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Fight Critic Part II: Breaking down the fights from UFC 82

Earlier I offered my thoughts on the production aspect of UFC 82. Now, it’s time to get into the actual fights.

* Jon Fitch over Chris Wilson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) – I was surprised this fight opened the show because all indications were that Leben vs. Sakara was the TV opener. I wonder why the late change? This fight was slow at times and it seems like Leben vs. Sakara would have been better here.

After the fight, I read a lot about how Fitch didn’t look good. Why are people taking credit away from Fitch and not giving proper credit to Wilson? Myself, and others, have been telling the novices out there that even though they may not know who he is Wilson is no joke. Fitch is without question a top five fighter in the world at welterweight and Wilson more than held his own in the first round.

Fitch looked tentative at times because he showed a lot of respect for Wilson’s striking. If he hadn’t shown that respect, he might have gotten knocked out. You also have to realize that he knew he had a title shot waiting for him — so long as he didn’t lose. Knowing that, why shouldn’t have Fitch exercised a degree of caution? What motive did he have to take risks?

The problem is that the UFC needs to stop awarding title shots to fighters when an immediate title shot isn’t ready. They told Fitch he had a shot waiting and apparently Karo Parisyan had been told the same. They told Arlovski he had a shot waiting for him if he could beat Werdum. They told Rich Franklin he had a rematch vs. Silva so long as he didn’t lose to Yushin Okami. Stop the madness! Just have title eliminators. Have a fight between the two top contenders below the number one contender (who should already be signed to fight for the title) and make it clear the winner will get a title shot within five months (so they can get paid and not be tempted to take another fight while waiting), barring injury. When you do that then fighters have something they have to win as opposed to something they have to try and not lose.

Kudos to UFC VP of Talent Relations Joe Silva for bringing a prospect like Wilson in and making this fight. Wilson is going to be a player at 170 pounds in the UFC.


  • Ronin says:

    Agree Wilson’s no joke, but it seems he needs to work on his TD defense.
    That said Jon Fitch is no way ready for GSP, taking down Wilson is one thing but if Hughes had a problem taking down GSP there is not way Fitch is going to, but that is of course GSP beat Serra.

  • SteveXtreme says:

    hey Mr. Caplan, will you leave an announcement on 5oz’s when your CBS article is complete? Just wondering. Great points made in this article. I especially agree with your comments on Cecil Peeples. I’ve questioned his ability to judge accurately for a while now. I’m just glad I’m not the only one.

  • Tommy says:

    I finally get to completely agree with one of Sam’s articles. I feel a little smarter now.

  • screwface says:

    your far from the only one. cecil peeples is hands down the worst judge ever seen in mma. he frequently makes horrible calls and and almost always the 1 judge giving a round to the guy who clear as day didnt get it.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Steve, absolutely on the heads up about the CBS article.

  • Michaelthebox says:

    Title eliminators don’t work, because if the number two guy eliminates the number 3 guy, the title shot after the number 2 guy will have to go to the number 4 or number 5 guy. The number 3 guy won’t have time to build himself back up.

  • Jaeger says:

    nice write up my friend. Cecil Peoples is a problem. Consistantly he is the one with the most questionable scoring system in his head. Kongo, Bisping and the list goes on with this guy.

    Poor Hendo, must suck to be the 2nd best guy in a weight class all the time.

  • SteveXtreme says:

    Thank ya sir. Keep up the great work.

  • dice says:

    Just wanted to know if any of you have seen the AA vs Obrien fight yet.

    Nice little piece of propaganda by Goldberg and Rogan. They said that AA wasn’t on the main card due to his cautious performances in the werdum and Cruz fights. I am assuming that Goldberg is confused when mentioning the Cruz fight since AA knocked him out in about 3 minutes. He probably meant the 3rd Sylvia fight.

    Also just a side note, if you were really concerned with getting a guy back to his “exciting” self, why would you match him up against Obrien? I can’t think of another heavyweight off the top of my head who is more of a lay n prayer.

  • jaydog says:

    Sam, I was also really miffed to see Dan leave his neck exposed for so long. And then, I don’t even recall him pulling down on Silva’s arm with the seconds ticking away. Do you think that Silva’s shots combined with the body triangle simply broke his will? Hard to believe.

    About the 170 lb contenders… who doesn’t want to see Karo/Fitch? But, I agree with #6 here, that you need a natural next best who’s in line to keep the plot moving (although Dana’s duplicitous policy is pretty wacko, to say the least).

    Lastly, it’s pretty messed up when the UFC has to look at the undercard matches and think “who aren’t we trying to screw” as they figure which fight to televise with spare PPV time.

  • Adam Morgan says:


    I agree about Hendo’s back defense. It looked very, very suspect last night. No two hands on one, no real choke defense, he pretty much let Anderson Silva have his neck. I’m sure the strikes and the body triangle had something to do with it, but we’re talking about the closing seconds of the round, here. If he’d have even defended it for just a few seconds before it got locked in he might have survived the round. 11 more seconds and then he’s back in his corner, adjusting his game, and back on his feet.

    That being said, Anderson Silva is the fucking truth.


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