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UFC 81 Thoughts & Commentary


Brock Lesnar is no joke.

Did he lose? Yes. Is he capable of fighting on this level, especially given the UFC’s lack of heavyweight talent? You bet your ass he’s capable. Before Lesnar got caught in the kneebar he looked like everything that he was built up to be. He ragdolled Mir all over the place until he got caught in the kneebar. He took him down with ease, he almost knocked Mir out on the feet, and he pounded him in the face relentlessly. Are there still questions regarding Lesnar’s game? Absolutely. His submission defense was quite lackluster. But he proved last night that he can hang with a former heavyweight champion and will have plenty of more fights down the road to climb up the heavyweight ladder. One thing that really impressed me was Lesnar’s attitude after the fight. He was smiling, he knew he made a mistake, and was very humble. That’s how you win fans over. Give Brock a bit more time and he will be the UFC’s biggest star.

Props to Mir for hanging tough.

I’ll eat my crow. I picked Lesnar in this fight and thought that if Lesnar had him in a position to where he was landing clean punches to Mir’s face on the ground, Mir would cover his face, turn over on his side, and that would be the end of it. Props to Mir for hanging in with Lesnar when he was in the worst possible position during the fight. Any time you’re in the Octagon with a BJJ black belt, anything can happen. Mir is one of the best heavyweight submission artists in the game and he stuck with his bread and butter and eventually caught Lesnar making a mistake and totally capitalized on it. Good win for Mir, hopefully this is the fight that lights a new fire under his career.

All that being said, Mazagatti’s point deduction was awful.

How many times does it happen in the UFC where a guy takes several punches to the back of the head and the fighter landing the blows gets not one, not two, but three or even four warnings? Why did Lesnar immediately get a point taken away with no warning? He landed one blow to the back of Mir’s head and automatically Mazagatti is stepping in and taking a point away from Lesnar and restarting the fight on their feet. My personal take is that Mazagatti was stepping in to stop the fight and realized that he totally fucked up and then had to make up for it. When he jumped in, it looked like even he was confused as to why he jumped in. So he had to make up for it somehow and that somehow was by taking a point away from Lesnar and restarting the fight. Too bad for Lesnar because he was in a very, very dominant position at that point during the fight. I’m not taking anything away from Mir’s victory, he won fair and square and this is no excuse for Lesnar’s loss, but Mazagatti’s actions in the Octagon last night were bush league at best.

Nogueira is about as hard to finish as they come.
Is there a tougher fighter to finish than Minotauro? Tim Sylvia beat him up for two and a half rounds, almost knocking him out on more than one occasion. But Nogueira weathered the storm, fought through adversity, waited for his one moment to capitalize, and took full advantage of it. Once Nogueira was able to get the fight to the ground it was his game. He swept Sylvia, passed his guard, and set up a trap for Sylvia to put himself into the guillotine choke. Beautiful BJJ by arguably the best submission artist in mixed martial arts today. One of Nogueira’s talents is his durability. That’s a pretty nice advantage to have on your side going into the Octagon. He can take a massive amount of punishment and keep on coming. It’s what he’s done for years. Great win for Nogueira, but who the hell is “Handy Couture”?

Tim Sylvia deserves a rematch.

Boohoo. So you don’t like Tim Sylvia. Too bad because the guy deserves a rematch after dominating the fight for two and a half rounds. He enacted the exact gameplan we all thought he would and he was winning the fight handily until the final moments. Sylvia has worked his ass off to get to where he’s at with little to no pure athletic ability and one hundred percent work ethic. There may not be a harder working individual in mixed martial arts and he does it because that’s what he has to do to keep up with the pack. For as dominant as he was last night he simply made a mistake. He deserves another shot to make history and become a three time UFC heavyweight champion.

Was that the best Nate Marquardt we’ve ever seen?

He dominated Jeremy Horn from start to finish. Horn didn’t look in too great of shape and Marquardt looked to be in the best shape we’ve ever seen him in. It looks like the loss against Anderson Silva has really lit a fire under him to get better. Horn, on the other hand, just doesn’t look like he’s into the sport anymore at least as a fighter. He’s fought over one hundred times and held numerous accolades so what more is there for him to do? He was just overpowered last night by a more in shape, focused, and well rounded fighter. Marquardt came to bump last night and Horn looked like he was collecting a paycheck. Nice win for Marquardt over a guy who is always dangerous just based on talent alone.

Ricardo Almeida is back, kinda.

There isn’t a lot to be said about Almeida’s performance last night because it was over so quickly. Yundt just wasn’t ready for that top shelf BJJ yet and Almeida made him pay for it. He finished with an arm-in guillotine choke, the hardest kind to finish. Almeida’s in shape and he has top shelf jiu jitsu and right now that’s enough to contend in the UFC’s lackluster middleweight division. Welcome back, Big Dog.

Tyson Griffin did what he does and that’s win decisions.

Tyson Griffin is a master of grinding out tough decisions over tough fighters. It’s just what he does and he did it again last night against a bigger opponent. Tibau was able to take Griffin down a couple of times but was never able to keep him there. When they were on the feet, Griffin got the better of the exchanges, landing a right hand over and over again square on Tibau’s jaw. If there’s one thing we should know by now about Tyson Griffin, it’s that you should always be looking to finish him. If you don’t finish him he will most likely do enough during the fight to gut out a decision. What plays into Tyson’s favor, though, is that he’s extremely hard to finish. Not a bad combination. Griffin was talking about possibly moving up to 170 lbs. here soon. That would be a bad move. 155 lbs. is the perfect weight for him and last night was a perfect example of why.

Tim Boetsch came out of nowhere.

Wow. I want to see more of this guy for sure. He manhandled David Heath from the outset of the fight and literally ragdolled him at the end of the fight, throwing Heath right onto his head out of a whizzer and then pummeling him in the face with punches. Seriously explosive light heavyweight. I said during the Pain Poll that I would have picked the guy had it not been such short notice. Next time I’ll know better. More Boetsch, less Heath please.