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Thoughts on UFC 74: Fire Sobral; Guida is a star; Randy needs a new nickname; and more!

I just got back from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in what was the first live UFC (not first MMA) card that I was able to attend.  It was a great experience and the UFC certainly puts on a tight live show. I am much more impressed with their live show than their telecasts. Something is really missing from their telecasts and it really behooves them to try and take things to another level. Their TV shows aren’t bad, but they could be a lot better.

Also, I did not see Brock Lesnar. He might have been there, but nobody really knew about it if he was.

I will run down my thoughts match-by-match.

Clay Guida over Marcus Aurelio – This was a strong match and it’s a damn shame no one at home got to see it. Guida won via split decision (it should have been unanimous). Aurelio didn’t look bad at all in my opinion, Guida was just the better fighter. Fighting Guida is a tough proposition because the guy is just relentless. He’s always in the face of his opponents which is a pain in the ass because you don’t have time to recover from punches, regain your wind, or simply stop and ponder a new strategy. He should receive bonus points for fighting with the hair. I don’t know how he does it. Guida deserves to receive a bigger promotion push. You wouldn’t believe how many fans are behind this guy. He got a ton of cheers before the fight and a few chants of “Guida” during it. I also saw him several times Friday at the Mandalay taking pictures and signing autographs. The UFC doesn’t have an excuses for keeping him off the main card. Some might fault the fact that he doesn’t finish guys but it isn’t for a lack of training. And it’s not like they’ve given him any easy fights.

Ryan Jensen vs. Thales Leites – Jensen came out like a ball of fire with a ton of kicks. Leites had no answer for them but it didn’t appear like they did a lot of damage. Jensen, who came out with Matt Lindland, rocked Leites a few times and I thought Leites was in trouble at one point. But Leites came back and won the match. The crazy thing is that he could be fighting for the middleweight title a year from now unless they go outside the promotion and starting signing established 185 lbs. middleweights.

Frank Mir vs. Antoni Hardonk – Mir didn’t play around. He got Hardonk off his feet and finished him with a submission.  I guess some people might be impressed with the win but I really wasn’t. He didn’t have to do much to win. As for Hardonk, I see no reason why he should remain in the UFC.

Renato “Douche Bag of the Year” Sobral vs. David Heath – If you were wondering why there was so much blood on the canvas, well, it all came from Heath, who got busted open and was oozing blood all over the place. It was really sick and the fight should have been stopped much sooner than it was. To make matters worse, one of the ugliest scenes in my memory of MMA took place when Sobral didn’t release his choke after Heath tapped. He ended up putting Heath to sleep after he had already given up. I thought maybe he didn’t see or hear the ref call the match and that it was an honest mistake. No! Sobral acknowledged in the post fight that he intentionally refused to release the hold and sounded pretty proud of that fact. He mumbled something about needing to teach Heath a lesson. A lesson for what? The two had some issues at the staredown but I have no idea why. Chances are you’ll never get to see this fight unedited and everyone should be allowed to see what happened. It was a case where the UFC really needs to cover their events like a real sport. They should have explained to the viewers why there was so much blood. You’re not going to sweep the Sobral incident under the rug so better yours fans hear it from you first rather than second hand. I’m pretty sure that Sobral will lose a portion of his purse and I’d be shocked if he wasn’t suspended. Hopefully, the UFC will make an example of him and fire him. And don’t tell me I’m going overboard because if you saw it, you’d probably feel otherwise. Noah Thomas and Marlon Sims got fired for much less (and I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t have been fired). You can say both of them were expendable, but that’s exactly what Sobral has become. When you factor his legal issues outside of the UFC into the equation and there’s simply no reason to keep a liability like him on the roster. An interesting tidbit is that Sobral threw his hat into the crowd and Manny Gamburyan caught it (he was right in front of us). He chucked it right back to the cage in a fit of rage. Even the fighters know what Sobral did was bullshit. The fans booed him out of the building practically and cheered Gamburyan for throwing the hat back.

Kendall Grove vs. Patrick Cote – I was and still am in shock and am unable to comment further on Grove’s upset loss as a result.

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Joe Stevenson – Stevenson looked good, as did Pellegrino. Stevenson was just too strong for him. Pellegrino has the Jiu-Jitsu, but Stevenson had the Jiu-Jitsu and the wrestling.

Roger Huerta vs. Alberto Crane – Crane had great Jiu-Jitsu… and not much else.  Huerta has good standup and his submissions aren’t bad. However, his wrestling is brutal. He couldn’t keep position against Pellegrino. Huerta couldn’t even maintain the mount. Yes, I know you want to see Huerta fight some top shelf talent. Well, don’t hold your breath.

