UFC on FX 7 Results: Questions Answered and Lessons Learned
UFC on FX 7 is over and done with. Vitor Belfort shut the mouth of Michael Bisping with a titanic head kick and the C.B. Dollaway defeated Daniel Sarafian in a close split decision.
However, there were other unheralded happenings throughout the night that were also important. They taught the MMA world important lessons and answered lingering questions that stuck in the craws of MMA fans.
What were these questions answered and lessons learned? Read and find out!
Wagner Prado Is Not a Top Prospect
Losing to Phil Davis is forgivable—Davis is one of the most talented fighters in the UFC light heavyweight division.
Losing to Ildemar Alcantara, however, is not. This isn't to disrespect Alcantara, of course. But Prado was supposed to be a top prospect, one of Brazil's finest, yet he couldn't beat a low-mid level fighter who took the fight on short notice.
Top prospects don't lose to fighters like Alcantara, especially when they didn't even have a full camp for the fight.
Send Prado back to the "minor leagues" of MMA to develop his skills. He's not ready for the big time.
The Sport Needs More Consistent Rule Enforcement
Yuri Alcantara didn't strike Pedro Nobre in the back of the head, despite Dan Miragliotta saying the opposite and ruling the fight a no contest.
There is consistent criteria for what constitutes "back of the head" (behind the head, between the ears) but enforcing this criteria seems off, or at least it was at UFC on FX 7.
When the replays were aired, it was clear that Alcantara's punches landed nowhere near the back of Nobre's head.
Edson Barboza Won but Let's Not Go Crazy
Edson Barboza bounced back from his loss to Jamie Varner by defeating the unheralded Lucas Martins.
It was a strong showing by Barboza, but let's not bestow upon him the same level of hype he had beforehand. Barboza defeated an unproven fighter whose only been fighting since September 2011. It was a good finish, but not an opponent to brag about beating.
The Onus Is on the Striker to Get Up, Not the Wrestler to Not Wrestle
Complaints were numerous after Nik Lentz vs. Diego Nunes. The fight was the typical grind that wrestlers like Lentz bring to MMA. He controlled Nunes with his superior grappling skills, stymieing him throughout the fight.
A visibly tired and frustrated Nunes attempted a comeback flurry in the third and final round but it was all for naught; Lentz landed another takedown and the fight was virtually over. Lentz earned the decision victory and millions of fans were let down by the fight.
But they shouldn't blame Lentz.
All Lentz did was win with the abilities that he had. If Nunes didn't want to be wrestled, then he should've learned better takedown defense, better offense off his back, as well as the ability to return to his feet once taken down.
Lay and pray can't exist if strikers like Nunes were more well rounded.
Give Khabib Nurmagomedov a Top-10 Competitor
Khabib Nurmagomedov is now 3-0 in the UFC and 19-0 overall after his swift victory over Thiago Tavares.
In his previous fights, Nurmagomedov has beaten seasoned competitors like Gleison Tibau and Kamal Shalorus. After dispatching Tavares in such effortless fashion, it's time to up the level of his competition.
Give the Russian a top-10 guy and see how he deals with a true competitor.
Does the UFC Need Rule Changes?
UFC on FX 7 wasn't the most exciting card in recent memory. In fact, most of the fights were lackluster.
Rule changes are a controversial topic in MMA, seeing as even the slightest change can have massive consequences on the fight game.
However, as more and more "boring" fights happen and as more people tune out of the sport as a result, it becomes clear that something must be done. Most major sports leagues have undergone rule changes at points in their history to increase excitement or to fix broken aspects.
The UFC should be no different. If the problem gets worse, something needs to be done: rule changes to the ground game, yellow cards, anything—just fix it.
Judging Is Still Lacking in MMA
Godofredo Castro's split decision win against Milton Vieira earned the ire of fans, and C.B. Dollaway's decision victory over Daniel Sarafian also raised some eyebrows.
These two decisions, as well as the previous horrible decisions in months past (which are far too numerous to list), show that judging in MMA is an inexact science at best—and that's not good enough when careers are on the line.
Judging needs better criteria, or the current criteria of "octagon control" and the like need to be better defined and enforced by the judges.
Gabriel Gonzaga and Ben Rothwell Were Not Impressive
Gabriel Gonzaga and Ben Rothwell had a terrible fight. Yes, Gonzaga won via a second-round guillotine, but a finish doesn't make a fight good.
Both fighters gassed extremely quick for experienced professional fighters and didn't look particularly technical. The whole experience was ugly and barely UFC caliber.
Michael Bisping Isn't a Top Middleweight, Belfort May Not Understand Promotion
There was (and always is) unjustified hype around Michael Bisping. Fans, pundits and the UFC like to pretend he's a top-echelon middleweight. Vitor Belfort showed them otherwise.
Bisping has good footwork and technical striking, but he lacks power and has a questionable chin. Those glaring faults cost him a decision loss to Wanderlei Silva (and he was almost KO'd in that fight).
These same faults also cost him his most recent loss to Vitor Belfort and will cause him to lose to any other top-flight competitor.
Bisping will never hold a title in the UFC, don't delude yourself into thinking otherwise.
Belfort did a good job dispatching of Bisping, but his post-fight interview was odd. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva was in the audience, practically waiting for the winner of Bisping-Belfort to call him out.
However, Belfort chose to call out UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones instead, a man who Belfort just lost to in his last fight, and is already booked to fight Chael Sonnen. It was a strange decision, especially since it's more unlikely that Belfort will get a rematch against Jones, seeing as the fight was so recent. Yes, Anderson Silva beat Belfort, but that was some time ago.
What Does UFC-Caliber Mean in 2013?
If UFC-caliber means watching some of the fights and fighters we saw tonight, that could be troubling.
C.B. Dollaway vs. Daniel Sarafian was the co-main event of a card that was televised on FX. Two or three years ago, that fight wouldn't have made it on the main card.
With the UFC running more and more shows each year, it's apparent that they're adopting a quantity over quality approach with their shows. While that approach aids their global growth, it comes back to hurt them sometimes, like it did with UFC on FX 7.
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