rounded skillset and good power, but a combination of middling pace, sound defense, and a spotty gas-tank doesn't lend itself to thrillers.
Kongo for his part would invariably try and take said striker to the edge of the cage, and then hump and foul him to the final bell, with a few exceptions like his comeback when Barry briefly knocked the boring out of him, and his devastating Charley Horse Elbow TKO over Paul Buentello. The most baffling part was always how the UFC just never seemed to catch on.
Siyar is the Afghan Paul Daley.
Perception of beatdowns. I don't think the three rounds of Rousey-Tate were much more competitive than the first three rounds of Cain-JDS III (or even II). By the standard of virtually any other match-up, it would have been regarded as an utter thrashing. But within the weird bubble of a world where everyone expects this woman to win by a specific submission, in one round, it was undeniably thrilling, edge-of-the-seat stuff. Even when she did eventually win by armbar.
Travis Browne is sort of like Jon Jones with all the physical gifts and none of the mental ones. He is strong, tough, fast and athletic as hell for a 6'7 heavy. I have no idea how good he is at fighting. I just don't know. He throws wacky moves but looks as though he seems to do them because he thinks he is incredibly cool rather than because he has the natural instincts of Bones. With that being said, he has bone-crunching power, and the way he killed Barnett dead was something to behold.
It'll be interesting to see if he really grows into his role as a Jackson's Flailer(tm) in the same way that Condit and Jones have, or if he drops into more of a Guillard role, winning and losing based on athleticism and power more than technique. His main problem in the Kongo fight was getting pushed into the fence, and he certainly seems to have developed a weapon which will give opponents pause before trying that on him again.
I've seen a bit of "fuck 2013", what with the loss of Silva and GSP. Let's not get over-emotional and extrapolate these losses into something greater than what they are. Yes, we've lost two astonishing fighters, but it's a disservice to make them symbols rather than people. Unique, thrilling competitors pass, and then get replaced by other fighters who are unique and thrilling in completely different ways. Yes we should be sad that these one-of-a-kind men who have cemented their places in the history books are gone, but we shouldn't act like it's part of some greater malaise for MMA (aside from UFC buyrates) because that's false.
"There won't be another Anderson Silva in the future" this statement is true. But don't use it as a nostalgic crutch with the implication that he's some mystical breed of fighter which has gone extinct, and that Andersons were two a penny when I were a lad and now you just don't see em any more, and it's all about the mrar mrar wrestle mrar athletes drugs grumble kids today rassum frassum mumble zzzzzzzzzz.
He was a one-off.
Years from now, people will see a Chinese LHW TUF contestant retire Jon Jones and say "well, there won't be a fighter like Jon Jones any more. He dominated a division with nothing but greco, spinning elbows, gangle subs, headkicks and booting people inna knee *sheds tear*".
Let us not forget: 2013 WAS AWESOME.
Yes, there were some moments of sadness, but we had possibly the best collection of 5-round and title fights ever in a year of MMA. Knockouts, comebacks, insane upsets, flyweights, chicks, russians.
2014 won't have Silva or GSP, but you're not looking forward to Bendo-Thomson? Pettis with some new and exciting injury? Weidman comically trucking Vitor? Hendricks-Lawler? Condit-Woodley? Seeing how far them Russian fellers can get? The Cursed Fate of Eddie Alvarez? Barao-Cruz? Gus trying valiantly to get back to a title shot, in the face of Evil Manuwa Voodoo?
C'mon son (and/or daughter). The Red Wedding has passed, and it's time to get over the shock and remember that there are still characters that you care about, and their stories haven't been told yet.