I'm back! Stay tuned for my preview of Bellator 97 tomorrow. Here we go ...
Hey guys (and girls?). How are you all? I’m well. I’ve been away for a bit, tending to vacation related matters, kids birthdays, and the like. Sometimes, you have to step away for awhile and concentrate on other things, and besides, after the Silva-Weidman KO and the ensuing aftermath, it seemed like a good time for a break.
However, let me announce that I am back. Let me also announce that the 8th installment of the UFC on FOX series wasn’t the greatest card ever, but overall, I found it to be pretty solid. You know damn well that I’m about to tell you why I feel that way (and bring up some curiosities of mine), beginning now.
1. How good would Ed Herman be if he wasn’t so Goddamn slow?
He wouldn’t be plunking Anderson Silva or anything, but Jesus. It’s hard to ignore how much his lack of speed hinders him in every single fight. And I’m not just talking about his punching speed; I’m talking about his everything speed. He hurt Trevor Smith with a left hook in the 1st round of their spirited UFC on FOX affair, and instead of pouncing and trying to flurry for a finish, Herman slowly plodded across the cage towards a retreating Smith like a man who had just come out of hip replacement surgery. His footwork is glacial. His hand speed is comparable to a young Tank Abbott, who fought at heavyweight and may or may not have been intoxicated. He’s just really, really slow.
Regardless, he put a beating on Trevor Smith (who I was actually impressed with … I hope they bring him back), who somehow convinced Sal D’Amato that he won every round. I’ll let that sink in.
MMA Decisions is a fantastic resource, and I urge you all to go check it out if you haven’t already (it’s linked on the sidebar of my homepage). One of my favorite things about it is that not only can you see a judges history, you can also see where all of his decisions took place. And with Sal, black eyes pop up everywhere. Just in the past year, he’s committed judging atrocities in Chicago (Guida over Hioki), Seattle (30-27 for Trevor Smith), Calgary (Kuivanen over Clarke, Ebersole over James Head), and Las Vegas (Uriah Hall over Kelvin Gastelum). Go back further and you really start to wonder who he has naked pictures of. He’s an international man of crime. And he’s still at large.
2. Robbie Lawler looked impressive, but to quote The Wolf from Pulp Fiction, “lets not start sucking each others dicks quite yet, gentleman.”
Not to rain on anyone’s “Wow, Robbie Lawler is turning into a contender!” parade … but it’s Bobby Voelker, fellas. Bobby Voelker is exactly the kind of guy that Robbie Lawler should light up, and light him up he did. Granted, Voelker isn’t always a prime candidate to go out \and get decapitated the way he did, but he was the replacement of a replacement, and it showed. Had Robbie fought Tarec Saffedine (or Siyar Bahadurzada), I think we’d be singing a different tune. He could have potentially beaten those guys, but I don’t see him handing them one sided rounds full of embarrassment.
On top of that, almost no one could have predicted that Robbie would beat Josh Koscheck, but I think Koscheck still wins that fight way more than he loses it.
I don’t want people to get the wrong idea here. Make no mistake; Lawler has rightfully turned heads since his return to the UFC. I LOVE Robbie Lawler. He’s been one of my favorites for a long, long time. I’ll never forget being in Vegas for PRIDE 32 and watching him flying knee Joey Villasenor’s head off to conclude the first fight of the night. He’s one of the most devastating punchers this sport has, and he deserves as much respect and admiration for his mini-run as anyone can possibly give.
But I’m a realist. He’s going to fight some of the more stern wrestlers at 170 at some point, and they’re going to take him down and beat him on top. He’s prone to getting tapped, and even in the stand up, he’s had stretches in his career where he seems a bit disinterested. He’s lost fights he shouldn’t have lost.
I’m rooting for the guy. Just know that I’m cautiously optimistic.
3. I have a new rule of thumb: Anytime I feel a certain way about a fight, fighter, situation, etc., all I have to do to change my mind is read Dana White’s take.
I didn’t necessarily want to change my views on the Rory MacDonald-Jake Ellenberger scrap, which devolved into a pithy festival of boos midway through the fight. MacDonald certainly didn’t blow my socks off with his performance, but I wasn’t exactly cursing at my TV, either. Basically, it was a ho hum affair that one man completely dominated with an impressive jab. It just would have been nice to see Rory open up a bit more.
Then, I saw this headline, courtesy of mmajunkie.com:
White blasts UFC on FOX 8 co-main event performances of MacDonald, Ellenberger
My internal monologue screamed “Don’t click on it, dummy”. As is always the case with a headline like this, whatever Dana got on the mic and started spitting about would upset me. And not even necessarily because I disagree with what he’s saying. There was no good reason to click on this headline. It would have been like a stranger walking up to me and asking “Hey nephew, would you like to be upset for literally no reason at all?” I shouldn’t have clicked on it.
I clicked on it.
“When you get these fights where guys talk s–t, those fights always suck,” White said of the bout. “I think that for Ellenberger to go out and say [MacDonald] doesn’t deserve to be in the top 10 and then not go out and try to prove that he doesn’t belong in the top 10…Ellenberger literally did nothing.
“And in my opinion, Rory didn’t do anything to try and finish him and put a stamp on it and make a statement, not only to the world, but to the guys that are in the division.”
.. Prior to the bout, the two built the fight into something of a grudge match by sparring on Twitter. Ellenberger, in particular, was particularly vocal in attacking MacDonald’s credentials.
But, as White complained, his “punch stats were almost zero.”
Yeah, Dana, Ellenberger didn’t go out and try to prove that he belonged in the top ten! His loss had nothing to do with the fact that Rory MacDonald used his reach to stick a jab in his face a nullify whatever he was trying to do, confusing him to no end. He just didn’t try!
Now that I have Professor McFucklesticks’s take on the fight, I now consider it the best performance of Rory MacDonald’s career, and I also consider him the greatest fighter who ever lived.
4. Demetrious Johnson is taking small steps towards becoming one of the best fighters in the UFC.
He’s really developing a knack for taking a fight over and leaving absolutely no doubt in judges harebrained heads as to who is winning the fight. He didn’t do much on the feet against John Moraga, but he didn’t need to. He had such a gargantuan advantage in the wrestling department that he just kept going to the well until he willed himself to a nice armbar finish. You could tell he really wanted that finish badly, and against a relatively overmatched opponent in Moraga, the risk in going for it was justified. I’m never going to pooh-pooh someone for being a “decision fighter”, but it was definitely refreshing to see DJ get the tap. I love watching this dude.