Josh Koscheck vs. Georges St. Pierre – Yes, I know I was wrong. It won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. I am actually glad that GSP showed up tonight and answered the questions about his mental preparation. If you still think the mental aspects were an issue that needed to be addressed, just stop reading this blog now. You can’t make a legitimate case him needing to prove himself considering he acknowledged the fact he’s seeing a sports psychologist. But you also can’t make a legitimate case that he didn’t put all the concerns to rest. MMA needs GSP to reach his full potential because he has a fighting style that can really bring new fans into the game. I’m more than okay with GSP fighting for the welterweight title after Hughes for Serra. In regard to Koscheck, he’s improved in all areas but still isn’t a threat to finish a guy. His Jiu-Jitsu is so-so (I thought he had a chance to work a couple of obvious submissions and he neglected) and his standup is only good enough to be used to set up takedowns. I’m back on the GSP bandwagon, folks.

Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga – I could believe how quick Couture looked early in the first round! I also can’t believe he was so gassed so early in the fight. He took a ton of damage but kept it together. How he was able to make it through some of those high kicks is beyond me. I also think the broken nose issue is overrated. Yes, it hurt Gonzaga’s chances to win but a broken nose in a fight isn’t necessarily the death penalty. There have been fighters who have won fights with broken noses before. This loss is more than just the nose — he simply wasn’t ready! He’s a legit fighter but he’s still not fully developed. We’ll see him fighting for the title again. Now on to Randy. What can I say that isn’t already obvious? I will say this: he needs a new nickname. Natural doesn’t suit him. Nothing about him is natural — and no, I don’t mean it that way. My point is that if average human beings mirrored Couture’s training they still wouldn’t be anywhere the kind of shape he’s in. The man just has incredible genetics. His new nickname should be “Super Natural.” Randy isn’t going to retire because there’s still too much money on the table but besides beating Fedor, what more is there for him to do that he hasn’t already done.

27 COMMENTS
  • Sean says:

    You are out of your mind if you don’t think that broken nose “issue” is overrated…that was the main reason why he won the fight…its part of mma and it was off an unbelievable takedown…Gonzaga is a better fighter than what showed…and like you said he will be back…and its pretty amazing how many potential fights are now available in the UFC Heavyweight division

  • steve says:

    Somebody should have gotten up and sucker punched Sobral in the face at the post fight conference.

    The reason Guida I think was on the under card is because he’s coming off 2 straight loses. Grove and Huerta Stevenson are a fight or 2 away from titles so you have to show them.

  • bubbafat says:

    The UFC needs to come down hard on Sobral. That kind of crap isn’t even aloud in Brazilian Vale-Tudo Everything goes. The sport is at a point where it doesn’t need spokesman like “Crazy Horse” Bennett or Babalu Sobral.

    I wonder if Penn was slapped with any fines after “admittedly” holding his rear naked a little longer. Granted Pulver didn’t pass out but…

  • Carson says:

    Sorry Sam, Koshceck simply wasn’t ready for a guy like GSP. GSP is still the best 170-lbs in the world and is out to prove Serra was a FLUKE.

  • robnashville says:

    The purse with holding and any suspension will probably be done by the athletic commission. I have little faith that the UFC itself will take any punitive measures against Sobral itself. the UFC seems to abdicate any level of personal responsiblity when it comes to disciplining it’s fighters.

  • glock says:

    There aren’t enough superlatives to describe The Natural .The UFC in particular and the MMA world in general are lucky he’s around – especially when most outside the sport thinks everyone in it is a “DB Sobral”. I hope Fedor gets a phonecall to start checking on airfares to ring in the New Year with Randy.
    GSP is back and really needs to get his belt to join him. I think Kos needed that that lesson . He now knows what he needs to do if he wants to be a contender. He’ll be back in a big way. Diego is for sure not looking forward to the inevitable match with GSP, at least not till they hand feed him a couple of sure things (well there aren’t many sure things but ‘easy’ fights)
    Grove needed that spanking too. He’s a great talent for sure but I think he’s always been the teachers pet for some reason and was feeling delusions of invincibility…. That being said I get the felling he’s a great kid , capable of reflection and humility and smart so he’ll start fixing things right away, and take the loss for what it is and keep moving forward better for the experience.

  • MMA Videos says:

    Great recap. Randy is unreal. Too bad Kosheck dropped the ball for me on my parlay.

