I covered the main event in the last post and now I'll give a few thoughts on the rest of the card. What an amazing night of fights this was. For all the talk I did that this fight could be the kind of card that just doesn't live up to the names I most certainly believe it did. The crowd was awesome all night and I did not expect to see a lot of what I saw. In we go.
- I'm a big fan of announcers. I love when they get into the fight and they help make it exciting when they get pumped right along with the crowd. That said, I felt like Joe Rogan put in one of the worst performances of his career as the color commentator for the UFC. Note to Joe: every time Sonnen landed a punch on Silva, it was not, A BIG PUNCH FROM SONNEN or OH HE HURT HIM AGAIN. Chael did hurt him a few times but unless you were watching you wouldn't know that of the many times Rogan said that, only a few of them were accurate. When Silva shows up to the post fight presser without a mark on his face and he was never knocked out then they weren't that big of shots. In the 5th round Sonnen threw a punch and Silva avoided but slipped and fell in the process. It was painfully obvious yet Rogan screamed out nonetheless, OH HE TAGGED HIM!! Thankfully someone showed him the replay and he took it back. Love the excitement but it was way overdone tonight.
- I really could not have been any more wrong about Matt Hughes. Going in to his fight against Ricardo Almeida I was convinced that he would be taken down and submitted in short order. I thought this would be it for him. Instead he went out there and landed a beautifully placed shot that sent Almeida flying and then locked on a choke that I don't know I've ever seen anyone pull off before. At least not in that way. If he can do what he just did tonight then he is obviously not done. Ricardo was on his way up in the Welterweight division. Not after this one. Hughes told Rogan in the post fight interview that he would be taking the fall off and he would take to the UFC early next year to see what's next. And you know what? I'll be looking forward to it.
- Roy Nelson was fed to the wolves tonight but he managed to somehow avoid getting knocked out. Junior dos Santos landed shot after shot after shot, a lot of them big ones, and Nelson just would not go down. He was rocked quite a few times throughout the fight but he never gave up. He attempted a few takedowns but JDS answered those questions about his takedown defense by keeping this fight standing the whole way. With another win under his belt dos Santos is on his way to a title fight with the winner of the Cain Velasquez-Brock Lesnar fight in October at UFC 121. Coming out of this fight though, I'm not feeling great about what I saw. Sure he tagged Nelson repeatedly but he left himself wide open every time he threw a punch. If he ends up fighting Cain I'll be anxious to see who gets to the punch faster. JDS has to improve on his standing defense or we will see him knocked out.
- Clay Guida put in a good performance but I felt like Rafael dos Anjos looked good save for the jaw injury. This is one of those fights were both the winner and the loser come out both looking good. Despite the loss dos Anjos knows that he wasn't at his best and we know that if given another chance it could be an entirely different fight. Guida comes out with a win and he did what he always does by always putting the pressure on and I even felt like his standup game was much improved compared to what we're used to seeing from him. I'm glad this fight was on the card because it's always fun to watch the lighter guys go at it.
- The post fight bonuses that the UFC gives out were properly awarded. Fight of the Night was obvious to anyone that watched it. Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen won that honor. Submission of the Night was a little bit murky but the UFC did the right thing by deciding to give it to both Silva for his amazing come from behind triangle and Matt Hughes for his amazing submission on Almeida. Knockout of the Night went to Stefan Struve for the unbelievable come from behind win that is undoubtedly overshadowed by the come from behind win by Silva. Just like Silva he was getting beat on by Christain Morecraft on the ground in the first round but in round 2 he made his way back and scored the impressive knockout. What an awesome card.
- Jon Fitch will not be getting a title shot. Should they give it to him? No. He should have to beat the winner of Jake Shields and Martin Kampmann to get back to GSP and even then maybe not. The cold hard fact about the fight game that we know and love is that you have to be able to draw people to come and watch you fight. If you can't draw people then you don't get into the main event. That's all there is to it. Maybe you don't like it but that's how it has to be. The promotion has to make money and if Fitch is the champion then the promotion won't be making money, at least not on him. He's a great fighter but he really is a problem for the UFC. He beats all the potential challengers that could turn into draws without ever making himself a draw in the process. Initially, the crowd, and I loved them tonight, were cheering when Fitch was getting takedowns. Then, after 2 rounds of not a whole lot going on, the crowd finally turned and starting booing him again. He just never seems to do a lot of damage on the ground. His control is amazing but he doesn't deal in damage. That said, I really want to see a fight with Shields. Stylistically, it should be a great fight.
This is the absolute greatest time to be a UFC fan and a fan of MMA. Tonight gave us ever reason to love this sport. If you can watch tonight and not say, "Yeah, that was entertaining," then you just can't be entertained. Cannot say it enough, what an unbelievable night of fights.