I’m starting to think that the WEC cards weren’t great because of the fighters, they were great because they were on Versus. Just something about that network brings out the best in fighters. Maybe it’s because of the name Versus. The name alone just gets you pumped for a fight. It’s going to be a shame when Versus becomes NBC Sports and MLS becomes the lead in for UFC. Then when MLS underperforms and affiliates start complaining, MLS gets pushed back, which upsets Dana White and who ask, “What does Dan Garber have on you?” And NBC Sports will be forced to choose, MLS or UFC? Then they’ll choose MLS because soccer has a longer history than UFC, forcing UFC to go to MTV2. And on MTV2, they’ll push back Bellator. Things will be fine for awhile but Bellator will eventually be canceled. Nothing like that could ever happen though, could it?
Before we jump into the card, my condolences go out to the family and friends of MMA trainer Shawn Tompkins. Always sad when we lose someone so influential in the MMA community.
*I’m not sure if Edwin Figueroa’s win was indicative of his skills or Jason Reinhardt just not really showing up to fight, but man he looked really good.
*Watch out for “The D’Arce” Jacob Volkmann in the lightweight division. Very impressive grappling from Volkmann against a tough Danny Castillo. If he can get his striking together, he’s going to be scary.
*As a fan of Cole Miller, I hope he can build on his victory over TJ O’Brien. Guy has the talent to be good, just needs to find consistency.
*Jim Hettes had to set the record for most submission attempts in a UFC debut. Alex Caceres might be to green to compete in the UFC right now, but some local experience will do him good.
*The Karlos Vemola hype train stops before it ever really got going. He came out to The Terminator and ended up like Mr. Freeze. Ronny Markes looked good, albeit kind of boring, for a guy making his UFC debut against such a strong guy.
*Back to back impressive wins by Ed Herman. DAPstreams on twitter motioned that we call Herman’s heel hook the “ginger snap” and I am officially seconding that motion.
*Joseph Benavidez might just be the second best bantamweight in the world. It’s a shame he’s already lost to Dominick Cruz twice. Eddie Wineland needs to stop fighting Team Alpha Male guys.
*How tough is Jared Hamman? He looked done for in the first round, only to come back in the second to lay the beat down on CB Dollaway and earn the victory. Another loss for Dollaway, who seems to have definite mental problems in the cage.
Duane Ludwig defeated Amir Sadollah by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Amir’s Striking Was Good: Amir Sadollah’s striking was exactly what it’s always been. He used the inside leg kick and teep kick a lot, put together good combinations, threw a lot of straight punches, and did a solid job in the clinch throwing knees. There wasn’t really anything wrong with Amir’s striking outside of his defense, but that’s never really been his strong suit anyway.
Ludwig’s Striking Was Better: As good as Amir’s striking was, Duane Ludwig’s striking was better. He landed the straight right, counter left hook, and left hook to the body almost every time he threw it. He was also strong in the clinch, firing right back with knees with Amir. The biggest difference though was Ludwig’s power, as he rocked Amir a couple of times while Ludwig never seemed fazed by the leather of Sadollah.
Ludwig’s Unofficial Record: Can someone, anyone, please give Ludwig the fastest KO record? Whether it’s Dana White, Joe Rogan, and Las Vegas athletic commission, protestors on twitter, Conan O’Brien, I don’t care. Someone give the man his record so Rogan stops bringing it up every time he fights. Do I have enough pull to get Ludwig his record? I say that on August 17 at 3PM EST, we get #LudwigKO trending on twitter. WHO’S WITH ME?!?!?!
Predicted Next Fights: Sadollah vs. Thiago/Mitchell loser – Ludwig vs. Johny Hendricks
Donald Cerrone defeated Charles Oliveira by TKO (Punches) at 3:01 in Round One
Cerrone Is Legit: I’ve always been a fan of Donald Cerrone. He has a certain charisma about him, always comes to fight, and he dated Brittney Palmer for a brief period, so he’s obviously doing something right in life. He’s going to give a lot of guys at 155 trouble with his striking, power, activity, and pace. The body shot he landed in this fight was a thing of beauty.
No Shame For Oliveira: Charles Oliveira should feel no shame despite the loss. He’s only 21, he’s fought some tough guys, he’s a skilled fighter, and he’s going to grow into his frame. Not everyone in their early 20’s is going to be Jon Jones. I’m not ready to write off Oliveira just yet.
A Step Up For Cerrone: Time for Cerrone to really take that next step in competition. He’s had three solid UFC victories but none of his opponents were considered to be in the upper-echelon talent-wise. Unfortunately most of the top lightweights have fights scheduled, but Sean Sherk has to be ready to fight sooner or later, so who better to welcome him back than Cerrone?
