Aren't you glad you got up at 10 a.m. on a Saturday so you could watch Michael Bisping throw pillows at Thales Leites in the fourth UFC event in the past seven days? What? You live in Scotland so it was a normal time zone for you? In that case, wasn't there a soccer game or a football game on (whatever you Euros call it) that you would have rather been watching?
I only wish I were joking.
The best part about watching a Michael Bisping fight is seeing him get knocked out because if he's not getting knocked out then you're usually in for 25 minutes of feather-tickling fake outs and fleeing. It wasn't just the UFC Fight Night 72 main event that failed to deliver, the co-main was equally agonizing to witness, as were several other fights in Scotland's first-ever UFC event.
I don't want to rain on Scotland's parade too much -- it's got a bad enough climate as is -- but here's another argument for a UFC "B League" full of fighters who don't belong in the world's premiere mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. I mean, Hans Stringer, Mikael Lebout, Teemu Packalen and dude with the Taliban beard might be hot shit in whatever Eurozone fighting league they usually roll in, but to put them in UFC and hence lend legitimacy to their names is a misrepresentation of their abilities.
I'm actually kind of surprised Lebout had a pair Reebok trunks with his name on them. Surely there will be two sales of said shorts, from Mikael and Mikael's mom.
Anyway, the only reason you're here is to listen to my frustration as I recap third-rate cage-fighters trying (and failing) to look relevant so let's get things started. And if you need me to hype it up a little better, pretend you're reading all this in Joe Rogan's voice as he screams "THIS IS MADNESS, THIS IS MADNESS."
Boo hoo hoo, wah wah wah, Thales Leites was robbed, Michael Bisping is a point fighter, he didn't do anything, he throws pillows, all he did was run the whole fight. Shut up. Unless this is your first day on the planet you know this already. Bisping has zero power, he point fights, he avoids, and he wins via decision.
Like Missandei keeps telling the blonde airhead dragon queen, it is known. Bisping is a point fighting gatekeeper.
The point is, what the heck did Leites do to prove he deserves to pass through the gate? Did he knock him out? No. Did he take him down? Nuh uh. Did he do anything other than wheeze and huff and puff and throw 10 strikes a round? No, no and no.
He did nothing. He landed the harder shots, but that's because any shot not thrown by Bisping is going to be hard.
And honestly did I think it was close? Not really. I had it 49-46 Bisping. The third round was close, but you probably have to give at least one to Leites for the takedown and rocking the Brit in the first minute. Butm for all of his eight-fight win streak Leites had the killer instinct of a cabbage patch kid. He played a point fighting game with the grandmaster point fighter and got beat.
Do you know what I used to admire about Wanderlei Silva? Despite the fact he was probably on more performance enhancing rocket fuel than Apollo 11, despite the fact his version of Fight IQ was biting down on his mouthpiece and closing his eyes, at least he understood that to beat a point fighting little bitch sometimes you need to go a little crazy. I'm talking Ben Rothwell laughing into a mic awkwardly kind of crazy. You need to risk it all to win it all. Instead, Leites tried to throw overhand rights. Bzzzzzt. Next.
Did Ross Pearson and Evan Dunham realize they were in a co-main event of a UFC event? Did they know they were supposed to entertain fans? I feel like getting Chris Tucker a megaphone so he can point it in the ears of these two fucking guys and scream, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?"
These two guys stunk. Like, they friggin' sucked. Dunham played the role of Clay Guida in this 2015 adaptation of Anthony Pettis' UFC debut, while I'm guessing you can figure out what role Pearson played. Actually, let's not insult Pettis. Pearson was garbage. An irrelevant fighter two dozen fights deep in UFC who can't figure out what weight class he belongs in, he choked in his own backyard to a hump and humper lay and prayer. Brutal. I've seen Rob Schneider movies more entertaining.
And not his Saturday Night Live days movies ... his 2015 movies.
Pearson did one impressive thing the whole fight and that was allow his arm to get jacked after Dunham otherwise submitted him in the first round. With luck, this will prevent us having to watch Pearson again for a long time while this thing heals. Not so lucky are the fans who will be treated to Dunham's next fight if this is his new M.O.
Honestly though, this is all on Pearson. Every time he builds the slightest momentum with a win he catches a peach pit in his throat. He's like a poor man's Michael Bisping except at least the Middleweight has beaten some top ranked fighters. Pearson's claim to fame is punch-drunk Gray Maynard who at this point would probably struggle to make the walk to the cage. UFC could cut both from their roster tomorrow and zero tears would be shed by this fan.
If there was one fighter worth giving the proverbial fuck about on this card it was Joseph Duffy. Despite winning in impressive fashion (a submission against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who had never been submitted in his 30 fight career), despite winning in the first round, and despite emerging looking like he'd barely been in a fight at all, some MMA fans were not ready to give him his due.
This is Conor McGregor all over again. He beat Marcus Brimage, but that was a lucky punch. He beat Max Holloway, but didn't finish him. He beat Dustin Poirier, but has never faced a wrestler. It goes on and on. Same story with Duffy. Dude has destroyed two men inside of five minutes in his first two UFC fights and all people can whine about is how he's not facing top tier competition.
The word "morons" comes to mind.
Do you think Jon Jones was making his MMA debut against Mauricio Rua? I mean, I'm happy to put him against Donald Cerrone tomorrow, but I don't think they're going to make that happen. It's called climbing the ladder. I mean, yeah, being a narcissistic megalomaniac shit talker helps.
