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UFC Fight Night 26 Parting Shots

By on August 20, 2013

Even if, like me, you weren’t excited about the “launch” of Fox Sports 1 (Shhh…don’t tell anybody it’s just Speed TV re-branded!), you had to be pretty pumped about a PPV-quality card on cable TV for our collective enjoyment. And the card delivered, from the prelims all the way to the main event, when Chael Sonnen was able to get back in the “W” column after losing title bouts to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones his last couple of times out.

Afterward, Sonnen cut one of his pro wrestling-quality promos, which was entertaining enough but disappointed me in its actual message. Sonnen really isn’t going to give up on fighting Wanderlei Silva, which means he sees both a) dollar signs and b) an easy win in a potential bout with the former Pride standout. I guess you have to do what you have to do in order to get a winning streak going.

Look, to say I’m not interested in Silva-Sonnen is an understatement. Silva’s takedown defense has never been his strong suit, and though he has the jiu-jitsu black belt that we expect from all Brazilian veterans, he has never been that keen on using his jiu-jitsu in an offensive manner. What we’re headed toward is a lot of takedowns and some occasional ground and pound en route to a depressingly obvious victory for Sonnen.

I still can’t believe that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was the favorite in the Sonnen bout. His takedown defense is also less than stellar, and both his cardio and movement have been suspect after all of the knee surgeries that he endured in the last several years. I didn’t expect Shogun to get submitted, but before the submission itself, the fight was playing out just as I expected it to.

To beat someone who, yes, has seen better days, but still ranks in the top ten of the light heavyweight division, then call out somebody in a lower weight class who hasn’t sniffed the top ten in years is a pretty cynical move. He’ll get his fight and win as expected, but when is the UFC going to start making the matches again instead of letting the fighters book themselves? Sonnen-Silva is going to be a pointless matchup both stylistically and in terms of rankings.

Quick Shots

–Aside from his choice of next opponent, I was happy with Sonnen on Saturday night. While Shogun surprised him with strong hips and an early reversal on a hip throw attempt, Sonnen otherwise dominated the bout with takedowns and the aggressive pursuit of submissions.

–Alistair Overeem is still way too cocky. You’d think after the first ten front kicks Travis Browne threw, Overeem would adjust, but he is WAY TOO ALPHA to mess with petty things like blocking, throwing feints, moving his feet, or coming into a fight in shape. Pity.

–Props to John Howard for getting around the extremely quick jab of Uriah Hall en route to a great decision victory that showed Howard using his quickness and great footwork to overcome a much longer fighter. Hall had his bright spots, particularly on the mat in round two, but he’s just not as far along in his progression as we thought.

Say What?!?

I know how tough Mike Pyle is. He is good enough to be champion. He is better than GSP; I guarantee that. Where you at, Georges?

–Matt Brown, proving that you don’t have to suffer a severe head injury to give a baffling post-fight interview.

If Matt Brown with six straight wins hasn’t cracked your top ten, then maybe you don’t deserve to be filling out rankings.

–Jon Anik, attacking your sensibilities for not having a guy who hasn’t beaten a top ten fighter in his career in your top ten. Hey, fuck you, Jon Anik! Tell Brown to beat somebody who’s actually ranked!

He’s point-fighting you, you know that.

–Joe Lauzon’s cornerman bending the truth just a bit after a first round where Michael Johnson nearly put Lauzon away multiple times with hard strikes.

Adventures in Judging

It didn’t affect the outcome, but judge Tony Weeks still deserves some criticism for an absolutely bonkers scorecard on the Joe Lauzon-Michael Johnson fight. He gave Johnson a 30-25 edge, with 10-8 rounds in both the first and third. Neither of those rounds were dominant enough for a 10-8, but the third in particular sticks out.

Movin’ On Up Award

I almost gave this to Michael McDonald for his dominant submission win over the very tough Brad Pickett, but McDonald is working towards his second title shot, not his first like Travis Browne is. Browne is right in the mix at heavyweight now and deserves a chance to prove that his loss against “Bigfoot” Silva was a fluke.

Beautiful Loser Award

A lot of competitors gave good a good show in defeat on Saturday night, but Uriah Hall was perhaps the most impressive of the bunch. I had him winning the first round of his fight with John Howard based on the number of strikes he landed and his takedown, despite Howard landing the harder shots. He also looked great on the mat while taking Howard’s back when Howard when to stand up in the second round.

Holy $#!% Award

Browne’s knockout of Alistair Overeem isn’t as surprising now that we’ve already seen Overeem play around and get knocked out against Antonio Silva, but a front kick knockout is always deserving of this award.

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