clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Hindsight - UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia in retrospect

New, comments

I am gonna send you to a deep, dark place and I am gonna have fun doing it!*

If nothing else, Ronda Rousey looked like she had a hell of a lot of fun planting Bethe face first down on the canvas. The crowd loved her, Rogan loved her (to a slightly unseemly degree), and for one of the few times in her MMA career it seemed like Ronda Rousey was never the heel. Not pre-fight, not mid-fight, not post-fight. She was the star everyone came to see and everyone wanted a piece of. That's a big thing for her as her Hollywood career takes off, it seems like MMA fans and media are falling over each other to show their admiration for what is, at this point, the sport's biggest star.

Disclaimer Time: So, I went a totally uninspired 7-6 on this card. Honestly, were it not for some shaky judging I think I would have gone 9-4, but I'll admit I played this one pretty fast and loose in terms of fight picking and analysis. There were some knowns: Rousey, Gadelha, Alves, Cummins, Alcantara. Some Unknowns, Bigfoot, Struve, Shogun, Franca, Vieira. And some things to just be totally wrong about: Cannetti, Miranda, Maia. Add those all together and you've got an uninspired night of fight picking. Which is why I don't gamble, but use odds as a way to mark fighter development against my own and the betting public's expectations. I'm using Odds Shark for the odds on each fight and taking the mode for each fighter. So, on to the fights...

Guido Cannetti (+450) vs. Hugo Viana (-700) (I picked Viana, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: Considering the generally competitive athletic specimen that Viana has been in the UFC, and considering that Cannetti got handled by Henry Briones, who himself got handled by Cody Garbrandt, it seemed like easy pickings to pick Viana to overwhelm Cannetti, despite the fact that Viana has never shown more than a basic understanding of the technical side of MMA. It turns out TUF Latin America is getting better quickly and that Viana may be finding himself passed by anyone tough enough to not fold under his wild attacks.
  • Fallout for Cannetti: Honestly I'm shocked. I had him pegged as a guy who would be out of the UFC in two fights. Someone like Viana as technically devoid as he is, was someone I would pick to beat Cannetti every day of the week. But he's gotten way better. His striking was nice and consistent. His scrambling was good, and he never stopped dishing out punishment. That doesn't make him a future top 15 guy, but it does put him to stay in the UFC for a lot longer than expected.
  • Fallout for Viana: By the same token, this is a really exposing loss for Viana. I had him pegged as sort of a mid-tier gatekeeper, like what Robbie Peralta was at 145 (although looking at Peralta's record that may still be true). But generally I figured he was someone you would have to beat to get to the real meat of the division. This loss suggests he'll probably be gone pretty quick if he's not getting the lowest level of talent.
  • Clint Hester (-140) vs. Vitor Miranda (+120) (I picked Hester, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: Somewhat like the Viana vs. Cannetti fight above, this was supposed to be a reinforcer that Clint Hester is a reasonable and developing athletic talent at 185 lbs, and that Vitor Miranda, despite a comeback KO in his last fight, just isn't cut out for the UFC. While it was back and forth for a bit, Hester definitely looked the better athlete, but his gameplan and execution never really clicked. Eventually Miranda got his timing and put the fight away with a huge counter knee and some followup.
  • Fallout for Hester: MW is full of mediocre fighters that just can't seem to turn a few wins into a serious run. For a while it looked like Hester was on a solid train of improvement. His win over Braga Neto showed that he could survive on the ground and had a big enough edge in striking to be dangerous. His two losses since then have put a severe limit on just how dangerous. And more to the point shoved Hester back in the pack of MW's stuck in limbo rather than rising.
  • Fallout for Miranda: Two ways to look at this. One, Miranda has already been a surprising success, winning two out of three of his UFC bouts, this most recent one being a fight that he really wasn't supposed to. That's great. He's not young, he's not new to MMA, so if he's got any run in him, this is the time to make it. On the down side, he's been taken down, beaten up, and muscled around in all of his UFC bouts. He's winning and showing some impressive opportunism, but it's hard to see anything at the moment that screams future top 10 talent.
  • Iuri Alcantara (-260) vs. Leandro Issa (+195) (I picked Alacantara, I was right)

