Back in 1997 I had a buddy who owned his own Internet connectivity company. This was before the big communications companies had wired the world and monopolized the whole racket, back when little guys could piggyback off of Sprint and create their own dot com start up.
So back in the day he wired up this office building in Toronto and charged each tenant to splice into this super fast network. I'm talking fiber optic cable carrying data at 1.44 megabits per second back when your entire hard drive was the size of a single RAW Nikon photo today.
At the same time that we were riding a pimped out T1 line, most schleps were listening to their fancy new 56,000 baud modems make that Pshhhkkkkkkrrrrkakingkakingkakingtshchchchchchchchcch*ding*ding*ding sound as the blinking lights indicated successful mating with a server.
But, your mom couldn't go on the phone or you'd get disconnected. Remember that?
Anyway, so my buddy and me were avid gamers and took full advantage of this super fast Internet speed on Quake 2 servers, lighting up the third world dial-ups struggling to push 7kbps through their shitbox AOL connection and getting fucking pwned in the process. With framerates kicking in once every half second these guys were getting fragged by yours truly and then refragged again by the time their computer chugged the respawn to their computer screen.
Ah, good times.
It reminded me of last night's fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao at UFC on Fox 16 in Chicago (Sat. July 25, 2015), Ill., for the Bantamweight championship of the world.
While Barao was button-mashing his keyboard trying to hit a moving target on his Brazilian dial-up Internet, Dillashaw's T1-connection was pinging in the low teens. Dillashaw was so much faster than Barao that it actually took me back to those moments in 1997, complete with Barbie Girl soundtrack.
And in case I took that whole metaphor so far that you're now completely lost, let me make it simple for you: Dillashaw was so much better than Barao last night that by the end of the first round the only outcome in question was how the Brazilian was going to lose and when.
Yes, folks, this was a good old-fashioned beatdown. This was Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths, this was pre-sex scandal Tiger Woods clearing the field by 15 strokes at the U.S. Open, this was the San Francisco 49ers absolutely humiliating the Denver Broncos 55-10 in the Super Bowl.
It wasn't close is what I'm trying to say.
At any rate, this was a decent card with some really surprising outcomes, the main event notwithstanding. I rather enjoyed myself, unlike UFC "Glasgow," despite the poor judging and number of decisions.
So, who got top marks and who failed to make the grade this week? Find out in the UFC on FOX 16 "Report Card" below:
See, if we didn't know any better and we watched this fight we could be forgiven for thinking Dillashaw wiped out a complete scrub who has recently arrived to the sport. I mean, we could certainly give Barao some credit for surviving four rounds, but if we didn't know any better we could say that perhaps there's room for improvement and he'll come back stronger.
Yeah, but none of that is true.
The most jaw-dropping thing about Dillashaw's complete destruction of Barao is that this is the former pound-for-pound world's No. 1-ranked fighter (perhaps a silly title, but whatever) who had cleaned out the 135-pound division following the tragic injuries that beset its former kingpin, Dominick Cruz. Barao looked so unbeatable that when they fed Dillashaw to him at UFC 173 I'm pretty sure the matchmakers were buying time until they could find a worthy opponent.
And then like some kind of Mighty Morphin Power Ranger (pre-Reebok), Dillashaw co-opted Cruz's style and destroyed Barao.
Some argued that the Brazilian had a poor weight cut last time out, that he wasn't prepared, that he would be more serious this time around, that he would train better. Nope. No to the power of infinity. Dillashaw didn't just beat Barao in this fight, he did so in a manner that was reminiscent of Anderson Silva taking out the seemingly unbeatable Rich Franklin.
I mean, it was crazy to witness.
