My apologies for the lateness but due to my work's network, I could not get online all day yesterday and my home wireless was acting up. However, we are back for another edition and I must start out by saying Rich is the UFC Undisputed champ. Yeah, I must concede, I got my wins in but overall he got me. Just call me Rampage on that game because for some odd reason I could NOT time the leg and body kicks which lead to my demise over and over and over. However, our Machida-Shogun 3-fight war was GREAT! Now, let's move on to the show that was UFC 106! We again had a great time and hope to do it again sometime in the near future.
SBN coverage of UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin 2
UFC 106 lost A LOT of steam when it's initial headliner Brock Lesnar was forced out of the main event with a sickness that will unfortunately keep him on the sidelines for a good part of 2010. The UFC's only logical choice with the way things are right now? Promote another pieced together bout between Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz to the main event and hype the hell out of it. As I told Kelvin Saturday, only in the UFC can a guy that hasn't beaten a legit fighter in 3 years and hasn't won a fight in his last 3 outings and a guy that just got TKO'd in his last two bouts main event a pay-per-view. Call that marketing genuis. However, when the smoke cleared, the show was phenomenal and we got to see nearly the entire card minus one and outside of maybe the last round of Ortiz/Griffin, there was never a dull moment on the whole shot! As I usually do, I will keep this only main card as not to get too long winded although the prelim bouts on Spike were great.
The Popular Opinion - Here we look at guys I really can't be overally critical about from UFC 106.
Amir Sadollah - He only gets this marginally because he did look solid in the stand up game albeit a bit sloppy as the fight progressed. He showed patience and not too much urgency even when Phil Baroni was going all out with his initial surge. The one drawback I had was that he was unable to finish a very much gassed Baroni and seemed to merely point his way to victory instead of going in for the kill. As tough as Baroni is, Sadollah could have easily taken it to the ground and worked his jiu-jitsu magic, but maybe that's nitpicking.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - Now THAT is how you make a statement in your UFC debut. Maybe Lil' Nog was showing Dana and co. what they had been missing all this time. I picked Nog to win and thought his speed and his boxing would eventually outpoint Luiz Cane but I had no idea he'd come out guns blazing and totally smash the rising light heavyweight. He pretty much cemented his name in the mix of light heavy-contenders and now has most of us praying for a second fight with Shogun down the line.
Paulo Thiago - Let me say this first, I thought this guy was a fluke when he 'KO'd' Koscheck earlier in the year and was then given a slot on the UFC 100 card somehow and had a hard-to-watch fight with Jon Fitch. However, Saturday pretty much solidified the guy as a tough, gritty up and coming welterweight. He probably will never win a fight on style points but his transitions and his ability to punch in that awkward stance he does could give a few more of the top flight WWs a run for their money. I'd actually match him up with someone like Mike Swick next just to so he can go for the AKA trifecta.
The Unpopular Opinion
Phil Baroni - It's sad that his style is synonymous with gassing. Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan pretty much mapped out what a Baroni fight would look like in the first part of their commentary, he'd come out and head hunt, get tired, and get beat up until the final bell or until he's knocked out cold. That's basically how it went. Why the UFC bought Baroni back, I have no idea, maybe just to use his old footage to make him look like a good enough competitor to beat Amir so that it makes Amir look that much tougher. While Baroni showed tremendous heart as usual, heart can only win you so many fights, especially against younger, faster, and technically better fighters. If he does get another shot in the UFC, it will no doubt be on a prelim and will hopefully be a highlight for a young up and coming welterweight and we don't have to witness any insane old man vs. old man clashes like we'll endure with Matt Serra/Frank Trigg and Randy Couture/Mark Coleman!
Luiz Cane - The adage is TRUE, the bigger they are the harder they fall. The Brazilian brute was looking to firmly plant his name as a top contender with a win over Lil' Nog and many felt he had the style to do it. I mean, he did beat Sokoudjou, a guy that sent Nog into dreamland. The problem with that is, Cane has a tendency to as Rogan put it 'stalk' his opponent but in doing so, he lets his opponent get their licks in as well. The most telling fight to me was his UFC 97 one against Steve Cantwell where he dished out plenty of hard hits but took many in return and was visibly gassed as the fight went into the latter rounds. While I do not think this should end the 'Banha' hype it should slow it down tremendously. He's tough, he hits hard, and he's well versed in MMA but he's SLOW and would rather take a punch or two to deliver some of his own than actually defend his chin. Will he be champion? He's young and definitely has an upside as far as getting better just as long as he doesn't get set in his ways and realizes there's such thing as DEFENSE.
Jacob Volkmann - I probably shouldn't be too harsh with the guy seeing as how he actually looked pretty good in this fight against so he'll get the James Wilks treatment and I won't speak on him. He should/could do well in the welterweight division.
