Filed under: UFC
You probably have more of a life than I do, which means you probably haven’t watched as much mixed martial arts on TV as I have in the last couple days. But if you wanted to, you could have.
On Friday night I had two TVs going in one room, one on HDNet and one on Showtime, as I watched both the Titan Fighting Championships and Strikeforce cards. After a few hours of sleep I got up very early Saturday morning and watched the Dream card on HDNet. On Saturday evening I kept an eye on Bellator on MTV2 while watching the UFC fights on Facebook, on Spike and on pay-per-view.
I watched about three dozen live MMA fights in a span of just over 24 hours from Friday night through Saturday night. As an MMA fan, I was in heaven.
The tale everyone is talking about coming out of UFC 135
is Jon Jones
‘ impressive title defense over Rampage Jackson, but what this weekend really solidified to me was just how far this sport has come, and how much excellent MMA there is for the fans to watch. It wasn’t that long ago, before the UFC got on basic cable with The Ultimate Fighter
, that getting a chance to watch live MMA was a special occasion for fans. In 2004 — the last year before The Ultimate Fighter
— the UFC place on only five fight cards, for the entire year, and all of them were on pay-per-view. Other MMA promotions existed, but few fans ever got to see them live. Now there’s so much MMA on TV that even the toughest of hard-core fans miss some fights. It’s impossible to see it all.
And it’s only getting better. With a UFC heavyweight title fight coming to Fox in November, MMA will really be everywhere. This sport has accomplished so much in so small time that those of us who like it don’t often stop to consider how lucky we are to have so many MMA options available to us. Probably because we’re too busy watching fights.
UFC 135 notes
– The UFC 135 main event was a excellent demonstration of how much this sport has changed: Rampage is one of the fantastic fighters of the last decade, but he’s a fundamentally one-dimensional fighter. Jones is on a completely different level, with far more ways to win a fight. The incredible thing about the way this sport continues to evolve is that some day someone will come along whose fighting style makes Jones look ancient-fashioned.
— James Te-Huna had never fought outside Australia before Saturday night, as the UFC mostly had him on the roster as a local guy to throw on the undercard in their trips Down Under. But Te-Huna got his first chance to fight in the Octagon on U.S. soil at UFC 135, and he delivered in a huge way with a terrific first-round knockout of Ricardo Romero. When Romero went for a low takedown attempt, Te-Huna made him pay for it with a huge low punch that knocked him cold. The whole fight lasted just 47 seconds.
— We haven’t seen a lot of top-notch talent come out of The Ultimate Fighter in the last couple years, but Tony Ferguson, who won Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter, might just be a future star. Ferguson knocked out everyone he faced on The Ultimate Fighter, and he showed off the same lethal striking against Aaron Riley on Saturday night. Ferguson is a force to be reckoned with.
UFC 135 quotes
— “I just want to say thanks to Matt Hughes for taking this fight late in his career. He’s a legend and I’m really proud that I had the opportunity to fight a legend like Matt Hughes.”–Josh Koscheck, after beating Matt Hughes in what may have been the final fight of Hughes’ career. Although Koscheck plays up the role of villain in the UFC, Koscheck’s post-fight comments toward Hughes were pure class.
— “I don’t reckon I’ve ever seen a guy this tired in the Octagon before.”–UFC announcer Joe Rogan on Ben Rothwell in the third round of his loss to Mark Hunt. The Denver altitude didn’t help, of course, but Rothwell really looked like he needs to work on his conditioning.
– Greg Jackson, in the corner of Aaron Riley, did exactly the right thing to protect his fighter after the first round, when Tony Ferguson broke Riley’s jaw with an upper cut. Riley went to his corner and said he had a broken jaw, and Jackson immediately told the referee, “It’s over.” That’s what the corner man is supposed to do.
— Two of the three judges gave Junior Assuncao a 10-8 third round in his victory over Eddie Yagin, as they should have, but I want to know what the judge who only scored it a 10-9 was thinking. Assuncao spent the better part of the round on top of Yagin, pounding away, and provided a textbook example of what should earn a fighter a 10-8 round. Some judges are too hesitant to award 10-8 rounds, and the one who only scored the third 10-9 for Assuncao is one of them.
– Tim Boetsch is looking fantastic at middleweight. If you look at the fights Boetsch has lost in his career, they were all against huge, strong light heavyweights who could overpower him: Boetsch’s four career losses are to Vladimir Matyushenko, Matt Hamill, Jason Brilz and Phil Davis. Now that Boetsch is at middleweight, he’s overpowering people and earning his “Barbarian” nickname. Boetsch easily beat Nick Ring and is now 2-0 as a middleweight. “I’m loving middleweight so far,” Boetsch said afterward.
— I didn’t like the antics between Assuncao and Yagin at the weigh-ins, when the two of them acted like they wanted to brawl right then and there. And I really didn’t like how tentative both of them looked once they really got into the Octagon: If you’re going to act like you’re keen for a knock-down, drag-out battle, don’t step into the cage and act like it’s a staring contest. Assuncao won easily, but he did far too much showboating: He raised his hands up, shuffled his feet, danced around and even waved his finger at the crowd while Yagin was attempting a guillotine choke. Assuncao was respectful afterward and said he was just trying to get in his opponent’s head, but the crowd booed Assuncao’s antics, and as far as I’m concerned, the stock of both Assuncao and Yagin is down after that fight.
Fight I want to see next
It looks like we’re finally getting close to seeing Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, the grudge match between the two training partners that’s been talked about for months. Seeing Jones and Evans in the Octagon together after Jones won the UFC 135 main event was a fantastic reminder that for as dominant as Jones has looked, he’s not without legitimate challengers.
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Jason Reinhardt Eddy Rolon JoÃ£o Roque Kristian Rothaermel Ben Rothwell