UFC Gdansk is now in the rear view and combat sports fans have a full slate of events to look forward to: one (if not two) a week until Christmas. It can be a little hard even for die hards like me to keep up with, and I sometimes wonder if the UFC isn’t stretching itself a bit thin with so many shows.
This isn't in regards to over-saturation or thinning the roster, as legit as those issues may be. It's also about whether the promotion is able to take the positive developments that come out of a card like UFC Gdansk and build on them.
You know the old chestnut of the up and coming fighter that beats the established star, becoming a star themselves through some sort of magic osmosis? It seems like less of a sure thing in MMA these days, but you get the feeling the UFC could pull it off with Darren Till following his win over Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone if they play their cards right.
Till gave them everything they need to pull it off. He beat down Cerrone in efficient and violent fashion, declared himself the best fighter in the division, and then got into a though the cage screaming match with fellow flashy braggart "Platinum" Mike Perry. Oh, and Till also comes from Liverpool, giving him a nice easy regional hook for the UFC to exploit.
The UFC's 2018 schedule remains surprisingly vague at this point, but it would be a huge waste not to put Till on their next UK card, giving him the kind of platform he needs to become a blood and guts favorite in his home country.
Out of the five Polish fighters on the card, the one I was most impressed with was the one who lost. Damian Stasiak didn't even make it to the final bell, getting TKO'd badly by Brian Kelleher in the third round of their fight. But the karate specialist captured my heart with his endless enthusiasm for spinning s**t and fancy kicks.
It's not a style that's going to build him a resume full of consistent wins, but it sure is fun to watch. And it paid off for him in a different way this time in Poland, earning him a 50k Fight of the Night bonus.
UFC Fight Pass Gets A Passing Grade
I've been a long time subscriber to UFC Fight Pass but don't end up using it very much. For the most part, I see the 10 bucks a month I shell out for the service as ideological support. I may not tune in for the Eddie Bravo Invitationals or every Invicta FC show, but I love that they have a home, and that's worth the money to me.
But I have to say, I really enjoyed using Fight Pass to watch UFC Gdansk. Being able to jump a few minutes back to watch something again was great. Having all of the previous fights a click away was even better. By the time I was poking around in the prelims, some quick moving worker bee had added all the elaborate timestamps to every fight, from the start of each round to all the takedowns and submission attempts.
UFC Fight Pass ain't perfect. I still have to Google it every time I want to use it, and anyone trying to use the service's search feature is probably going to have a bad time. But it still does live events very right, and I can only hope more UFC events get the exclusive Fight Pass treatment. Not having to watch the same Geico and Motel 6 commercials over and over again was worth the price of admission alone.