How uninteresting was UFC240? How unexcited were we in the week leading to the event? I think the fact that we discussed the next Fight Night, Lawler/Covington and the state of the wonderful WW division in general, more than the upcoming PPV says it all. Canada gave the UFC Georges St. Pierre, and UFC gave Canada the middle finger… Why? Canadians are awesome people! I know that from experience. So why did they deserve such a card?
Alright, let’s jump right to my picks. Then, we’ll chat about this, that and the other.
For your reference, my picks:
Here are some fights from the prelims, that had better main card appeal:
Hakeem Dawodu Vs Yoshinori Horie
Alexandre pantoja Vs Deiveson Figueiredo
Hell, even Gillian Robertson Vs Sarah Frota would’ve been more adequate.
This was a non-starter. I appreciate the toughness of these two guys, and the effort they put in, but this fight did not teach us anything, did not have any impact on the respective weight class, and aside from the chance of a stray KO punch held no real promise either. So why start with this? Anyway, I picked the Canadian. It went to Jotko. Ok.
0 for 1
The Canadian gangster did not look very gangstery last night, and it was likely due to the Armenian’s set of tools. Tsarukyan, who indeed, looked great in his previous fight against Makhachev, started the fight by killing off OAM’s energy. The first round was a real chess match, and Tsarukyan came out on top (literally). Aubin-Mercier was able to do a little more, but the rest of the fight was won, inch by inch, in a calculated struggle to secure the W this time. The Armenian enjoyed the compliments last time around, but these don’t make the record and this seemed to be the focus this time. Smart, if you ask me.
1 for 2
Geoff Neal was one of the top new comers of 2018, and only Adesanya and Johny Walker had more impact than him, from this exclusive list. A Niko Price fight is normally fun, whether he wins or loses, and this one was no exception. I went with the more technical, and eventually that paid off. What DIDN’T we have in this fight? we even had a double knock down due to head clash (yes, Joe, it was double and it was due to the heads. more on that later), wild exchanges, back and forth action. In short, we finally had some fun!
2 for 3
Felicia Spenser has a chin on her… How many ladies did we watch in the past, unable to take a fifth of what Cyborg dished out throughout the fight? Yes, Felicia landed an elbow (singular) that opened up Cris’s forehead. Yes, Spenser absorbed knees to her well protected mid-section and pushed on like a trooper. Yes, Spenser even held Cyborg against the cage for some stretches of time. Yes, I have respect to the tough Canadian. But my god, Rogan… again, what fight were YOU watching? “Cyborg might be losing her confidence”… why? because she out-landed her opponent about a 100 to 1? because she was barely touched? I saw classic Cyborg plowing forward, business as usual except… this time her opponent didn’t crumble.
3 for 4
This is one of these fights where I feel no pressure at all. Two absolute legends, two loveable fighters walking into the cage. Who will win? Who cares? either one is fine with me. The fight developed exactly as I (and likely most of you) expected. Frankie doing a great job, moving in and out, side to side, head movement, mixing attacks, attempting takedowns. And all, just short of success (no pun intended at all). Max had the reach, and Max did the Holloway thing. A few more words about these awesome guys further down the post.
4 for 5
4 out of 5 on this one. At least I did my best…
Geoff Neal entered a deep welterweight division in stride. I’m not going to rave too much and push a hype train forward. I will say that I like the guy. Technical, strong and hard working guys like Geoff are my type of fighter. Following the fight and the corner, it seems like Neal is one to take things seriously, listening to, and carrying out his corner’s instructions. He’s only 28 and has some good years coming. Very excited for his future fights.
Hakeem Dawodu is an exciting fighter, who needs to be challenged. He had some difficulties in the early stages with the movement of his Japanese opponent and was not following the good advice coming from his corner. Until he did. He has the power and the technique, but he looks like someone who needs to be pushed, and UFC will be smart to keep giving him that.
Max didn’t take damage last night, which means that any way you look at it, the man who sat smiling outside the octagon last night, Alexander Volkanovski, should start sharpening his sword, fit the shield and helmet, saddle his horse and get ready for battle. Sooner, rather than later. Co-main for a big November/December card? No more waiting, no more adventures. Time to put the two most dangerous Featherweights in the cage and let there be rock.
Frankie Edgar is legen… wait for it… dary! Legendary. But Frankie is one of those guys without a division that fit their physical profile. Not strong enough for 155, not long enough for 145, and 135? Who knows. Depending on his ability to cut down to that weight without giving some of his greatest assets in speed and durability. The fact that he was a champion on the heaviest division he could pick, speaks volumes to just how good he is. I guess everything depends on Edgar himself, as well as his goals. If he’s chasing a belt, he might be setting himself up for eventual failure. But if he wants to continue making money, while testing himself against different challenges, I say bring it on. Many youngsters would do well, watching his leg work, his tight boxing, his head movement. and most of all, his heart.
And still we have way too much Joe Rogan, too much Megan Olivi, and way too little time for the verbal diarrhea they bring forth. Let alone what is pleasant (or not) to the human ear, it’s the substance of said verbiage that really irritates me (and a ton of others). I will leave Olivi with a warning, because… really… but Rogan. Oh Rogan… what a performance…
It started early. Gillian Robertson takes Sarah Frota down, and the non-stop hype of Frota’s bottom attack (the main feature of tonight) begins in force. For almost a whole round, which Robertson spends on top, avoiding every trap Frota sets up, passing and advancing. And throughout this, Joe feels the constant need to explain to us that she is in danger. Well duh… she’s in a fight. But, Joe, she is in top position, hardly ever inside any kind of guard. Landing whatever she can throw, and hardly getting touched. The fight went all the way in Robertson’s favor, but all Joe could think of is in how much danger she is. Hailing Frota’s BJJ, while Gillian passes to half guard, to side, moving on top, landing. In the early stage of the first round, Frota closed the guard real tight. What did Rogan focus on? on how tight she was “squeezing” Gillian’s body. How about questioning what the hell Frota was trying to achieve by it?
The thing that really irritated me was the constant talk about “dangerous off of his/her back”. and that “loose open guard”. I would expect Joe to catch up with the times. “This is not the loose open guard, Jon. It’s a tight closed guard.” Well yes, Joe, we see it’s closed and somewhat tight. What does this give the fighter on bottom? What is the advantage in an MMA fight? Yes, controlling posture and avoiding big shots. But you don’t get points on avoiding being hit… that is why, Joe, the game shifted exactly to that “loose open guard” which allows the fighter on bottom to do something that actually advances his cause – to get back up, to attack from bottom (in order to either sweep, or get up). The goal is no longer to submit from the bottom. Who can you think of, that really sinks in effective submissions from the bottom? Jacare doesn’t really, and he is one of the best ever. He uses these to reverse, and gain top positions where his submissions are amazing. Charles Oliveira. Tony Ferguson sometimes. I can’t think of anyone else. So, Joe – “Dangerous off of his back” is a whole other thing that what you imply. If you’re no Charles Oliveira, you might as well work to get the fight back to the feet. If you’re well versed on the ground, work to sweep, to reverse. Spending time on your back is the worst thing you can do in an MMA fight. Open to strikes, submissions, no space to throw anything with real power… open that “tight closed guard” and get out of there asap.
Well. This was UFC240. Let’s look at
Performance of the night:
Geoff Neal knocks Niko Price out in the second round:
Fight of the night:
Alexandre Pantoja Vs Deiveson Figueiredo:
Geoff Neal Vs Niko Price:
Don’t forget to check out Combat Docket for more good reads and post UFC240 fallout.