Right up until those final minutes of the PPV, it was a really good card. 7 finishes out of 12 fights, in a night that kicked-off with two consecutive head kick stoppages, and barely a boring moment.
In honor of the good effort put by these fighters, we will do the same. Keep the shenanigans to the post main event.
Alright, let’s jump right to my picks. Then, we’ll chat about this, that and the other.
For your reference, my picks:
I honestly didn’t think the karate Hottie was going to be able to handle Felice’s type of fight… During the fight I remembered that Waterson’s losses came to much tougher competition, and that I was – for the lack of a better word – an idiot. I wouldn’t go as far as one of the judges who gave her a 30-26 win, but she methodically shut Felice down at every turn, got the better of the striking as well as grappling, and even when clinched, did not take any damage, and indeed reversed the position and continued controlling Herrig. Will be interesting to see where UFC takes her next.
0 for 1
In my native language there’s a saying that loosely translates to “A sucker doesn’t die, he’s just replaced with another sucker.” Well, in MMA they don’t die, they just get knocked out with 11 seconds left on the fight clock. Volkov had this fight on cruise control, winning every second of it for almost three rounds. He patiently picked Lewis apart with stabbing shots from his range. Lewis had about zero chances of winning this. Not once, not twice, but three times, Volkov finished a very good combo and Lewis stood there (if “stood” is the right word), swaying like a stalk of grass in the wind, begging to be finished… and Volkov stood and watched, until Lewis regained his wits enough to continue. The third time Lewis seemed to have said “Well, if YOU don’t do anything about it, I will” and knocked the giant out… Mind boggling.
0 for 2
I can’t put my finger on what I see as the problem with OSP. Great performances, along really weird ones, and it’s not like he has a gaping, obvious weakness. He’s a better athlete than most of the 205ers, has skills all around, is very physically strong, but I had a feeling that Reyes was going to pull it off. Something about this guy looks sharper. His strikes for one. I didn’t check statistics, but he seems to be very accurate, with a good sense of economics. Not really a volume striker, but not a head hunter either. He seems to know his gas tank, and will go for the kill, with the understanding of what missing might cost him. 4-0 in the UFC, having just finished a really tough opponent (I count this as a finish), this guy is game.
1 for 3
As soon as the fight was stopped I called it “Fight of the night” and there was simply no way that Khabib/Conor could top it from MMA perspective. Good old fashion war between two very skilled fighters. Went all over the cage with nice scrambles, small momentum shifts and typical Ferguson and Pettis tendencies. Tony even took a page out of Pettis’s book with a flying punch off the cage. Pettis’s corner deserves props for not trying to kill the rest of his career.
2 for 4
“Joe, I have to say a few words to everyone. Bsimillah al-rahman al-rahim, tonight I mopped the floor with your big-shot star. I took him down easily, whenever I wanted to, and I choked him out, so he can’t talk more trash about me, my country, my family, my religion. I even punched him in the face. You didn’t think I can do this, but I did. I told you I would smash him. I gave him a proper smashing. Alhamdulilla.”
This was the interview that could have been.
2 for 5
While my picks were borderline disgraceful, they pale in comparison to what actually transpired…
Dominick Reyes is the new kid in town. Yes, he still needs to face a couple more LHWs before we can start the title shot discussion, but as an MMA fan, I have to be excited to watch him fight. Every test, starting from last night’s one should be entertaining, and if he keeps delivering, well… everybody wins!
So the assumed top HW contender seems to be a guy who was supposed to get knocked out, was dominated for almost three full rounds and barely had the air to speak… Look, I love Lewis like the next one. He’s entertaining, he’s a positive dude and I wish him all the best. But it’s just not what I see when I think about a champion… not yet. He says he needs to word on his conditioning, let’s see.
Are you ready? All right, Rant start:
You might have noticed the post is titled “No Lines Crossed”. You might have thought “What the hell is he talking about?” (and you may still think that after you finish reading). When Khabib jumped the cage and the shenanigans ensued, I was absolutely sure that lines were crossed. But while waiting for Dana to say something, I was reminded of many things.
Conor jumped into a cage, shouting, then pushing referee Marc Goddard. It wasn’t his fight, it wasn’t even his promotion. Dana: “The Athletic commission bla bla bla”
Khabib and his gang of merry men cornering Artem Lobov in the middle of a hotel, getting in his face, putting their hands on him. Dana: “crickets.”
Conor throws a dolly at a bus, full of fighters he had no business with. Dana: “No one wants to do business with him now.” Rrrright…
Khabib jumps out of a cage to brawl with someone. Dana: “The Athletic commission bla bla bla”
Imagine some guy, let’s say he was black, no one knows his name. Imagine this guy throwing a dolly at a bus. Injuring people. This guy is going to jail. Imagine a group of guys, let’s say they are black, no one knows their names. Imagine these guys corner a dude in a hotel. These guys are being investigated in connection with gang activity.
And for each of these shenanigans there’s always an excuse! Once, it was something that didn’t happen in a UFC event, so there’s really nothing UFC could’ve done about it. Another time it was just some Russians in a hotel, it’s none of UFC’s business. After that, it was up to NYPD to handle this “Civil” case, again, nothing UFC could’ve done. And of course now, it’s the Nevada athletic commission’s problem.
See, no lines were ever crossed, because the UFC doesn’t DRAW THE LINE. UFC is a promotion who wants the benefits, but not the responsibility. Every time the responsibility is someone elses. NYPD, athletic commission. Never the employer. And why? of course – Money. Like the armies of Conor and Khabib’s fans say “this sells PPVs”.
Of course it does. but Dana can’t eat the cake and leave it whole. Every time he stands in front of the camera with this fake disappointment on his face, it makes my blood pressure rise. YOU can do something about it! you can draw the lines, instead of pretending to care. If you want to sell PPVs then be shameless and say “the UFC doesn’t give a shit about the sport or its values”. If you care about the sports and its values – it’s up to YOU to do something about it. But when they keep talking out of two sides of their mouths it’s worse.
Yes, I would strip Khabib off the belt. Just like I would have suspended Conor for an extended period over the bus incident, and Khabib for his part in his part in the Lobov incident. “But dude! that means no Conor or Khabib fights for that duration!” YES! Exactly. That is the point! Why is Jon Jones special? because it’s out of their hands.
And while we’re talking about special… do you know who else can feel special? Josh Koshchek. Paul Daley too. Paul Daley can never fight in the UFC again, according to Dana. Because he sucker punched Josh. But Conor and Khabib, who both assaulted other fighters can.
So take from this what you will. I think Khabib is at fault. I think Conor is at fault but I think UFC is at an even greater fault for consistently failing to draw the lines, and consistently punish and reward fighters’ conduct. And us fans? We mock Ray Borg and Michael Chiesa and Rose Namajunas… on par with the rest of society I guess, where the victims are just whiners, and the bullies are “winners”.
Performance of the night: A couple
Tony Martin before going nuts on the mic…
Vicente Luque with nasty GnP
Fight of the night: Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis
— UFC (@ufc) October 7, 2018
And an honorable mention to OSP Vs. Dominick Reyes.
— UFC (@ufc) October 7, 2018
Don’t forget to check out Combat Docket for more good reads and post UFC229 fallout.