There are two kinds of MMA fans in the world. The first kind saw the main event last night and, after recovering from violent, shivering eye-orgasms, clapped loudly when the dust settled and a true warrior emerged to give a humble speech. The other kind of fan... well... I know a cleaning service which offers high quality, low cost vaginal sand removal.
I very much enjoyed last night's fights, even with five of my predictions falling flat. There were some nasty knockouts, back and forth wars, and the main card very much lived up to the billing in a way that most pay-per-views this year have failed to do.
[Due to a lack of photos provided by the UFC I'm going to post the thumbnail Getty Images photos with the watermark indicating their full copyright]
A lot of people picked the Russian in this fight, not only because he's an "ov" but for his eight knockouts in 12 fights. He picked up number nine last night after wrestler Anthony Lapsley couldn't find a strategy other than serving two weeks notice on every takedown attempt and backing up against the cage with his chin up in the air.
Tumenov stalked Lapsley for most of the first round, landing at will, as Lapsley looked like a caged animal trying to find an escape. It's never a good sign when a fighter flinches when he gets punched and squeezes his eyes shuts when he throws one of his own.
A good performance by the the Russian. Now if only we can do something about that stupid nickname. Speaking of geniuses, at one point Jon Annik said that Lapsley was in danger because when he tried to go to left he would run into the right hook of Tumenov and when he tried to go to his right there was the left hand. Uh yeah, humans have two hands (except for Nick Newell) so that's kind of how this whole fighting thing works.
How do you follow up an embarrassing 43 second knockout loss in your UFC welterweight debut? Well, I guess if you're Ben Wall you follow it up with an embarrassing 2:41 knockout loss in your UFC lightweight debut. Ben Wall walked into the octagon with a muff borrowed from a female pornstar from the 70s glued to his face (to the delight of Dana White I'm sure, who is a big fan of facial hair). Unfortunately all that hair could not hide the glass chin underneath.
Justin Salas, who is not a power hitter by the way, obliged by shattering that chin just over halfway into the first round. It was an unsurprising conclusion given how Ben Wall had chosen to come into this fight. Whether he was still shaking the kangaroos from his jet lagged brain or whether he's just a bear a very little brain, Wall basically waded through this fight like a koala high on eucalyptus leaves. He was slow, easy to read, and attempted no combinations. Maybe he should have spent more time on TUF working his standup rather than snorting lines of wasabi.
Not to take anything away from Justin Salas (other than the horrible narcissistic tramp stamp on his back which should be removed by laser) who put in a great performance. Although Salas was the favourite in the fight, his inconsistency in the UFC has made him a tricky fighter to put any faith in.
Nik Lentz (B+) versus Manvel Gamburyan (D)
Manny Gamburyan first competed on the TUF reality series with guys like Nate Diaz, Cole Miller, Joe Lauzon and a host of other lightweight stars who now break their bread in the UFC on a regular basis. He beat the aforementioned Lauzon on the show, as well as Matt Wiman, and was on his way to wrestling up Diaz in the finale when his shoulder dislocated.
After getting beat up on the professional circuit, "Manny" dropped to 145 and joined the WEC where he knocked out former champion Mike Brown and set up for a title shot against Jose Aldo. That may have been the high point of his career. Last night was definitely the low point. Manny's wrestling is gone, and so is his speed. His power, too. He's 2-4 in his last six fights (not including a loss to Siver overturned for steroids use) and hasn't scored a knockout since Brown's chin disappeared at WEC 48.
Nik Lentz has had the opposite fortunes by dropping down a weight class. After his third loss in a row at 155 (a savage one-sided beatdown by Evan Dunham) he dropped down and is 4-1 with just a blemish to number one contender Chad Mendes by decision. His pressure and positional control at this weight class is perfect for his size. Gamburyan, on the other hand, suddenly looks very small. He can either go the Jens Pulver route and drop another weight class. Or he can realize he's 33 and find a coaching job.
