Crow. Actually not that bad with a side of greens and some red wine.
I wrote an Aldo-Edgar pre-fight analysis that just whiffed and completely missed the mark. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by how good explosive, tactical and patient Aldo looked. Anyone telling you Frankie Edgar won the last three rounds is on bath salts- instead, Aldo fought a very intelligent fight for his physical makeup. He threw brutal chopping leg kicks for the first two rounds, then took a more measured approach that emphasized damage over volume later. As someone more knowledgeable about MMA than I commented last night, Aldo is obviously pure fast-twitch muscle, and combining that with the big weight cut means he's always going to have some cardio issues- so he conserved his energy and fought a smart fight. Loved it.
- Here's why I was wrong about Edgar's takedown ability. Edgar I think was a decent but not incredible college wrestler, and his takedown prowess in MMA doesn't come from a traditional blast double like Phil Davis/Koscheck/GSP etc. Instead, he sets it up very nicely with his striking, he's unpredictable and phase shifts very quickly etc. But if your opponent isn't a bit worried about your striking and you have no meaningful offense, that approach sort of goes out the window.... Also, I'd like Jack Slack to explain how Aldo was able to put his whole hip into those leg kicks yet only risk a takedown once. Something to do with the set-up, I'm not sure.
- I still think Edgar could have had more success if he was more aggressive, especially in round 3. Why he waited till round 4 to turn it on is beyond me- even if you win the last two rounds that way (and he didn't win 5), you're still down 3-2. Edgar had a few chances to be more aggressive with his takedowns, like when Aldo popped up from the takedown in round 2 and was off-balance near the fence- I was screaming at Edgar to just drive him up against the fence there, but no dice.... (I'm not particularly an Edgar fan but just didn't want to be proven wrong).
A good dose of Sonnen-Velasquez-2011 Fitch aggressiveness in just going after the takedown repeatedly would have helped Edgar out. Maybe not in space where Aldo can punish you, but herd him close to the cage then shoot, etc. Instead, Edgar stole a page from Urijah Faber's book and simply stood in front of Aldo at striking range, I guess thinking he could get takedowns from there.
- I totally forgot how huge Aldo is for the weight class. This looked exactly like one of Edgar's lightweight fights all over again. Interesting how most of the dominant champions are heavy weight-cutters and usually have a strength/power advantage- Aldo, Bendo, Anderson and Jones. Only GSP doesn't seem to cut that much, but obviously the other four champions have a much higher finishing ratio.
- Nice to see Aldo using a guard that's actually practical for MMA- at first I think he had butterfly guard, then a different one where he simply shoved Edgar back to get more space and pop up. Too many fighters try to use traditional gi jiu-jitsu full closed guards and waste time going for low-percentage subs. Closed guard should only be for emergencies and when you need to recover- an MMA guard should be used for sweeps, making space, creating scrambles etc. This isn't sport jiu-jitsu.
- For purely selfish reasons, I just want Aldo to leave 145 and journey to the lightweight division. I think he'd only get more entertaining. Without so brutal of a weight cut, he could be more aggressive and not worry about his cardio, leading to more finishes. Also, fighters tend to gain power without that cut- imagine Aldo throwing those punches and kicks with even more steam behind them..... I think I just drooled a little, imagining all the crazy fights he could have at lightweight.
- If you think Edgar won the last three rounds based on his volume of strikes that have little power, you are (part of) what's wrong with MMA scoring today. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's damn true.
- Anyone else see Evans swing at Noguiera a second or two after the final bell? Also he didn't apologetically touch gloves or offer to apologize after brutally eye-poking him. My respect for Evans just went down by quite a bit.
- Maia is like the poster-child for dropping a weight class to revitalize your career. Also, I don't know how much he's been cross-training with wrestlers, but I think his newfound wrestling prowess is really cool. That kind of skill development and cross-nation martial arts training is part of what makes MMA so awesome. Obviously we've all been infuenced by BJJ- with Maia, I feel like American wrestlers have returned the favor and helped provide the missing link that makes jiu-jitsu practical for MMA. It's also a slap in the face to the guard-pulling, butt-scooting impractical nonsense that sport jiu-jitsu has become- without actual takedowns, your BJJ basically won't work in either MMA or a real fight.
- I guess Overeem's game plan was to win conservatively, I understand he's rarely super-aggressive but here he seemed even less so. He probably just really wanted the money for a title fight and was willing to have one boring win on his resume to get there. Instead.....