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The After Party – UFC Fight Night 25

If you spent seventy bucks to see one of the best boxers in the world pick a fight with an 80-year old announcer then I’m sorry. If you spent 70 bucks to see a guy use an illegal headbutt, try and hug it out in the middle off the fight, and get knocked out, then I’m really sorry. But if you watched SpikeTV and saw a quick KO followed by the rocked fighter try and takedown the referee, then good going. You saved money and got to see a more satisfying event with UFN 25.

Preliminary Card

*It only took 15 minutes for Justin Edwards to cancel the hype of Jorge Lopez. The fight was good, but both guys have a long way to go in the welterweight division.

*Mike Lullo needs to switch to boxing or grappling or wrestling or dancing or something where his opponent isn’t allowed to kick him in the leg. Good performance by Robert Peralta in his UFC debut.

*T.J. Waldburger has some very legit jiu-jitsu. The transitions he pulled off against Mike Stumpf were great to see. I don’t know how far he can go but he’s a handful for anyone on the ground.

*Very good UFC return for Seth Baczynski, who looked sharp on his feet and showed killer instinct in the second round.

*Ken Stone was so smooth against Donny Walker, leaving him blue in the face and proving that beer is just as filling as whiskey.

*Win or lose, Matt Riddle always seems to bring it, and that’s exactly what he did against Lance Benoist, who looked better than his nose would indicate in his UFC debut.

*Great bounce back win for Evan Dunham over a tough Shamar Bailey. Dunham has the talent to be a contender in the lightweight division, he just needs to put it all together like he did on Saturday.

*It’s a shame Cody McKenzie isn’t very good because the fans obviously love him. Vagner Rocha doesn’t offer much on the feet but his ground game is sick.

Main Card

Alan Belcher defeated Jason MacDonald by Verbal Submission (Strikes) at 3:48 in Round One

Belcher Is Back: Alan Belcher was on a roll prior to the eye injury and on Saturday he reminded fans that has the talent to be a contender in the middleweight division. He didn’t really get to show off his striking against Jason MacDonald, but he did show his strength in the clinch and on top along with his punching power. I still don’t know how good his takedown defense is, but he’s training with Ben Askren, so I imagine that it’s improving every session. I think Belcher earned himself a top guy with this win and he could definitely make some noise in 2012.

MacDonald Overwhelmed Again: It’s like a broken record at this point, but MacDonald once again got overwhelmed on the ground. He’s not a bad fighter and he is good off his back, but if he can’t lock on the submission and takes a couple of good strikes on the ground, he just shuts down and takes a beating. There was a lot of talk prior to this fight that MacDonald may retire, and while he nixed that talk, he may re-evaluate things after this fight.

Predicted Next Fights: MacDonald vs. Retirement – Belcher vs. Leben/Munoz winner

Erik Koch defeated Jonathan Brookins via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Koch’s Takedown Defense: Erik Koch’s takedown defense is what won him the fight against Jonathan Brookins. Granted his striking was pinpoint accurate, but that was to be expected. He effectively stuffed almost every takedown Brookins went for, and although he couldn’t get off the cage as often as I’m sure Duke Roufus would have liked him to, he still stayed on his feet for the majority of the fight and didn’t take too much damage in the clinch. At only 22, Koch is a legit contender at 145 and will definitely challenge for the belt in the coming years.

Brookins’ Striking Defense: It’s still not very good. He’s rolling with the punches a bit better, but his hands are still way too low and his chin is way too high. He needs to take some time off, spend working almost exclusively on his striking defense, and then come back ready to fight. He can beat a bunch of guys with his strength in the clinch but when he runs into someone like Koch, who can remain upright and not get tired, he’s always going to be in trouble.

Predicted Next Fights: Brookins vs. Robert Peralta – Koch vs. Hioki/Roop winner

Court McGee defeated Dongi Yang via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-28)

Questionable Decision: Full disclosure, I thought Dongi Yang won the fight 29-28. The first two rounds were close but Yang was landing the cleaner strikes, especially the right hand and inside leg kick, while Court McGee was moving forward but not really doing any damage. The third round was definitely McGee’s though, as he bounced back strong after being rocked early to really take over the round and the fight. It wasn’t a robbery by any means, but I still thought Yang won.

McGee Has A Long Way To Go: I’m a big fan of Court, mainly because he’s Chuck Liddell’s protégé and even walked out to “Intro” by DMX, which was the walk out song Liddell used from UFC 57 to UFC 88. He gets hit a lot though and doesn’t really throw great punches. His cardio is going to carry him against lesser opponents, but most of the top guys have good cardio, so McGee will need to find other means to pick up a victory. I don’t think he’ll be the next Liddell or anything, but he can be “in the mix” if he just starts to believe in his skills a little bit more.

Predicted Next Fights: Yang vs. Simpson/Schafer loser – McGee vs. Tavares/Credeur winner

Jake Ellenberger defeated Jake Shields via TKO (Strikes) at 0:53 in Round One

Ellenberger’s Biggest Win: This was obviously a huge win for Jake Ellenberger. Granted anyone can get caught within the first minute of any fight, but the way Ellenberger pounced on Jake Shields after rocking him with the knee was something that can’t be taught. The most impressive part of Ellenberger’s game though was his ability to easily shuck away Shields whenever he went for a takedown.

I Felt Bad For Shields: I really felt bad for Shields in this fight. I don’t want to make excuses for the guy because it was his choice to take the fight despite his dad passing away, but I think it’s safe to say that he wasn’t 100% mentally prepared. Even if he was thinking about nothing but Ellenberger when he entered the octagon, you know his dad passing weighed on his mind for a few days after it happened and those few days could have made the difference in this fight.

Step Up For Ellenberger: With this victory, Ellenberger could easily be one fight away from a title shot. If Georges St. Pierre beats Carlos Condit, he won’t have too many fresh contenders left at 170, especially if BJ Penn beats Nick Diaz. I’d like to see Johny Hendricks get pulled out of his fight against Jon Fitch so Ellenberger can fight Fitch, but I doubt that’s going to happen. So maybe Ellenberger will face Diego Sanchez or the winner of Josh Koscheck vs. Matt Hughes.

Predicted Next Fights: Shields vs. Anthony Johnson – Ellenberger vs. Sanchez


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