Guess who’s back. Back again. The Bang’s back. Back again. Guess whose back, guess whose back guess whose back…
After the fast purchase of a digital antenna (yup, 32′ 1080p HDTV with the ole rabbit ears on top), Armando and I settled in for Saturday night’s UFC card on Fox. What did we learn? Well, a few things.
1. Demian Maia’s striking is still too predictable. Halfway through the first round, Chris Weidman had seen almost everything Maia was going to throw at him. Maia hit a couple of good combos in the third round, but by then he was too gassed to throw anything more than arm punches. I thought Weidman was supposed to be one at risk because he took the fight on just 11 days notice, a fact we were reminded of about 20 times during the bout. He’s improving but still doesn’t have the pacing and rhythm to keep a fight standing for the whole time. I know Weidman is an excellent wrestler, but at some point a guy with that high level jujitsu has got to get the fight to the ground.
2. Jon Jones probably shouldn’t be doing the desk reports next time around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Bones. He’s usually composed and confident, but something got to him and he looked nervous during his first segment. He seemed to read his first fight preview off his notes. To contrast, Randy Couture looked smooth and composed and was generally interesting and broke down the fights and the sport for the casual audience. Again, no offense at all to Bones. But next time on Fox, Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar or Frank Mir should probably get the nod for that analyst spot.
3. Never leave it in the hands of the judges. It’s a statement we’ve heard so many times, it’s almost a cliche by now, but Bisping-Sonnen proved why its true. While watching the fight, I thought Bisping had won the first two rounds. There’s no doubt he took the first and no doubt Sonnen won the third, but that second round was too close to call. I thought Bisping had controlled more of the round against the cage and landed the more effective strikes. And a quick look at the FightMetric stats showed I was right on Round 2. However, Round 1 was where I lost it for some reason. Sonnen easily outstruck Bisping in the opening frame in almost every area and took him down once. Bisping did get him once as well, so that part’s moot but still. Regardless, this one was very close and having looked at the numbers about five minutes ago, I dropped all of my objections to the decision.
4. Rashad Evans has become the UFC’s Greg Valentine. +2 points if you understand that wrestling nerd reference. Basically, I mean that Evans needs to take shots for a round or so before he gets going. Davis landed more significant strikes for the first three rounds and then Evans started teeing off. Granted, Evans threw more. In that first round, Davis landed seven significant strikes of the seven strike he landed while Evans got twenty total strikes off. But Evans looked stronger the longer the fight went, even though the five-round decision was his longest fight in the UFC.
5. Phil Davis will be back. Did he get outclassed Saturday? Yes. However, he was able to take down one of the best wrestlers in the light heavyweight division multiple times and outstrike him early. He seemed to gas as he entered the championship rounds (quick aside: are they still the championship rounds when now non-title fights can go into the fourth and fifth? Just a semantics thing with me.) for the first time. But in his first trip to the top of the division he learned and will get better. He will get a title fight in the next year or two.