Far be it from me to lay on any more superlatives, as I'm not a scab and wouldn't dream of stealing Joe Rogan's job. But, I guess the only thing we need to find out now is whether Cruz can return to MMA and hang with this style-stealing mofo. I'm sure we'll find out more on what he thinks from the 29-year-old in the coming days and weeks, but he did share a few thoughts on Twitter last night:
Barao is fighting in streight lines-that's why TJ can counter going backwards.— Dominick Cruz (@TheDomin8r) July 26, 2015
"Dominator" also perfectly predicted the outcome of the fight as well, suggesting Barao would get outstruck 3 to 1 while searching for the perfect counter. It wasn't quite 3 to 1 (or even 2 to 1), but Dillashaw did use volume to great effect in this one.
So while it's a little shocking to see Barao tuned up like that, it does set up the potential for an incredible title reunification fight down the line when Cruz is feeling 100 percent.
This didn't win "Performance of Night," but a few people said Miesha Tate's Reebok shorts could certainly win a bonus. But, to quote Frank Underwood from House of Cards, I couldn't possibly comment.
At any rate, Tate said prior to the fight she would need to put in a solid performance to justify getting her ass handed to her once more by Ronda Rousey (which she would). And I don't think she turned in that performance. Although she did impress me in her one-sided victory, this isn't the fighter who will dethrone "Rowdy" and certainly can't be given a third chance so soon.
First of all, Tate was getting abso-smurfly lit up in the first round. Unable to find the takedown, Jessica Eye countered her for most of the first round and looked like she was going to bust "Cupcake's" creamy filling wide open. But, late in the first round Tate hit a monster right hook that sent Eye crashing to the canvas.
It was a punch from which she never really recovered.
As Tate began to take over in the second round, Rogan sharply observed that Eye's biggest problem is the fact she has zero head movement and stands with her chin straight up in the air. Although a powerful chin has carried her this far, Eye is going to have to fix this huge problem in her stand up game since Tate is not a power striker by any stretch of the imagination (indeed, it was a weird night watching both Tate and her boyfriend Bryan Caraway light up better strikers on the feet).
I don't see how beating Eye really earns this title shot though. First of all, Eye owns one UFC victory over 7-6-1 Leslie Smith, and her dubious decision win over Sarah Kaufman was overturned. As for Tate, she has four decision wins in a row, which while nice to look at doesn't scream champion slayer. The problem really is... who else is there? Rousey has murdered everybody at 135 pounds except Bethe Correia (yet) and Tate has gone through Eye and Sarah McMann already. Fighting Alexis Davis doesn't help since Rousey sent her packing in 16 seconds.
So hooray for title shot by ... default?
I don't want to be too hard on Paul Felder because he's tougher than whatever material they make those black boxes in airplanes, but dude blew it last night. And you can't say this is a learning opportunity because dude is fucking 31. He had his opportunity to knock off one of the Lightweight division's true gatekeepers.
And at the end of the day he wasn't able to deliver (watch the full video highlights of Paul Felder vs. Edson Barboza right here).
Don't get me wrong, these two banged from start to finish. There was so much spinning shit in this fight that Carlos Condit would get dizzy. There were some ridiculous kicks and punches that sounded so loud on television that if I shut my eyes I would have guessed English sportsmen were shooting clay pigeons. Felder is an incredibly tough human being to go toe-to-toe with Barboza and not just survive, but really trade shot for shot.
And then there was the kick to the balls to end all kicks to the balls.
It's one thing to watch "America's Funniest Home Videos" where 7-year-old Johnny hits the t-ball into Dad's sack and we all have a laugh. It's another to see the hardest kicker in mixed martial arts (MMA) land a picture-perfect kick flush to the cup without pinching your lips to block your gag reflex.
Frankly, it's amazing he kept fighting.
By the third round, however, when it was clear Barboza was taking over and landing the better combinations I feel like Felder should have gone full Wanderlei Silva and just tried to knock him out without technique. I mean, fighting Barboza's fight is never a smart thing to do, especially if you're not better at it than he is.
And few are better at his game.
Some people complained about the scores, but I gave Barboza all three rounds. MMADecisions.com was unanimous as well. It's unfortunate to see a talented fighter like Felder have his momentum stopped, but it also showed if you can get outpointed by gatekeeper Barboza, the Donald Cerrone's and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Michael Johnson's would do you even worse.