But, since Duffy is nothing but class we might see a few more easy outings before he gets a real challenge.
Consider this though: Lightweight is arguably the most stacked division in all of MMA. Tatsuya Kawajiri has gone 2-1 in UFC, defeating unranked Sean Soriano and No. 15-ranked Dennis Siver to get into thirteenth spot in the Featherweight division. You want to get into the Top 15 in Lightweight? Try beating up No. 11 Tony Ferguson or No. 13 Beneil Dariush. Benson Henderson, a two-league Lightweight champion, is ranked sixth. SIXTH! That's how stacked Lightweight is. So, try relaxing a bit on your Duffy expectations. He's still only 27.
As for the fight, and since I'm kind of running long here: Domination. It was domination, from the head kicks and knees the sternum, to the transition from a takedown into flawless triangle on jiu-jitsu black belt who turned pro when Duffy was only 13 years old.
It's amazing that it took the girls to show the boys how to fight. And although I've been clear about the fact I am not a women's MMA fan in the past, let me clear that I am not being facetious. These women were absolutely fantastic in this fight, exhibiting the kind of heart and courage that fighters like Pearson and Dunham couldn't find with a map and a flashlight.
Casey -- who has been fighting for all of about 14 minutes in her career -- shows up on short notice and gives veteran Calderwood a hell of a fight. In the first minute she had her rocked so badly that I thought this was going to be the biggest upset by a rookie since Joe Lauzon knocked out Jens Pulver.
But, Calderwood recovered and survived the round by utilizing her wrestling.
In the second round a new Calderwood came out and began battering Casey, who was nevertheless game for a brawl, and the two stood toe to toe and traded on numerous occasions. Yes, they were 115 pounds soaking wet, yes they lack the power of men, but goddamn was it satisfying to see two people on a fight card who actually want to, you know, fucking fight.
Although Casey came out on the wrong end of the scorecard, she impressed in her debut and showed a lot of tenacity to survive against a veteran. As for "JoJo" she rebounds from a devastating loss in April and her name is once again circulating in the title picture. All in all, a fight that tried desperately to redeem a card filled with easily forgettable fights.
How do you ruin an eight-second knockout in your last fight? How about 15 minutes of agonizing boredom featuring two guys who clearly wanted to be somewhere else on a Saturday night? I don't know if I have enough to write about this fight because honestly I tend to forget things that bore me to the point I go scrounging for food in the fridge mid-fight. Ironically, it's usually during the women's MMA fights that this happens, but Edwards and Pawlak demonstrated that futility is not a gender issue.
Edwards did score a knockdown in the third round, which earns him the sort of grade that says, sure let's see what you got one more time. But as for Pawlak, if I wanted to watch somebody struggle to make contact all night I'd watch the Toronto Blue Jays (Damn you, Tampa Bay, you're not even a real team!).
Time to send him back to whatever no-vowel city in Poland he comes from.
At one point I even had to check if Glasgow had somehow gained 7,000 feet in elevation since both guys looked like they were struggling to find any fucks to give, but as I suspected, it remains 129 feet above sea level. And you can't blame the jet lag either, since both guys live on the continent and Edwards probably didn't have to rent a hotel.
Needless to say Edwards will not find himself on a televised card again for a while.
Damn. How about that Stevie Fucking Ray! That's not me being my usual crude self. That's literally what 10,000+ screaming Scottish fans were calling as the hometown hero made short work of Brazilian veteran Leonardo Mafra. The Scots are nothing if not crude in their humor. Hint hint.
As for the fight, it couldn't have gone more perfect, with Ray delivering a knockout finish and earning a "Performance of the Night" bonus in a half round of work.
I can't help but feel bad for Mafra though. Maybe it's because I joined his hopes and dreams and obligatory tears on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" and rooted for him to make it in UFC. Maybe it's because I picked him to win because I figured a former Middleweight should be able to take on a Lightweight. Whatever the case, I was wrong. Ray is a dangerous young fighter who now has finishes in his first two MMA fights and says he wants to fight again in Dublin in October.
QUICK HITS FROM THE PRELIMS UNDERCARD:
- Paddy Holohan (B) used wrestling to subdue Vaughn Lee (F) who looked like he either didn't want to be in Scotland or anywhere near a cage fighting promotion.
- Ilir Latifi (A) crushed Dutch can Hans Stringer (F), who has amazingly received two fights after his nightmare performance against Francimar Barrosso.
- Mickael Lebout (F) did nearly nothing in this fight, which was slightly more than the nothing offered by short notice fighter Teema Packalen (F) in a candidate for worst fight of the year. Neither fighter belongs anywhere near pro MMA let alone UFC.
- Rob Whiteford (A) cracked the chin of Paul Redmond (D) to make the Scottish fans go wild. The first Scottish fighter in UFC continues to find success.
- Jimmie Rivera (A+) knocked those stupid fucking glasses off the head of Marcus Brimage (F), whom I hope will finally get cut after yet another terrible performance.
- Daniel Omielanczuk (A) obliterated some guy with a dad bod who accidentally wandered into the cage and got knocked out. For the record, dad bod guy was Chris de la Rocha (F).
That's a wrap!
Despite all the finishes on the card, the lack of name power and C-list talent coupled with the battle fatigue of being forced to watch 47 fights in seven days is what made me so salty writing this. That, and UFC is giving us zero weekends off this summer, as next Saturday it's Dillashaw vs. Barao II and then Rousey vs. Correira the week after.
AS REAL AS IT zzzzzzzzz.......