UFC 111 Post-Fight Thoughts
Well UFC 111 has come and gone, and all that’s left are the repercussions. I thought it was a solid night of fights, as always and here are some of the things that have stayed in my thoughts a couple days afterwards.
Frank Mir was too overconfident – Needless to say, when your entrance music is “I’m Amazing” by Kanye West, you’d better put on a hell of a show. Frank Mir did not, it wasn’t even close. Apparently, he thought the muscle he’d put on recently would completely nullify the advantage that a fighter like Lesnar or Carwin had over him. From the start of the fight to the finish, Shane Carwin was in total control. He had Frank pressed against the cage and easily circled Mir around when he tried to return the favor. Once Mir gave Carwin an inch against the cage and those sledgehammers that Carwin calls fists connected, the outcome ended up being much more like a line from Shane’s entrance music “let the bodies hit the floor”.
George St. Pierre is dominant. Screw the naysayers – When a fighter defending his title goes five rounds and convincingly wins with one judge even scoring the fight 50-43 in his favor, why would anyone be angry? Apparently a lot of fans were put off by GSP’s inability to finish his title fight against Dan Hardy, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t try. He had a deep arm bar at the end of the first round that Hardy gutted through and eventually rolled out of and he had a nasty kimura in the fourth that once again Hardy refused to submit to and eventually escaped. If anything, I think St. Pierre should have tried to choke Hardy unconscious if he wasn’t going to tap but St. Pierre hasn’t won by choke since 2005. Nearly all of his UFC submissions have been joint locks like armbars or kimuras and that’s what he’s most comfortable with. Every time St. Pierre got into full mount, Hardy would give up his back and then slip out the backdoor when GSP got his hooks in so that wasn’t a great option either. I thought it was a safe win, but don’t forget that this was St. Pierre’s first fight since getting injured at UFC 100 last July. He had no incentive to overexert himself against an inferior opponent.
Stop praising Dan Hardy’s performance – One thing I cannot understand at all is how people are talking about how tough Dan Hardy is and praising his potential. Did everyone else watch the same fight I saw? Dan Hardy got freaking steamrolled for five straight rounds. Hardy literally had no answer for anything that St. Pierre did. The highlight of his night was showing his “heart” by fighting through two very nasty submission attempts by George St. Pierre. Did he do anything else at all? I think he spent about 95% of this fight on his back, maybe more. When he got up, Mike Goldberg said “but for how long?” and immediately GSP shot in and took him down again. I checked the fightmetric score and it said that Hardy landed one power punch in the entire 5 round fight. Yup, not a typo. One power punch. It was evident that he didn’t belong in the same cage with St. Pierre, but at least he can defend that by saying that not many other people do either.
Jon Fitch will not get another title fight until he finishes someone – Sorry Jon, I know Joe Rogan thinks you are underappreciated, and he may have a point, but that doesn’t mean you are an exciting fighter to watch. The difference between you and George St. Pierre is that St. Pierre actually tries to finish fights. Rogan hit the nail on the head when he said your fights are “ugly, but beautiful in their ugliness.” The Thiago Alves rematch would have been an awesome fight, but when he had to pull out and Ben Saunders stepped in, you needed to make a statement. After the first round it was clear Saunders was nowhere near in your league in the grappling department and you should have at least tries to finish the fight. Crowds boo boring fighters, and they were once again booing at UFC 111 as you stayed in Saunders’ full guard and landed occasional punches for three straight rounds. Take a risk, try to get mount and pound it out or use your purple belt jiu jitsu skills for a submission attempt. Do something to get people interested in your style like your training partner Josh Koscheck has done and maybe then you’ll get another title shot.
The New Jersey home field advantage – Two New Jersey natives fought on the main card. Kurt Pellegrino took on Fabricio Camoes and despite having Camoes piggyback on top of him going for a choke, he was able to slam him off and out wrestle the Brazilian to get a rear naked choke finish of his own in the second round. Jim Miller, the other hometown hero fought a much more hotly contested match with Mark Bocek. Miller was in several precarious positions in the first and 3rd rounds but managed to feed off the crowd and reverse the positions to narrowly win the decision. I bet Frankie Edgar wishes he’d been able to challenge for BJ Penn’s lightweight title in Jersey as well, but he’ll have to settle for Abu Dhabi.
Nate Diaz 2.0 – I wasn’t sure how well Nate Diaz would do moving up to 170 lbs especially considering he didn’t have a great record in the UFC at 155, but he looked stronger and his body was much more filled out at 170. I’m sure that over time he’ll be able to put on even more muscle and become that much more dangerous. He showed some decent punching power in disposing of Rory Markham, but we’ll have to see how he does against more legitimate welterweight competition. I shouldn’t have second-guessed the move to 170, his brother Nick is the same size as he is and is the Strikeforce welterweight champion.