Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie
If I had asked you on Friday whether you would pay to watch a 36 year old wrestler fight a 43 year old BJJ stylist in a kickboxing match, would you have been happy to front the cash? I should imagine most people reading this are shaking their heads right now. Unfortunately though, with this fight, that is exactly what we got. Despite praise from Joe Rogan for his leg kicks, it was plain for all to see that Matt Hughes' stand up game has not really improved much over his 8 year stretch in the UFC. With hands swinging down by his waist and his hips and body, more often than not angled incorrectly, it is a wonder that he generated enough power in said kicks to put Renzo on the floor. However, when you take into account how horribly out of shape Rezno appeared to be, it begins to make more sense. With neither man having any clear skill or technique standing, it came down to whose shots carried the most weight, and that was of course the little ball of muscle that is Matt Hughes. A TKO victory for Matt Hughes, but a big loss for all the fans expecting to see a hotly contended grappling match between one of the UFC's most dominant wrestlers and a famed, respected member of the Gracie clan.
BJ Penn vs. Frankie Edgar
This has to go down as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the division. I don't remember seeing anybody giving Frankie a chance, but rightly or wrongly he pulled off the decision. Many questions have been raised in the past regarding BJ's cardio and unfortunately BJ did nothing to silence the critics. He looked notably tired during the later rounds and in terms of work rate, aside from a stiff consistent jab and the occasional combination, we didn't really see much out of the former champion. I don't think anybody will deny that Edgar was definitely in better shape but when you break down the fight using fightmetric (click here to take a look) we see that Edgar, despite moving more and appearing more active was actually out struck over the majority of the bout, raising yet more questions about the quality of judging and the system to which it is applied. More concerning however, was BJ's apparent lack of form and the fact that he was wearing a knee support. Was there some injury which interfered with his training? Or was it simply a lack of motivation that lead to his lack luster performance? I'm sure the answer will come in the interviews that will inevitably find their way online in the coming weeks.
Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia
During his appearance at the post fight press conference, I think I can safely say that Dana White looked the angriest I have ever seen him. But was it with good reason? Or was he just over reacting? I for one will admit that I strangely enjoyed watching Anderson explode at will with spinning back kicks and flying knees, that came with incredible speed and accuracy, the kind that truly make Anderson a spectacle. However, as the fight went on, Anderson became less and less impressive and frankly started to look ridiculous. My problem was not Silva showboating, I don't have a problem with that, but what Silva did was different. He appeared to be making a concerted effort to humiliate his opponent, which, for a man who now complains that he was dis respected, is fairly hypocritical. What's worse is that Silva failed to back up his show boating with a finish and from what I've read, many were giving the last two rounds to Maia. Immediately after the fight, when Joe Rogan asked him about his performance, he said that Demian surprised him with some of his punches and said that he didn't know what had gotten into him. I believe he may even have apologized. However, later on at the post fight conference, he suggested that his actions, coasting in the later rounds included, were intentional and part of a strategy and that he didn't feel he owed anybody an apology. We'll almost certainly never know what actually happened in his head, my guess... He got hit and he didn't like it. Either way, a huge disappointment.