Sunday's UFC on Versus 2 was an interesting event, one that certainly whets the appetite for what's to come Saturday when "UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen" hits pay-per-view.
For what it was, UFC on Versus 2 was a smash hit. The show was essentially a two-hour infomercial for Jon Jones, a fighter who, as a rising star, is being pushed unlike anybody before him in UFC history. And Jones responded, making the company look good for all its promotional support by stomping out respected veteran Vladimir Matyushenko in 1:52.
While Jones is undeniably on the upswing, former PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi's career might have new life after he sent Tyson Griffin crashing face-first to the canvas with a right hook to open the show.
It's tough to take too much out of a fight that lasts just more than a minute, but this looked like a different Gomi than the one we saw fight Kenny Florian in March. In his post-fight interview, he said he wasn't ready for the American style in that first fight. If this knockout is any indication, he could be in the process of reinventing himself to remain relevant in the spot. That would be a good thing.
Gomi's quick win also gave some hope to those of us who remember the PRIDE Fighting Championships so fondly that maybe that chapter hasn't been completely closed yet.
After seeing so many of the heroes of PRIDE fall one-by-one in recent years, whether it be Gomi himself, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko CroCop or even Fedor Emelianenko, it was nice to see one of the heroes stand up for the old Japan crew and get the job done. The feeling I got after this fight was much like the one I got after watching CroCop choke out Pat Barry in June. It was a change of pace and nice to see another one of the legends of yesteryear be successful.
Although the PRIDE era is almost closed, it will still live on in the hearts and memories of those of us who were lucky enough to live through it.
In other action, how impressive was Jon Jones?
We had an interesting debate after the show on Lights Out Radio about whether or not Jones should've finished Matyushenko so quickly in lieu of letting him hang around for a little while to get the ring time. I'm interested to hear opinions on this, but my take is that you have to finish a fight when you have the chance to do so.
How many times this year have we seen freak injuries happen in the UFC (Jason MacDonald, Duane Ludwig, to name two). Each unneeded second in a fight is another second you're risking something bad happening. Now, this philosophy could differ depending on what level you're fighting at, but in the UFC, the highest level, you need to take care of business when you have the chance to. Jones did just that, completely dominating Matyushenko and not allowing him even a sliver of offense.
On the broadcast, Joe Rogan called the stoppage "swift." I think that's the best way to put it. Herb Dean knew Matyushenko was in a real bad spot and it likely wasn't going to get any better. A good stoppage.To me, the fight between Yushin Okami and Mark Munoz was a solid technical battle that saw both men have to battle back throughout the fight, but also left me not wanting to ever see a single-leg takedown for as long as I lived.
I liked this fight a lot because both men had each other in trouble (although you'd never know Munoz got dropped if you just listened to the commentary) at different points in the fight and Munoz did a lot better than a lot of people expected.
Unfortunately, I don't think Munoz is going to have what it takes to make it to the next level. We saw his flaws tonight: He gets hit way too much. He could not take Okami down to save his life, and when it's painfully obvious he isn't going to get the takedown, he's content to stay there grasping at straws (or in this case, a leg) trying to finish a takedown that isn't likely to happen.
Okami, who looked so good in his last fight, didn't regress to the Okami of old in this fight, but certainly was more measured. He had Munoz on the ropes a few times with strikes, but because Munoz was very good at always firing back, Okami couldn't take full advantage.
I'll give Munoz credit for that, actually. He always had a counter ready when he was sent reeling back against the cage covering up. He timed it well. It didn't always connect, but it was enough to get Okami thinking, and that certainly worked.
As for the decision, do I even need to comment on Cecil Peoples? Don't the jokes just write themselves at this point?
With a solid night of fights, UFC on Versus 2 was quite the delicious appetizer. But I want the main course. Saturday and UFC 117 can't get here soon enough.
Matt Bishop is an MMAForReal.com reporter and can be reached at email@example.com.