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UFC 86 Thoughts & Commentary

Forrest Griffin has validated The Ultimate Fighter television show.


Forrest Griffin, with his victory tonight, has validated The Ultimate Fighter television show by producing its first real champion. You can argue that Matt Serra is TUF’s first champion, but season four of the show was really an anomaly. The show has always been about bringing out the best up and coming fighters in their weight divisions and sending one lucky winner on to the UFC to pursue their dreams of becoming a UFC champion. Well tonight Forrest Griffin did just that. He’s come full circle, from winning the first ever UFC contract on the first season of TUF to becoming the UFC light heavyweight champion. It couldn’t have worked out better for Dana White and the UFC tonight. Their reality televisison show was validated and a true, homegrown star has been born.

Rampage deserves an immediate rematch.

I know there are plenty of contenders in the UFC for the new champion to face, but Rampage deserves an immediate rematch after the war that he went through tonight. That was one of the most thrilling title fights in a long time and both men deserve credit for saving what was an otherwise C-level pay-per-view. That being said, I think Rampage got the short end of the stick on at least one of the judges’ scorecards. 49-46 for Griffin is pushing it, only giving one round to Rampage when he clearly won at least two, if not three. The case can certainly be made that Jackson won the fight. The fight was as close as they come and with Forrest as the new champion and, let’s be honest, new figurehead of the UFC, a strong pay-per-view with Forrest vs. Rampage II is in order. There should be no filler fights for Jackson and no title defense for Griffin in between. These two men should face one another again as soon as possible so the UFC can capitalize on what just took place in the cage tonight. I’m willing to go so far as to call it one of the better UFC title fights in history right now and certainly will be in the mix for Fight of the Year come December.

Does anyone care to see Patrick Cote vs. Anderson Silva?

I know I don’t. Before the fight I would have rather seen Almeida win and take on Silva but after seeing his performance in the Octagon tonight I would rather see neither of these guys take on Silva. In fact, I think Silva could take on both Almeida and Cote at the same time and beat both of them. Cote vs. Silva does absolutely nothing for me and Cote will most likely get his head caved in, Rich Franklin-style. I’m not knocking Cote’s skills, he fought a technical fight against a tough fighter in Almeida, but he is no match for the current pound-for-pound king. In fact, I would much rather see Yushin Okami, someone with a sliver of a chance, fight Silva than Cote. Cote vs. Silva is one pay-per-view I won’t be buying.

Joe Stevenson was on his way to a loss.

Yes, Joe Stevenson pulled out the old guillotine choke again and won, but it was by the skin of his teeth that he did so. Gleison Tibau put up one hell of a fight and it’s amazing how huge he is for 155 lbs. He was well on his way to winning that fight before Joe Daddy pulled out his book of tricks and whipped out the faithful guillotine choke again. Props to Stevenson for hanging around and waiting for his opportunity but I think the moral winner of the fight was most definitely Tibau. He showed, once again, that 155 lbs. is where he belongs and that he can hang with some of the best guys there. Also, his omoplata attempt was about as close as anyone has ever gotten in the UFC to submitting someone with that move. Good fight all around.

Why all the Koscheck hate?

I don’t understand why everyone hates Josh Koscheck. Is it still leftover hate from when he was on TUF? He sure got a lot of boos tonight for someone who did his damndest to finish the fight. In my opinion, that fight should have been stopped long before it went to decision. When blood is starting to pool on the mat, I think it’s time to call it a night for the bleeding fighter. Lytle was a trendy upset pick before the event but after fiddling around on the feet for a bit, Kos went to his bread and butter, the wrestling and the ground and pound. He’s come a long way since his time on TUF. His hands are getting better, his wrestling has always been top level, and his ground and pound has become extremely vicious. Should Diego Sanchez get through Thiago Alves, I have a strong feeling that he and Koscheck are on course to settle their differences in a third and final fight.

Can Tyson Griffin finish?

This has to be the one remaining question in regards to Tyson Griffin. We know he can wrestle, we know he has good boxing, a good ground game, good submission defense. But can he finish? Will he ever finish a fight? I honestly think that’s what is holding him back from the elite level of lightweights in the UFC. He allows fighters who he is clearly better than to hang around and hang around until they can find an opportunity to hurt him or finish him themselves. It hasn’t come back to bite him in the ass just yet but he can’t let every fighter hang around because eventually one of them is going to teach him a lesson about not finishing.

Undercard Notes

  • Melvin Guillard is back to dominating guys like Dennis Siver. Whoopty-doo. Welcome back to the UFC, Melvin. I hope you’ve matured.
  • Corey Hill is the “next big thing” in the UFC? He’s certainly big, but let this guy get some wins under his belt before we start swinging from his testes.
  • If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times before: Jorge Gurgel is a better coach than a fighter. He has a good thing going for him with his schools and his teaching and he needs to just keep it that way. God bless the guy for having heart and having exciting fights but he’s just not cut out for the big time.
  • Gabriel Gonzaga did exactly what he was supposed to do tonight and that was submit Justin McCully. I’m glad it came by way of kimura because we haven’t seen too many kimura submissions lately in MMA. Way to bring sexy back, Gabe.

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