After writing several feature-style articles yesterday covering the fallout from UFC 93, I still found myself with a lot of items remaining in my notebook. I figured it might be a good idea to produce another “Random Rants” column and clean everything out.
— Overall, I really enjoyed UFC 93. Was it a great card? No. But I felt it was definitely good. I know it’s early, but at the end of the year, I still believe Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle will hold up as a “Fight of the Year” candidate. Denis Kang vs. Alan Belcher was good for what it was. Mark Coleman vs. Mauricio Rua was sloppy but very entertaining at certain times. And while Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson won’t contend for “Match of the Year,” it had a lot of energy and a good pace to it. The only match that I did not enjoy all that much was Jeremy Horn vs. Rousimar Palhares, and even that wasn’t a bad fight.
— Belcher mentioned to FiveOuncesOfPain.com’s Cory Brady that he is interested in moving up to light heavyweight. However, following his upset win at UFC 93 over Kang, I don’t see UFC V.P. of Talent Relations Joe Silva allowing that move to happen right now. There’s still a lot for Belcher to accomplish at 185. A fight vs. Patrick Cote once Cote is healthy might not be a bad idea. In the meantime, Belcher needs to do something about that Johnny Cash tattoo on his arm. I hate to be critical, but it looks like a bloated Wayne Newton.
— Kang definitely came up short but he looked very strong in the first round. He showed good wrestling and solid combinations. The problem was that when Kang took Belcher off his feet, he was unable to inflict much damage. Belcher defended himself well off his back.
— Jonathan Snowden, author of Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting and a frequent contributor to FiveOuncesOfPain.com, writes that the Davis vs. Lytle fight did not live up to the hype. I’ve got to disagree. In fact, after the first round, I felt that it had delivered and that everything else that took place after it was icing on the cake.
— The big difference in the Davis vs. Lytle fight was speed. Davis routinely beat Lytle to the punch. The win allowed Davis to improve to 8-1 in the UFC, which is extremely impressive.
— Rua didn’t just look bad on Saturday night, he looked small. When he was in PRIDE, he was absolutely shredded. At UFC 93, he looked like a middleweight. Rua is still young but I’m beginning to wonder if he will ever return to form. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it, but he gassed just as hard vs. Coleman as he did against Forrest Griffin at UFC 76. If he fights like that at UFC 97 against Chuck Liddell, he will get destroyed.
— I’ve yet to see The Wrestler, but I’ve heard a lot about it and watched several trailers. Coleman appears to be the Randy “The Ram” Robinson of the UFC. He looked good for his age, but still looked his age. I love the nostalgia aspect of MMA and it was great seeing Coleman walk to the cage one more time. It wasn’t so great seeing him take so much punishment. Coleman gassed early because he’s 44. What was Rua’s excuse?
— Liddell vs. Rua is a match that makes perfect sense in my mind. It’s a fight between two guys on the downslide and by matching them up, the UFC all but assures itself that it will be able to rehabilitate the image of one of the fighters. While Rua vs. Liddell seems very logical to me, the UFC 96 matchup between Quinton Jackson and Keith Jardine still has me baffled. What does the UFC have to gain with that one? Jackson is already a legitimate title challenger for Rashad Evans. And if Jardine beats Jackson, how are you going to convince two friends in Jardine and Evans to fight each other?
— It was another solid outing by UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg at UFC 93. I don’t know who the UFC had preparing all of those factoids for him, but they make a huge difference. Goldberg sounds much more prepared when he’s able to rattle off those facts and figures and the information he provided added a lot to the broadcast.
— Edith Larrente can’t get into the U.S. but apparently had no trouble getting into Ireland. Seeing three ring girls together like that just seemed a little awkward though. It almost was if Larrente showed up unexpectedly and they somehow found a way to fit her into the broadcast.
— The presence of Full Tilt Poker as a sponsor was very noticeable. Poker sites are starting to get involved with MMA, much to the delight of several agents and managers that I’ve spoken to.