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UFC Fight Night 14: Thoughts & Commentary

ufn14.jpgAnother UFC Fight Night is in the books and the consensus best pound for pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva, stepped up a weight class and absolutely demolished James Irvin in devastating fashion. Overall I thought it was a good show, nothing special, but an entertaining show with some good matchups, a crazy submission, and a dominant champion showing the world that not only can he beat the best in his weight class but that he has no problem stepping up in weight to kick some ass there as well. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Anderson Silva took care of business.

And really, that’s what he was supposed to do, right? Maybe it would have benefited the UFC a little more if the fight had lasted longer but they gave America a free dose of the most dominant mixed martial artist in the game right now and he gave them the knockout that everyone was expecting. Other than that, the fight was more or less meaningless. It was used to try and build Silva as a draw as well as compete with Affliction’s card on the same night by putting the consensus #1 fighter in the world on basic cable. As for this win helping solidify Silva’s pound for pound status, I guess you can say that it only helped. But because he cuts so much weight to get down to 185 lbs. and because James Irvin is, well, James Irvin, I don’t put too much stock into it. Now, if Silva were to beat a top level 205 lbs. fighter? Then you might have my attention.

James Irvin underestimated Anderson Silva’s power.

James Irvin talked all week about how he’d faced harder hitters than Silva and how he’d take thirty of Silva’s punches to land ten of his own. I said earlier in the week that underestimating Silva’s power is an extremely bad move because even if the guy doesn’t look like he has devastating power, his technique, his speed, and his accuracy combined allow him to generate a ridiculous amount of power. All it took was one good shot and Irvin crumpled like a piece of tissue paper. Even Mario Yamasaki was stunned, as he let the fight go on maybe hoping that Irvin would be able to come back from that one punch but that’s all it took. One solid punch on the button from Silva will put even the best fighters in the world to sleep. To sleep on Silva’s power and leave your hands down against him is to ask to be napping on the mat soon after.

Brandon Vera will be fine at light heavyweight.

I personally thought Vera looked very good in round one of the fight and looked extremely comfortable at the new weight class. As the fight wore on, however, Vera looked to be tired and it was pretty clear that the weight cut really affected him. Once he perfects the weight cut and gets used to being the bigger guy at the smaller weight class he will be a dominant 205 lbs. fighter. I truly believe that. Tonight certainly wasn’t his best showing but you have to give the fighters some leeway when they drop a weight class and have to deal with cutting weight. Vera never had to cut weight before at heavyweight and cutting weight is a pretty big deal. Once he gets the weight cut down pat, he will shine at light heavyweight.

Frankie Edgar is back on track.

Edgar looked very good tonight against a very tough opponent in Hermes Franca. Edgar looked as if he’s put on some muscle mass and was bigger and stronger than he’s ever been before. The fight tonight reminded me a lot of Edgar’s fight with Mark Bocek except that Franca actually had some pop to his standup. Edgar was able to impose his will with takedowns, defend submissions, land some vicious ground and pound, and protect himself from taking too much damage when Franca would land a big knee or a big punch. This is a very quality win for Edgar and should be a great confident booster that he can hang with some of the best at 155 lbs.

Cain Velasquez emerged as a true heavyweight contender.

On paper, Jake O’Brien was supposed to be Cain Velasquez’s toughest fight to date but it ended up being just as lopsided as Cain’s previous fights. Even Andrei Arlovski, a former UFC heavyweight champion, had a tough time with Jake O’Brien. Heath Herring lost to him. Cain Velasquez steamrolled O’Brien and never looked back. This was a very good thing for the UFC tonight. Their heavyweight division is lacking and they should be looking for that sparkplug to light a fire under the division’s ass and make it entertaining again. I believe Velasquez is that sparkplug. If Cain can rack up a couple more victories in the division I don’t think it will be long until we see him competing for the heavyweight strap. If the UFC can build him up as well as Shane Carwin, a fight sometime down the road between those two could be a big time matchup.

Anthony Johnson got robbed, but he might have contributed to his own demise.

Anthony Johnson won that fight against Kevin Burns tonight, ladies and gentlemen. There are no two ways about it. Burns poked him in the eye multiple times, the last time being the most ridiculous as the replay showed Burns’ finger pretty much disappearing into Burns’ orbital socket. That being said, the way that Johnson reacted I think had a lot to do with the way the end of the fight was handled. Had Johnson not fallen down and Burns not jumped on top of him like he was going in for the finish, Mazagatti may not have called it. As it stands it looked as if Mazagatti thought an uppercut landed and that Johnson was crumpling to the mat from taking a big shot. As such, he stepped in to wave it off as a TKO stoppage when in reality it was the fourteenth poke in the eye that caused Johnson to fall down. Had Johnson simply reeled back from the poke and held his eye, he may have been able to either continue, have a point taken away from Burns, or even have had Burns disqualified for the continual eye pokes. Either way, it was an unfortunate turn of events for a fight that was very entertaining and clearly going Johnson’s way to turn out like it did.

C.B. Dollaway’s Peruvian Necktie submission is right up there with some of the best submissions this year.

That submission is right up there with Dustin Hazelett’s transition from a whizzer to an armbar against Josh Burkman as well as Aoki’s reverse gogoplata against Nagata. I doubt that the Peruvian Necktie would work against a higher caliber of fighter but Jesse Taylor fell right into the trap. It was an extremely slick submission by Dollaway and one that I had to rewind a couple times just to enjoy its beauty. Good shit, C.B.

Other notes..

  • Rory Markham put himself right up there as a candidate for knockout of the year with his head kick KO of Brodie Farber. That was just sickening.
  • The UFC seems to have spent some coin on some new graphics for their broadcasts. The Fight Night logo, the time clock, and the “Tale of the Tape” graphics were all brand new and looked really slick and professional. It’s nice to see the UFC making some changes to their production as it’s something that people like myself have clamored for for a long time.
  • “Corner Cam” is great. Between rounds one and two of every fight we got to hear the corners of each fighter. Not only does this give you more insight into the fight but it also means less commercials. In previous broadcasts, during every break between rounds, they were going to commercial. Listening to the corner in between rounds is how MMA should be presented on live television. It adds to the drama. And less commercials is an absolute plus.

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