  • cyphron says:

    Couture’s dirty boxing was unbelievably sick. I was in awe at out how he manhandled Gonzaga with strikes and stayed off the ground. Great game plan. When Gonzaga wanted blood wiped off his face, you can definitely see it in his eyes that he didn’t want anymore.

    Couture VS Nogueira and Couture VS CroCop… how can I bet against him now?

    As for BJPenn holding on longer than he should… I don’t think it was as long as 5-7 seconds. That’s a long time considering that Heath probably waited until he’s about to pass out before he tapped. Sobral should be banned for at least six months for that. I know he’s angry at his past performances, but you can’t take it out on your opponent like that.

  • MoreThanUFC says:

    Kos huh, Sam?

    If you get a chance to watch the Heath v Babalu fight, I will say that it was the bloodiest bout I have ever seen ( 16 years watching MMA in one form or another ). As far as him holding the choke, he held for an additional 2 secs. I’ve seen far worse than that, so the holier than thou crap that is flying around is just facitious. Um, where was all the rage at Penn, was Kampmann’s purse heldup after the McFedries fight? Only mistake Babalu made was admitting to it.

  • glock says:

    I forgot to mention that I thought both GSP and Randy had brilliant game plans going in and then executed well- keep ’em out of their comfort zone (like Rampage and Chuck) ….keep Kos on his back and manhandle the bigger guy that’s used to doing the manhandling by using the dirty boxing on the fence .
    It’s ironic that Gabe and his camp alludeded to the big holes in Randy’s game that they meant to exploit. Even Randy found that laughable from a young guy with 9 mma fights against Randy’s pedigree.
    I totally agree that Gonzaga looked like he wanted a way out with the “not able to see” halt.
    Also, I ‘ll have to wait to see it again, but if pile driving his head into Gabes face when he bounced him was an “accident”, then I’ll start believing in the Tooth Fairy again as well. Did the broken nose tip the scales – absolutely. It was the keystone that made the whole rest of the design work as well as it did. without it, it still looks good on paper to me Monday morning, but Gonzaga woulda had more heart and and a better chance of something(?) happening for him.
    That does not detract from Randy’s win in the least – you do what you gotta do to make shit happen. He was and is, as good as it gets in my book.
    Yeah, Supernatural works just fine.

  • steve says:

    How the hell does Big Nog get a shot? It makes no sense. He has one win, which wasn’t even impressive. He didn’t look like he that great of a ground game. I’m sure he was good in Pride but this is the UFC now. Track record shows that they don’t do as good.

  • Jeremy says:

    Obviously holding a choke hold, or any submission hold for longer then needed or when the referree tries to break it and you refuse is a bad thing. And certainly what Sobral did was wrong, but I think what made it look even worse then it was, was that Babalu admitting to holding it to teach him a lesson. I think in the heat of the moment, like mentioned with previous instances of it(Penn, Kampmann) it can happen, but the way Babalu commented after the fight makes it look horrible. He deserves the fine and anything else that comes from it.

  • […] Bloggerzy domagaj? si? rozwi?zania kontraktu z Babalu przez […]

  • garth says:

    in re the choke, McFedries never tapped. He went out. Heath tapped. That’s kind of the deal you make with your opponent: when they tap, and the ref says stop, you stop. The only body that can sanction this kind of stuff is the UFC and the NSAC, otherwise he gets away with it, and some time down the line someone gets braindamaged. That’s not holier-than-thou, it’s just smart.
    I think BJ and Royce and anyone who keeps going after the ref says stop should be fined and suspended. Who wouldn’t? That’s just stupid. I’m a fan of Babalu’s and I hope he gets a suspension and fine. I dunno if I’ll root for him again, but i’m not going to call someone names if they do.

  • paulaobraza says:

    I am ashamed of what happened as a Brazilian and jiu-jitsu fighter. I haven’t seen babalu/heath’s fight yet (and don’t know if they will ever let us), but from the sound of it, it was really messed up what babalu did. He probably deserves to be fired as that is not even allowed in Vale tudo. He could’ve cause some serious damage or MORE. And believe it or not I was also rooting for Randy cause he’s just a great guy and makes it up for the reps of us MMA fans. Napao is a very good fighter and all but I think he needs to grow up as a person and as fighter too from the interviews that I’ve seen. Randy has just such a great sportsmanship. Go Randy!
    On a side note, Thales Leites made me very proud and he sures talk like a champ. I hope that young man finds success.
    Cheers.

