Fight Night 38: Random Notes & Immature Observances

Posted: March 24, 2014 in Commentary/Opinion

stocktonWell, UFC Fight Night was a pleasant surprise wasn’t it. While  it certainly boasted some fireworks and action packed sequences–something we’ve become unaccustomed to recently–we also saw some strange occurrences too. Here’s my armchair review of some of the cool (and not so cool) stuff that went on last night.

Nice Change of Pace. After 9 decisions at UFC 171; 6 at UFC 170; 10 each at Fight Night 36 and UFC 169; and so on…Fight Night 38 was a welcome sight. With seven finishes, the Brazilian crowd—and the hundreds of viewers at home—had quite a bit to get excited about. Seven of the 11 fights ended in finishes, and for the most part, they were all exciting. And as Fabio Maldonado and Gian Villante can attest, just because it goes the distance, doesn’t make it boring.

Shogun (hearts) 80’s NBA. I’m so used to Shogun wearing the tighty whiteys; I was taken aback by his choice of cage attire this time. Oh, make no mistake; they were still, short as hell. But he went with something that looked like John Stockton’s practice shorts.

Cage Grabbing 101. Mairbek Taisumov. Dude, please! The Russian’s fingers must be raw as hell today from the cage. It’s pretty bad when the entire arena is cheering for a fighter to do it again so he gets disqualified. It was so shocking, it became humorous.

Star-studded lineup (Bzzz!). Aside from the main event, this was a very lackluster lineup on paper. In fact, I think only Jorgensen and Formiga were ranked in the top 15 in any division on this whole under-card—and they were on the prelims. CB Dollaway and Cezar Ferreira were the co-main event. Huh? Would anyone have been outraged if that was the opening bout of the night on Fight Pass; and Godofredo Castro vs. Noad Lahat was the co-main event? I doubt anyone would have lost any sleep over it at all.

Out or not? There was controversy in the Steven Siler/Rony Jason bout. Most people watched the replay—which clearly showed Siler fighting from his back—and started tweeting their brains out. I have to say, they have a point. But I’ll also say this…watching live, I totally agreed with the ref at that time. After a big—BIG—shot to the head by Jason, Siler grabbed the left side of his head with his right hand. It was an unnatural movement for sure. I’ve never seen it before. As soon as I saw it, I thought, “oh shit, something’s wrong.” It was only after I watched the replay that I thought he was still fighting. Bad break for Siler? Probably. Unwarranted criticism for the ref? Hmm, maybe.

FLABio Maldonado. Why does this guy still fight at 205? He’s outsized every time he steps into the cage. He has the physique of a 2014 Ric Flair and looks like he could fight at 170, let alone 185. Having said that, is there a better boxer in the UFC? After a frustrating 1st round, Fabio somehow suckered Villante into playing his game. As soon as I saw Gianny smiling at Maldonado in the 2nd round after a flurry, I knew Villante’s luck was about to run out. Sure enough, the smaller, doughier Maldonado took another fighter to school—kinda like a 2014 Ric Flair. Whooooo!

KO(s) of the Night? So the nominees for Knockout of the Night were probably—in order—Godofreyo Pepey, Dan Henderson, Mauricio Rua and Mauricio Rua. The headliner had more knockouts than I’ve ever seen in a fight since Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo.

Newest Contender? Let’s see here. Dan Henderson won his first fight since November 2011. That makes the 43 year old 1-3 since the last time he fought Shogun. If Jon Jones wasn’t already lined up with a few new contenders, I bet we’d be seeing Hendo in a #1 contenders fight next. But as luck would have it, the UFC gave Teixeira a shot without ever beating a top 10 fighter; Gustafsson earned a rematch by beating another guy outside most everyone’s rankings; and Cormier will get one despite (so far) only defeating one (unranked) fighter ever at that weight class. Such is the LHW division right now.

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