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UFC 91: Thoughts & Commentary

UFC 91 is in the books and there’s a new champion, a clear cut #1 contender at lightweight, and a whole mess of stuff to talk about. Is Brock Lesnar for real? Will we see Randy Couture again? Can Kenny Florian beat Sean Sherk or B.J. Penn? I’ve got my opinions, so let’s get to it.

Is Brock Lesnar for real?

You bet. And there’s no doubt that there will still be haters that say he hasn’t proved anything because he beat a 45 year-old fighter, but Brock Lesnar is as real as it possibly gets. He didn’t just beat a 45 year-old fighter, he beat Randy Freaking Couture and knocked him silly. If you don’t think Lesnar is for real right now after that fight then I don’t know if you know what you’re watching.

Couture did well during the fight, don’t get me wrong. His gameplan was good, much like the one he employed against Gabriel Gonzaga, trying to make the bigger man fight off the cage. He even landed some good shots and cut Lesnar. But Lesnar is just so huge, so fast, so agile, and so strong that he trumps a good gameplan. A glancing blow from this guy is going to knock you out and that’s just all there is to it. That kind of power trumps experience and gameplanning, the two advantages that Couture was going to have to rely upon.

Tonight Brock Lesnar made me a believer. With his size, his power, his speed, and his technical wrestling ability he is going to be a force to be reckoned with at heavyweight for a long time. Whether it be Nogueira or whether it be Mir, either guy is in for a serious fight.

We’ll see Randy Couture again

I know that our very own Sam Caplan questioned whether or not Randy Couture would fight again if he lost. I truly believe that he can’t be happy with the way tonight ended and no fighter of Couture’s caliber wants to go out on a loss. Couture came out of the fight largely unharmed aside from his ego and I think we’ll see him compete again. The only question at this point is whether it will be at heavyweight or light heavyweight.

Kenny Florian is the third best lightweight in the UFC

Florian once again impressed the hell out of me tonight with that quick submission victory over Joe Stevenson. Even B.J. Penn didn’t finish Stevenson that quickly. I still believe, however, that B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk are still #1 and #2 respectively. He fought a fantastic fight and made a great fighter in Joe Stevenson look silly on the ground. As he looks to a title shot he’s looking at either a fight with Penn or a possible rematch against Sean Sherk depending on what happens in Penn’s fight with St. Pierre. I don’t like Kenflo’s chances against Penn but a rematch with Sherk is a fantastic fight.

Dustin Hazelett has some of the best MMA jiu jitsu

Dustin Hazelett continues to throw up some of the sickest submissions we’ve ever seen in MMA and tonight he did it once again to Tamdan McCrory with that reverse armbar with an omoplata setup. That was just sickening and McCrory is not a slouch on the ground himself. Hazelett’s use of the rubber guard has been working very well for him in his last few fights and tonight it led him to victory. Hazelett is not an upper echelon fighter right now, but he is only 22 years old and has a long career ahead of him to improve. I’m glad this fight got moved to the main card just to see the submission.

Demian Maia is textbook

Speaking of jiu jitsu, Demian Maia is a freaking beast on the ground and in the grappling game. His ability to get Quarry down from that whizzer was beautiful and the subsequent ground work was textbook. Whether it be two or three fights from now or whether it be ten fights from now, Maia is going to get a title shot at some point in time during his tenure with the UFC. Nate Quarry is not a slouch and Maia made him look stupid tonight. Big things ahead for Demian Maia. If you didn’t believe the hype before, you best believe it now.

Other Musings:

  • Will we see Randy Couture back in the broadcast booth now that he’s back with the UFC and has the fight out of the way? I sure would love to see him back in the booth with Rogan and Goldberg during big fights. His expert opinion from a fighter’s perspective is priceless and having him back in the booth would be a huge boost to the UFC’s broadcasts.
  • I know, Josh Hendricks was riding a ten-fight win streak coming into this fight. And yes I know he has some wrestling credentials. But did this guy not look like someone they just pulled out of the bar? You knew Gonzaga was going to maul this guy.
  • If Rashad Evans didn’t have knockout of the year already sealed up, Jeremy Stephens’ uppercut would be in the running. What a vicious punch.

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