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UFC 90: Thoughts & Commentary

There have been a lot of people talking about what a “terrible” card UFC 90 was and I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Sure, the main event was a bust but did you expect a five round war? I surely did not and thought it was only a matter of time before Anderson Silva finished Patrick Cote. If that one fight is how you’re going to determine the quality of the pay-per-view then it may very well have been terrible. But what I saw were two very entertaining battles with Sean Sherk taking on Tyson Griffin and Josh Koscheck fighting Thiago Alves. Not only that but there was an absolutely devastating knockout by UFC newcomer Junior dos Santos and Gray Maynard passed perhaps his toughest test yet. Let’s look at the night’s happenings in a little more detail, shall we?

Anderson Silva was delaying the inevitable

Unlike my colleague Sam Caplan, I truly believe that Anderson Silva was toying with Patrick Cote last night. Was he also being cautious? Yes. Anything can happen in a mixed martial arts bout and Cote is a fighter with knockout power that’s not to be tested. However, it seemed than when Silva chose to engage and bring pressure that Cote was there for the taking but Silva never chose to finish it. We’ve seen Silva fool around in the cage before but not to the degree that he was last night. He realized he was in there with a fighter who wasn’t even on his level and decided to fool with him for a couple of rounds. I’ll make no judgement on whether that’s right or wrong. It is what it is.

The fact that Cote went down with an injury is unfortunate but there is nothing to suggest that had the injury not happened that things would have turned around. Silva clearly won both of the first rounds and likely would have finished it in round three or four. In no way does Patrick Cote deserve a rematch. As many have pointed out, Silva only has five fights left on his contract. Do we really want to see him fight Cote again in one of those five fights?

Anderson Silva needs to move to light heavyweight

The man has cleaned out the middleweight division with the exception of a rematch with Yushin Okami and that’s a fight that not only won’t sell pay per views but will more than likely end poorly for Okami. It’s not a compelling and competitive matchup. Silva has proven that he can compete and win at light heavyweight and that’s where the most intriguing and challening matchups are going to be for him down the road. Pitting Silva versus any top ten light heavyweight in the UFC will sell pay per views. Matching him up against the Patrick Cotes of the world will not. Dana White is letting B.J. penn compete for two titles at the same time so why not Silva?

Thiago Alves has established himself as the clear #1 contender at 170 lbs.

The win over Josh Koscheck last night was a very impressive one. Koscheck looked the best that we have ever seen him and Alves was able to handle his takedowns and his striking with relative ease. Just the sheer size of Alves is going to make him a problem for any fighter in the 170 lbs. division and that includes Georges St. Pierre. The guy is cutting from 200 lbs. to get down to 170 and he was just so much more massive than Koscheck last night. He can power out of takedown attempts with pure strength and size. The way he picked apart Koscheck with leg kicks was textbook and he will present a real threat to the welterweight title once he gets his shot. As for Koscheck, he deserves a ton of respect for stepping up on short notice and fighting the fight he did. He proved last night that he belongs at the top of the welterweight class but Alves proved to be just too much for him.

Junior dos Santos proved his worth in his UFC debut

Wow, what a knockout. Was there a single part of his fist that didn’t crush into Werdum’s face? I mean every single inch of his fist seemed to hit Werdum square in the nose. Brutal, brutal knockout. This was a no-win situation for Werdum as if he won it was a fight that he should have won anyways and if he lost then people would say that he’s not as good as people were saying. The latter is what you’re hearing a lot of today. Werdum’s standup is improved but it ended up being his demise last night. As for dos Santos, he proved that he belongs in the UFC but let’s wait and see him fight a couple more times before we crown him the next big thing.

Sean Sherk vs. Tyson Griffin II needs to happen

This fight was so entertaining and it was a great way to open up the main card of the event. These guys were so evenly matched that it was hard for it not to be a great fight and they exceeded expectations. As it happens sometimes, when you throw two wrestlers against one another you end up with a kickboxing match. It just so happens that these guys are great kickboxers as well as wrestlers and we were treated to a striking clinic over the cours of three rounds. Both of these guys are established top five lightweights in the UFC and a rematch needs to happen sooner than later. If B.J. Penn beats St. Pierre and stays at 170 lbs. how about matching these guys up for five rounds for the vacant title?

Other musings..

  • Gray Maynard, while not the most exciting fighter, is a legitimate lightweight and passed his toughest test to date by beating Rich Clementi in convincing fashion. Clementi was riding a hot streak and Maynard completely controlled him and made Clementi fight where Maynard wanted the fight to take place. As he develops into a more well rounded fighter he will be a name to watch at 155 lbs.
  • Does Josh Burkman have a place in the UFC anymore? He’s now lost three straight fights to Mike Swick, Dustin Hazelett, and now Pete Sell. Burkman’s style isn’t exciting and he’s losing fights. I think the UFC lets him get some more fights under his belt outside of the promotion before coming back.
  • The Chicago crowd was terrible. I’ve heard some poor crowds before but Chicago was right up there with one of the worst. The booing was terrible during almost every fight. If a punch wasn’t being thrown there was booing. Money talks and obviously the live gate was huge but the way the crowd acted last night they don’t deserve another event.
  • Why is Drew McFedries still in the UFC? Because he either knocks someone out or gets finished quickly? I understand keeping fighters on the roster who make fights exciting but McFedries is B level talent and that may be generous.
  • Overall I thought the show was a good one except for the main event. It wasn’t on the level of UFC 84 or anything but it was entertaining with some good fights. Overall I give it a B.