It was a battle of youthful size and exuberance versus veteran experience last night (Feb. 15, 2012) on the main card of UFC on Fuel TV 1 in Omaha, Neb., when Brazilian prospect Ronny Markes took on two-time All-American wrestler Aaron Simpson.
While the eight-fight Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Simpson appeared to be in control early, scoring an impressive first round knockdown with a massive uppercut, it was Markes who would turn the tides in the later rounds.
Apparently, Octagon experience isn't everything.
So how was Markes able to bounce back? And what's next for both middleweights?
Follow me after the jump for our Ronny Markes vs. Aaron Simpson UFC on Fuel TV 1 post-fight review and analysis:
Early on, Markes looked to establish his leg kicks and wear Simpson down in the clinch. He was having his way until he was suckered into a punching exchange with "The A-Train." The Brazilian was stunned with a nice left hand and as he backed straight up, Simpson made him pay with thunderous uppercut which floored him.
To his credit, Markes didn't panic and was able to recover to the point where Simpson actually backed away from him on the ground and allowed him to get back to his feet.
In both rounds two and three, Markes wisely avoided punching exchanges as they simply aren't his strong suit yet. Instead, he muscled Simpson around against the fence with his huge size advantage (he looked like a light heavyweight in there). The Nova Uniao fighter also managed to score takedowns in the final two rounds and when he was forced to stand with Simpson, he made sure to attack with heavy leg kicks instead of getting suckered into a brawl.
In the end, Markes' ability to impose his will on Simpson was just barely enough as he was awarded a split decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
For Simpson, his stand-up looked solid, but he let himself get pushed around way too much last night. Markes was so big and so strong, he should have been avoiding the clinch but a majority of the fight took place there. He had his moments with his powerful punching, but not nearly enough of them in the final two rounds. He didn't do nearly enough to fend off Markes' clinch game or his takedowns.
There are several possibilities for a next fight. I'd like to see Simpson take on someone like Jason Miller, Cung Le or perhaps Tim Credeur. It would be nice to see him step in against a fellow veteran for once.
For Ronny Markes, that was a solid display of guts, coming back from getting hurt in the first round to impose his will in the latter two frames. His size is definitely something that's going to be very difficult to deal with and as long as he continues to train with a top camp like Nova Uniao, everything else will come. His punching still needs a lot of work as he doesn't use his hips or the rest of his body at all, but his leg kicks were solid. He's got perhaps the most energy sapping clinch in the middleweight division right now, he just needs to add some more variety to his attack. I think at 23 years old, he's got a pretty bright future.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did you feel Markes did enough in the final two rounds to earn the nod? Where do you think both fighters should go from here?