Casual Fight Night: Fights For Friends 2014 February Edition

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, fight fans. In this the second installment of a new segment looking bac at fights of the past month. These are "fights for you friends". These are fights for the MMA casual or newbie. Fights that will keep the most A.D.D.'d out friend you have in a state of attention. This is casual fight night.

These are "fights for your friends". You've heard the complaints of saturation and a diminished product. This is true. No complaint here. But on these diminished cards, there are still great fights, that are being missed. And here they are in one fancy list for the not-so-hardcore.

From top to bottom is a rough priority ranking. The lower it is in the article the less "must watch" it is.

"It's a recommendation... recommendation"

A lot of MMA this month... so let's get to it

Abel Trujiilo vs. Jamie Varner +++ Recommend

  • Good Lord, Almighty. This was a goddamn fight. It was what you'd imagine a bar/street fight to be except both guys had some solid technique behind their VENOMOUS punches
  • I liked this fight more than Diego vs. Gilbert
  • Definite watch and rewatch
Rory MacDonald vs. Damian Maia
  • I don't think casuals, also known as people who hate or don't understand the ground game, might be a little turned off by this
  • The first round was all Maia with Rory defending admirably and ended with some heavy shots landed by both
  • The next two rounds Rory was lighting up Maia's face with everything he had, and Maia, despite being visibly lethargic, would throw back heat. Connecting flush a few times
  • The crowd was chanting "Rory, Rory"... then Maia gets a takedown in round 3 after getting lit up, and the crowd's chanting "Maia, Maia" now. Great stuff. Letting off a pretty big cheer when Maia got the 2nd takedown. Audience started cheering "Rory, Rory" near the end... and I thought that was a little bit much now. Couldn't help but think, "bandwaggoners..." while shaking my head. Then, thinking that I was being a snob for thinking that of others. Anyways...
  • Maybe, my Rory McDonald hate is clouding my judgement, but what Pyle did to Waldburger in round 3 is what I'm thinking about days after UFC 170 (see below). Maia won the first round, but every round he was getting his ass handed to him on the feet. A lot of flailing takedown attempts. So, it was a little one sided for me. And McDonald didn't finish.
  • I don't even remember his opponent's full name off the top of my head. Takenori Sato? Or Something like that, but it was another highlight
  • Heel kicks from a single leg defence. That's a total "WTF" is he doing and was straight out of video game, Soul Calibur 4, called "flipping heel kick" (I used way too much time finding this move, and after finding it... It wasn't exactly the same, but after seeing this in the game I had kept thinking how awesome it would be if someone did that move while someone shot in for takedown, and what Silva did was close enough)
  • The first kick Silva landed did damage, followed up with an uppercut to counter the takedown, and the violent finishing shots. Watching Silva take his leg out of the takedown attempt and his opponent crumble was some beautiful violence.
  • Also, Silva made history as the only fighter to fight 3 guys that didn't land a single strike.
Pyle/Waldburger round 3 is MUST SEE.
But, first here's a fun experiement. Show the Herb Dean refereed fights (Barao, Ronda, and Pyle) in any order. Also, be sure to say that in Dana White's opinion... Herb is the best referee in MMA. You now have your own live "reaction" video.
  • Renan Barao is a good mix of traditional muay thai and wild Chuck Liddell style punches. I'll be honest, I don't love watching Barao fight. Especially when he already fought Faber. However, he just gets the job done. He isn't overly fast, strong, but he's just so solid everywhere, and he controls distance so well. If he doesn't wanna engage with you, you ain't engaging. Still waiting for that someone that can put him in danger.
  • McMann and Ronda were slugging it out for a while, before clinching up and throwing a vicious liver shot. 66 seconds. That's all you gave us Herb. 66 seconds.
  • Mike Pyle and TJ Waldburger (might consider just showing round 3, but that outside hook trip was slick in round 1).
  • Two guys you can always count on for a good fight. I really, really enjoyed this fight. Waldburger improved his striking, hitting hard counters, that Pyle just ate and kept moving forward. And I love the grappling work both pulled off. You can tell both are seasoned, technical MMA fighters. Proud to say I'm big fans of both.