  • The Expectation: First and foremost, I was surprised at just how noncompetitive Alcantara was on the ground. I figured this would be a close enough to even grappling battle where Alcantara's much better wrestling and striking would shine. Eventually that was the case, but an early willingness to roll with Issa nearly cost Alcantara badly. He's a powerful athlete, but more polished technicians can poke holes in his game.
  • Fallout for Alcantara: I'm not sure what to take away from this fight, honestly. In the second and third round he looked great, but a big part of that could be just how limited Issa's game really is. Eventually he got a win he was supposed to get over an opponent who wasn't well rounded enough to beat him. Hard to see that as anything more than a maintaining of the status quo.
  • Fallout for Issa: This was, unfortunately a very hard less for Issa and fans of his wondering if he could make any kind of run at 145. Alcantara has recently looked like he's lost a step, but he's still very much a gatekeeper to the top 15. A good representation of what a top level athlete with a well rounded game can do in the cage. Once Issa couldn't control the grappling part of the fight, he looked totally lost and outmatched. Tough to think that doesn't happen against other fighters in and around the top 15.
  • Warlley Alves (-330) vs. Nordine Taleb (+275) (I picked Alves, I was right)

  • The Expectation: This was either going to be a tougher than it should have been fight that Alves would squeak a decision out of, or a dominant win that gave Alves a better UFC intro than beating other TUF talent or getting a potentially undeserved decision against Alan Jouban. Fortunately for Alves it was the latter option as he easily dominated Taleb on his way to a second round submission victory.
  • Fallout for Alves: With Taleb being on a solid roll of his own going into this fight, this is a real momentum builder for Alves. I'm not suggesting that he's likely to have won a lot of new fans or made sudden rankings jumps, but this could fast track him for some bigger bookings down the line from Joe Silva. That could be a blessing or a curse depending on how quickly Alves improves.
  • Fallout for Taleb: Just like Cathal Pendred, Neil Magny, Brad Tavares, and countless others in the annuls of MMA history, sometimes a fighter on a roll gets a reality check. Taleb has been winning and looking better doing it. But while he's big and tough and well rounded, he's not a technically dominant fighter anywhere or the kind of athlete that's just going to blow people away. Alves showed him that here, now it's on him to figure out how to make changes going forward.
  • Rafael Cavalcante (+160) vs. Patrick Cummins (-185) (I picked Cummins, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Assuming that the problems Cavalcante had against Bader were too big to be fixed by a few months of sprawl training (they were), this fight had all the hallmarks of going just about as poorly for Feijao. To his credit, and because Cummins is a much worse striker, Feijao did a lot of damage when he got the chance, but those chances were few and far between.
  • Fallout for Cavalcante: At this point I have no idea what to make of Feijao's UFC career. In just a couple of short years he's gone from THIS to THIS. I mean, the obvious answer is that he failed a drug test. Since then he just hasn't looked like he's been ready to step into the cage again. He's still got power and speed and some solid striking tools, but it seems like his best work is all behind him.
  • Fallout for Cummins: He's now really announced himself as a top 10 light heavyweight. He may not have beat OSP, but that was a bad matchup for someone with his limited striking. Still, Cummins is winning the fights he should win at 205 and that's a tall enough order in that weird and shallow talent pool. If he can keep doing that , he'll keep climbing the ranks, if for no other reason than other talent aging out around him.
  • Neil Magny (+190) vs. Demian Maia (-240) (I picked Magny, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: Even having picked Magny, I can't argue with the odds, nor with the way the fight went. It was going just the way I thought it would over the first two rounds, with one key difference, Demian Maia got a submission. The rarity of that fact these days is enough to make me happy to be wrong. Because otherwise I was just wondering if he'd gas out badly enough in the third for Magny to put it on him late. It was a long shot pick, but then again, it was only Maia's second submission win since 2009.
  • Fallout for Magny: He got his first shot at the top 15 and he fell back hard. Honestly, I'm not at all surprised that Maia exposed his wrestling defense, Maia is a fantastic wrestler. But, I am surprised at just how badly Maia cut through him on the ground. Yes Maia is a terrific grappler, but Magny gave him openings that Maia doesn't necessarily make for himself and basically got worked by the top of the food chain. There are serious holes in Magny's game that he'll have to address if he wants to go from the fringe of the top tier to a real honest contender.
  • Fallout for Maia: He's still got it. I had my doubts that Maia would be aggressive enough to finish Magny, or fit enough to hang with him for all three rounds. After all, Maia's been around forever, sooner or later that catches up with a guy. But, not today. Today Maia showed he's still right at the top of the food chain and his combo of wrestle-grappling is something very few fighters can replicate.
  • Jessica Aguilar (+325) vs. Claudia Gadelha (-450) (I picked Gadelha, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Prior to this fight I said Shields vs. Lombard. Now that it's over I think that was still a pretty good port. Nobody doubts that they were both top 10 talents at the time, but it was exactly the wrong matchup for Shields and exactly the wrong matchup for Aguilar. She doesn't have the physicality to hang with Gadelha, and her best skills are also some of Gadelha's best. That really stacks the decks against a fighter.
  • Fallout for Aguilar: I'm glad she still shot up the rankings, even in a loss, because I honestly think Aguilar is still a top five-ish talent in her division. This was just never going to be her fight. For that matter, she may end up being like Bisping at his best; right at the fringe of the top 5, but never quite able to get a title shot out of it. That wouldn't surprise me. I know I said she should take a big step back after this, to at least get a win under her belt in the UFC, before taking another crack at the divisional elite, but I'd also be cool seeing her face Rose Namajunas, as I don't think Namajunas has quite earned her seat at the table yet.
  • Fallout for Gadelha: She's getting the next title shot, and that's a great thing. With a division this much in its infancy, strawweight needs good established title contenders to get fights and give other fighters a chance to develop and prove their worth. The longer they can hold off a flyweight Horiguchi/Cariaso situation, the better. Right now the best way to do that is get developed top fighters like Gadelha in fighting for the belt.
  • Soa Palelei (-185) vs. Antonio Silva (+155) (I picked Palelei, I was wrong)

