As will become custom, the morning after any major mixed martial arts event, The Morning After Report will recap the action and discuss the events from the night before. Last night was a great start to 2011 for the UFC, with exciting prelims, a varied main card, and a main event that left the fans wanting even more.
- It's sad to say, but it may be the end of the road for Phil Baroni in the UFC. His fight with Tavares was exciting, and he had him in trouble early, but Tavares gave the New York Badass yet another loss, this time a first round TKO. Baroni was understandably upset with himself, but who knows, he may be kept around just for the excitement factor he brings...that's a long shot though.
- Josh Grispi is damn lucky he wasn't fighting Jose Aldo last night. There was a LOT of hype around him going into this fight with Dustin Poirier, and it was shot down quite handily by the Louisiana native. This was fight of the night all the way until the main event in my opinion, with action at striking distance, in the clinch, and on the ground. Poirier looked to utilize a very dangerous muay thai clinch, throwing knees, elbows, and uppercuts while Grispi had no answer for him. So...this means Poirier fights Jose Aldo? Talk about an exciting fight, that one may very well bring the house down.
- I had picked Jeremy Stephens to win against Marcus Davis, but Davis looked far better than I expected for his first time cutting to lightweight. It's easy to say, well, Davis is on a losing streak, he's outta here...but I don't think his job is in jeopardy. Davis could have jabbed his way through the third round and took a clear cut unanimous decision, but he put on a show, and took a risk. The risk came back to bite him, but one thing about Marcus Davis is, the fans know he aims to please. Great comeback victory for Stephens, but I can't help but question his strategy going into his fight...oh what the hell, he knocked him out in the end, it's all moot anyways.
- Before moving on to the main card, some preliminary action we DIDN'T see...Antonio McKee lost his UFC debut to Jacob Volkmann, not much to say other than that we found out if McKee was really that good, or if the competition just wasn't stiff enough. Mike Brown lost a unanimous decision to Diego Nunes (Nunes has won and lost all of his fights in the WEC/UFC by decision) and I'm still wondering why people seemed to care that Brown was on the undercard...this fight was not compelling at all.
Main Card recap after the jump.
- So Takanori Gomi didn't get that big KO. It's okay, because Guida is freaking awesome, and he had a great gameplan coming into this fight. Gomi really just didn't have anything for him, but he should continue to have a long career in the UFC. How about matching Gomi up with Jacob Volkmann on a future Fight Night or Versus card?
- If it turns out that Pettis has to fight before challenging the winner of the Edgar/Maynard saga, please, please let it be against Clay Guida. That fight has epic written all over for it. Make if for the WEC title on Spike TV, but be sure to make it CRYSTAL clear that this fight is a necessary move since the unexpected draw from Edgar/Maynard II. The winner takes the WEC title, and will unify the belts with the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard III. It's a stretch, and probably won't happen, but it respects the WEC title, and gives the fans an amazing fight.
- Dong Hyun Kim shut Nate Diaz down, and even played his own game. No, not the ground game, I'm referring to the in-ring smack talk. I'm glad Stun Gun is finding his voice, not only did he get feisty with Diaz, he called out GSP. Interesting, although I don't think he'd fair well against the champion.
- Nate Diaz needs to breach this plateau he's hit. Whenever he meets up with a really solid fighter, he doesn't really get owned, but he just can't gut out that victory. The good news is, he's got a team that can push him there, it's just a matter of time.
- I really thought Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera was going to be a hit. Silva had other plans. I'm really tolerant of ground work, and can appreciate it, but many times, it just didn't seem like Silva had that killer instinct on the ground. No, turning it on in the last two minutes of the fight does not redeem you from a painful fight up until then. The exchanges on the feet were great, and honestly, I felt that Silva was getting the better of them...if he had stayed in the pocket with Vera, I think he'd have gotten a KO/TKO before the third round. Vera knew that he had to show the UFC that he can be exciting, win or lose...but 45 seconds of exciting striking doesn't make up for looking THAT lost on your back.
- Look at this though...
- At least there was damage done in the end. Two fights in a row Vera's had something broken, he's on a roll.
- Chris Leben got finished. Brian Stann had to hit him with everything but the kitchen sink, but he put him down in the end. Not many gave Stann a big chance in this fight, but he went out there and took the fight to Leben, who looked very uncomfortable dealing with Stann's length. I'm curious to see if Stann can continue to put some wins on his record through 2011, I'm optimistic.
- For a long winded take on the main event, see my earlier post HERE.
- Overall, I was pleased with the show, the main event really blew me away. Cheers to 2011 friends, it's going to be a good year!