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UFC on Fox 7 Parting Shots

By on April 23, 2013

ben henderson 2Another close decision for UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson aside, UFC on Fox 7 was a nearly total success in terms of entertainment value. Sure, the fight between Daniel Cormier and Frank Mir was kind of a stinker, but who didn’t see that coming? The rest of the show, though surprisingly lacking in submissions, featured some good back and forth fights and plenty of memorable finishes for the “Just Bleed!” crowd, too.

Henderson’s Career Not Like Georges St. Pierre’s

One popular sentiment that has started to emerge on MMA forums and in chatter among fans is why Benson Henderson seems to “get a pass” for winning fights by decision, while Georges St. Pierre is endlessly criticized for not finishing his opponents. To that, I say three things in light of Henderson’s win over Melendez:

1) In what world has Henderson gotten a pass? All I seem to find online is criticism of Henderson for not just winning decisions, but winning close decisions that many seem to think he had no right to win in the first place. While the close nature of his decision victories haven’t allowed fans to zero in so much on the “hasn’t finished” part, he is getting plenty of criticism for letting fights go the distance.

2) The main difference between Henderson and St. Pierre’s fights is that Henderson is trying to finish his opponents consistently throughout the bout. There isn’t that “play it safe” vibe that you get from a GSP fight. Now, I find both fighters bouts to be entertaining enough, but Henderson’s fights are much better than St. Pierre’s. Part of that is because he aggressively looks for a finish, even if he doesn’t end up getting it. The other part is that…

3) Henderson’s competition has been better than St. Pierre’s. This is two-fold, actually. Henderson is not the pound-for-pound talent that St. Pierre is, for one, and for another, he hasn’t faced a Jake Shields or Dan Hardy type that he should reasonably be expected to blow out of the water. The other thing here is that since the fights are more competitive, he isn’t expected to finish as much as GSP is. When you win all five rounds of a fight, like St. Pierre often does, people will wonder why you didn’t finish. That’s only happened in the Nate Diaz fight during Henderson’s title reign thus far, and he’s pretty hard to finish.

Thomson does it again, Cormier disappoints

At this point, I should not be surprised by anything that Josh Thomson does. Of course he would become the first person to finish Nate Diaz by strikes, right? In retrospect, his split decision loss to Melendez may have been less of a case of Melendez having an off night and more of a case of Thomson just being that good. As someone who was ordering UFC pay-per-views when Thomson was beating Gerald Strebendt and Hermes Franca, I should have known better.

Thomson’s Strikeforce comrade, Daniel Cormier, was not so impressive, despite getting the win over veteran and former UFC champ, Frank Mir. What we’re seeing with Cormier is a natural thing- he hasn’t had time to round out his game yet, and against a still-dangerous opponent like Mir, he stuck with what he was comfortable with. In this particular bout, that meant clinching…a lot. All fight long, to be precise.

Cormier did not look like a guy that is ready to win the heavyweight title (wouldn’t matter, since he won’t fight current champ Cain Velasquez, who he trains with) or give Jon Jones a run for his money at 205 pounds. It doesn’t mean he won’t get there, though. Perhaps expectations were a little out of control, as they often are with newcomers who start out as impressively as Cormier did in Strikeforce.

Quick Shots

–Matt Brown. What the hell. Again, I should have known better by now.

–How about Chad Mendes? Three knockouts in three fights since his loss to Jose Aldo 15 months ago. He’s taking his striking seriously, and it shows.

–Beautiful work to the body by Joseph Benavidez on Saturday night. I loved the wince on Darren Uyenoyama’s face as Benavidez landed a left to the body as part of a combination that dropped him for good. Benavidez is right back in title contention at flyweight. Along with the Mendes and Dillashaw finishes, it’s clear that adding excellent striker Duane “Bang” Ludwig to the Team Alpha Male coaching staff was a great decision.

Movin’ On Up Award

There are so many options here, but this award is shared by Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes, as the two Team Alpha Male standouts should clearly be the number one contenders in their respective divisions after their performances Saturday night. Both UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson and UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo have title defenses already scheduled, but Benavidez and Mendes should have dibs on the winners of those bouts.

Beautiful Loser Award

Who else but Gilbert Melendez? While I don’t think the decision was a robbery by any means, the fact that it was that close means Melendez fought a good fight. I actually didn’t expect him to perform as well as he did, and my opinion of him is certainly better after his performance.

Holy $#!% Award

Talk about options here! From Yoel Romero’s powerful flying knee to Anthony Njokuani’s perfectly-timed left hook on an advancing Roger Bowling, there were many finishes to choose from, in addition to the knockout wins by Benavidez and Mendes that I already mentioned before. Myles Jury’s KO of Ramsey Nijem was very nice, too.

However, when you finish a guy as tough as Nate Diaz, that has to take the cake. There was a “no way, no way!” factor to the Josh Thomson TKO that the other finishes didn’t have, and that pushes it past the rest to take the honors here.

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1 comment
  1. Mick says:

    Something about this guy just rubs me every way but right. Ego, arrogance I don’t know. He is building a record of “splits” including his Title win over Edgar. He isn’t going to last much longer unless he can milk some fights with lesser opponents. I love Mom too but damn Benson. Lose the Oedipus Complex for a bit would ya?

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