  • The Expectation: Really really thought Palelei would be able to beat the ghost of Silva's past, but not only did Bigfoot show up looking somewhat better than he had lately, Palelei really made it clear just how limited his game is against fighters who present even somewhat difficult threats. Big win for Silva, but a big big loss for Palelei.
  • Fallout for Palelei: This is kind of an end of the road to any hopes that he would climb from the bottom of heavyweight into the division's top 15. He was never going to be a title challenger, or even top 5 fighter, but for a while it looked like he was someone that could be a gatekeeper to the top 10. He had Bigfoot beat, dead to rights, and couldn't finish him. 41 seconds into the next round, he was done. That's too fine a line to walk for heavyweight success.
  • Fallout for Silva: On the other hand, Silva just kept his status as a legit heavyweight alive and hanging by a thread. He's somewhat lucky in that Frank Mir's recent win over Duffee, and Andrei Arlovski's run of form have softened the blow of his bad run of form. He still looked like a shade of his former self in the cage, but a better shade and able to deliver more of the classic offense that saw him at his best.
  • Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (+155) vs. Stefan Struve (-170) (I picked Struve, I was right)

  • The Expectation: In a battle of guys who could potentially be out with any big flurry of shots, Struve really seemed like the safer pick. It's a strange thing to say, since Nog's chin was once granite and Struve's has always been chalk, but the physical game hasn't left Struve behind yet. The chances were best that he'd be able to push the fight where he wanted it more often than Nog. Since neither is a brutal power puncher, that made Struve the better bet.
  • Fallout for Nogueira: It looks like his career as a fighter is now a wrap. That's at least the official word from the UFC side of things. Apparently they're trying to set him up as a scout for new talent, which would actually be a pretty cool thing if he takes it seriously, especially considering how many young fighters pop up on the Brazilian regional scene.
  • Fallout for Struve: Much like Bigfoot earlier, this was a not-great-but-better performance from Struve. Apparently he was sick as a dog, which accounts for him not setting a faster pace, but his striking output really did look technically improved. He threw more long, straight strikes, kicked more, and seemed like he was more comfortable than before outside the pocket. But, he was still hittable, still got rattled a few times, and didn't exactly look dominant in a striking battle with a Nogueira well past his prime. Struve is still top 15, but just marginally.
  • Dileno Lopes (-400) vs. Reginaldo Vieira (+325) (I picked Lopes, I was wrong-ish)

