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UFC 79 Thoughts & Commentary

gsp_with_belt

Georges St. Pierre is the best welterweight in the world.
Interim champion or not, GSP is the best in the world right now at 170. He dominated Matt Hughes tonight in different fashion than their last fight. He outwrestled Hughes, overpowered him, and showed everyone why he is one of the best mixed martial artists in the world today. He beat Hughes at his own game, just like he did to Josh Koscheck. Did you ever think you’d see Hughes screaming “TAP! TAP! TAP!” to the referee to end the fight? St. Pierre will most likely fight Serra in April in Canada to unify the titles. I expect GSP to do the same thing to Serra that he did tonight against Matt Hughes. Don’t expect to see a repeat of their last fight.

Matt Hughes’ days are numbered.
The man said it himself that he’s close to being done in the Octagon. This game has passed him by. Long gone are the days where you could get by on strictly submission wrestling and ground and pound. He was completely overwhelmed tonight. If Serra does lose to GSP in April, I’d love to see Hughes vs. Serra as Hughes’ last fight. If he’s got one more fight left in him he should do his best to make it against Serra.

Chuck Liddell is…back?
Man, did he look focused tonight. I thought the decision being 30-27 on two cards was a bit ridiculous because I thought Wanderlei clearly won the second round, but it didn’t matter either way. Chuck looked very composed, picked his shots, and used his reach and his counterstriking to pepper Silva with hard shots. Shots that would crumple any other opponent. He even went for two takedowns to seal the fight. Silva landed some nice shots on Liddell but it looks like Liddell’s granite chin is back in full form. Liddell getting the victory was huge for Dana White, ZUFFA, and the UFC. Don’t be surprised if Chuck gets an immediate shot at the winner of Forrest vs. Rampage.

Wanderlei Silva survived on guts alone.
What a gutsy performance by the former PRIDE 205 lb. champion. Some of the shots that he took from Chuck Liddell would have knocked out any other fighter. It ended up being the style matchup that killed Wanderlei Silva in this fight. He threw wild looping punches from the outside and Chuck peppered him with counter punches right down the pipe, just like some predicted. Where does Wanderlei go from here? Many are saying he should move to middleweight. He did look like the much smaller fighter tonight and he looked much smaller than he did in his days in PRIDE. Three consecutive losses are tough for a fighter to swallow, but Wanderlei is only 31 and still has plenty of years left in him. He’ll rebound from this loss, but a shot at the title is now a ways off.

Soa Palelei looked awful.
Just awful. Eddie Sanchez tossed him around the cage and beat him up for two and a half rounds. So much for the hype surrounding this guy coming into the UFC. When Eddie Sanchez is manhandling you, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Lyoto Machida is really good.
The guy is just a master of his craft, boring or not. He waits until you make a mistake, avoids the power punches, and capitalizes on every opportunity that you give him. And this time he even finished the fight! Machida still has not lost a round in the UFC and put on a dominating performance against Sokoudjou, who many feel is the “next big thing” at 205. Machida is making a run for the title. One or two more victories and he has to be fighting for the title.

Sokoudjou looked clueless on the ground.
He looked like he had no clue how to get out of bad positions when Machida was on top of him. It was reminiscent of Houston Alexander against Thiago Silva a little over a month ago, only not as devastating. Sokoudjou is still very young and has a lot of potential. This loss will be good for him as far as rounding out his game goes, but tonight he got dominated.

Melvin Guillard will never live up to his potential.
The guy has natural, raw athletic ability with nothing to show for it. He has proved time and time again that he crumples on the big stage. When the fight came to grappling, it was all Clementi, all day. Another standard performance from Guillard: all bark, no bite. Weak.

28 COMMENTS
  • Paul Balsom says:

    And maybe Wanderlei survived on his chin too…

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  • bubbafat says:

    St.Pierre’s wrestling is awesome. Who are the top three wrestlers in MMA ?
    Lindland, Hendo, St. Pierre, Kos, Hughes. Any Arguments?

