So with the event at the weekend done and dusted, I thought it would be a good time to drop another blog and discuss some interesting things that have come up as a result:
The what next for [insert name here] bit:
In another dominant display the champ left all of use scratching our heads a bit and wondering, where does he go now? Hardy showed his tenacity and never quit attitude but he was well and truly stomped on Saturday night and didn’t get anything off. My full respect to the guy and if we had been treated to longer periods on the feet who knows what could have happened. The fact is though, GSP’s wrestling looks to be unstoppable. Has he done all there is to do at Welterweight? If he can’t finish fights at Welterweight how will he cope in the Middleweight shark tank? So many questions…so many guesses at answers. My best guess is he sticks around at Welter. Probably fighting the winner of Koschek and Daley. Some people are touting GSP as a coach on the next TUF opposite the winner of the Kos vs Daley fight. Could we have 2 brits contesting the title one after the other? That’d be pretty awesome.
Two big losses against the titans of the division prove that for all his apparent strength and size gains. Frank Mir does NOT love being bullied against the cage. No attempt to make space against Carwin resulted in him getting pinned on the fence and battered senseless. How does he come back after this? Well one thing in his favour is he is still a star name so he won’t be dropped by the UFC any time soon. Also the HW division has changed a LOT since he ruled the roost. There are so many more talented guys waiting in the wings. I personally think he has to fight Velasquez or Dos Santos to get another shot and would get destroyed by them. He has already beaten Kongo. This leaves Gonzaga, Roy Nelson (assuming he gets past Struve) and Cro-Cop as possible matchups. The only alternative is a rematch with Big Nog. Or is it….. what of the intriguing signing of ex pro-boxer and title holder at 4 different weight classes James Toney??
Toney managed to basically heckle his way into the UFC and having been signed by the promotion Dana has said he doesnt know what to do with him. Obviously he is going to be very dangerous on the feet but that is all he will have to offer. Someone like Mir could dispatch Toney with relative ease if he used his complete skillset. It depends if Dana wants to build Toney up and attract some of the “boxing crowd” over to the UFC. There is a flip-side to building Toney up though: The detractors in boxing – those who say the sport of MMA is borderline homosexuality and a boxer beats an MMA fighter any day of the week – would have a field day if Toney wrecked someone with a big KO in the octagon. Putting him in with someone who could completely dissect him on the floor would prove that you HAVE to more than a KO punch to be able to hang with the big boys in MMA. Mir could be that person, but then so could Kimbo and Kimbo isn’t even a sixteenth of the grappler that Mir is.
The “thats gotta hurt” bit:
So Rousimar Palhares get’s a 90 day suspension for not releasing the submission and potentially ending Tomasz Drwals career. Wonder what Babalu has to say about that? He got chucked out of the UFC and that was just for a choke hold that wasn’t released in time. I don’t believe his opponent went unconscious from it either. I’m not saying that makes it ok, he did in anger to “punish” the disrespect he felt his opponent gave him (that feisty Brazilian temperment huh!!). You could argue the case for Palhares being worse though, seeing as he could easily have ended his opponents career. As a BJJ black belt and leglock expert he knew what he was doing wrenching on that leg, he could have just held the pressure at the right point until the ref stopped it. He is right to hold the sub until the ref stops the action and the ref should take some of the blame too… he should have been quicker off the mark. But even when he was trying to stop it Palhares was still twisting. After the Babalu saga, I’m surprised all he got was a 90 day suspension.
The “question of Fitch” bit:
So GSP puts in dominant display of shutting down his opponents strengths and gains plaudits (despite admitting to being disappointed he couldn’t finish). Fitch does EXACTLY the same and get’s trashed for it. MMA fans are so fickle. As effective as the GSP and Fitch strategy is it’s not exactly entertaining to watch. Neither men have finished a fight for a while now. Fitch has put a decent run together and could argue a case for another shot at GSP but does anyone really want to see that fight? I don’t. Dana has said that he would like to see Fitch and Kos face off. He has gone on record stating the whole “I don’t wanna fight my teammate” thing is finished. I’m pretty sure he means it. If they aren’t prepared to fight (assuming Kos doesnt beat Daley and get the title shot anyway) then I reckon Dana will just make them wait and that will suck for both of them.
The “rest of the card” bit:
Some impressive performances from lightweight fighters make the queue for the next title shot interesting. BJ Penn is head and shoulders above everyone in the division and may well be making another quest for the Welterweight belt. If he does that he will have to vacate and Pellegrino and Miller both made strong cases for being in amongst it in the title picture. Bocek too, although he lost, looked impressive. The lightweight class is full of some seriously good grappling talent and is brimming with quality BJJ blackbelts. Throw Sotiropoulos in there and MMA grappling enthusiasts have some awesome potential matchups to look forward to.
At the other end of the weight spectrum. The long awaited match between Lesnar and Carwin will be epic. It could only be made better if a rule change was put into effect and they had to fight against each other whilst riding on armored Rhino’s, wielding giant battleaxes. Although that perhaps would be too bloody for a sanctioned MMA event, and would perhaps require a little more space than an Octagon affords *ahem*.
Anyhoo, it is still going to be brilliant. These two behemoths duking it out is going to make the whole cage shake. They better reinforce it for UFC116! I can’t wait. I honestly think Carwin has a great chance of beating Lesnar, but Brock looked HUGE next to him in the cage after the fight. Joe Rogan looked like a baby stood between them and he isn’t exactly a small guy himself. There will be fireworks in that match, they might need to get Big John McCarthy back to ref that one!!
Over all it was a great event. Would only have been made better by Hardy winning and me taking home a tidy £300 from the bookies after my first ever MMA bet. Nevermind, maybe next time!