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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.
  • skwirrl says:

    McFredries fights for the exciting loss bonus that UFC has been known to give. Thats why he’s still there and guys like Lindland aren’t.

    UFC wants entertainment not sport.

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  • Brad McLean says:

    “koschek looked the best we have ever seen him” – How can you possibly state that after we seen him get shut out ompletely and mount little attack. While K-OS looke good against Lytle, he was thouroughly inneffective last night.

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  • Jeremy says:

    Gotta say I agree with you Adam. I was entertained greatly by the Sherk/Griffin and Alves/Koscheck fights. And as you mentioned the Dos Santos KO was fantastic. Yes the main event ending up the way it did hurts the card, but it doesn’t make it a lowsy event. Overall I’d grade it as a B/B+.

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  • Carm says:

    Why wouldn’t you “boo” a Gray Maynard fight. He lays on the guy for 15 minutes. It would be unexceptable not to “boo”. Also did you notice that all of the fights, except for 3, went to decision. Spencer Fisher drew first blood and he was the 3rd fight. Nobody really went after it. Everyone fought very cautiously and a lot of decisions could have gone either way. Nobody wanted to see Franca and Aurellio amateur box for 3 rounds. We wanted to see lots of takedowns, Jits, transitions and sweeps & scrambles. The refs were inexperienced and rarely pushed the pace, stood em up, or reset them in a clinch. There’s no reason for a clinch to last 2 minutes against the cage. So to say that 15,000+ people were “terrible” is pretty un-justified. The Chicago crowd that set a record in attendance at the UFC event is UN-FORGIVING. We “boo” even worse at our other professional sporting events. Go to a Bears game and you’ll see what I mean.

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  • Shatner says:

    Are you from Chicago Carm?

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  • rbk says:

    Maynard “…while not the most exciting fighter” – talk about your gross understatements!! The guy is brutal.

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  • Anthony says:

    I was actually there live in attendance and I have to respectfully disagree. The crowd may have been at some unneccesary points, but they weren’t terrible and weren’t worse than any other crowds. They definitely weren’t worse than Sacramento. Chicago definitely deserves anoter event, especially after how this one ended.

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  • paul king says:

    Adam-who in the blue hell are you crappin? Chi-town grossed the biggest gate in MMA history and you are complaining about booing? Tha card sucked-I was there, Chi-town has the right to boo w/ a 2.8 m gate. You must be “special” ( in a small yellow bus tyrp of way!) to say stuff like that, CHI- deserves Lesnar-????

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  • David says:

    If people pay their money and they don’t like what they are seeing, then why shouldn’t they boo. Of course last week Joe Rogan made a stupid comment about the crowd in England booing because they’d had too much to drink. No, many of them had probably paid a large proportion of their weekly income to get in and weren’t impressed.

    One thing I never get caught up in is the whole “weak card” talk. The fighters make good fights. A big name isn’t necessarily a guarantee for a good fight. In fact, if you want all out wars go to the lower teir events (such as Cage Rage Contenders in the UK). Lets also remember that for the sport to succeed it needs casual fans by the bucket load. It may upset some of the hardcore fans, but the casual fans are the ones who will eventually make or break the sport. They will also make up a large proportion of crowds that are over 10,000. You can moan about it, but there is no point. You just have to accept it.

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  • nick says:

    Gray Maynard is by far the most boring fighter to watch. He’s the Jake O’brian of the lightweight division.

    As for the article, I’d agree with you Adam. I think Silva was just having fun out there with Cote. Silva offering Cote a hand to get up was great, Cote deffinately does not deserve a rematch. Marquardt if anything does, hes been impressive. And Fabricio looked like he added on a few pounds???

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  • Shatner says:

    I love how people say they paid good money they have a right to boo if they want,but that does’nt change the fact it sounds awful like people are fed up because they have no attention spans and too much alcohol in their systems.People that go to UFC events for the most part are really uneducated about the technical aspect of fighting and so they boo if they have too endure a feeling out process or two guys on the ground working for position trying to get an advantage.I really think a lot of the people in these crowds would be happy if all the fights ending in first round Knockouts.Then they could go straight to the bar.

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  • JOe K. says:

    Was it just me or was this PPV shorter than other ones. I thought the PPV were 3 hours.

    This one was 3 hours but the first half hour was 15 minutes of fight hype played twice. Is that new?

    Then came the beginning of the show which always takes a while as well. All I am thinking is “They could be showing pre-lims right now”

    The other thing is they showed the result in an unaired prelim by letting us see the submission of the night. I wish they would show the main card and then after show the whole under card.

    I have no interest in watching prelims in a youtube style window for 2 bucks a piece.

    What do y’all think?

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  • Carm says:

    By the way liquor sales were cut off at 9:30. We watched 3 fights with no booze. For all those out there that watched on TV. You can’t blame liquor for 15,000 at the event.

