UFC 149: What We Learned from Brian Ebersole vs. James Head
Brian Ebersole may have started his weight drop too soon. Welterweight James Head overpowered the popular and heretofore rolling Ebersole for an upset split decision victory Saturday night in Calgary at UFC 149.
Throughout the three rounds, Head (9-2) repeatedly stifled Ebersole's (50-15-1-1) takedown attempts, and generally appeared to literally be the stronger fighter. It was Ebersole's first loss in the UFC.
What we'll remember about this fight
James Head, simply and rightly, took what Ebersole gave him. Which was, ultimately, the fight itself.
What we learned about Brian Ebersole
He's ready to head down to lightweight. Never a massive welterweight, Ebersole appeared thin next to the much thicker Head. After the bout, the microphones picked up a semi-private exchange in which broadcaster Joe Rogan asked Ebersole if he would, indeed, drop to 155 pounds. Ebersole nodded, responding that "these guys are big."
Also during the bout, the crowd-pleasing welterweight seemed at times to be more interested in mugging and posing than in mounting any kind of offensive. There's nothing wrong with being an entertainer, but it hurts when it comes at the expense of, you know, fighting a good fight. Ebersole's problems went beyond an impotent cartwheel kick, but that sort of thing certainly didn't help him out.
What we learned about James Head
Despite a clear size and strength advantage, Head couldn't seem to take control of the fight. It was evident early on that Ebersole did not have a great deal of pop behind any phase of his offense, but there was no attempt to capitalize. Head did enough to win the fight but not enough to finish. He could have.
What's next for Ebersole
He was on his way down to lightweight before taking this fight on short notice. Though I'd love to see him stay at welterweight (and follow through on that once-rumored faceoff with Rory MacDonald), the desire to extend his career by fighting in a smaller division is an understandable thing.
I don't think he needs to start at the bottom though; he's earned better. How about Clay Guida? Those two veterans would have a whopping 108 fights between them.
What's next for Head
After a good, but not emphatic, win, Head doesn't seem primed for a bolt up the ladder just yet. Maybe a fight with Sean Pierson would help determine which one is ready to make that type of move.
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