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  • jaydog says:

    Adam. Good late night assessment. Ditto big time on the Sokoudjou/Alexander comparison. I’ve been harping on this elsewhere, but I’ll ask it here: Why did Chuck back off in round three after smashing Silva. Chuck retreated and looked at the clock repeatedly as if he were under orders not to put Silva away? No conspiracy theory here. Just askin why he wouldn’t attempt to finish a withering opponent. I’ve got my theories. How ’bout yall?

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  • jaydog says:

    Bubba, throw some lightweights into that list. Griffin, Edgar, Guida…

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  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Chuck was coming off two losses… he just wanted the win, thats why he was looking at the clock. He was waiting for the time where he could take him down and assure himself he wouldn’t get knocked out.

    Sokoudjou is A LOT better on the ground than Houston Alexander. Sokoudjou at least knew how to tie someone up in half guard and he was attempting submissions. Machida is just a serious threat everywhere. Should give Sok some tune up fights.

    They should also feed Wanderlei a can as well.

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  • Jake says:

    I told my wife that I also thought Wanderlei looked small compared to Chuck. Perhaps he will go down to middleweight.

    Either way he put on an incredible performance tonight. I was amazed that he was still standing at the end of the fight. Wanderlei is a stud and I want to see more of him. I loved his performances in PRIDE. I just wish the US commisions would allow knees to the head of a grounded opponent.

    MAKE IT HAPPEN DAMMIT!

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  • Coin says:

    Wow did Rush put on a show or what. Look out Serra, he is ready to give you a beat down.

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  • Echolocating says:

    Regarding Liddell and Silva, yeah… those 2 scores of 30-27 for Chuck were really questionable. Going into the third, it was anybody’s game; it was clearly tied one round a piece. I mean, seriously, think about it for a moment… if Wanderlei had dominated Chuck in the third, Chuck would have still won. That would have been complete bullshit… and would have made the Hamill/Bisping judging debacle look almost forgivable.

    Something is wrong with the UFC’s judging as of late.

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  • lima steve says:

    silva is a true warrior for taking all those bombs and still fighting.I to noticed he wasn’t as big as he was in pride.I think if you look at the pride guys who have came over to the ufc, they are all small in their weight class.and their performences are not close to the dominance they showed in pride.is this because the step up in competion or could it be that they never tested for juice in japan.The guys coming over like crocop getting handed 2 losses in a row.this guy was once considerd top 5 in the world and could challenge couture.then he was beat by gonzaga who in turn got totally outclassed by couture.look at shogon he looked bad physically gassed out early and didn’t have the explosiveness that he once exhibited in pride.fedor in my opinion is ducking fights in the u.s.all i’m saying is it that these guys are coming over here and their not as strong,big,fast or have the gas tanks they displayed in pride.could it be because steroids and banned subatances are tested for here.

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  • mike wolfe says:

    It was Liddell’s fight in all three rounds. Silva came out strong early in the second, but Liddell turned it around by the end of the round, especially with the elbow that opened up Silva’s eye. Silva shouldn’t have tried to stand and trade. He gave up too much height and reach. His game has always been to close, clinch, and knee. I don’t think he threw a single knee, did he? He did land some good leg kicks, and should’ve gone to them non stop if he didn’t want to close and clinch. I’d like to see some of the stats from the old PRIDE fights if they’re still available for comparison. I’ll bet Silva was 10-15 lbs lighter than many of his PRIDE fights.

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  • mike wolfe says:

    Bubba–
    Urijah Faber from the WEC has some amazing wrestling skills. Hard to compare him to heavier fighters, but I don’t think anyone is as quick and as strong, pound for pound.

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  • lima steve says:

    yeah silva definently didn’t fight his usual style of an all out assault.it looked like he was waiting for chuck so that he could react to what chuck was doing.but if you let liddell hit you first its going to be a loss every time.if you look on you tube mike you can see his pride fights and he is definently thicker than he was tonite

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  • Tommy says:

    Clearly won the second round? What, cause Liddell slipped twice while bashing cuts into Silvas face. Because he was a little more aggresive though uneffective? When did Silva come close to hurting Chuck? I thought Tony Weeks should be fired for giving whatever round he did to Silva.