    How can you say that the fans are uneducated. You can’t sit there and tell me “I wanted to see Maynard lay around all day”. “I wanted Silva to dance around and not suck Cote in and trade”. I wanted Franca & Aurellio to respect each others ground game so much that they never take it to the ground.” Even Dana said that he felt like he was in Bizzarro land. Come on, Cote’s knee blows out & I’m supposed to feel content with that, and graceful that UFC blessed the midwest with their presence. You cannot argue, that was the most un-climactic ending in the history of the UFC.

    Go to any city that takes their sports seriously and you will find a brutal crowd. Go to Phillly, go to Boston and you will find a relentless crowd. Wear your hometown jersey and see the verbal beating you’ll get. You’ll get every stat thrown against you’re team. I know this because everyones record breaking highlight is usually against a Chicago team.

    I also agree that you should get the prelims with the ppv. I’m sick of paying 45 bucks and then having to go online to watch em.

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  • Imbecile says:

    I’m not sure I agree that Koscheck looked the best we have ever seen him, but Alves definitely handled him. Though I’m not sure Kos was out of shape because of the two week notice so much as that he was clearly concussed about 30 seconds into the fight. Say what you will about his impressive recovery time, there is no question that him deliriously asking his corner what hit him in between rounds left him with a nice concussion to fight on through the next 14:30 of the fight. You just don’t recover 100% after that, and that may be why his shots looked less explosive than usual.

    Like you, I loved the Sherk/Griffin fight, but I’m not quite ready for an immediate rematch. If BJ Penn does decide to stay up at 170, I think a better scenario is to have Sherk fight the winner of next month’s other LW contender match in Joe Stevenson vs. Kenny Florian for the vacant title. Also, have the loser of the Stevenson/Florian match fight Tyson Griffin for the next #1 contender match. If Sherk wins his fight, and Griffin wins his, then we could see the rematch you are asking for. How about that?

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  • Imbecile says:

    Also, you are dead-on accurate in saying the Chicago crowd was one of worst. I think it was THE worst crowd I have ever heard!

    Add to that refs that were seemingly the most inexperienced I have watched in a long time. After going through more than a round of that ref in the Maynard/Clementi fight saying “Come on gentlemen, do something or I’ll stand you up,” I was actually hoping Dan Miragliotta would show up! It was as if the refs had never seen a professional MMA fight in their lives! They were threatening the stand-up while Maynard was working for mount! Just inexcusable!

    And Drew McFedries was in there because he was a replacement. He certainly is a mid-range fighter with some decent power, but little more to his game. But cut the guy some slack for stepping into a dangerous fight on semi-short notice.

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  • monsoon says:

    I disagree on most of the article:

    “The Main Event”: This is MMA, nobody knows what might have happened. And even if Silva was just playing around, don’t blame him for not having finished the fight. He still got almost three rounds left. I dislike 20sec-fights, that’s boring in my eyes. One shot, lucky or not, that’s not what i come for.
    Well, like Rogan pointed out over and over, just seeing Silva move makes you wonder how the hell any of the 185p-Fighters could ever win against him (even with a lucky punch that maybe once could graze his smoothly hovering head)… but nevertheless Cote seemed to do pretty well in Silvas occasional attacks and evaded many situations that might have looked bad al of a sudden…
    This was a legitimate fight – and unless Silva tries himself at 205, whom else should he fight? Bisping the hype? No idea who could do better than Cote…

    What I really dislike is the guys like Alves, and to a lesser extent Sherk and Griffin. Alves is not a welterweight. I have no clue what kind of drugs he takes to make 170 but that’s not real. The officials really should do something about these cutting weight monsters. It is not possible to cut as much as Alves did and look like him: all pumped-up muscle, and still be able to perform that way. More or less the same goes for Shean “Steroid” Sherk and Tyson Griffin. Maybe the weight classes should be based on cosecutive weighings over a long period of time or something…
    Anyway, I’m sick of all these pumped-up monster-like guys running into the ufc. Beginning with Lesnar who stated “I never tested positive in a drug screening” instead of saying “I (never) have taken steroids and the like in the past” to the ridiculous measures against “steroid-sharks” up to the amounts of punishments some of these guys can take… It now reallyseems to be a war of nutrition in another sense. Maybe Pro Wretling is fake due to drugs and scripts; mma is becoming fake due to drugs as well, i’m afraid.
    So, I won’t praise this business and for sure not the most obvious representatives of this kind of bodybuilding.

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  • DamonO says:

    It’s obvious that Anderson Silva is the best! I mean seriously, he is now using his mind to make people lose. Did you see his concentration when Patrick Cote’s knee went? Silva made that happen with his mind! He can’t be defeated with that power. Even Captain America can’t save the day!

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