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UFC 85 Thoughts & Commentary

Is Matt Hughes done?

Yes and no. Can he compete at the top of the 170 lbs. division anymore? I don’t think so. Granted, he took the fight on short notice and Alves missed weight but it’s become clear that Hughes is a one-dimensional fighter with no backup plan if the takedowns and ground and pound aren’t working. I think he has one fight left in him and that’s the fight with Matt Serra and then he’s done. Certainly the UFC will let him compete for however long he wants because of what he’s done for them and his legacy but even Hughes has to know that his time is nearly up. A retirement bout with Serra is the only fight that makes sense at this point and I don’t think Hughes wants to be the gatekeeper at 170 lbs. It’s never been clearer that he is no longer fit to fight the competitors at the top of the division.

Thiago Alves in no way deserves a title shot.

Getting busted for diuretics and then not making weight against Matt Hughes are grounds enough to dismiss him back down the welterweight ladder in my opinion. Saying you’ve been a “good boy” in the post-fight interview and asking Dana White for a title shot doesn’t make you qualified for a title shot. And on top of that, I don’t think being a “good boy” usually involves getting busted for a diuretic and not making weight in the biggest fight of your career. Alves is good, don’t get me wrong, and he looked good in this fight, but he has a little bit more proving to do before he’s granted a shot at the title.

Brandon Vera needs to seriously consider light heavyweight.

Yes, it was a bad stoppage and Vera probably could have survived into the second round but he seriously needs to eat his pride and consider dropping down to a more natural weight class. He would automatically have some of the best Muay Thai and wrestling in the division and could be extremely cut at that weight. Vera was at a distinct weight disadvantage with Werdum in the mount and even thought Miragliotta’s stoppage was poor, there was nowhere for him to go. I know Vera wants both titles but at some point you have to man up and decide what’s best for your career and I think light heavyweight is where Brandon Vera belongs and can do the most damage.

Mike Swick looked much more comfortable at 170 lbs.

Swick looked lackluster in his fight against Burkman and didn’t look too comfortable at 170 lbs. This time around, though, he looked like the weight cut didn’t affect him as much, he had a good gameplan, and he stopped an opponent that was on an absolute tear in the division. He had some good guard passes, a solid striking game, and used his reach and height to his advantage. While I don’t think Swick is ready to take on the top dogs in the division just yet, he certainly proved that 170 lbs. is really where he belongs right now in the UFC.

Michael Bisping at 185 lbs. is a dangerous man.

I know, I know. He’s only beat Charles McCarthy and Jason Day at the weight class but he has absolutely steamrolled them in devastating fashion. Day is a guy that the UFC thinks has a lot of potential and is an up and comer and Bisping put the serious work on him. I don’t think Bisping is a world beater at 185 lbs. and I certainly don’t think he could beat Anderson Silva on even his best day, but it’s clear that this weight class is where he belongs. Unlike Brandon Vera, Bisping has eaten his crow and moved down to a weight class that suits him better and it has paid dividends. I still would love to see Bisping vs. Leben as that would be a true test of Bisping’s will at 185 lbs.

Nate Marquardt got robbed.

The point deduction for the knee to Leites when he was down was clearly the right thing to do. The point deduction for the elbow, however, was complete B.S. and robbed Marquardt of a fight that he clearly won. Marquardt lost the first round but clearly won rounds two and three and the fight should at the very least have been a draw. This was the best fight on the entire card and it turned out to be a sham when Leites’ arm was raised. A rematch needs to happen. As a side note, Marquardt’s use of body shots was a solid gameplan. Body shots are so underutilized in MMA and they’re a devastating weapon so it’s nice to see some fighters starting to use them more.

Other musings..

  • Marquardt’s piledriver probably should have been another point deduction seeing as how spiking an opponent’s head into the ground is a clear violation of the rules.
  • Why in the hell would Eddie Sanchez decide to stand and trade with Antoni Hardonk? That is the worst gameplan ever. It’s been established by many people that the way you beat Hardonk is to put him on his back and pound him until the ref stops it. Sanchez deserves the beating he took if that was his gameplan.
  • Luiz Cane is a nice looking prospect and I’ve had a man-crush on him ever since it was announced that he’s coming to the UFC. He showed that he could defend a takedown and beat Lambert up on the feet. Solid, solid showing from Cane. It was a beatdown in the same vein as Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine. Lambert took his licks and kept getting up but wasn’t ever able to recover.
  • Kevin Burns submits Roan Carneiro? The sky is falling. Burns is a blue belt, Carneiro a black belt. Just goes to show that anything can happen in MMA. This had to be the most shocking result of the evening.
  • And in the same category of shockers, Matt Wiman knocks out Thiago Tavares. I did not see this one coming and thought Tavares would make quick work of Wiman. Tavares did his best Kendall Grove and Steve Nelmark impression against the cage. Wiman has clearly been working his ass off to make everything of his opportunities inside the Octagon and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved up to the main card the next time around.
  • Martin Kampann looked to have zero ring rust and made short work of Jorge Rivera. I’m glad to see Kampmann pick up a quick win because that means we can see more of him in a shorter period of time as I think he’s one of the best young middleweights that the UFC has to offer.
  • We’ve talked about undercard bouts being do-or-die fights to stay in the UFC and I think that we’ll see at least a couple of casualties from these results. Eddie Sanchez, Jess Liaudin, and possibly Jorge Rivera may have fought their last fight in the UFC.
  • The crowd was terrible. Any time the fight hit the ground they started booing and at points, paid no attention to what was going on inside the cage. The singing was cool the first time around in the U.K. but has become tired. Do the English do this at every sporting event? If so, I don’t want to go to English sporting events.