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  • Echolocating says:

    I admit, the cut to Wanderlei was really nasty, but how much scoring weight should be given to a cut? Anyway, I just agree with Adam Morgan’s take on who won the second round, is all, and thought a majority of others might have seen it the same way too.

    I have been known to be completely wrong from time to time. ;-)

    —–

    Regarding the suggestion for Wanderlei to move down to middleweight… Silva looked pretty ripped. I don’t know how any fighter can lose 20 pounds of muscle. Maybe if he eats celery sticks and doesn’t lift any weights for 6 months? I don’t know. Then again, I have no idea what weight Wanderlei walks around at.

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  • Donk says:

    Well George was a classy guy not accepting the interim title, but George is right, it’s bullshit. Serra is the champ, George says it himslef so why did Dana put on a five round fight? His argment was basically that he wants to see them go five rounds… Okay, bit subjective there…

    But look at the Liddell – Silva fight, it went the distance. Both these guys deserve to fight a five round fight, with the hand waving argment of the five rounder between George and Matt, in my opinion Liddell and Silva deserve a five rounder too. I think Liddell won it, but neither guy had the others number and it looked like a knock-out was never far away for either man. I would have liked to see a five rounder between these two guys, and you know what they both deseved it after what they have put in and achieved.

    As far as i’m concerned each weight class should have it’s own divisions of talent. Lower, Middle and Upper. If your not in the upper it’s three rounds, otherwise it’s five. Sure you may have some boring fights that you don’t want to see, but the top guys deserve to have the opportunity to finish the other, to see who is really the better. This can only work with deep divisions though and for orgs like UFC, but I think it’s the only way to properly respect the top fighters talents without it being subjective.

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  • Steve says:

    Donk – I was saying halfway through the third this should have been a five round fight. Who wouldn’t have wanted to see that??? Maybe we would have seen a knockout, who knows…

    Silva did look noticeably smaller than I remember him. I think what really killed Wand was the reach advantage Chuck had. Chuck would be landing blows and Wandy would be swinging back from the same distance coming up like half a foot short. That was the biggest difference I noticed.

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  • Mr. Takedown says:

    does anyone else think that Melvin would be HUGE if he fought in Japan? I’m being serious… He is explosive on his feat and has a larger than life personality. The Japanese eat that stuff up.
    He’s too immature and not well rounded to succeed in the UFC, but he can live it up with his chinchilla fur coats and oversized entourage in the land of the rising sun.

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  • Evan says:

    Interesting idea and I agree Mr.T. Let him go over to K-1 as the brash American. It would be a perfect story for them.

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  • MMA SKOOL ™ says:

    —> LIDDELL EASILY ONE ALL 3 ROUNDS PEOPLE! ONLY THE ONE’S WHO PICKED WANDY TO WIN ARE SAYING HE WON THE 2ND ROUND.

    —> WANDY LANDED SOME SHOTS IN THAT ROUND BUT THAT ELBOW FROM THE CLINCH DID A LOT OF DAMAGE. WANDY WASN’T EVEN THINKING ABOUT THE MUAY THAI CLINCH AFTER THAT.

    —> HOW CAN YOU SAY A CUT ISN’T THAT BIG OF A DEAL? WANDY DIDN’T WANT TO TIE UP CHUCK AFTER THAT. TITO ATE THE SAME ELBOW IN HIS 2ND FIGHT WITH CHUCK.

    —> WANDY IS FROM CHUTE BOXE. HE CAN SURELY EAT A PUNCH LIKE NO OTHER. HE LOOKED GOOD. UNFORTUNATELY HE DIDN’T USE THE LEG KICKS TO KEEP CHUCK FROM FINDING HIS RHYTHM LIKE JARDINE DID.

    —> WANDY LOOKS SMALLER THAN IN PRIDE BECAUSE HE’S OFF THE ‘ROIDS.

