The UFC Fight Night 40 in Adu Dhabi featured a heavyweight bout between two fighters who were much older than their 37 years of age would suggest. Both Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson are fighters with a great deal of mileage on their bodies. Both often survive encounters on the fight through chin and balls, and Nogueira is further removed from his peak as a fighter.
Nelson got a legacy kind of win with a huge knockout that means little in the division other than putting the final nail in the relevancy of Nogueira. Nelson still has something of a role in the division as a gate keeper, but Nogueira would likely be best served to walk away from the fight game, without the Frank Mir trilogy fight he is asking for.
Other thoughts on the fights:
- Clay Guida got back to what made him successful: raw aggression, toughness, high motor kind of work, with the addition of some more technique. While Guida is never going to be a title contender, this does build him back up as an action fighter.
- Tatsuya Kawajiri's hopes at making a splash in the UFC seemed to be wrecked as another Japanese fighter falls to a high energy American wreslter inside a cage.
- Ryan LaFlare got a break through kin of win in a highly entertaining fight with John Howard. While Howard isn't a massive win, it is an important break through victory in which LaFlare showed off well rounded skills, and despite massive groin shot it was a solid showing for LaFlare. While still young in fighting, LaFlare is 30 years old already and can't spend a great deal of time finding himself as a fighter he wants to capitalize on his talent.
- Ramsey Nijem's boxing continues to improve and his ground striking is as strong as ever. He is a developing prospect from a fairly lackluster season of TUF that appears to have turned into a solid UFC fighter. Beneil Dariush might want to reconsider his views on weight cutting as he was the much smaller fighter in the cage.
- Jared Rosholt flexed his wrestling against Daniel Omielanczuk and showed that he does have decent cardio for a Heavyweight when it is his kind of fight.
- Thales Leties got the first finish from standing strikes of his career. It was not against the highest level of opposition, but that is what an opponent like Trevor Smith is for a former title challenger like Leities, a chance to flex new skills. Good fight for Leites, will see if this was simply a chance to try out a new skill or a revamp of fighting style.
- Even though he lost, Alan Omer was fairly impressive in terms of skill set. His striking and clinch fighting in a Gegard Mousasi like package. But like like Mousasi, his defensive wrestling is lacking and he isn't fantastic at using his guard to stand up, and lost the decision because of it. Still interested to see how both fighters look moving forward.
- Johnny Bedford came out of his fight looking unfortunately bad after a clash of heads ended his fight with Rani Yahya in a No Contest. Bedford behaved rather badly afterwards, but it is hard to fault fighters in the moments after a fight has ended when emotions are running so high, but the rules are very clear in this case. Dan Hardy did a good job getting the crowd back with talk of a rematch and generally showed off an improved command of interviews and growth as a broadcaster.