Wednesday, January 4, 2012

UFC 141 thoughts

The guard changed in the UFC's heavyweight division this past Saturday when Strikeforce/DREAM/K-1/MMA Lineal heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem retired the biggest draw in the company, Brock Lesnar.

In one powerful roundhouse to the core, "The Reem" brought down a man who before his bouts with diverticulitis had looked outrageously powerful.

I would really like to make this mainly about the winner, but it would be irresponsible of me to not share my thoughts on Lesnar's career. Honestly, Lesnar never appeared to be the supremely dominant force everyone made him out to be.

After losing to Frank Mir, he dominated Heath Herring (who wasn't by that point), was losing a fight with 46-year-old Randy Couture before getting in a lucky shot, avenged his loss to Mir (who was operating under some bizarre rope-a-dope strategy) and had to come back from near unconsciousness to get past Shane Carwin.

His losses to Velasquez and Overeem showed the limits of his stand-up game, and with his illness sidelining him for months at a time, there was little chance he would have been able to ever complete his game while remaining a prime-aged fighter.

Lesnar can be seen in that sense as a tragic figure, but he still was UFC World Champion, he still married Sable from WWE and has a lengthy athletic resume to go with the long line of animals he's most likely wrestled and killed with his bare hands. I wish him good health in the future and hope to see him wrestle one more time before he takes back to the woods.

Now let's get to Overeem. This man should be promoted to no end now that the UFC has him on their A-brand.

He is one of the few truly complete heavyweights, and regardless of what you think of Lesnar's skill-sets, he was a legitimate challenge and showed that The Reem should be seen as a force in MMA's premier company.

It appears that Overeem's title match will be set for the summer, and no offense to Junior Dos Santos, but looking at the two men, I feel the skill-sets are about even, and the bigger man comes through in these kinds of fights. I look for The Reem to become UFC World Heavyweight Champion and finally ensure that the 'baddest man on the planet' always holds that belt.

Looking at the other two notable fights, although I wanted to see the Scrap Pack suffer, Nate Diaz won, in my view, a narrow fight against Donald Cerrone. What most people will talk about, though, is how the Cowboy flipped off Diaz during the opening instructions, prompting Diaz to do it before the third round.

It was a truly emotional bout, though I can't say I'd take Diaz for a title shot until he fights Anthony Pettis or someone of his caliber in a true No. 1 contender's bout. I'm a little sad for Cerrone, whose would-be seven-fight win streak may have earned him a title shot, but the man still gets with Brittney Palmer constantly, so forgive me if I don't openly lament that the golden goose didn't lay another egg for him.

Lastly, how happy am I that Jon Fitch lost?

Yes, the world around me actually had that blue background. Mr. Lay-and-Pray got knocked out in 12 seconds my Johny Hendricks.

It was so fast that Hendricks didn't even have time to add a second 'N' to his name.

Hendricks may have earned himself a fake title shot after Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit square off for the Fake UFC Championship.

The last thing I'll touch on is Gina Carano, who was interviewed during the pay-per-view. During that interview, they asked all of zero questions about whether she will be competing in MMA.

I get that it was to promote her movie (which looks way too over-the-top to be good), but she is still a contracted member of Strikeforce and the most notable women's fighter in MMA history.

It's a real shame that focus is not placed on the exceptional in women's MMA. I mean Cyborg Santos is the most dominant female fighter in the world, just knocked out the No. 2 in her weight class in less than 20 seconds, and the only focus is whether she can cut 10 lbs. to fight at 135 (which, as I'll discuss in another blog, she needs to if she can).

As a whole, there were three great finishes and two pretty exciting fights. The UFC lost their big money-maker but may gain another if Overeem pans out.

Overall, it was a great way for UFC to end the year, and a great way to start at least 10 weeks with a Zuffa-promoted card.

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