This weekend saw three events nicely staggered that meant you never needed to spend more than a few waking hours without watching MMA of various standards. Bellator kicked things off on Friday night with a brilliant event and some brutal finishes. The UFC crowned the weekend with a wonderful night of upsets and barn burning fights. Finally, Super Fight League 3 gave us all something to cast an eye over on a Sunday morning/afternoon/evening, depending on where you are. Here’s a few notes on the weekend.
UFC on Fox 3
- People have not really been sure what the UFC is going to do with Fox. They might try to use big names to draw as big an audience as possible to their brand. Alternatively they could showcase talent with less mainstream pull in an effort to build up names and hype. For UFC on Fox 3, it seems like the UFC was trying the latter. Nate Diaz looked incredible and 2 million people saw it, that is bound to lead to a bump in any future pay per view event that he is part of.
- Out of 12 preliminary and main event fights at UFC on Fox 3, I got three picks right. Even then, I predicted that Dodson’s fight against Elliot would be pretty straight forward, but Elliot really took it to him. I wasn’t the only one to get it wrong for this event and it just goes to show that MMA is a pretty tricky thing to predict.
- As I said, Diaz looked great. He says he wants a bit of time off which means he might be willing to wait for the winner of the Henderson vs Edgar rematch but it would be great if he decides to keep busy and fight Anthony Pettis.
- Johny Hendricks beat a formidable opponent in Koscheck but I think he needs one more fight before he is title ready. His stand up looked pretty basic in this one and I think he needs to be tested against someone who knits together stand up and take downs well. That is just as well since he would not be able to fight the winner of Condit vs GSP until early next year. Let’s have him fight the winner of Ellenberger vs Kampmann in the meantime.
- I felt bad for Pat Barry. He was struggling to deal with Johnson’s power, took it to the ground and tried to finish him. The UFC commentary team seemed to think he needed to get the kimura closer to the body but it seemed like Johnson’s arms were a bit too thick to push it much more. The kimura is hard to get on a really strong guy like Lavar Johnson. I doubt that Barry will be cut after this loss, everybody loves him.
- Alan Belcher was yet another surprise package. The one thing he had to do in this fight was avoid the ground at all costs. In the end he showed up Palhares’ inability to work a decent MMA guard. In MMA you cannot leave your guard open when someone is teeing off on you, you need to tie your opponent up.
- Bellator delivered again. It continues to mystify me that fans are overlooking free, top-notch MMA, weekly, when they fail to tune in to Bellator. This week’s show had knock outs and come backs, not to mention the inspiring story of Bryan Baker’s come back from cancer to compete at a high level in MMA.
- As I wrote last week, there are some negative aspects to Bellator’s tournament format. I look forward to the time when Bellator is putting on enough tournaments to keep their champions busy with genuinely competitive fights. Micheal Chandler is an awesome fighter, so let’s see him fighting the best Bellator can offer.
- Ben Saunders showed that fighters who are willing to sit with opponents in their guard are going to drop decisions in MMA. Unfortunately, judges tend not to recognise offense from the bottom and the guy on top is almost always going to be seen favourably.
Super Fight League
- Super Fight League is quite fun, isn’t it? I quite enjoy the computer game-esque theme tune, strange camera work and mixed bag of a commentary team. It is certainly different from anything the major US promotions have to offer.
- It was a surprise to hear a commentary team talk about James Thompson’s great cardio. He did look pretty good against Lashley who is a lot more relevant than Bob Sapp and a lot less likely to tap out to a double leg take down.
- Lena Ovchynnikova had a lot of hype behind her before she started fighting with the SFL. Now she has lost her last two fights and it will be an uphill struggle to get herself back to relevancy.
Should Diaz take a break and wait for a title shot or take a fight with Anthony Pettis to keep busy? What is the future looking like for Johnson, Hendricks and Belcher? And what about the flyweights? Hit the comments section below with your thoughts.