Hello there,
Welcome back for another AfterMMAth post and what an AfterMMAth it is. Strictly MMA speaking, UFC204 is way up there with the best event of the year contenders. Top to bottom, mostly finishes, mostly submissions, mostly chokes. Some really high quality showcased. And to top things off, the hometown hero reigns supreme while the legend can now retire on a really good performance.
Before we cover some important issues, let’s review the predictions I made:

Mirsad Bektic Vs.Russell  Doane – While Doane came in on a short notice, I still give full credit to Bektic for being smart. Some fans view that word – smart – as a negative. I see this as a must for any fighter who seeks sustainable success. Bektic elected to engage in a grappling match, after finding initial success with strikes, knowing that it has the potential to tire Doane out and it paid off very well. I see many good things in the future for Bektic. 1 for 1.
Stefan Struve Vs. Daniel Omielanczuk – Finally. Watching Struve fight in the past was in many cases a frustrating exercise. Knowing he has the reach advantage (and a significant one) over anyone, and not use it. That blew my mind. And here comes Stefan to UFC204 and does exactly what he needed to. After hurting Omielanczuk with some accurate knees, the fight got to the ground where Struve reminded us how well long limbs and BJJ work together. 2 for 2.
Ovince Saint Preux Vs. Jimi Manuwa – At the heels of his very competitive fight with Jones, OSP arrived very complacent. Otherwise, it’s really difficult to understand the slowness, the lack of movement or his famous explosiveness – especially when he shoots for a TD – he exhibited. Manuwa, to his credit – exploited that as best as can be expected. Standing in front of the poster boy, with nary a head movement is a sure way to get one’s self knocked out. 3 for 3.
Vitor Belfort Vs. Gegard Mousasi – Until I watched – really watched – Gegard Mousasi fight, I was never a huge fan. But Gegard is one hell of a well-rounded fighter. Vitor’s hands are still fast when he has the energy, but it seems like the fighters who beat him – definitely in recent years – are the ones who are not afraid to be the aggressors. Not recklessly, mind you, but pressuring Vitor and putting him on the defensive, seems to be the way to win. It sure helps to have a skill set like the underrated Mousasi’s (who also has 10 more fights than Vitor!). 4 for 4.
Michael Bisping Vs. Dan Henderson – Let’s talk strictly about the fight for now. The first round sent flashbacks to our heads. Again, Bisping (and again in the second) left the left side open after a couple of not entirely thought out left hooks, and was caught by the H-bombs. Beyond these two incidents – which I do not minimize – it was all Bisping. Able to get up fairly quickly and going back to his combinations, for the most part doing the right things – read: keep the range, attack the right hand and head with kicks. Out-striking Hendo by a mile and a half. It wasn’t a runaway decision win by any means, but it was also very clear in my head that Bisping won. As for the “look at his face” argument, I think that requires a whole new blog post. To sum it up in a sentence – check GSP’s face after every time he soundly beat somebody up. 5 for 5.
Ah. Perfection. 5 out of 5. What an event, what a night for Bisping AND for Hendo! A good night for all the other winners who certainly made a nice step forward, each towards his personal goal. Bektic, to establish his rhythm, Manuwa towards contendership consideration, Struve the same, Mousasi – towards full recognition and title contention. These were pretty important fights, even if the hype machine doesn’t tell it yet.

Let’s talk about Hendo for a minute.

Many people have spoken about Hendo’s legacy, citing the titles he won, the great people he fought, his movements between weight classes in pursuit of these big fights, his incredible chin and the H-Bomb. It’s all true, and in itself should easily earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame and in our hearts.
Two things that may be spoken less of, are his no-nonsense attitude, and his value to MMA as a persona. What I mean by the above is this. Hendo is not the world’s best trash talker, to put it mildly. He doesn’t spend hardly any energy trying to “get under someone’s skin” or sell his soul to the machine, in return for money or title shots. He hardly ever gives excuses and even when he “complains”, he’s not one to harp on things forever. Does he think he won in 204? Sure. Are we going to see a whole “not fair” campaign? Nah. It’s Hendo. He’s here to fight the best.
As a person of integrity and no BS, Hendo is a perfect ambassador for the sport. Likeable, professional, clean of high drama and as legit as they get in the eyes of mainstream/casual fans, he is one of the best examples for all the youngsters who try to make their way into the big time. You don’t have to have a filthy mouth, a quick tongue or be exceptionally eccentric to make it. There’s another option – come to fight, do it well, respect the arts and be recognized for it.

Thank you Hendo!

And thank you all for coming round here! See you soon!

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