Watched UFC97 last night and overall (and perhaps controversially) I thought it was pretty good. There has been a LOT of talk about the two big fights on the card on messageboards all over the net so I will do a one sentence review of the 4 other fights on the PayPerView first:
1. Luis Cane did a good job against a very game Cantwell. I was surprised by how well Cantwell did as i expected Cane to put him away.
2. Krystof SozynskiKzzzyynhnennee or however you spell it showed his love of the kimura submission again by winning in round one.
3. Cheik Kongo is probably the scariest dude in the UFC right now, not necessarily in terms of ability, but he is one intimitading dude: Looks like he is carved out of stone his ground game is getting a LOT better and his striking is fierce.
4. Stout vs Wiman was an easy fight of the night (on the televised card) with a close decision where Stout deserved the shout (wahey… do you see what i did there. Rhymin’ in my blog yo!! 🙂 )
So onto the BIG news:
So Chuck got KTFO’d again. I hope he calls it quits this time, he has lost 4 of his last 5 fights and is now looking like a baby could knock him out with a decent shot. I think father time has caught up with him and he has just taken too many punches to be able shake off a decent shot anymore. It’s a shame becuase..well he’s Chuck and who doesn’t love Chuck Liddell. He’s a legend. But i think it’s time to call it a day!
It’s a shame that Joe “bigmouth” Rogan decided to retire Chuck on Chuck’s behalf though. You’d have thought Liddell had earned a bit of respect and the chance to announce his plans himself without Rogan pretty much saying “so now you’re done fighting what you gonna do next?”
I’d hate to see Chuck end up like Ken Shamrock though, who should have turned it in when he was still awesome, but is now just cannon fodder for anyone who is cruel enough to punch a roided up old man in the head in front of a few-thousand people for cash! (Form an orderly queue people!)
Liddell still showed his legendary takedown defence was as good as ever, but it was Rua’s night. To be fair this fight was always gonna be the start of a slippery slope for one of them. We didnt get to see if Rua has sorted his conditioning issues though. Hopefully we wont see a repeat of the state he was in during the Coleman fight.
The Main Event:
A LOT of people are saying that Silva was a joke in his title defence. I say how the hell was he supposed to fight a guy who kept falling on the floor and inviting him into a ground battle he didnt want to have? Crisitano Ronaldo would have stayed on his feet longer than Leites did! I dont think Silva should have been rushing in and chasing after Leites risking getting clipped with a lucky shot. Yeah he could have perhaps been more aggressive on the ground (when it did go there legitimately). He seemed to be dealing with Leites guard fairly comfortably and could have let a little more Ground and Pound go, but you can understand why he wouldnt want to risk getting subbed by a world class jujitsu guy!.
Some of the more retarded people who inhabit the weird world of the internet think he just “did enough” because he wanted to have the record of the most consecutive wins in the Octagon. Which is just rubbish. Silva is a martial artist in the truest sense of the word and i dont believe he does it for records. The rumours that he isnt happy with the UFC for preventing him having his boxing match with Roy Jones Jnr and so won’t put on a “show” for the fans when he fights, are hilarious and im sure they arent true either. I dont know why he wants to box Roy Jones Junior anyway. That guys had his day and it’s passed, what has Silva got to prove?
For me it is more likely that he was disgusted with how Leites decided to fight. This is MMA, you want the fight to go somewhere you take it there. You cant get the fight to the floor (where Leites obviously thought it favoured him) by just collapsing onto your butt and hoping your opponent plays along. It looked to me that those kicks to the knee Silva was doing were out of anger. I actually think he was really pissed off and wanted to really hurt Leites. Some of the random stirkes he was throwing (punching the leg, little flicky kicks etc..) were most likely to bait Leites and annoy him to get him to come forward.
One thing i think Silva could have done but didnt – and i dont know why – is used his awesome muay thai clinch. He had a couple of real opportunities to do it but chose not to. Maybe he respected Leites ground game a bit too much and thought going to clinch risked getting taken down and being on his back, but that is probably my only criticism of Silva in the fight.
The big criticism should be aimed at Leites: There should be passivity rules introduced (similar to Prides yellow card system perhaps?) to prevent this sort of thing happening. it is down to a fighter to work out how to get round the guy they are fighting, but if you are fighting for a belt you HAVE to go after it if it isnt yours already. Otherwise what’s the point in earning a title shot. Leites should have had a strategy to fight a counter puncher like Silva and gone for it. Falling on your butt is NOT a fight strategy and the rules should be: Do it once its a warning, do it twice it’s a point deducted.
One thing that probably will come out of this fight is that Silva’s next opponent (Maia) will know if he wants the belt he HAS to go after it or he will lose a decision because Silva will outpoint him. Silva will also maybe rue the fact that he respected his opponent a little too much, if he showed a tiny bit more ruthlessness then he would have finished it and not left it to the judges.
As for the GSP superfight…….anyone who thinks GSP would win it is off their head. Silva can comfortably go up to Light Heavyweight. GSP is a big welterweight whose chin might be a little suspect and one thing you can be sure of if you fight Silva is you are gonna get cracked. If this fight happens i see a short night for GSP, his athleticism will only carry him so far and in this fight he wont be the bigger stronger man like he is in so many of his WW fights.