Wineland and Eduardo are two veterans very long in the tooth and very experienced on the feet. Wineland owns 11 knockouts, two of which came against high ranked bantamweights Scottie Jorgensen and Yves Jabouin. He's the first WEC Bantamweight champion and recently fought against Renan Barao for the interim championship. So, fighting some 36-year-old guy who hasn't competed in two years is a slam dunk, right? Uh, right?
To quote Eminem, you motherfuckers forgot about Dre. Johnny Eduardo 12-1 against competition since 2007, with his only loss coming in a decision to world number three-ranked Raphael Assuncao. He also happens to be the fucking Muay Thai coach at Nova Uniao, a fight club you may have heard about once or twice. Which means he coaches Jose Aldo, Renan Barao, Eduardo Dantos, Hacran Dias, and dozens of other guys who will destroy a leg if given a chance.
Wineland did not look like the guy who's competed four times since Eduardo last stepped inside a cage. His timing was all off, he was wading in recklessly, and his best effort seemed to be the mean mugging he came into the cage with. Eduardo, on the other hand, was loose, relaxed, and utterly on point. He might be 36 years old but he has never looked better.
This was another fight where the Las Vegas oddsmakers seemed completely out to lunch. Yes, Yan Cabral had a decent UFC debut, dominating David Mitchell. But we also saw that Paulo Thiago dominated Mitchell on the ground. Who else had Cabral beaten of note? Kazushi Sakuraba may have been impressive in 1997, but 2011? Not so much.
Yes, Cummings is a TUF scrub, but he's a TUF scrub with a ground game that belies his brown belt rank (three first round submissions headed into last night), who can also knock guys out. He also happens to be a former Light Heavyweight who dropped two divisions to make the weight, so I was skeptical he'd get dominated. Turns out he wasn't. In fact he mounted the BJJ champion in the third round and pretty much made him his bitch.
Cabral is yet another very talented Nova Uniao BJJ fighter with utterly zero cardio. I think he was soaking wet just walking to the cage. After the first round he didn't seem to have the same strength and he certainly couldn't take Cummings down. And with an inferior striking game that was pretty much all she wrote thenceforth.
Flyweight is still a pretty new and shallow division in the UFC. Which is why when a prospect like Kyoji Horiguchi comes along it's easy to get excited. Another karate striker in the style of Lyoto Machida, Stephen Thompson, and Gunnar Nelson, the Japanese striker uses speed and lethal pinpoint accuracy to land devastating blows to his opponents. It's almost like it's a matter of time before something lands and hurts his opponent.
Horiguchi is very fast on the feet, dancing around and biding his time until he gets a shot. Like a lot of karate guys, he's a much better counter puncher and that might be the knock on him when it comes to aggression. He may have tossed away the first round by waiting too much on his punches and retreating whenever Montague got even close to Japanese airspace. But when he was properly in range those surface to air missiles were pretty deadly. Montague did some serious stanky leg dancing after the second round.
Montague deserves some credit for surviving the fight and it's amazing how fast these midgets can recover. The cardio on these little flyweights is something to behold. He also put up a decent fight against Horguchi, landing some of his own combinations, even though the Japanese chin was solid on defense. It would have been nice to see Montague try and get into the clinch and work takedowns, but as people who have fought the above mentioned karate fighters, that is easier fucking said than done.
Personally, I think you could score this for either guy. Natal won the first, the second was a coin toss with the Natal takedowns, and Herman won the third. But the truth is both looked terrible. Ed Herman looked like he was wading through water, lurching forward like a ginger zombie, while Rafael Natal tried his best to connect his chin with Herman's lobster-burnt knee.
Natal looked as bad in this outing compared to previous performances as Michael Bisping looked in his fight against Tim Kennedy. As in, you're close to retirement bad. As, look out Jason Miller, Chris Leben, and Jorge Rivera, here's another washed up middleweight with about a quarter inch of cardio left in the gas tank.
Everybody knows Natal isn't a power puncher, but even by his standards he was dreadful last night. And his takedown shots with absolutely no set up whatsoever was ridiculous. I expected a knee to end the fight at any moment. But this isn't a redemption for Ed Herman, who was surely on the chopping block. That plodding style, weak takedown defense and telegraphed uppercut might work against the weaksauce at 185, but it's not going to do much for anybody else.
