I may not be a jiu-jitsu black belt. I may not have traveled to Thailand to train in Muay Thai. But I watch a lot of fights, and I am easily bored. That qualifies me—overqualifies me, in fact—to bring you this, the five most boring UFC fights so far in the year 2013.
Maybe it's the diluted cards, maybe it's injuries, maybe it's plain bad luck. Hell, maybe it's just me. But it really does seem like there have been a lot of clunkers this year. Sadly, however, there can only be five big winners, and here they are. Please lie down and assume your best glazed-over expression as we salute these sorcerers of soporificness.
April 6, UFC on Fuel TV 9
The first bout of this card didn't exactly start things off with a bang. It was more of a 15-minute whimper.
Papy Abedi took Besam Yousef to the ground and lay there. Yousef was unable to do anything. Abedi was unwilling to do anything. And there you have it.
Cheers to Abedi for bravely fighting through all of those perfunctory inside leg kicks, referee activity warnings and his own comical exhaustion to earn his first victory in the UFC Octagon. Jeers to Yousef for not hitting anything close to Abedi with his wild punches nor being consistently able to get back to his feet.
June 15, UFC 161
Despite a knockdown and near TKO in the first round, this one still easily makes the list. That's how boring this fight was.
Even on one of the most boring fight cards of the year, Ryan Jimmo's effort against Igor Pokrajac stood out. Gone was the Jimmo who earned a seven-second KO in his UFC debut. Returned was the Jimmo who drove fans crazy with his eyeball-bleedingly boring wall-and-stall "attack" back in Canada.
Here's the kicker, though: Jimmo apologized to the fans afterward for being "conservative." So that means he made a conscious decision to dull it up out there. That's not exactly a strategy for long-term popularity. Does a win really make a sound if no one's awake to see it?
March 16, UFC 158
A slow slog of a stand-up battle didn't result in much offense. According to FightMetric, Colin Fletcher landed only 37 strikes, despite throwing 127 and wheeling out to the Octagon in a terrifying clown mask. If you're going to file your teeth down to points and play up the whole psycho clown thing, it's a bit anticlimactic when you just stand there and swing like you're swatting at flies.
Ricci didn't fare much better. He landed both of his takedown attempts (Fletcher went 0-2) but didn't land a whole lot more strikes. Just a dull, dull affair.
February 2, UFC 156
Just edging out Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson at UFC 161 is this little masterpiece from UFC 156.
Both light heavyweights entered the Octagon after injury absences of about a year apiece, and both men were in bad need of the oil can. The contest amounted to a 15-minute feeling-out process. Just to give you the flavor, Nogueira's first round consisted of four strikes landed and no takedown attempts. And he ultimately won the fight!
That victory was thanks to an abject failure of a performance from Evans. He just stood there. He ate punches. He didn't attack so much as lurch.
Nope, this one was horrible, and it single-handedly stalled Evans' career momentum. And although he beat Henderson at 161, that was a snoozer in its own right that didn't exactly get things back in full swing.
June 15, UFC 161
Great image here. Check it out—in this photo, Jake Shields has literally fallen asleep on Tyron Woodley. And then he started drooling, which is why Woodley's all like "WTF, dude?!?!"
Shields knew that if he was to beat the heavy-hitting and thick-muscled Woodley, he'd have to bring his A-game. "A" meaning Ambien. He would have to push him against the fence and then fall asleep on him. Have you ever tried to move a sleeping person? They're heavy! It works the same way in MMA. The prosecution rests.
But it wasn't just a fight strategy for Shields. It was a display of solidarity with the fans at home. Thank you, Jake and Tyron. Insomnia cure, thy name is UFC 161.
Woodley, for his part, certainly lowered to the occasion. He tried a couple of things, like a spinning backfist in the third, but never put anything together. He mainly just got tired and frustrated. That whole "putting the division on notice" thing? Yeah, that was more of a generality. He'll get back to that when they give him, like, a guy who's a little "easier" to beat.
Scott Harris also likes to complain about things on Twitter. Follow him there if you are so inclined.