UFC 154 Results: Questions Answered and Lessons Learned

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIINovember 18, 2012

UFC 154 Results: Questions Answered and Lessons Learned

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    The saga of Georges St-Pierre now has another chapter. His UFC 154 return ended in a resounding victory over Carlos Condit, who only managed to threaten GSP once for the duration of the fight with a pin-point accurate head kick that nearly finished the contest. 

    The co-main event, too, was one-sided. Johny Hendricks needed only 46 seconds to leave Martin Kampmann unconscious on the canvas, the victim of a stunning KO. 

    However, there were other significant happenings throughout the rather pedestrian fight card. 

    What questions were answered and what lessons were learned from them? Read and find out!

Ivan Menjivar Can Be a Contender at Bantamweight

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    Ivan Menjivar made short work of Azamat Gashimov—and even shorter work of his arm. 

    The Salvadoran native locked the Russian in an arm-bar that even Stretch Armstrong couldn't have survived, earning a highlight-reel finish in one of the night's Facebook preliminaries.

    But don't get too excited about Menjivar. Yes, he's 3-1 in his last four but he needs another win or two over better bantamweight fighters in order to prove that he's a bona fide contender for Dominick Cruz's title; beating the lower- to mid-level fighters in a division just doesn't cut it.

John Maguire Was Overrated

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    At 18-3, John Maguire was the next big thing out of the UK—a Brit who could grapple and pull off submissions. 

    Then he lost to John Hathaway in an eventless, routine, barely memorable fight. 

    At UFC 154, he looked the same he looked against Hathaway: listless, unable to find a spark. Matt Riddle won a convincing decision, proving that Maguire isn't what everybody thought he was. He isn't the fighter to bring British MMA out of the dark ages, not even close.

    The practitioner of "Gypsy Jiu-Jitsu" needs to work on his overall MMA game (especially the takedowns) if he's to be the prospect that everyone thought he was. 

John Makdessi Is Talented Yet Inconsistent

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    John Makdessi wowed the MMA world when he bestowed the UFC's highlight reels with an incredible spinning-backfist KO of Kyle Watson. 

    That was to be the last truly impressive thing Makdessi did in the UFC for months. He was unable to capitalize on that performance, losing to Dennis Hallman in an embarrassingly one-sided decision that exposed Makdessi's grappling weaknesses and then losing to Anthony Njokuani by decision in a fight where Makdessi couldn't even make weight.

    Given these two performances, Makdessi was expected to fall flat against Sam Stout.

    He didn't.

    Makdessi beat Stout to the punch for the better part of 15 minutes, earning a unanimous-decision victory and proving that he is a talented fighter, albeit an inconsistent one. 

Chad Griggs Doesn't Belong Anywhere Near the Major Leagues

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    Did you see that fight?

    If you didn't, here's the recap: Chad Griggs ran at Cyrille Diabate—a feared, technical, powerful striker—with his chin up in the air and his hands down. For his transgressions against cardinal rules of striking, Griggs was met with a titanic left hand that floored him. 

    It got worse from there. 

    Griggs got out-grappled by a fighter whose grappling has never been known to be impressive. Diabate submitted Griggs with a rear naked choke. It was the first submission win of Diabate's UFC career.

    Griggs is a wonderful story (a paramedic and firefighter who overcame the odds and defeated the heavily-favored Bobby Lashley at a Strikeforce event) but let's face facts: He's just not a high-level fighter and doesn't belong in the Octagon.

Shots to the Back of the Head Need to Cause a Stop to the Action

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    When a fighter commits a foul, the referee needs to stop the action and warn the fighter or at least just warn them. If the fouls continue, the fight should be paused and a second warning should be administered and perhaps points taken away as well. 

    None of those happened when Alessio Sakara landed repeated blows to the back of Patrick Cote's head. 

    Instead, Dan Miragliotta ended the fight like a normal TKO and then decided that it was, in fact, a disqualification. 

    Cote didn't need to take all those shots to the back of the head. Referees are there to protect fighters, not just their records.

Mark Hominick Is Just Average, If That

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    Save for a brief, nearly fight-ending flurry in the opening minutes, Mark Hominick looked like only an average fighter. 

    Fans and pundits hearken back to his herculean performance against Jose Aldo as proof of Hominick's elite status, but it is increasingly obvious that the fight was a one-shot deal. It was Aldo's worst day and Hominick's best.

    Hominick has lost three in a row since the Aldo fight and is 20-12 overall. Sadly, part of Hominick's skid may well be due to the death of his trainer, Shawn Tompkins.

Does the UFC Need Rule Changes?

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    UFC 154 was the most lackluster card in recent memory. 

    The prelims and the majority of the PPV portion of the fight card were "meh" at best. Nobody sat near the edge of their seats during most contests; instead, people were nestled into the backs of their chairs, barely averting the sandman. 

    Whenever a card like this crops up, rule changes are proposed to make the fights more exciting. 

    Yellow cards might help, but fighters becoming more well-rounded and more able to neutralize stall tactics would help, too. 

    There's not one panacea that will remove all "boring" fights forever. Many different changes need to happen.

Johny Hendricks Needs a Title Shot

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    He flattened Martin Kampmann in under a minute.

    Need I say more?

    Who else deserves the title shot over Hendricks?

GSP Is Still the Greatest Welterweight, GSP-Silva Still Isn't Inevitable

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    Georges St-Pierre showed the doubters (which included myself) why he's the best in the world at 170 pounds. 

    GSP took Carlos Condit down repeatedly and controlled him on the ground. St-Pierre was never in any real danger throughout the 25 minutes of their fight, save for a dramatic moment in the third round when Condit landed a savage head kick that floored St-Pierre.

    Alas, Condit was unable to finish the Canadian with follow-up ground-and-pound, and he managed to recover. 

    GSP's immediate future is now uncertain. But what is certain is that he, by defeating Condit, proved that he is indisputably the greatest welterweight on earth.

    In his post-fight speech, GSP was expected to call out Anderson Silva (or Anderson Silva was expected to march into the cage—why else was his reaction to the fight broadcast in a little screen intermittently during the fight if not to promote a super-fight between the two men?)

    However, St-Pierre did no such things. The world will have to wait.