Chris Cariaso (B-) versus Louis Smolka (D)
While Jon Annik and Kenny Florian were singing the praises of Chris Cariaso after the fight I was reminded of the seventh episode of House of Lies when "Skip" is going on and on about the virtues of the client and Oberholt turns to Guggenheim and says, "how can he even talk with that much cock in his mouth?" True story. I know these UFC guys are trained to say every performance is the best ever, but can we just for once call a spade a spade? Or a steaming pile of shit a steaming pile of shit? At least Joe Rogan will say a fight was lacking once in a while.
Sure, Cariaso won a split decision against Louis Smolka, who was somehow a favourite in the fight. But think about that for second. Cariaso has fought Renan Barao, Michael McDonald, Takeya Mizugaki, and is 10 fights into his UFC career. Smolka decisioned a little-known wrestler in his UFC debut last time out. Big fucking whoop. If anything, Cariaso's inability to fuck up Smolka's world should send waves of shame over his psyche as a fighter who thinks he belongs in this league.
And to be honest, if I wanted to watch 10 minutes of wall and stall I'd break out my old Randy Couture collection. Fucking wall and stall at 125? Are you kidding me? Get the fuck out with that bullshit. I watch midgets who are fast and like to swing for the fences, not set up a tea party in the garden and hand out crumpets. Smolka literally seemed to have no game plan except: 1. Back Cariaso to the fence 2. Clinch 3. ??? 4. Profit.
If anyone had any doubt as to the legitimacy of the stoppage when Soa Palalei booped the nose of the South African submission fighter, a quick glance at the corpse on the mat as the ref waved off the fight would affirm that the cross-eyed gaze of Potts was seeing little more than the friendly smiles of his ancestors as they waved him home. Potts did not go gently into that good night, waking up a few seconds later, but holy fuck was he KTFO. Now that is an acronym for which this fight is very apt.
Potts came out ready to game the pudgy Palalei to the mat, rolling for submission and trying to catch the heavy-handed Australian. But Palalei was having none of it, adjusting and breaking away from trouble before finishing Potts with some ridiculously hard hammer fists. I'm pretty sure Soa has some of the heaviest hands at 265, even if he doesn't have a terribly impressive gas tank to go with them.
Once again, this was a fight where the bookies seemed to be new to MMA. Sure, Tim Means has a decent record of beating up scrubs on the regional circuit, which is what he did for two fights at Legacy FC after losing two in a row in the UFC and getting cut. Not sure why they brought him back. Means is lanky and has some decent range advantage because he cuts so much weight. Yeah, except Magny does the same thing and he's a better striker and has longer reach.
Make no mistake, Magny is an upjumped TUF scrub as well. But what he does, he does well. He has good movement on the feet and with his hands. We know Magny's weakness is his ground game, but we also knew Means was unlikely to get it south for very long, especially after getting outwrestled by a standup fighter like Jorge Masvidal.
Means did seem to throw away several chances, such as when Magny took a knee against the fence in both rounds two and three and turtled up. Some damage could have been done there but Means seemed more preoccupied with whether the strikes would be legal than worrying about looking for a finishing blow. He could have at least jumped on to his back. Instead he stood there watching until Magny stood up, unscathed. That kind of killer instinct will see you back fighting senior citizens like Pete Spratt in Legacy faster than you can say Uncle fucking Dana.
With all due respect to Cruickshank's first round knockout (technical), I sometimes wonder what the fuck fighters are thinking out there. I mean, we know Cruickshank has a sizeable advantage on the feet and is a great Taekwondo fighter. Why the fuck would you engage the guy solely on the feet and not try for takedowns? Was Koch trying to prove something to himself? Or did he just not realize he was never going to win trading shots with Cruickshank? You better have a fucking sick standup if you're going to try that shit.