  • I really enjoy watching a veteran like Mike Pyle continue to improve his martial arts skills and he put on a clinic everywhere in that 3rd round. And some other noteworthy moments through out the fight.
  • Pyle hit the Jon Jones elbow. Yes, Mike Pyle did. The dude with the mullet. who always has awkward interviews with Joe Rogan. And don't forget about that "shoulder bump, left" combo to exit the clinch.
  • He got absolutely robbed by Ronda Rousey and the UFC, not getting POTN. And I wouldn't have given it to Thompson either. McDonald and Pyle are my choices.
  • I'm a big fan of Whittaker's style of boxing, and despite getting dropped by Colton Smith of all people, I was surprised that Thompson was able to dart in and out everytime.
  • Thompson got hit way too much to be called an "elite striker".
  • Jesus Mary... This never happened to me before, but Joe is really starting to get on my nerves. The tangents, the clear favoritism, ugh. I think it was Pat Miletich that opened my eyes to what a superior color commentator sounds like. Oh, and that's how it should be. One guy that's the play by play, the other is the color. Not Goldberg and Rogan, who just seem to call whatever they feel like
  • Joe Rogan just couldn't stop talking about Thompson, and didn't even acknowledge most of Whittakers strikes. Some that landed very clean on Thompson's face
  • The double spin power move celebration into the "Tim Tebow" is always fun to see.
  • I'd really like to see Thompson fight more strikers. I'm not sold on him as an "elite" striker whatsoever, and I highly doubt his grappling will ever get anywhere good enough to fight a Shields, Koscheck or Kim type. Welcoming Thiago Alves back sounds good to me. Jordan Mein?
Cormier embarrasses Cummins
  • This was very satisfying. Cummins just rubs me (phrasing) the wrong way, in too many ways.
  • That being said, he did look pretty good. And I agree with Cormier, who destroyed him in less than 90 seconds, he does have a bright future
  • The boxing of Cormier is just so beautiful to watch.
Squeeze in some Bellator
  • Diego Nunes vs. Matt Bessette - Another good fight put on by Diego Nunes. Ever since he lost his fight against Dennis Siver, he's really made a conscious effort to up his activity. And although the Nunes release was pretty big surprise to me (he got grinded out by Nik Lentz), he hasn't been able to hang with Bellator's featherweights. The UFC normally keeps around exciting fighters, so I'm still a little shocked he's in Bellator.
  • Rampage knocks out M'Pumbu - 2 for 2 in Bellator. Not much happened for most of the fight. Rampage landed a furry and got the knock out a little bit later. There was some very "WWE" like drama in the cage after between Rampage and King Mo. Way over the top for me. When Rampage had his beef with Rashad Evans it seemed much more organic to me. All this TNA mixed with MMA business doesn't make it look any better either.
  • Jimmy Smith seriously just give the mic up. You're just adding to the awkwardness. Mo and Rampage both tried to take the mic from him, and he just wouldn't give.
Overeem vs. Mir
  • Show this massive human being tear apart Frank Mir in round 1. And only round 1. After you show round 1 time to move on. That uppercut jab in round 3 was real nice, though.
  • Pretty cool fight. This is the first UFC fight I've seen where a judge handed out a 10-8 round to each fighter (Castillo-Barboza probably should have had this treatment) and some interesting stuff was going on
  • Flying scissor heel hook from Iaquinta, Lee getting dropped and recovering to almost finish Iaquinta with the RNC
  • An action packed fight with two guys I'd consider "B" level guys at best, and at this point. Don't feel like either fighter has the speed or fight saavy of some of the top ranked guys, but a decent fight to show after you go through the must sees.
  • Koch did what he was suppose to do. Finish Oliveira, while not taking any damage.
  • He used what I call the Machida. Southpaw vs. orthodox. Uses the right handed jab to slap away the left handed jab into a left straight. Following it up with some angry, angry ground and pound
  • Oliveira doesn't belong in the UFC. Has to be one of the worst UFC showings. 6 defeats. Finished in 4 of his last 5. He lost to Andre Winner for crying out loud. Decision wins over Gunderson and Izquierdo. Izquierdo is nice on his feet, but showed he had zero ground game, and Oliveira couldn't finish.
  • So, if the UFC gave a base pay of 20,000 dollars just to show and 20,000 to win, Oliveira would have made 200,000 dollars in disclosed pay.
machida.hat


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