Had a few thoughts about last Saturday's card, which I didn't necessarily feel was great, but I definitely felt was important. Here they are.
This article will not mention Georges St-Pierre’s title defense, other than to say that I have never paid taxes in my life. I always wanted to release that information to a public audience for no reason whatsoever. However, here are some thoughts I had about the card …
- I was totally wrong about Patrick Cote at 170.
When I heard that my man Patrick was dropping to welterweight, I had serious doubts that he could even make 170. I mean, this was a guy that was famously nicknamed “Fatrick” by his teammates, and he wasn’t exactly cut up at middleweight. On top of that, he was dropping down to a weight class that was chock full of excellent wrestlers, far from the wide open field that middleweight offered.
I realize that a win over Bobby Voelker doesn’t exactly mean much in the grand scheme of things, but I thought he came in shape, and you noticed the speed advantage that he had right away. Fun fight.
- It must be frustrating to be a fan of Daron Cruickshank.
While watching the Makdessi-Cruickshank fight, I came up with a term for Cruickshank and guys like him; I call them “Look what I can do!” strikers. In other words, guys who have no grasp of when to throw strikes, no interest in setting them up, and no semblance of strategy to their games … but hey, wanna see a gorgeous, technically sublime wheel kick that was thrown at a really weird time? Look what I can do!
During the fight, Joe Rogan dusted off one of his favorite meme’s. He said “Makdessi is making Daron think.” And I thought, “I don’t think Daron is thinking. That’s why he’s going to lose this fight.”
If you’re going to plod forward towards Cruickshank with wild punches, he’ll definitely make you pay for it. But a good game plan and opportune striking can just as easily throw him off. Good performance by John Makdessi, who showed off an improved sprawl and some nice punches.
- Yves Lavigne isn’t the worst ref in MMA, but he might have the worst lowlight reel of baffling stoppages.
Oh, Yves. Why must you do these things?
It had been awhile since Yves had taken our breath away with a bullshit stoppage, and I don’t know about you, but I felt the void. It was palpable. It was like something real and meaningful was missing from my day to day life. Where were the Pete Sell-Matt Brown-esque atrocities? Here was one.
The stoppage of the Darren Elkins-Antonio Carvalho fight reminded me of an old school UFC stoppage, in which John McCarthy would just dive in and intervene at the first sign of trouble. People complain about referee stoppages now, but go back and watch some old UFC fights and check out how bad some of them are. Oh, you’re bleeding? Fight stopped. You got dropped? Fight stopped. You gained mount and landed 4 punches? Fight stopped. Completely reactionary. That’s what this was. Elkins landed a right hand that hurt Carvalho, but he covered up and appeared to be on the road to recovery when Elkins floored him with another right hand. Carvalho popped up immediately, but Yves had already done his damage.
Sometimes, a guy will protest a stoppage, but his eyes betray him by going all Stuart Scott. Not here; Carvalho was completely fine. Oh well. Thanks for losing Antonio Carvalho some money, Yves.
- He keeps racking up knockouts and gritty victories, but something about Johny Hendricks’s game doesn’t add up to me.
It’s a great thing for Hendricks that he has that Division 1 wrestling to fall back on if he can’t plunk someone with his left hand. Speaking of that left hand, I just can’t get over how reckless and clunky Hendricks looks when he throws it. He’ll throw the left, then immediately lunge and throw another one. He paid for it a bit in the Condit fight, but he was able to fall back on the wrestling and score takedowns.
Lets look at Johny Hendricks’s last 4 fights. He smashed Jon Fitch in 12 seconds. He then beat Josh Koscheck by controversial decision in a fight that was basically a sloppy 15 minutes of Koscheck’s ugly right hand taking on Hendricks’s ugly left. This was followed by the KO of Martin Kampmann, who, despite being a good striker, is one of the most hittable guys in MMA. Finally, he beat Carlos Condit in a tough fight that saw him really show all facets of his game.
Here’s my point: Hendricks’s hasn’t fought anyone who A) Has the right skillset to potentially beat him and B) Actually applies that skillset in the right way. I might be grasping at straws here, but Hendricks seems very beatable to me. Not just by Georges St-Pierre, mind you. Mike Pierce (who arguably should have won their fight back in 2011), Dong Hyun Kim … I’d favor those guys and similar fighters against Hendricks. I think I just hate his beard.
- I have never gone from “despising the way a fighter fights” to “loving the way the same guy fights and looking forward to watching him every time out” quite like the 180 I’ve done on Carlos Condit.
When Carlos Condit made his UFC debut, I didn’t expect much, and I certainly didn’t echo the sentiment that this guy would contend for a title someday. After going 1-1 in his first two UFC bouts (but looking lethargic and beatable in both), my assumption appeared to be correct. He had a good guard, but he could be taken down by a stiff breeze. His standup left much to be desired, as he just sort of threw gangly strikes and punched like a wet noodle. This was someone who was going tit-for-tat with Hiromitsu Miura in the WEC. Now he was supposed to be a welterweight contender?
Then, something happened. After earning a controversial stoppage over Rory MacDonald at UFC 115 (in which he arguably lost the first two rounds but poured in on in the third), he started biting down on his mouthpiece and actually committing to strikes. He laid out Dan Hardy in a poster worthy moment that saw both fighters land left hooks at the same time. He then became the first man to stop Korean standout Dong Hyun Kim, absolutely flattening him with a flying knee and 6 unanswered punches that left Kim face to face with Jesus against the cage.
His true coming out party, though, was his next fight against Nick Diaz. Condit flatly refused to be baited into a pointless brawl with Diaz, and showed an ability to game plan for specific opponents at the highest level. He landed a wide variety of strikes, and avoided Diaz’s attempts to put him against the cage and box him up by using well-practiced footwork.
He’s a dangerous fighter. He famously hurt Georges St-Pierre with a head kick, and despite being dominated by the champ, put on an unbelievable fight.
Carlos Condit might not win a UFC title, but his bout with Hendricks proved that he fights his heart out in every second of every round. I love how he was throwing flying knees while basically moving backwards. Not only that, but they were landing! Who DOES that?
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that the more I see Condit interviewed, and the more of his personality I see, the more I like him. I normally don’t let a fighters persona affect my opinion of them, but he seems like a down-to-earth dude. It was so funny how he kept trying not to laugh at the things Nick Diaz was saying at the UFC 158 press conference, leading to him doing this odd “plug my nose and cock my head” move multiple times. Check it out: