Hardcore MMA fans take part in a ritual that very few sports fans truly understand. We sit down and watch fights for five to eight straight hours for a single event and we do it over and over, year round.
Sometimes we get treated to a top-to-bottom thrillfest, other times we end up with what we got tonight at UFC Fight Night 36.
The twelve fight card saw ten fights go to the judges scorecards, something that had only happened once before. Amazingly, that one pervious time came at UFC 169, the prior UFC event. Meaning twenty of the last twenty-four UFC fights went the distance.
It's a bizarre run, something that is likely a statistical outlier barring some sort of bizarre complete shift in the sport. In 2013, 181 UFC fights went to a decision, 48.5% of all UFC fights. Compare that to the 2014 decision rate of 68% (38 decisions, 7 submissions, 10 KO/TKO and 1 DQ) and you have to expect that there will be a flurry of decisions that evens things out a bit.
- The main event between Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi proved to be a nice capper on the ridiculously long night, both men applying their techniques well for five rounds. Neither man really takes a significant step back while Machida continues to look like a force at 185 and a bout with the Chris Weidman/Vitor Belfort winner looking highly appealing.
- Ronaldo Souza picked up a win over Francis Carmont in the co-main event that was a bit less one sided than expected. Souza won comfortably, but Carmont didn't embarrass himself while managing to get to the final bell against a man who is a tremendous finisher. Souza looks like a man who is continuing to grow every time he steps into the cage and his striking is looking good enough at this point that it's no longer an area where one thinks he can be "exposed."
- There was a weird point tonight where an ad for UFC 170 ran and the Mike Goldberg voiceover stated that Ronda Rousey was "the first female to medal in judo in the Olympics." Not the first American female to medal in judo, simply the first woman. Ads go through so many people before they hit the airwaves that there is very little chance that this deceptive marketing was an accident.
- Takenori Sato deserves all the credit and respect due to a man who decides to step into the cage and fight, but his bout with Erick Silva was a bit of an embarrassment. Sato had no business in the cage with Silva, not even as a late injury replacement. His getting blown out was the only result anywhere near the realm of reality.
- Charles Oliveira is a handful when he is on his game, and he was on tonight against Andy Ogle. Ogle was tough and managed to survive into the third round by getting out of some very bad situations, but Oliveira's constant hunting for a finish was able to get him the third round triangle choke. It was surprising to look at his record and remember that, with the win, Oliveira is still only 3-4 (1 no contest) in his last eight fights.
- The only other fight really deserving of any attention was the highly entertaining and competitive bout between Iuri Alcantara and Wilson Reis. The show ended up running so long that I think most people forgot that the fight happened by the time the main event wrapped.