If you watched UFC 169, you witnessed history. This was the show with the most decisions in the history of the UFC.
I don't know that that's a good thing, or a bad thing. I do know that it made the night feel ungodly long.
And then, after a "too long" event, the main event stopped early. Renan Barao looked great, he stunned Uriah Faber multiple times, he dropped him, he had him in trouble repeatedly in the first round. The finish came with Faber turtled up and Barao throwing hammerfists. The issue, however, was that Faber was defending the punches by blocking every single one, and even tried to communicate to Herb Dean that he was okay by giving a thumbs up. Still, Barao looking up at Dean and basically asking for the stoppage got the veteran ref to jump in for the TKO.
It's a tough situation for a referee to be in. Safety is paramount and Faber was in a bad spot. But blocking punches does seem like an "intelligent defense" and the only other option Faber had was to give up a position where he was blocking punches and actually take damage in the spirit of "doing something."
- Jose Aldo is a nearly perfect mixed martial artist. His patience and willingness to analyze the situation and take what is available make him less of the explosive finisher than he once was which, in turn, makes him a bit less of a draw than he has the potential to be. But he's so far above his contemporaries at 145 that it is getting hard to get excited for him defending his featherweight title. And isn't the idea of Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis just the best thing ever?
- Ricardo Lamas was there to the end. I guess that's something you can say for him. And he even had a little success to close out the fight. But I don't really know what more you can say about his performance, he was tough, but simply outclassed.
- Speaking of outclassed but tough, Frank Mir managed to survive to a decision in a bout where he had very little success against Alistair Overeem. Overeem dominated from the first round, hurting Mir with strikes and owning the action on the ground. The second saw Mir get a takedown and, perhaps too quickly, go for a guillotine choke that gave up position. Once Overeem muscled out of the choke, there really was nothing left for Mir in the fight.
- Four straight losses for Mir probably aren't enough for the UFC to cut him loose, but he has taken a ton of damage in his career and I wouldn't hate to see him hang 'em up at this point.
- Ali Bagautinov is a hell of a fighter, beating John Lineker is no small feat, but I don't think they're going to rush Ali into a title fight. I also don't think he has a style that presents many problems to Demetrious Johnson. At least we don't have to play "will they, won't they" with Lineker, who still can't seem to reliably make weight.
- Jamie Varner's bout with Abel Trujillo was a joy to watch. Those two threw everything with the intention of knocking the other man out and it made for some true excitement. Varner seemed to have things going his way but kept himself so wide open in pursuing a finish that Abel's frightening power was able to flip his switch with one single monsterous punch.
- There weren't many highlights from the prelims. There were some okay performances and fights (Al Iaquinta vs. Kevin Lee was the best fight on the prelims). But every fight went to decision and it was a real trudge to get to the much, much more entertaining main card.