    —> SWITCH TO MIDDLEWEIGHT? COME ON, HE JUST LASTED 3 ROUNDS WITH CHUCK LIDDELL WHO WAS ON HIS GAME. THERE ARE A HALF DOZEN LWH’S I’D LIKE TO SEE WANDY FIGHT.

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  • MMA SKOOL ™ says:

    Needless to say it was a close and exciting match. Until the last half of the 3rd round, I thought Wandy was only 1 punch away from turning the tides.

    Could it be that he wasn’t accustomed to getting elbowed? That elbow and the very first punch that sent him backpedalling all the way back to the fence looked like huge psychological points for Liddell.

    Very memorable fight.

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  • Handover Fist says:

    Personally I thought the 2nd round of the Liddell/Silva fight was very close. I just don’t see how anyone could say it “clearly” went one way or the other.

    Georges St.Pierre and Anderson Silva are just on a whole another plane. They’ve both dominated the 2nd best guy in their respected divisions.

    What a great time to be a fan of MMA. Its just amazing how fast the skill level of the top fighters is advancing. Guys that looked unbeatable just a mere 24 months ago, now almost seem one dimensional when compared to guys like St. Pierre and Silva.

    It makes you wonder what the next 24 months will hold in store for us fans. :-)

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  • Jay K. says:

    I definitely believe Silva won round 2 and thought that the two judges were NOT impartial when they were paid to do so.

    The 30-27 score didn’t indicate what both fighters were really doing and I felt that the 29-28 score was more indicative of what the real outcome was.

    Great fight!!

    The Clementi vs. Douchebag fight was also great! The Douchebag only knows how to throw bombs and left hisself wide open for a more mature Clementi to move in and RNC. I definitely liked the takedown that Clementi used to bring Douchebag down to the floor.

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  • MMA SKOOL ™ says:

    #22 you must have picked Wandy to win the fight, and your beer goggles had you believing that a few slips were actually Chuck getting rocked. Wandy inflicted damage in the 2nd round, true, but Liddell did more. Liddell broke Wandy in that round after Wandy ended up on the losing end of his own muay thai clinch.

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  • Tommy says:

    The only round Silva did anything halfway significant was the second so I guess people just really wanted to give it to him. Plus Chuck was watching the clock cause he was tired not because he was suddenly afraid of being knocked out. How dumb to say.

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  • makeutapout says:

    Silva lost all three rounds. He had a better run in the second but that’s all. I think the deal with Chuck backing off when he had Silva hurt was, if he didn’t finish Silva off right then, he wouldn’t have enough gas left in his tank to do much later. There was still like half the round left and if Silva survived it and came at Chuck full force, what could he do. It didn’t look to me like Silva was gonna go down and I think Chuck saw it the same way.

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  • makeutapout says:

    Also, I’d have to agree that that one should have been a 5 rnd fight. I realized at some point in the second that it probably wasn’t going to end in 3, unless there was a wild looping lucky shot to someones chin. Damn shame, that.

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  • blakspring says:

    Adam,
    Really great commentaries on the fights. I agree with everything, especially about GSP being the best at the moment. He was amazing last night – completely focused and precise. I cannot wait to see him take on Serra.
    And seeing Hughes screaming TAP TAP really made my night.
    Check out http://blakspring.com/blog/2007/12/30/the-beauty-of-the-armbar/ if you’re interested in a less professional (and female) take on the fights.

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  • nathan says:

    Serra is screwed, coming off a injury and facing gsp at his best, ouch. The way he totally owned hughes on the ground who I believe is much stronger than serra, was crazy, serra will tire out much quicker than hughes and will most likely suffer the same fate. Its interesting to note that koscheck laughed at gsp for thinking he was the better wrestler and gsp out wrestled him. Hughes stated he was much better on the ground than gsp and didn’t fight his fight in there last fight then gsp completely owned him on the ground. Whats serra gonna say?? My guess if how ever he say’s he’s going to beat gsp, gsp will beat him by that very method.

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