Erik Koch has a decent submission game, and he actually used to use it when he fought in the WEC. Somewhere along the way he figured he was Mike Tyson and changed his whole game plan. All it's done is get him KTFO twice in the last four fights. It's not that Koch is done, but he really needs to change his gameplan based on the fighter he's facing.
As for Cruickshank, he landed a nice shot (to the back of the head) and finished up on the ground. But having said that I find a lot of these kinds of stoppages are more about how hard the fighter "spazzes" out to get the ref to stop it. Vitor Belfort is the best at these spazz motions. If he hurts a guy he basically goes into a primal frenzy and just spazzes the fuck out, landing anything anywhere until the ref is like, shit, I better stop this before Vitor goes into a seizure or some shit. I mean, Koch was hurt, but Cruickshank was basically just flailing about. Good refs who don't fall gullible to spazz attacks are found in Carwin vs Lesnar, Maynard vs Edgar II, and Overeem vs Browne.
Costas Philippou (A) versus Lorenz Larkin (F)
This fucking guy beat Robbie Lawler? I don't believe it. Basically, this fight is a repeat of the above description. The only way Larkin loses that fight is to play entirely into the mentality he can out-stand-and-bang Philippou. Which of course he couldn't. And what's amazing is that Larkin isn't a one-dimensional fighter, but he sure did his best to be last night.
There's nothing special about Costas Philippou's attack. He wades in and boxes people the fuck up. Guys like Luke Rockhold exposed that attack by using kicks from range to hurt the body. Larkin has great kicks. Where the fuck were they? In fact he used those kicks to dominate Francis Carmont when they fought way back in April 2013 (robbery of the year). Where the fuck were they?
As for Philippou, he did exactly what everybody expected him to do. He waded forward and landed brutal punches that put a lethargic Larkin to sleep. It was exactly what he could have hoped and prayed for from a braindead opponent.
I'm here to tell you two things you already know. First, Matt Brown is a savage. Second, he deserves a title shot. before you open your mouth about him never having fought anybody in the top 15, shut the fuck up. Just, don't speak. You're pretty when you keep your mouth closed.
Brown is on a seven-fight win streak and has savaged everybody he has fought. Almost every guy who has had a title shot in every weight class in recent memory has earned it for less. Including Robbie Lawler. People are saying let him fight the winner of Jake Ellenberger versus Hector Lombard. Huh? Dude, Ellenberger just lost to Rory MacDonald while Lombard is 3-2 in the UFC.
What about the winner of Tyron Woodley versus Rory MacDonald? Oh you mean the guy is 3-2 in his last five versus the guy who recently lost to Robbie Lawler? Face it, people. Matt Brown deserves his shot next, whether he's beaten guys in some bullshit imaginary ranking system or not. He's basically skullfucked everybody who's come within range of his elbows. Literally. I saw his elbow dip inside Silva's eyesocket last night before the fight was stopped.
Ok, now that i got that out of my system, here's my secondary proposal. Rather than set Brown up for some bullshit fight against Lombard or Cheeseburger or some other mule with a spinning wheel, let's see if we can convince Nick Diaz to come out of retirement and fight Matt Brown. Am I big Diaz nut hugger? Sure. But do I believe Diaz would destroy Brown? Not sure. I do know I'm getting a little sick of him being a fucking whiner and saying he's only going to come out of retirement for title fights.
That's never going to happen. Somebody get that through Nick's thick fucking head. He's never going to fight for a UFC title again. He can, however, win a little "cred" back by giving fans an absolute bloodbath by signing on to fight Matt Brown. I can't imagine a more interesting matchup. It works for Diaz, too, since he whines about people who just do "baby leg jabs" and hold him down. Brown will do no such thing. He will bring the pain to Diaz and it will be up to Nick to show he can withstand it and dish it back.
So, guys, you know what to do. Get on Twatter, get on Facebook, get on here, and start calling for this fight. Because if I have to hear Nick Diaz whine from his armchair one more time about getting a title fight he can take that fake, mean-mugging 209 horseshit and stick it in his medical marijuana pipe and blow it out his ass.