I just thought I'd share my opinions about the UFC's FS1 debut in convenient bullet form for you to disagree angrily with.
Chael Sonnen def. Shogun Rua via Submission Rd. 1 (to old age before his time)
- I'll just leave my predictions for this fight here:
- "I'm calling it now: The Sonnen that passed to side mount against Brian Stann and Anderson Silva (in the first round of their second fight) can get the submission against a wheezing gasping Shogun. One of the things about Shogun's ground game is that he tends to wear himself out going all in on techniques like he did with that unsuccessful helicopter sweep against Jon Jones."
- Shogun was never good at wrestlers, and Chael is a very good wrestler and has become a good grappler. Give Shogun fun senior circuit fights until he looks like he's endangering himself. We can start with that rematch against Little Nog, who has also slowed down since his heyday.
- Sonnen should fight Vitor or the winner of Philippou and Jacare. After the drubbing that Jones put on him there's no reason to suggest that he stay at 205 but there's lots of reason for him to go down to 185 with Anderson Silva not currently holding the title.
- I've said over and over (since back when he was in Strikeforce) that Overeem's MMA striking defense is not going to carry him through, and no amount of K-1 credentials (gifted to him via Peter Aerts defeating Semmy Schilt) can make up for the fact that that K-1 turtle defense shit doesn't work in MMA. Overeem is too plodding to rely on his hands for defense.
- Travis Browne didn't do anything technically transcendent here. In fact, brute forcing the same technique over and over because Alistair Overeem continued not to defend against it doesn't blow anyone's mind. But god damn, for all of Alistair's faults he throws legit clinch knees, ground and pound, and hits hard. Browne survived all three like a mutherfuking boss.
- I hope they keep Overeem around. Now that all this talk inflating his ceiling beyond the reasonable has ceased they can put him in good matchups. We can start with Markuuuuuuuuu.... Huntoooooooo!\
- Travis Browne continues not to lose in fights where he doesn't blow his knee out. Next up for him should be Werdum if Werdum wants to fight again before his title shot, or if that doesn't work out, put him in there against Stipe Miocic
- Faber looked beastly as he always does against everyone who isn't champ. He got in trouble early against a very very savvy submission grappler in Alcantara and showed with pinache that grappling in MMA is not the same as grappling in general. His use of top control and ground and pound wasn't the most exciting, but it was very very effective. He also overcame adversity.
- Faber talked about fights at 145, but at this point I have no problem with him fighting MacDonald to see who gets to pick up the pieces after things shake out between Barao and Cruz. I really think at that point you can't say no to either for a rematch.
- Alcantara had the grappling skills to threaten Faber. Since he lost, you could easily toss him in there with Mike Easton to test Easton's supposed grappling acumen, or maybe fellow Faber victim Scott Jorgensen.
- Matt Brown continues his inexplicable hatred of faces, which he seems to smash every time he enters the cage. That's six straight and four in a row by (T)KO (five of those six). Mike Pyle offered little more than wind resistance.
- It's time for Matt Brown to move to a bigger stage, but I still think it's too big a jump to go top 5 after beating Mike Pyle. I think a showcase headliner of a FS1 card or a co-main on a PPV/Fox card against Robbie Lawler, and the winner of that can climb to the top 5, while the loser is doomed to open PPVs in exciting fashion (what a horrible fate). Plus, fightboner.
- Mike Pyle should face the loser of Maia/Shields. It's a challenging fight but not one that's likely going to end with brain damage.
- I still refuse to rule out some kind of injury to Lauzon. He looked sluggish and never even once looked like he was trying to implement the Joe Lauzon crazy rush/Hail Mary submission that I've come to expect from him.
- That said, Michael Johnson looked very light on his feet and was throwing very well. I wouldn't mind seeing him against fellow traveler and ex-Blackzillian Melvin Guillard. Both have been coming off losses that show inability to stick to a gameplan, but both looked very technically improved in their last outing.
- I'm not making any suggestions about Lauzon until I hear post fight interviews and such. This performance seemed uncharacteristic to me and I need to headshrink him before making any conclusions.
- Joe Rogan forgot to take his Alpha Brain today.
- Jon Anik has showed improvement as an announcer and I'm now convinced that what needs to happen is Florian needs to be kicked from the announcing booth and replaced with someone like Frank Mir.
- Fox Sports 1 shows a lot of promise. I hope Comcast moves it out of the sports package and into the basic package in my area soon.
- Conor McGregor looks solid, but I hope they don't stupidly launch him into the stratosphere before he's ready. Give him time and he'll thrive.
- Michael MacDonald is a fucking beast. I don't know if there's any test left for him outside the belt except Faber.
- Overall, this is my frontrunner for card of the year.