UFC237 was another card that over delivered, for the lack of general enthusiasm among MMA fans. It featured 7 finishes in 12 fights, and for the most part was a fun watch.
Alright, let’s jump right to my picks. Then, we’ll chat about this, that and the other.
For your reference, my picks:
When I made the pick, I pictured the fight pretty much the way it developed in the early stages. Aldana controlling the distance and picking at Correia for a decision. In the first round, Correia looked as if she just woke up from a nice nap. Barely any kind of attack mounted. Aldana pulled the trigger with double taps, constantly touching Bethe and frustrating her. Correia did improve – ever so slightly – in the second, but her offense wasn’t as effective as we know she can deliver. Perhaps some ring rust, perhaps Aldana’s stabbing counters as she tried to march into range. And then came the third round, and a submission. Not what I saw coming at all, but very well done.
1 for 1
Another Brazilian who didn’t pull the trigger was Thiago Alves. I have to hand it to Staropoli though. The first round was characterized by a lot of action, albeit to very little physical effect. He threw everything – including the kitchen sink – at Alves, coming from every possible angle, jumping attacks, spinning sh–, but landed very little. Although not landing much, he did make Alves think and hesitate. How can you time an opponent who never gives you quite the same look? Alves was caught a little off guard, and lost a round without ever taking anything significant. The rest of the fight was slightly better technically, and Staropoli was able to touch Alves, who for his part shot singles. A couple of them landed hard, but as opposed to Alves’ better fights, in which he was able to pull the trigger consistently, he was kept at bay for the most part by the funky style of the Argentinian.
2 for 2
Hannibal Smith used to say “I love it when a plan comes together”. I’m sure Alexander “The great” Volkanovski would concur. We’ve seen the aussie absolutely destroys fighters, we’ve seen him go into dog fights, taking some (and then some) in order to dish out devsatating strikes. This, however, was the smartest execution of a game plan we’ve seen from him to date. All talk aside, it was clear that Volkanovski and his team respected Aldo. They came prepared with a plan to shut Aldo’s offense down, and they did that with precision. The first marker was the immediate engagement in leg kicks. Volkanovski established these very early in the first round, before going to phase 2 – the clinch against the fence, and constant takedown threat. It seemed like Alexander didn’t fully commit to the TD, but made the threat known, and it paid off, as he was winning every single battle there. Aldo looked stunned at this, and… Didn’t pull the trigger. a couple of shots here and there, which got the local crowd going for a second, before Volkanovski made it clear he wasn’t having any of these. Volkanovski proved that he is more than worthy of a title shot, showing that in addition to his skills, power and general warrior spirit, he has that savvy to execute a plan that doesn’t necessarily lead to reckless phone booth brawls.
2 for 3
I was worried about power in this one. On a technical level, I don’t believe these two belong in the same league. However, cannonier has that power that only requires one thing – to land. Here’s another fight where I picked the right winner, but had envisioned it completely different. Silva isn’t moving like his young self for some time. But the legs… I’m concinved that Jared too, did not see the finish comming directly as a result of leg kicks, but rather planned these to slow Anderson down and assist him in finding the head. Alas… The kicks did the job and provided a painful moment for those of us who love Silva.
3 for 4
I will try to go through this part without crying… Right up until the ending sequence, Rose Namajunas looked like prime Anderson Silva in the cage. The first round was nothing short of a clinic. Rose’s trademark movement, accompanied by some beautiful striking, immediately causing damage, finding the target at incredible percentages. Every attempt from Andrade to do her usual work of plowing through strikes, to land her own, ended with frustration, including one moment that was reminiscent of what happened to Rousey, just before eating that head kick from Holm. Her face at that moment told the story. She looked back to find Rose somewhere else, almost waiting for her to recalibrate. The first slam attempt also ended with Rose nearly pulling off the arm bar. I was honestly, only worried about a punch that might catch Namjunas by surprise. That was Rose’s best round ever, by miles, and she had some really good rounds so far. It’s very difficult to give an opinion about the end. It happened… Andrade was able to flip her that once and the landing worked in her favor.
3 for 5
3 out of 5… I’d trade all 3 for Rose…
Jessica Andrade is looking at quite a difficult future. Having just won the belt, we already have 3 names in the hat for that first title defense, and every single one of them spells trouble. The first to jump was naturally the last one to already beat her – Joanna. The second name that pops to mind is of course Tatiana Suarez, a lady who will likely not be taken down (the opposite is a more likely possibility) and we don’t know where Rose stands (neither does she) at the moment. Straw weight is the more interesting, and talent filled women division and I, for one, am excited about the future.
How is Max Holloway doing these days? Having witnessed the hard battle with Poirier, a powerful and technical striker with good ground skills, makes me wonder. Is he ready for that storm, otherwise known as Alexander Volkanovski? Until their respective recent fights I would have favored Max without a doubt, but what Poirier proved was that there are holes to Max. And what Volkanovski has always showed us, in addition to what we just learned in UFC237, is that he has what it takes to at least make a convincing go at exploiting them. He seems to have better cardio than Poirier, which should allow him to press harder, for as long as it may require, he has the power in the hands, and perhaps more importantly in his legs and hips. There really is no other fight to make other than Max Vs Volkanovski, and I am already getting chills, just thinking about the prospect.
I am really hoping, as a fan boy, that Rose doesn’t retire just yet. Yes, it was a devestating, disappointing, heart breaking setback. But that is all it was – a setback. I personally still believe that Rose is the better fighter, and she has to time to become even better. Don’t get me wrong, Andrade is a deserving champion, and all credit to her for overcoming Rose. She won fair and square (I read the explanation from Marc goddard, and accept that it was legal – I don’t think it should be, but as long as it is, I totally accept) and I wish her all the best. But Rose has shown more. Much more. I hope she takes another pause, resets and gets back to it with renewed energy. We need classy people in MMA…
I don’t like telling fighters what to do, I don’t think it’s my job. It’s not my income, or livelyhood. But it gets a little too painful to watch some of them take damage that may be detremental to the rest of their lives, just because they insist on fighting on. Silva’s injury, again, brings this to mind.
I wrote here in the past about corners who cause damage to their fighters. The best example for my money, was Pennington’s corner, during the fight with Nunes. Another thing I find irritating to the extreme, is a corner, like Jose Aldo’s, who lies to the fighter. There are two options, and both are bad. Either they don’t understand the sport they are part of (which raises the question – why are they in it?), or they blatantly lie to the fighter about what is going on with his career. I understand that different fighters require different kind of cornering. Greg Jackson is a good example of how it’s done properly. But when is it ok to lie? When is it ok to tell the fighters he is likely winning, when he is so clearly down 2 rounds to none in a 3 rounds fight? What is the benefit? How is that helping the fighter? Seriously, I would love to know. It infuriates me every single time.
Well. This was UFC237. Let’s look at
Performance of the night:
Jessica Andrade finishing Rose namajunas with a slam:
Warlley Alves finishing Sergio Moraes:
Fight of the night:
Rose Namajunas Vs. Jessica Andrade:
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