UFN Florian vs Gomi: Where the Winners and Losers Go
Let me preface this writeup with an apology. I usually do a complete breakdown of every event in it’s entirety, but in this case my computer died after finishing the article the first time around and I lost everything. So the second time around I’ve done a more abbreviated version in the interest of getting this piece out in a timely fashion. This time, instead of going over every single fight, I’ll be focusing on the main card and some of the more interesting aspects of the undercard.
Yushin Okami: The biggest standout from the Ultimate Fight Night undercard has to be Yushin Okami. He’s now 9-2 in the Octagon and is one of the few people in the UFC who you will see jump from an undercard spot to a high profile fight. There’s two ways you can go with Okami. On the one hand if Belfort is not granted an outright rematch with Silva, Okami is an obvious choice for him to try and re-establish his claim to the title shot. But if Belfort is right back in line for Silva, then we can get Okami in the cage with the loser of the Wanderlie Silva/Yoshihiro Akiyama bout.
Glieson Tibau: Tibau continues to befuddle onlookers with his career of underwhelming performances intermittent with fights like what we saw last night. After this win Tibau puts himself at 7-4 in the UFC with back to back wins over legitimate veterans. He’s certainly not in the title hunt, but doesn’t need to be in there with the Ronaldo Delgados of the world either. A fight with the winner of Paul Kelley/Matt Veach would be very appropriate for Tibau here.
Rafaello Oliveira/Rob Emerson: Rafaello Oliveira and Rob Emerson both came up short on Wednesday and have both subsequently found themselves on the verge of being cut. Let’s throw them in the cage together and see who still belongs in the UFC. Fight for your job and entertain the masses. The simple stuff usually works the best.
Ross Pearson: Excellent stuff from Pearson here. Once again he comes out against a guy I expected to give him big problems and he put on a breakout performance. This marks Pearson’s third straight win in the UFC. It also marks his second impressive performance in a row and earmarks him as a rising talent in the lightweight division. Sounds like the kind of guy Joe Stevenson was put on this earth to fight. From Kenny Florian to Melvin Guilard, Stevenson has made a UFC career out of being the barometer for talent at lightweight. It’s time for Pearson to step up.
Dennis Siver: Despite coming up short, Siver is still a talented and interesting lightweight. Anyone who has multiple finishes in the UFC by Spinning Back Kick has my vote to stick around until he’s really stinking up the division. Fabricio Camoes is another guy at lightweight who has looked great despite lukewarm UFC performances. Let’s get them in there together and sort out the under appreciated at 155 pounds.
Jorge Rivera: Much like Tim Credeur, Rivera was able to find the giant head sized "button" located just above Quarry’s neck and put him on queer street. Unlike Credeur though, Rivera was able to stay composed, keep coming forward patiently, and not get himself knocked silly by desperate counters from Quarry. Eventually it was lights out for Quarry and a third in a row for Rivera. In the end it really could not have happened to a better guy. Considering the turmoil in his personal life and the fact that he has openly stated that he’s still fighting at the age of 38 to pay bills for his family, you can’t help but be glad to see Rivera start to put together a run in the UFC. A fight with Alessio Sakara would make the most sense here for multiple reasons. Both were previously considered journeyman, both have taken some unlikely victories, and both are riding a three fight winning streak. This fight sets the victor up to truly be in contention at 185 pounds.
Nate Quarry: Quarry continues to impress me with his comical "defense" on the feet. The man’s face has never met a straight right that it didn’t like. Defensive liabilities aside, he’s still extremely game and still packs whopping power. Nate Quarry is exactly the kind of guy Gerald Harris needs. He’s a big step up in competition but brings enough liabilities to the table that Harris has legitimate paths to victory. Let’s see if Harris can come in, put heavy hands on Quarry, and announce his arrival in the mix at 185. Conversely it will be quite interesting to see if Quarry still has what it takes to send a young gun back to the drawing board.
Roy Nelson: This marks the second bout in a row that a grappler in "Big Country" has floored a guy who was supposed to hold a striking advantage over him. There’s nothing like watching a fat guy with a mullet parade around the cage rubbing his gut while the athletically built seven foot tall behemoth he just melted is struggling to figure out where he is. The fans are really starting to be won over by Nelson’s antics. Couple that with his already proven talent and his performances inside the Octagon and we could be looking at a legit name at the top of the heavyweight division. For Nelson, a fight now with Frank Mir would be perfect. The clash of personalities, styles, and standings in the division fall quite harmoniously into place. In case your not aware, Nelson holds a win over Frank Mir in a grappling match, albeit seven years ago. Imagine the amazing back and forth we could get coming into this fight. The poking-fun antics of Nelson coupled with the uptight cockiness of Mir would contrast into smack talking nirvana. Peep the vid and get hyped for this match:
Stefan Struve: Stefan continues to frustrate those who are intrigued by his gifts of age and length. Stefan certainly did not look like a man who knew how to use nearly a foot of reach advantage Wednesday night. Fortunately for "The Skyscraper" his age can only work in his favor. It should also be pointed out that losses like this can actually help a young fighter like Struve, especially in the heavyweight division. Too many times we have seen a young promising prospect shoved into the spotlight too quickly only to take on fighters he has no business fighting and have his career severely deflated. At least here we give Struve time to flesh out his game. Taking on the loser of Beltran/Corvin would be a good fight to reset Struve’s movement through the division.
Kenny Florian: Props should be given to Kenny Florian. He went into a fight and did what everyone expected him to do but still managed to do it in a way that was memorable and impressive. Out of all of the cast of TUF 1, Kenny seems to be the only one who is still constantly reinventing himself as a fighter. We discovered some newfound power in his fight with Guida and here we discover his new technical ability to work a jab. Moving forward there’s only one fight that makes good sense for Florian, that’s Maynard. Yes it’s obvious, but it’s obvious for a reason, a Maynard/Florian bout would be one of the most important fights for the lightweight division since Sherk/Penn. The winner of this bout would easily become the undisputed number three lightweight in the world behind Penn and Aoki which is a big deal for a division that see’s so much rankings controversy.
Takanori Gomi: Like so many stars before him, Gomi falls flat in his bid to recreate some of his PRIDE magic in the UFC. It is extremely unlikely that Gomi ever comes anywhere close to the lightweight title, but that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t fun and interesting fights for him in the UFC. Clay Guida, Nate Diaz, and Sean Sherk are all fantastic fights for the fireball kid. You can take your pick from anyone there and make a phenomenal bout.