God, this was sadder than watching Gallipoli. How fast are you going to run? As fast as a leopard. Ratatatatatatatatat. This fight reminded me a lot of Royce Gracie making the worst comeback in MMA history against a prime Matt Hughes at UFC 60. When Hughes finished the legend and stood up I don't think anybody even really cheered.
Every young lion eventually gets old and gets taken out by a younger lion. It happened to Chuck Liddell, it happened to Anderson Silva, and one day it will happen to Chris Weidman. At one time, Takanori Gomi was Pride FC champion, knocking out all comers and considered among the elite at Lightweight along with guys like B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver.
But, those days are long, long gone.
Gomi didn't really look like he belonged anywhere near a fighting cage on Saturday, getting taken down and beaten up in the first round by Joe Lauzon. The sad thing is I think the 36-year-old will probably return to Japan and cash in on a few more pay checks over there before finally calling it a career (much like Hayato Sakurai and Kazushi Sarkuraba).
Speaking of sad, did anybody notice that referee Herb Dean was snoozing on the finish to the fight? Lauzon had back mount and was pounding Gomi's brains through the canvas until he decided it was over and stood up. Dean, not sure what had happened, looked to Gomi to see if he wanted to continue before waving it off.
Best ref in the business my Canadian bacon.
@SeanSheehanBA @CrooklynMMA pic.twitter.com/7U7W1DgqqD— EOW (@_EOW_) July 26, 2015
It was a bad night for referee and judge incompetence, as in the co-main event you'll remember that Yves Lavigne reset Tate and Eye to a standing start. The only weird thing about that was Tate had back mount! Yes, Lavigne reset a fighter who had the most dominant position achievable in MMA.
It may be time to start hiring some new people.
Quick Hits From The Undercard
- Tom Lawlor gets an A+ for an inexplicable knockout after a two-year break from the cage, fighting up a weight class, against a former Heavyweight who had battered him the whole first round. Gian Villante (D) protested the stoppage, but seldom has a picture-perfect right hook ever landed so flush.
- Jim Miller (B-) won a split decision over Danny Castillo (B+) in a fight that really demonstrated the effectiveness of training with striking coach Bang Ludwig. Although Castillo went to the head kick well a little too often, Miller really didn't do anything to prevent it from landing almost every time.
- Ben Saunders (Killa gets a B) showed he probably has the sickest guard in the 170-pound division, punishing Kenny Robertson (B-) with a ridiculous modified rubber guard with hellbows attack. On the feet the fight was mostly even and arguably Robertson's win using the 10-9 must scoring system, but it's hard to be mad after Saunders massacred Kenny in the third.
- Bryan Caraway (B) channeled his inner Jake Shields and became a grappler-turned striker by beating up Eddie Wineland (D) over three rounds. Maybe it was the ring rust, but Wineland looked horrible and was never really able to get off.
- James Krause (A+) made short work of Daron Cruickshank (F) who looked like a white belt on the mat. Either Krause is gigantic at 155 pounds or Cruickshank needs to drop down a weight class.
- Andrew Holbrook (B-) made a good account of himself Saturday, but was unfortunately the beneficiary of candidate for "Robbery of the Year." All 15 media scoring the event had it for Ramsey Nijem (B+), with six of those media organizations giving him all three rounds.
- Jessamyn Duke (C+) made a good argument for a draw with what could easily have been a 10-8 round against Elizabeth Phillips (D) in their Bantamweight fight. Despite gassing terribly and barely surviving, she had won the first two rounds and hence the fight, but in no playground you ever grew up in would you raise that woman's hand.
- Zak Cummings (A) didn't wait very long to send Dominique Steele (F) packing. The heavy underdog made his Octagon debut on short notice, but it's unlikely he'll be getting a callback after 43 seconds of work.
Well, that's a wrap.
See you guys again next Saturday as Ronda Rousey armbars a Brazilian scrub in 14 seconds.