Predicted Next Fights: Oliveira vs. Cole Miller – Cerrone vs. Sherk
Ben Henderson defeated Jim Miller by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-26)
Bendo: It’s official: Ben Henderson can’t be submitted (until he gets submitted). He survived an onslaught of submission attempts from a great grappler and made Jim Miller pay every time he couldn’t lock on a submission. He out-grappled and out-wrestled a guy who has only lost to the two best lightweights in the world. On the ninth day, God created Henderson’s limbs.
Looking Smooth: Along with his unsubmittableness (it’s a word, look it up, there’s a picture of Henderson next to it), Henderson continues to improve as a fighter. His striking looked the best it’s ever looked, he looked stronger than ever, and he just flat out beat up Miller like no one else before him had. Henderson is very legit at 155 and he’s making me proud to be a Carolina Panthers fan. Also, how awesome is a guy who asks for his friends to get a chance in the UFC? Henderson was ballin’ so hard in this fight that I wouldn’t be shocked if the commission fined him.
Back To The Drawing Board For Miller: Miller has beaten some very good fighters and has only lost to top guys, but not even Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard took it to Miller like Henderson did. I give Miller a lot of credit for taking the fight instead of waiting around for a title shot and the Miller brothers are as tough as they come, but we finally found a guy who matched Miller’s, “I don’t care” attitude in the cage. He got flat out-worked by Henderson. He’s still going to beat the majority of the lightweights but this fight showed that he still has some work to do.
Bouncing Back: After taking the “Showtime Kick” from Anthony Pettis, Henderson has just come back strong. Just think, if that kick doesn’t land, Henderson could have won that fight, and could be in a totally different position. Instead the kick landed and instead of letting it get him down, Henderson is now in a better position than Pettis. Miller needs to follow in Henderson’s footsteps and bounce back twice as high.
Lightweight Logjam: In the past few months, we’ve seen the two guys scheduled to get the title shot lose. So how does UFC solve this? Easy, take the guys who beat the top contenders and have them fight. Henderson vs. Clay Guida would work out perfectly for the UFC as now matter who wins, they get the next title challengers, and a marketable one at that. If they do fight, hopefully it’s slotted as the main event if it’s on TV.
Predicted Next Fights: Miller vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Henderson vs. Guida
Chris Lytle defeated Dan Hardy by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 4:16 in Round Three
Lights Out On Lytle’s Career: Chris Lytle got what he wanted in this fight. Dan Hardy stood and traded punches with him and when Hardy went for a desperation takedown, Lytle submitted him with a guillotine, putting Georges St. Pierre’s efforts at UFC 111 to shame. If you want to know what Lytle was all about when he stepped into the cage, this fight summed it up perfectly.
The Lytle Awards: You couldn’t ask for a better ending to the career of Lytle. Not only did he add one last fight of the night award to his resume, he added another submission of the night award as well. Can we just go ahead an rename the “of the night” awards to the “Lytle awards”? Even if UFC doesn’t officially do it, I’m making that change myself.
Hardy Talks A Good Game: Hardy wanted Lytle to trade with him for the entire 15 minutes, and for the most part, Lytle did. And Lytle won. Hardy got tagged over and over again with overhand punches and hooks to the body, while offering up very little in return. Sure he rocked Lytle a couple of times, but given Lytle’s chin, did anyone really think that Lytle was in much trouble? Point is, if you ask for a certain fight because you want a stand up war and you say you’re going to be the first person to KO him, you better not shoot for a takedown in the final minute and you better perform better than Hardy did.
Not Outlawed From The UFC: According to Lorenzo Fertitta on twitter, Hardy won’t be released by the UFC. On one hand, I understand UFC not want to lose two welterweights who just main evented on the same night. On the other hand, Hardy isn’t cut out for the UFC. He’s not only lost four straight fights, he’s been finished twice and hasn’t won a single round. How can they justify keeping around Hardy, but not keeping Keith Jardine, who has better wins on his record and was involved in more exciting and closer fights in his four losses than Hardy.
Thank You Lytle: Lytle might not have the greatest record in the world, but the man fought some of the best competition throughout his career and he was never once legitimately finished, which is amazing given the number of fights he had. Lytle will always be remembered as a guy UFC could depend on. After the Matt Hughes fight, he wasn’t involved in a single boring fight and he always showed up to fight, whether he was 100% or not. You knew that when Lytle was on the card, you were guaranteed at least one great fight.
Predicted Next Fights: Hardy vs. Dong Hyun Kim – Lytle vs. Retirement
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC