After a great turn out our last go, we return to 'The Unpopular Opinion', where I take a less friendly look at the shows and the fighters that populate them. Once again, the thumbs down is just a running logo it DOES NOT mean that I did not like the event. First off, a quick tangent not much related to this, my niece took part in a pageant this weekend (which she won) but it was the most unorganized, painfully slow events I've ever been to. Thanks to it, I missed the first two fights of 105, which I had to stay up later to watch just so I could have some things to rant about. Glad I did because there were some gems in there. Anyways, I'm going to keep this main card only, so check out my thoughts after the jump:
SBN coverage of UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera
UFC 105, on paper, looked horrible. Did it translate better on free television? Yes and no. Some of the fights I thought would be hard to watch...were....others that I didn't really care for actually got me to care. So without further adieu, we first begins with...
The Popular Opinion - These are opinions probably wide agreed upon after viewing 105
Ross Pearson - who would have expected Ross, making his UFC debut to out grit one of the grittiest in Aaron Riley? Pearson is not going to set the lightweight division on fire any time soon but he put in a very solid performance Saturday night and I actually am interested to see where he goes from here. I hope they don't throw him to the wolves but at the same time I'd like to see how he stacks up with some of the other mid-level lightweight fighters in the UFC.
Matt Brown - You heard it here first, Matt Brown is going to be my sleeper pick to slowly rise into the middle tier of the welterweight division in the near future. Once he refines his brawling style tactics and gets some technique behind him, he'll be a tough one.
Michael Bisping - You know I would like to rant on Bisping, but I simply can't. I pretty much knew that he would be very tentative in this bout and try to just score points while basically not engaging Denis Kang very much, but in the second round we saw Bisping do his thing. I still do not believe 'The Count' will amount to much in the middleweight division, I do believe that this performance showed his heart and his will to win. Too bad that 'will' will go flat once he takes on ANY top five middleweight currently in the UFC.
The Unpopular Opinion
Aaron Riley - Is it me, or is Riley the oldest looking 28 year old alive! When I saw that across the screen and realized I'm older than him, I was shocked. Anyways, being tough and gritty as Joe Rogan loved to point out about Riley throughout his round and a half beatdown won't win you too many fights, especially if your toughness and grittiness is on the wrong side of the punches/kicks. While you need guys like Riley on your roster to make guys like Ross Pearson look good, you do not necessarily want to be in Riley's shoes. I'm sure he'll have a place on the roster but I do not expect him to get many more high profile match ups in the near future, so he'll more than likely have fun in the unaired world of MMA.
Denis Kang - All I did was look down and shake my head when I
read the spoiler watched this fight. Denis Kang is the Sokoudjou of the middleweight division. SO much talent yet SO little heart. I'm pretty sure Kang's agent is currently on the phone with Strikeforce, MFC, XFC, any FC out there because I have a strong feeling Saturday was the last time we'll see Kang in an octagon. Even outside of the UFC, I think there's a good amount of middleweights that'll make Kang look like....Kang and have him wilter as the fight progresses.
Mike Swick - I am assuming that after that first Dan Hardy punch scrambled his brains, he mixed up his game plan and instead of fighting to win, he decided to fight the best way to allow his opponent to win. I really was not excited about this fight, as Swick hasn't exactly been super impressive since dropping down to welterweight and I did not think a win over Ben Saunders and then possibly Dan Hardy warranted a title shot, but thus is the case when you champion has basically obliterated all the other competition. Swick looked absolutely shell shocked the entire fight, something that usually doesn't happen often to 'Quick'. This pretty much solidifies that Swick will never be much more than a B-level fighter that is useful for a good Fight Night card filler but nothing more.
Dan Hardy - It's a shame that during the lead up to Dan Hardy and Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title, most people will be racking their brains on how quickly GSP is going to get it done and/or where this will rank on Pierre's recent beatdown list. While I can not say too much bad about Hardy, as he beat a pretty solid fighter in Mike Swick, even out quicking 'Quick' he has no business getting a shot at GSP. Sure Dan Hardy has heavy hands and we can all go back to Serra/GSP 1 to see what heavy hands can do to the Canadian, however, if Marcus Davis was able to repeatedly take down the Brit, what makes you think there's any possible way Hardy's sprawl or defense will somehow get better in the matter of months? Unfortunately, real life fighters can not train like their pixel forms in Undisputed or he could just put all of his points into takedown defense and he may have a chance. And just really, if Thiago Alves, an extremely good striker, hit GSP as many times as he won rounds...that pretty much tells you the outcome of their future match up.
Brandon Vera - If there's one adage in MMA that I can not stand it's 'never leave a fight in the judges' hands' and now it has to be haunting Vera right this second. I never believed the hate geared towards Vera and how he had so much talent yet doesn't have the killer instinct that's needed to go with it. Now I am a firm believer of this. Vera, no doubt, won the fight. That was evident. However, just as Kelvin said in his earlier write up, he pretty much beat himself by not going in for the kill like he could/should have. You would have thought Vera would do whatever it took to create distance and keep Randy from basically Clay Guida-ing him but nope, he seemed rather content just chilling up against the cage. For Vera, if this is not a wake up call and pretty much a firm reason for him to start head hunting his opponents than it pretty much means we'll see another fighter with a lot of talent go the way of Mirko Cro Cop's abysmal performances as of late. I still think he has the tools to be a top light heavyweight or at least a pretty good one...he just doesn't know how.
Randy Couture - Randy, if there was a time to retire THIS IS IT! We always enjoy a guy of Randy's caliber becoming a trendsetter but in this case, let's hope the Stand-N-Pray style that he so aptly adopted Saturday does not become the new craze. While Couture came away with the 'W', I do not think he won any fans over with his performance and I have a strong feeling his fans pretty much were only pleased by the outcome instead of the performance. He looked slow, his movement was no where near as fluid as it was in the say...Tim Sylvia fight, but he was going against a grizzly bear in slow motion instead of a competent muay thai striker. Hopefully Dana and crew DO NOT see this as a prime opportunity to shoot Randy up the ranks of the light heavyweight division because I have a strong feeling 'Captain America' will be posterized into someone's highlight reel if he does have the unfortunate task of facing ANY top five light heavy. I am sure Randy will get another fight, in fact, I guarantee it but hopefully it's of the Mark Coleman class rather than the Shogun/Rashad Evans class, so he can possibly go out with a few brain cells still in tact.
Agree, disagree, have your own unpopular opinions stemming from UFC 105. Let them be known here and I know I left off James Wilks but I was neither impressed nor unimpressed with him. Weird I know, but I have to wait and see what he's all about because Matt Brown was a VERY tough first match up for someone making their debut and of course stay tuned next Monday for the 106 version, let's hope everyone impresses.