  • a.h. says:

    I cant believe no one is talking about patrick cote…hes been good for a very long time in canada and hell definitly show the ufc people how good he can be

  • Jeremy says:

    Garth, that is true about the Kampmann/McFedries fight, he didn’t tap but I think the point is more towards the fact that Herb Dean came in to try and literally rip Kampmann off him and he couldn’t get him off or to let go immediately. I never felt it was anything intentional by Kampmann though, and I also never heard him afterwards say it was so like Babalu did. I think that’s the biggest probably with all this. Babalu saying stuff like he did afterwards. If he hadn’t said what he did I don’t think it would have been as big a deal as it has turned out to be. It basically would have been similar to the Kampmann incident. Fighters can tap, but they always say wait until the referre breaks it up, because if he doesn’t see the tap then the ref may not end the fight.

  • Zack says:

    I ended up being wrong on Kos and Randy. F me. Honestly though – did GSP show he was that much better than Kos and a dominant 170lber? I think we saw that GSP is a more polished fighter who knew how to win a decision.

    I couldn’t disagree more strongly on the broken nose issue. It looked like it completely emptied Gabe’s tank leaving the door open for Randy to close him out. Great slam though. Randy is the bomb – I agree with whoever suggested he could drop to 205 and get back THAT belt as well.

  • paulaobraza says:

    Just saw babalu/heath fight now… FIRE THAT F*****ER!!!!
    Babalu was malicious… but man, whats wrong with Mazagatti? Holy smokes?!?! Jump on them dude!!!! Freakin retard ref… hes like wathing babalu… check it out…

  • jt says:

    Fire Sobral? Come on. Controversy = ratings, no matter which way you slice it. You thought last season of TUF was disgraceful. Did you see the promo for next season last night? UFC is a business that puts the bottom line before anything else and they will keep Sobral. The division is deep, of course, but Babalu is in the mix. He is a skilled fighter that puts on exciting fights.

  • ACanadianPotHead says:

    Nice prediction on Kos, Im sure you have had enough told you so’s today, but heres another……

    Never doubt the heart of a Canadian

  • Rory says:

    steve: I think the UFC brass is probably under the impression that now is the time to book Nogeuira in a title fight, because Couture has a very good chance of beating him. Otherwise you risk lessening his value if he gets dropped again, and hey, they already paid for Nog, right? They might as well use him.

  • RDukes says:

    That Sorbal fight sounds brutal. I’ll trust your judgement, Sam, that he is indeed “douche bag of the year”.

    And I can’t agree more about UFC getting covered like a legit sport…it can’t happen soon enough. If I had to hear Rogan and Goldman slurp their favorite fighters anymore…

    And their insights into the fight are terrible (how many more times do we have to hear that Couture wants to “impose his will on his opponent” line? Great insight, guys.)

    Ironically, more and more traditional sports coverage (ESPN, ahem) is more like the UFC style of unobjective pandering.

    Keep up the great work, Sam.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    MoreThanUFC:

    Out of curiosity, how were you able to see the fight?

    BTW, please name for me some matches where a guy leaving the hold locked in after the ref had stopped the fight was more blatant?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    ACanadianPotHead:

    I NEVER doubted the heart of a Canadian or Canadians. Just GSP’s. His nationality had nothing to do with it. Let’s just make that perfectly clear.

  • harleycon5 says:

    Sam, it is obvious what we need to call Randy Couture from now on, regardless of win or loss: Randy “The Supernatural” Couture (I have been calling him by this nickname since he won the title)

    As for Babalu the guy is out…again give credit to Dana White, who unlike the owners of most major sports franchises refuses to tolerate Steroids OR poor behavior. Kudos Dana!

    GSP showed he is the real deal, and proves the same point as Couture; If you have the skills and the will, push with everything you have and you will win. Koscheck is a punk and Ortizean jerk, perhaps his loss will lend him some humility. Did you notice the intense and angry Diego Sanchez in the audience? My take is that Diego (a guy who should never have lost to Koscheck) has learned from watching this fight, and will likely disassemble Koscheck the next time they meet….

  • harleycon5 says:

    Sam, MorethanUFC has a point. BJ Penn did much the same thing but I believe he said it was in the passion of the fight he did not let go quickly enough. He also embraced his opponent and they made friends after the match, which goes a long way toward forgiving his actions.

    Babalu actually seems to have held for 3 seconds, unless I miscounted, then dumped his opponent like a bag of garbage. Afterward telling anyone who wanted to hear that he did it on purpose for being disrespected.
    I think it was his attitude that got him fired, which was 180 degrees counter to Penn’s.

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