  • The Expectation: I'll be the first to admit I may have phoned in my pick for Lopes a while ago as I picked him as one of the probable winners of the whole show going in (after scouting everyone, mind you), and then didn't watch minute one of the show after that. So, my read on Vieira going in here may not have been as solid as it should have been. I don't pay much attention to TUF as a show as a point of principal, but Vieira looked good out there. That said, I still thought Lopes might have done enough to win... but not so much so that I'd argue the results.
  • Fallout for Lopes: Win or loss arguments aside, this was a bad look for Lopes in his UFC debut. He's long been one of the better flyweights outside the UFC. A fighter with a long and decent record, his only loss coming to talented ONE FC champ Adriano Moraes. In this fight, against someone who was tough and aggressive, Lopes looked a little overwhelmed. He recovered and stayed in the fight, but there are a lot of fighters in the UFC who can press him the way Vieira did and there are questions about just how much better Lopes is going to get. His flyweight debut should say a lot about his future.
  • Fallout for Vieira: On the flip side, for Vieira, this was a pretty great showing. He still looked inconsistent technically and more aggression than anything else, but hanging with an experienced and surging vet like Lopes shows promise. Vieira even has a couple fewer years under his belt, so he may have a little room to hone his game in the UFC, but it will be interesting to see how his aggressive pressure style translates to flyweight, where everyone is super fast.
  • Fernando Bruno (+180) vs. Glaico Franca (-210) (I picked Franca, I was right)

  • The Expectation: By a similar token, my memory of Fernando Bruno was slim to none going into this bout. Of the fighters I looked at pre-TUF, nothing about him stood out to me. But I did remember Glaico Franca as something of a raw physical freak. Someone that had the basic tools to be a really reasonable UFC talent, given enough time and training. Add to it that he's a huge lightweight and Bruno might even be a small featherweight and you had a recipe for a pretty strong physical performance from Franca.
  • Fallout for Bruno: More likely than not, he'll drop to featherweight. Once there, he really should be looking to get the best fights that will build him up as quickly as possible. He's not old to the point that parts are falling off him, but he should be a pretty complete fighter at this point, so getting a foothold in the division would likely have a lot more benefit to him than it would for a fighter who is still trying to refine all the parts of their game. Don't know if he'll succeed on that quest, but no time like the present to find out.
  • Fallout for Franca: Franca's a fighter I'd like to see the UFC slow play a little more. In just three years as a pro he went 12-3 (or 5 fights a year), not always against the best competition, but still his record is deceptively long for his relative sporting youth. Franca looks like a promising athlete with a lot of potential for skill growth, but if the UFC tries to push him up the ladder to quickly I think he'll fall back fast.
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+200) vs. Mauricio Rua (-240) (I picked Nogueira, I was kinda wrong)

  • The Expectation: Like the Lopes fight, it's hard to feel really up in arms over the idea that Lil' Nog won this fight, even though I scored it for him. But, it did justify my picking him when so many others felt that Shogun would walk away the winner. The center point to that argument being, whatever his training, whatever his camp, whatever his mental state, Shogun is done, and he didn't look less done here.
  • Fallout for Nogueira: I mean, he didn't look awesome, but it's light heavyweight, so there are still one or two guys he can fight if he absolutely must keep fighting. Still he's a coin flip and not much better to win any fight he's in, no matter who he's in it with.
  • Fallout for Shogun: Because Shogun has more name value, it's almost a dead certainty that he'll keep fighting as long as he wants to and as long as he can get the occasional win. Technically and physically, Shogun looked better than he had in a while against Lil' Nog. It looked like years had been removed. Then he got hit hard, once, and everything came tumbling down. Nog's never been the kind of striker to put guys out with one shot, so he couldn't finish the deal, but it was a functional reminder that the wear Shogun has suffered isn't just in his knees. He'll fight, he might even win a couple more at some point, but more bad losses are coming too.
  • Ronda Rousey (-1600) vs. Bethe Correia (+1000) (I picked Rousey, I was right)

  • The Expectation: Rousey would win in round 1. I think I said by armbar, so technically that was wrong.
  • Fallout for Rousey: She's still the best woman fighter in MMA and dominating all comers.
  • Fallout for Correia: She's no closer to Ronda Rousey than any other recent title challenger, but she made it further than Davis or Zingano, so that's a hook to hang her hat on.
  • Those are my collected thoughts from UFC 190. As always, so much of what I wrote seems obvious now, but that's the benefit of hindsight. Stay tuned for next week when I talk about why OSP is still a potential title challenger and Glover Teixeira isn't. Until then!

    This week's quote from the movie Miller's Crossing.