Monday, July 9, 2012

Thoughts on UFC 148

Somewhere in a prison cell at Clark County's penitentiary, Floyd Mayweather's personal hell has just gotten worse: UFC may have beaten his pay-per-view buyrate this year.

With records falling like dominoes at the sight of UFC 148, there is talk that UFC may have broken their own buyrate record of 1.6 million (UFC 100). If this is the case, UFC has made yet another stride in its quest for mainstream focus, beating both major sellers in boxing and shattering American gate records for the sport.

But then again, what would you expect from quite possibly the best-promoted fight since... maybe Tyson-Lewis - everyone remembers the "Eat your children" line, right? Ok.

Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen did the sport a tremendous favor. Two actually. They hyped a fight with most likely legitimate heat and then followed it up by putting on 7 minutes of unadulterated awesome.

Silva's defense of his belt against Sonnen is one of the few rematches that will be as memorable as its originator. The immediate takedown and five-minute clinic from the top that Sonnen gave forced the eyes of everyone in the VERY overflowed Buffalo Wild Wings onto the screen. My dropping a wing was the only distraction that allowed me to notice this.

This was furthered even more by the stand-up exchange that dominated the two minutes of the second round. All of this culminated with the out-of-character spinning elbow from Sonnen, which led to the vicious Silva knee, which led to the knockout.

I'd hate to compare this to a fight that lives in boxing lore, but given the length of the fight and the noteworthiness of the fighters, this did have a Hagler-Hearns feel to it.

What is probably the biggest thing to take from this card was that Silva truly is the greatest of all time in this sport outside the heavyweight division. His era of dominance only really has one comparable, and that is Fedor Emelianenko's win streak in PRIDE.

Both have similarities. They each were double-digit win streaks. They each had a major rival that gave them multiple strong fights (Big Nog for Fedor and Sonnen for Silva). And they each became synonymous with the spirit of traditional martial arts.

When thinking about the respect and purity of martial arts, the two fighters in MMA who would come to mind would be Silva and Fedor.

I never really did a column about Fedor after he beat Pedro Rizzo in June and subsequently retired, so I'll give my brief spiel now. Fedor is the only man who can claim to be the greatest besides Silva in my view. His run in the heavyweight division is unmatched and he was the best in an era of guys much larger than he was.

The main argument against him will be that he never set foot in the UFC. And that's a shame because he would have made for some fun matches.

Still, if Sting (the wrestler, not the singer) taught us anything, it's that being the best to never be in the big company isn't necessarily a signal that you're inferior.

I still consider Fedor-Cro Cop to be quite possibly the greatest PRIDE fight of all time, and it may even be the best heavyweight fight ever. The Last Emperor will forever be synonymous with greatness in my view.

Anyway, other than that, this card was exciting most of the way through. The finale to the Griffin-Ortiz feud was strong and although Forrest Griffin was a bit of a wack-job to finish that, I was entertained.

On the night, I went 4-2 and the final two fights went almost exactly how I expected them to.

I'll be making my picks for Wednesday's event later in the week, so keep an eye out for that.

See you all soon!

No comments: