UFC 149: Grading the Canadians
Say what you will about the lack of fire or quality of UFC 149 in Calgary, but you can't be too critical with the hand that the UFC was dealt due to fighter injury.
On the positive side, for a Canadian MMA fan it was still a fantastic event and a great card to give a chance for some of our country's best fighters to showcase their talents.
Canadian fighters went 3-4 on the night and showed some good, some bad and some surprises when the last sud of beer was all swallowed and done. One man certainly stole the show with a spot in the record books, I just wish he would stop that awful post-win robot.
Here are my grades for the Canadian fighters.
Mitch Clarke: C
It was a better performance than his UFC debut in December in Toronto, but Mitch Clarke came up just short on a split decision loss.
He was game and he fought tough; but he was a little too predictable in his wrestling offense, and that led to his opponent landing on top on most exchanges on the ground and on the feet. He should be commended for an improved performance and a very close fight, but he really needs to round out his game and work on his transition from feet to ground to have a chance of beating anyone in the UFC.
Antonio Carvalho: A
If not for Mr. Roboto Ryan Jimmo, Carvalho would have had the knockout of the night bonus in his pocket with his crisp and accurate combination knockout of opponent Daniel Pineda.
It wasn't just the knockout punch but his game from the opening bell that gains him an A on this report. Carvalho is known mostly for his relentless ground game and ground and pound, but his stand up looked improved and sharp on Saturday night.
Could it be that Canada has a new number one featherweight after years of Mark Hominick ruling the roost?
Mitch Gagnon: A
It is possible to get an A grade in a submission loss, and here is why. Gagnon made his UFC debut on Saturday night and fought a hard and great fight against cagey, tough veteran Bryan Caraway.
The Sudbury, Ontario native was getting the better of the fight before he emptied his tank at the end of the second round. His game looked great both on the feet and on the ground, and he is one strong dude.
Yes, the youngster gassed out to allow the smart Caraway to secure his neck for the win in the third round, but did I mention he gained 65k for "Fight of The Night" in his very first UFC dust up?
The sky is the limit for this tough kid.
Ryan Jimmo: A+
After years of ruling the roost in Canada's longest standing MMA promotion Maximum Fighting Championships, Ryan Jimmo made his long awaited UFC debut.
He tied the UFC record for fastest knockout in history with a 7-second right knockout with a right hand bomb to Anthony Perosh. Nothing more needs to be said.
Note: I did consider giving him just an A or even a B due to his ridiculous post-win dance. But I've seen it for years now, so I can't say I'm surprised.
Roland Delorme: D
The punch looked like it merely grazed his head, but it was enough for Francisco Rivera to knock out Roland Delorme at 4:19 of the first round.
Delorme was coming off an incredible, comeback style win against countryman Nick Denis, but this fight can be seen as a regression. Delorme was a bit looping and sloppy in his striking, and it cost him against the fiery Rivera.
At first glance, it was a bit of a phantom knockout as it was hard to see which punch floored the Winnipeg native. After further review, the shot can clearly be seen to hit him in the right spot and the night was over for Roland. It is his first loss in the UFC and he will get a chance to rebound.
Nick Ring: B
I know, I know: One guy gets an A in a loss and Ring gets a B in a win...but I didn't see Ring as the winner of that fight. He is a veteran who has more expected of him than a debut fighter, and that also comes into play with his grade.
It was a close fight, and Ring clearly had a game plan to win. He circled to his left like no other fighter I have seen in a while avoiding McGee's pressure. He also timed his straight left perfectly time and time again, and that is what kept him in this fight to get the win.
I gave the nod to McGee based on pushing forward with pressure, fighting on with a clearly broken nose and coming on to land more in the third while Ring avoided.
Regardless, it was a solid performance by the home town fighter.
Chris Clements: B
While many did not see this as a fight worthy of the main card; it ended up being the best one of the five. as Clements fought Riddle tough for two and a half rounds.
Clements was hurt by a liver kick early, and it clearly slowed him the rest of the fight though he did press on to score some good offence at the end of the second round. Riddle was the sharper fighter all night though, and the veteran Clements ended up submitted after a wild spinning strike near the cage.
Clements has a very unpredictable and entertaining fight style and personality, and in my opinion amidst much scrutiny, he and Riddle delivered the Fight of the Night of UFC 149.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report MMA, and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca.