The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Toyota Center in Houston, Texas with UFC 166 last night (Oct. 19, 2013). The card featured Cain Velasquez defending his UFC Heavyweight title against Junior Dos Santos in the main event. It was the third time the two met, with the bout deciding the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time.
The bout, along with pretty much every other fight on the card, was filled with a ton of emotion as Velasquez took it Dos Santos from the opening bell. While there were moments when Dos Santos landed heavy punches, for the most part it was an absolute mauling that resulted in Velasquez winning by TKO.
Honestly, if you decided to sit this card out, you made a huge mistake. Seriously, find a pay-per-view (PPV) replay and pay the $60. Totally worth it. In the mean time, let's talk about last night...
Cain Velasquez is an all time GOAT
I can't say that Velasquez is the greatest heavyweight of all time, though at this point, he is certainly making a case for such considerations. But I can say that Velasquez is the best heavyweight of the current era. The fight last night proved that he's in the elite company of Mark Coleman (circa 1996-2000), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (circa 2001-2004), and Fedor Emelianenko (circa 2004-2009).
He's without question the best pressure fighter in the UFC. The way he can overwhelm an opponent with an insane output is awesome to watch. He beat Dos Santos down last night from pillar to post. He pushed the action so much that he and Dos Santos actually broke the cage door.
This was a legacy fight for Velasquez. Everything going forward is just gravy.
Fighters are too tough for their own good
Look, UFC President Dana White is no doctor. But he made a very good point last night on twitter and also in an interview with Joe Rogan after the fights concluded: Junior Dos Santos is too tough for his own good. Last night was rough to watch. I'll commend him for his toughness, but I gotta worry about his brain age.
The fights with Velasquez are taking years off of his life. That's not hyperbole either. It's easy to forget sometimes that there's a real price to pay for these fighters. Sure, I enjoy watching heavyweights trade punches, but I also enjoy seeing a fighter retire with his memories in tact.
The same could be said about Diego Sanchez, who sounded punch drunk after his three round war with Gilbert Melendez. Sanchez is one of the most exciting fighters on the roster, but that's come at a price. Watching him fight is like watching a car wreck.
He's never been particularly eloquent, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that his style of trading in the pocket is starting to really take its toll on his brain. They were gutsy performances. I just hope that I never have to watch something like that involving Dos Santos or Sanchez for a while.
The Texas Commission embarrasses itself...again
As good of a card last night turned out to be, the Texas commission proved to still be incompetent. The referee for the Waldburger/Amagov fight needs to have his license pulled. There's late stoppages and then there's letting a fighter tee-off on an unconscious opponent.
Then there were the scorecards for the bout between Jessica Eye and Sarah Kaufman. While I don't want to debate if it was the correct decision, I will argue that there's absolutely no way a judge could score the third round for Eye.
The doctors were brought in the cage several times throughout the night to inspect cuts and determine a fighter's safety. I understand that they may not want to end a fight, but that's their job. I said it last night on twitter, but there's a reason I'd rather self-diagnose illness than see a doctor in this state.
- There's no doubt that Gilbert Melendez deserves another shot at UFC gold. The bout with Sanchez was a lot closer than it needed to be, but Melendez was the clear victor. The best news out of this? It's actually possible we could get Melendez/Thomson again for the UFC Lightweight title. They just have a good competitive chemistry.
- Gabriel Gonzaga sure has reinvented himself, huh? The mustache he's now rocking is absolutely amazing. But even more incredible was the way he stopped Shawn Jordan. Gonzaga is just beastly. He's making a strong case for the heavyweight division's top ten.
- On the flipside, K.J. Noons looked old, right? He just never seemed to get out of the first gear. The silver lining is that George Sotiropoulos also struggled. I don't know what's going on with Noons, but he's not the fighter who tore through EliteXC and Strikeforce anymore. He's just some guy who doesn't through combinations despite his "pedigree."
- C.B. Dollaway did better than I expected. That's pretty much all I have to say about the fight with Tim Boetsch.
- Hector Lombard is a monster at welterweight. Hopefully, he'll have an easier weight cut next time because even after rehydrating, he still looked really sucked out. If he can actually make a run of it, the UFC may have a new face in the welterweight division.
- John Dodson is the man to beat UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson. That punch crashed into Darrell Montague's skull so hard that we saw a Ric Flair flop. That's scary power for a guy that's too small for most theme park roller coasters.
- Andre Fili cut from 178 pounds to featherweight? That's ridiculous. Take care of those kidneys, kid.
- Dustin Pague is now 1-5 in the UFC. Think he gets a shot to make it 1-6?