Anthony Johnson - First off, this fight couldn't have been more frustrating from a viewer standpoint...unless of course it continued throughout the duration of three rounds and lead to some crazy judged decision. While Rumble definitely didn't look awful in his loss, he did look like a young fighter that may need a little more seasoning before being shipped to the wolves in the welterweight division. Josh Koscheck did one simple thing that could possibly be the blueprint to consistently beat the blue chipper...he outsmarted him. I watched and analyzed how Koscheck stood right outside of Johnson's kicks and jabs and instead of Koscheck having to try to wade through shots to close the distance, Johnson pretty much did it for him by having to come forward and attack. And while it's all good to get some good training from Cung Le, you might want to work on your ground game a little before you face the creme of the crop in the welterweight division seeing how it is pretty much dominated by wrestlers. It's safe to say that anyone with minimal takedowns will have a short night on the end of Rumbles kicks and punches but anyone with half a brain and a good sing/double leg shot will make the big boy curl up in fetal position.
Josh Koscheck - I should give him a Popular Opinion nod since he did what I didn't think he would do and incorporated a great gameplan instead of slugging it out with the bigger Johnson but he gets the Unpopular Opinion for his post-fight rant. Sure it's great to take some pointers from Tito and get your name out there, whether in a good or bad way but let's not forget Mr. Koscheck, this is only your second win in three outings in '09. You began the year getting your head knocked off by an unknown Paulo Thiago and your only win after that was against an over the hill Frank Trigg. While I agree that Dan Hardy may be getting the nod a bit premature, he definitely deserves it more seeing as how he's gone unbeaten in the octagon and has faced some pretty decent opposition. Not to mention that we can always rewind to UFC 74, where the current champ made you look like an amateur wrestler for a good duration of the bout. So while I give him props for a huge win that he greatly needed, I think he still needs one more before he can firmly plant his name back in the hat of top contenders. Oh yeah, and way to absolutely crap all over your teammate, I'm sure Mike Swick was looking on cheering his fellow AKA member for calling him a nobody.
Tito Ortiz - Rich and Kelvin can atest that I was firmly behind Ortiz in this fight. Not that I have anything against Forrest Griffin or am a fan of Tito's but I just felt it'd make things a little more interesting and we'd get to hear a WHOLE lot of smack talk for the next few weeks. It also may have lead to a potential bout with Anderson Silva, which would have done huge numbers and put another 'crack' in Tito's huge skull. However, Tito pretty much joins the Chuck Liddell's, Wanderlei Silva's, Matt Hughes', Randy Couture's, Mark Coleman's, and Mirko Cro Cop's. A guy that was a beast in his prime but is on a rapid decline as age and wear and tear has finally taken it's toll. While you can't really give Tito too much gruff as he was able to go three rounds after being out for 18 months, although he was absolutely gassed in the third, you have to see that there's really nothing that showed us he still has what it takes to compete with the fighters of today. Sure, you could throw him in there with Eric Shafer or Houston Alexander and watch him work his magic but if all they want from Tito is a showcase match here and there, that's fine but they can NOT force him down our throats with marketing and hype if he's not even going to come close to a title shot or even a contender's match. So I guess it's safe to say Tito Ortiz 2.0 is a downgrade from Tito Ortiz 1.0, which basically means that his best use is to get a few more viewers for PPVs but flounder around the undercard portion of a card instead of the main or co-main event.
Forrest Griffin - He needed this win bad and he got. Albeit by split decision and after enduring two rounds where he face was nearly turned into hamburger meat throughout. I'll put it bluntly, Forrest Griffin will never be the light heavyweight champion again and I still don't think he should have been one to begin with. His evolution has been great to watch and his skillset has tremendously changed since his earlier days but the fact of the matter is this...Forrest Griffin is a guy that basically can not finish a fight. Take away the abysmal performance from Shogun at UFC 76 and how many times have we seen Forrest actually finish a fight in the octagon? UFC 55 against Elvis Sinosic where he scored one of his few TKO's in his career. When did that take place? Four years ago! Now I understand that there are guys out there that for the most aren't exactly great finishers or their style is geared more towards outpointing their opponents rather than knocking them out but for a guy like Forrest, who's chin has been getting battered lately, the fact that he doesn't have one punch knockout power or an astounding jiu-jitsu game compared to other light heavies, does that really bode well to his future in the division? Look at the top guys, Lyoto Machida, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira,
Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and you see many guys he's fought and even beaten but guys that will test his chin over and over. They say the more times you're knocked out the more it softens your chin and the way Rashad put a hole in his head and Anderson Silva rearranged his jawline, Forrest had better pray that more guys learn from the Quinton Jackson book of not checking leg kicks rather than the matrix-like countering style of Anderson Silva. Forrest is a true star in the UFC and will get fights and his willingness to fight anybody will always win over the fans but the likelyhood of his hand being raised against the upper echelon in the UFC's light heavyweight division is slimmer than Natasha Wicks' waistline.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own unpopular opinions from UFC 106, feel free to add your two cents and comments and I appreciate everyone for stopping by here and check us out.