I'll admit right off the top that I wasn't exactly looking forward to today. Two UFC events on the same day seemed like it was going to be a bit of a drag, and I felt that it did turn out that way in the end. While there was some good fights at UFC Fight Night: Berlin and the TUF Brazil 3 Finale, it all just added up to a very long day, especially with the pacing of the latter event. So I'll cut through the usual preamble that these pieces generally have so we can just get down to the best and worst of Intercontinental Saturday, UFC style.
- Gegard Mousasi looked incredible in his fight with Mark Munoz. The transitions in mid-air while he was about to be slammed were ultra-slick and he once again looked like the guy that quickly became one of my favorite fighters back when he was in Dream and Strikeforce. He absolutely has the talent to be a title contender at 185, it's just a matter of being consistent.
- Munoz on the other hand looked pretty one-dimensional (though it was a short fight). I wouldn't say he's shot or anything like that, but his MMA wrestling isn't superb and it should be his bread and butter. He's been finished three times in two years now, albeit against top competition. But I think any chance of him being a serious player at middleweight is now gone. It doesn't help that he's 36 either.
C.B. Dollaway looked good against Francis Carmont and believes that he's a top-ten fighter now. I'll have him ranked, but I'm not sure about top 10 just yet.
- The bout between Luke Barnatt and Sean Strickland...wasn't very good. However, the main card opener between Tom Niinimaki and Niklas Backstrom was extremely entertaining, and that choke finish was pretty damn cool.
- While there were only two finishes out of the six fights on the Berlin undercard, some noteworthy stuff happened. The first was Maximo Blanco's crazy flying attack right at the start of his bout with Andy Ogle. Blanco's generally a fast starter, but not that fast. It didn't lead to a quick finish though, and he had to settle for a decision victory. Other memorable things included Iuri Alcantara's blasting of Vaughan Lee and a spirited bout between Nick Hein and Drew Dober.
- The TUF Brazil main event between Stipe Miocic and Fabio Maldonado was a bit of a joke. Miocic basically hit him twice and that was it. I know that it was Globo that wanted a Brazilian in the main event and no Brazilian heavyweights were available so they went with Maldonado, but the bout was as uncompetitive as everyone expected and it just came across as a bit of an eye-roller once it actually went down. Seems pretty obvious that Miocic hits really damn hard though.
- The two TUF fights were okay, but nothing special. Warlley Alves is going to be an interesting prospect at welterweight (he won the show at MW but will be dropping down). My hopes aren't as high for Antonio Carlos Junior, but there's talk of the heavyweight winner going all the way down to 185, so it remains to be seen how he'll handle talent in that division.
- Demian Maia's grappling is clearly awesome, but where were the submission attempts? I get that he wants to get a win, but he didn't even attempt anything until there was like 11 seconds left in the fight. It was weird.
- The bout between Rony Jason and Robbie Peralta was my favorite of the day. They were both bombing away on each other and engaged in a bit of fun grappling too. Peralta has really flown under the radar in the UFC thus far but he's a pretty talented guy.
- The Brazil undercard featured featured a ton of finishes, but nothing really super crazy or anything. Marcos Pezao showed why he was once a prized prospect by KOing Richardson Moreira in 20 seconds or so. And Pedro Munhoz looked very good in getting his first UFC win. But the rest of the fights were just kind of average. I did like the standing stoppage in the Souza-Eddiva fight though. There should be more of those in the UFC.
- Oh, one more thing - Mario Yamasaki is still a very, very bad referee.