2015 ended with a BANG, so 2016 decided it wants one too.
2015 ended on the heels of Holm’s shocking knockout of Ronda Rousey, so 2016 decided to put an exclamation point on that too.
See folks, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or do they?
Let’s run down the predictions for this impactful card first, then discuss some more.
Louis Smolka Vs. Ray Borg – Complete and utter domination is the only description for this one. Borg took Smolka down at will, and even when Smolka tried to do the same, Ray reversed position with aparent ease. I called it by sub, and kudos to Smolka for not tapping out. I still take this. 1 for 1.
Dong Hyun Kim Vs. Tarec Saffiedine – Well, that fight kind of put a damper on the party. The decision was questionable, and so is – what are these guys after? Still. 2 for 2.
TJ Dillashaw Vs. Jon Lineker – Exactly what I expected. A fearsome striker meets a well-rounded high level practitioner, and learns that power isn’t always enough. TJ was far too much for Lineker to handle. No surprise there. TJ is going for the belt again. 3 for 3.
Dominick Cruz Vs. Cody Garbrandt – I never pick against Cruz. Why? 22-1, and each of those 22 weren’t really close. Going in, I’ve said that Cruz has 2 things working in his favor. He is the reigning champion and therefore less inclined to be the one “going after it” – thus has a better chance avoiding Cody’s evident power, and two – In order to beat Cruz, you need to touch Cruz. Cody deserves all the props for his fight plan and execution. Went in composed, patient, not hot-headedly aggressive. Took his time picked his shots. It was the fight of his life. And Cruz? Find the post fight presser folks, and listen. Win, lose or draw, Dominick is still the greatest Bantamweight of all time. Virtually impossible to see anyone with that kind of success in the near future. 3 for 4.
Amanda Nunes Vs. Ronda Rousey – The urge to come out with the “I told you so!” is almost irresistible. You know what? I did tell you so. Amanda’s striking is so obviously better than Rousey’s, her BJJ underrated. Ronda’s only chance was to close distance quick, lock Nunes and take her down for a quick armbar. Since Nunes shut that down immediately, that was no longer an option and you could see the sense of early despair on Rousey’s face. Perhaps now, after Nunes submitted Tate (my all time favorite) and finished Ronda in 48 seconds, her employer (UFC) will show her more respect. 4 for 5.
New Year’s Resolutions
I don’t really care whether Rousey retires or not. I only hope that in the future, having tasted an incredible amount of humble pie, she can make a decision to come down to earth and just be. I honestly wish her all the best, whether it is in MMA or not.
TJ may be the one to block Garbrabdt’s incredible ascension. A very intelligent fighter, perhaps better equip at the moment to deal with someone like Cody. We shall see. In any case, he’s making the right resolution for 2017 and it should be all kinds of fun for us fans.
UFC may want to make a resolution for 2017 too. Work with the fighters you have, not with the fighters you wish you had. It’s absolutely fine to hype those money-makers, the Conors and Rondas. But don’t forget the many others who are working their back sides just as hard, and fight for us and you. The Nuneses, the Cowboys, the Thompsons, the Lawlers, the Cormiers and so many more.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!