Hello everyone and welcome back to this humble blog.
Last night on UFC166 I went 2 for 3 with my predictions. I went with Cain Valasquez to retain his Heavyweight title, with Cain’s training partner, Daniel Cormier to beat Roy Nelson, and with Diego Sanchez to beat Gilbert Melendez.
I went with Cain, considering his well roundedness, his skill and unparalleled tenacity. It proved to make the difference and Cain won convincingly.
I went with Diego Sanchez because I like him and that was more of a wishful thinking kind of deal. Melendez won fair and square. Not a shocking result by any stretch of the word.
Then there was Daniel Cormier Vs. Roy (Big country) Nelson…
Before we go any further I’d just like to say that I respect any fighter who’s willing to step into the octagon and fight. Win or lose, these guys are doing what most of us don’t have the guts to do.
I like Roy Nelson. I don’t really know anyone who does not. What’s not to like? The guy won’t say “No” to any fight. He’ll go in the cage with anyone and look to take his head off with a thunderous overhead right. Roy says he wants to be a UFC champ, and I wish him all the best with that.
But I see a big problem (No pun intended) standing in his way.
Roy came to last night’s fight in the best shape in his career, weighing in at 249 lb… and although much smaller than ever before, still sporting a pretty significant gut.
Now, Big country is many things. He’s full of fight and heart, he has a granite chin and the aforementioned KO deliverer. Add all of that to a black belt in BJJ and you should definitely have a legitimate title contender. This is not the issue though. The issue is that Roy seems to have two obstacles on his way to realize his dream.
Look at photos from last night and check out the two main eventers – Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos and Cain Valasquez. Go ahead, check it. I’ll wait.
Alright. That is what a legit title contender should look like. At the absolute peak of his physical readiness. Junior lost that fight (Someone has to lose…) but he fought for 5 rounds against a man with a machine like endurance.
Roy looked like a zombie after a round and a half.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Physical build alone does not guarantee anything. Look at the likes of Chiek Congo, or Thiago Alves to see how well-built musclemen could underachieve (and this is not a knock on these two guys either). In addition, fighting Daniel Cormier, a decorated Olympic wrestler, WILL do that to a man.
But this is not the first time we see Roy taking huge breaths after 1 round.
It looks to me (and I’m no expert) that our legs shouldn’t be carrying so much weight around. Not if we need to move (fast preferably) for 15 to 25 minutes inside a cage and fight. There has to be a balance between strength and weight. Muscle and fat.
Cain is not a skinny all muscle guy. His physical condition is proof that there is such a balance. It can be achieved.
The second obstacle in Roy’s way seem to be his insistence to rely on one technique – his KO punch.
It is evident by looking at the champions, that one skill set is no longer enough to rule. You have to round-up your game. Cain could not be a threat on his feet without his wrestling and wouldn’t scare anyone with his wrestling without his hand work or his leg work for that matter. Look at GSP, Aldo, Jones, Henderson. The top-tier of MMA are well-rounded fighters who could be dangerous all over and are utilizing all of their arsenal to get the win.
Roy has a fantastic BJJ. He just chooses to stay away from it, for reasons beyond my comprehension. The same could be said about Frank Mir.
I’ll say it again. I LOVE Roy Nelson. I hope he goes the extra mile and rounds up his game in addition to working on conditioning. With these additional layers… what a scary thought for his opponents…
I won’t finish this post without bowing down in awe to two great men. Cain Valasquez and Junior Dos Santos. Truly the baddest men on the planet. This heavyweight trilogy was nothing short of phenomenal. These two professionals have shown all that is noble and great in MMA. Respect to the sport, to each other and to the fans. Junior lost the fight, but NOT an inch of respect. It’s fights like this one that make a fan like me stand up and cheer for both men and completely forget the result. It was a battle of two gentlemen who embody the essence of martial arts.
Thanks for checking this out. Let your voice be heard. what did you think of UFC166?