What a weekend. It is so rare that Zuffa grants us a great weekend of not only UFC fights, but then follows it up with a night of WEC bouts to cap it off.
When we sit down to either a UFC Pay-Per-View or a WEC showing on Versus, we are normally spectators of a fair combination of knockouts, surprise victories, and a little controversy mixed in. This weekend we had the polar opposites between what we are used to seeing and what we saw. UFC 101 turned out to be a night of odds on winners with no real upset coming through while WEC 42 gave us two very controversial decisions (at least in my opinion) and one amazing beatdown.
Let’s take a look at the main fighters from this past weekend.
Amir Sadollah vs. Johny Hendricks
Amir did not do well at all but I don’t know how many people really expected him to. He is returning from two injuries and a drop in weight (of which he still weighed in almost 4 pounds lighter than his opponent). The combination of this and the pairing with the always volatile Johny Hendricks spelled disaster from the get go.
Amir will rebound from this and shake what could possibly be the nerves that go with fighting on PPV for the first time. The 170 pound division is stacked with potential fights for Amir such as Dustin Hazelett, Marcus Davis, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck and others that would make for a great fight to a ready Amir. Most likely I look for Amir to fall to the prelims with this fight as say a swing fight with recent TUF fighter and fellow Suckerpunch Entertainment member DeMarques Johnson, or perhaps Ben Saunders.
Johny Hendricks on the other hand has proven that he has the type of explosive power that puts and end to fights, and butts in seats. While he is still a ways away from fighting GSP, Hendricks seems to be making the right steps to eventually getting there. The problem is that he still needs to prove himself capable of handling top level guys such as Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Dan Hardy, Brock Larson, Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves. If he can beat two or three of these guys we may be looking at a fight against GSP.
However, the most likely scenario for Hendricks would be another main card battle against another striker in someone such as Marcus Davis before Dana and Joe Silva would consider matching him against any of the top level 170 pounders. This is not an insult to Hendricks just the fact that he still needs to prove himself worthy of that type of investment by Zuffa.
Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin
Okay, before all the excuse makers come rolling out of the woodworks for Forrest, let me say this, he was utterly destroyed and humiliated like no other fighter of his caliber has been. While many of us thought that Griffin’s tenacity would make for great fight against Silva, possibly bringing out the old Anderson that has gone into hibernation over the boredom he has in the cage, none of us could have expected the outcome of this fight. Not only did he lose, he was made to look like he was out of his league in the UFC.
Griffin will always have a fight in the UFC and a large group of fans that will defend his every move. The question is: What’s next for the former light heavyweight champion of the world? The devastation he has to feel following the loss is sure to put him out of action for a while. Once he returns, there is no doubt that he will still help sell Pay-Per-Views regardless of who he fights. My biggest concern for him is how he rebounds from being humiliated by “”. This is one of those losses that can destroy a guy’s career if he doesn’t mentally handle it correctly.
Now for Silva, this was his chance to show the world and more importantly Roy Jones, Jr. that he is a perfectly capable boxer who will most like show up to face Jones in a ring. The entire bout reeked of a Jones fight and further proved that there is only one true fight left for Silva before he grows entirely bored of his competition, and that fight is GSP. While I would put Silva as the odds on favorite to win against GSP, particularly because of GSP’s UFC 100 post fight conference in which he sounded hesitant about fighting Silva at any weight, it would make a great battle and great PPV. Then again, I said the same thing about the Forrest fight and I haven’t seen anything close to that kind of beating being handed out.
3. BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian
What we have here is the Master showing why he is the master. Florian must have thought he was going to just dismantle Penn and finish him with no problems. In the end, albeit a good showing from Florian, it just wasn’t enough to put Penn away.
I have to say the first thing I noticed from the get go with this fight was how in shape and ready Penn was. The biggest drawback I have had about B.J. is the fact that his cardio always seems to let him down in the championship rounds of a fight. Not this time though. In the fourth round Penn looked just as good as he did in the first round.
Florian seemed to be a little frustrated that this fight was not going the way he wanted it to. For Florian the next thing to do for him is go back to the drawing board and work his way back into a fight with Penn. There are a couple fights for Florian that I could see happening soon; either Diego Sanchez or Sean Sherk.
Now Penn is in a totally different situation. If I was a betting man I would say that Penn delays defending his title as long as possible until he gets his rematch with GSP. The last fight, and the antics that occurred with the so called “Grease-Gate” have left many fans wondering. The change in rules that followed the fight lead some fans to believe that there was something that occurred that wasn’t supposed to. The only way to fix the issue for both men is to grant a rematch that will be highly scrutinized and watched like an illegal street fight.
Now on to WEC 42. What an event. One pathetic judging decision and one amazing knockout highlighted what was one of the better events the WEC put on this year.
1. Jeff Curran vs. Takeya Mizugaki
I may be in the minority here but I don’t see how Curran lost rounds two and three. He had Mizugaki rolling and reeling in round two and nearly choked him out in the third. The fact is that no matter what is said about the questionable split decision, the fact remains that this is Curran’s fourth straight loss and third in a row by decision. I am not in the boat that Jeff’s better days are behind him, but unless he starts racking up the wins, it is entirely possible that we may see Jeff out of the WEC.
At this stage, people are beginning to call him a gate keeper. If you can beat Jeff, then you have what it takes. It’s sad and part of me doesn’t want to believe it as a giant fan of his, however, I don’t think I am in the minority feeling that Jeff lost a fight he should have won.
Mizugaki very well could be the next fighter to face the newly crowned bantamweight champion Brian Bowles. Coming off his loss against Torres and his win against Curran could be enough to put him in the main event against Bowles once his hand heals. I personally don’t see him as earning that shot yet, but I can see how the guys over at the WEC booking office could set that one up.
2. Brian Bowles vs. Miguel Torres
While many people felt Bowles would be the man to beat Torres, no one could have possibly predicted the beat down Bowles unleashed on the former WEC champion. A massive right hook put Torres on his back which was immediately followed up with one too damn many punches on the ground. The question for both of these guys is: What’s next?
Bowles is out for a while with a broken hand, so I expect to see a Torres rematch with Mizugaki with the winner getting Bowles when he gets back.