1. Time to Fix Things... And Fast
Controversial decisions aren't good for business, and the UFC has had back-to-back main events end with a lot of people questioning the results, and it obvious that the current issues with judging need to be dealt with, quickly.
This one comes down to the weight of different criteria: Randy Couture's "Octagon Control" vs. the "Damage Done" by Brandon Vera, with a sprinkling of takedowns for seasoning.
While Couture certainly forced Vera up against the cage for a large portion of the fight, you can't stop a guy by holding him against the cage. However, you can stop him with powerful kicks to the body that send him to the ground wincing.
Additionally, Couture's takedown is nullified by the fact that he kept Vera there for nine seconds, unlike the time Vera took Couture to the floor and mounted him.
While it was brief, it's still a dominant position and I was under the impression that those things scored points?
2. That Being Said, Part I
Say hello to another shining example of why you don't let fights go to the judges.
Finishing a fight is far easier said than done; it's not like you can just walk in there and punch Randy Couture in the face and call it a night.
That being said, the judges have screwed things up before and seem to be doing it more frequently, so why take the chance?
While you can't throw caution to the wind and go full-out on offense, pouncing when your opponent is hurt and trying to stay in advantageous positions is far better than having your heart broken when the three men at ringside didn't see it the same way you did.
3. That Being Said, Part II
Can we finally stop thinking that Brandon Vera is going to put it all together and live up to the ridiculous boasts he made early in his career? He's just not that good.
While I still think he won the fight, when it's clear you're getting the best of it when you're in space, how in the name of all things right in the world do you continually end up in the clinch?
Use your reach, get space, be the aggressor...all things that could have wrapped up a win for Brandon Vera.
But instead, he did only enough to make it tight and then sat on the steps of the cage dejected after the fight. Yes, the judges screwed up in my opinion, but Vera certainly could have done a whole lot more to keep that from happening.
Every time he's given an opportunity to move forward, he stalls. I didn't believe the Brandon Vera hype to begin with, and I certainly won't be buying into it in the future.
4. "Quick" Swick Got Out Quicked
The guy with the fast hands got beaten to the punch time and again last night, as Dan Hardy countered and combo'ed his way to a Unanimous Decision victory.
This fight showed how tight the middle tier of the UFC Welterweight division really is, as Swick was the favorite and higher-ranked fighter heading into the bout, while Hardy was seen by some as an overhyped British prospect who needed more seasoning.
Swick is still a considerable talent at 170 and will maintain his position in the four-through-ten range of the rankings, while Hardy showed he belongs in that area, too. While this was a big win for Hardy, it did nothing to diminish the talents of Mike Swick.
The better man simply won.
5. To The Victor Go The Spoils?
Dana White had said the winner of the Dan Hardy-Mike Swick fight would face Georges St-Pierre, and there was GSP last night, dressed as sharp as ever, congratulating Hardy on his effort and beginning the promotion of their eventual clash.
As stated at Heavy.com , "Congratulations, Dan...Enjoy the Beating."
This is what happens when the welterweight champ cleans out the division. While Dan Hardy has been impressive and earned his way into a match-up atop the marquee with GSP, he's at best No. 4 in the division, and even that is stretching it.
Unfortunately, St-Pierre has dismantled everyone else in the last two years, so Hardy becomes next in line.
While there is always an outside chance of pulling a Matt Serra, the greater likelihood is that GSP drags Hardy to the floor for five rounds and maintains his position of dominance in the division.
Some reward, huh?
6. The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!
Dan Hardy looked good. After he got tagged, Michael Bisping looked good. Ross Pearson looked really good. James Wilks looked solid in defeat and the Brits on the preliminary card all acquitted themselves pretty well too...
Perhaps this whole new wave of British MMA stars isn't just pomp and circumstance after all?
In addition to having a strong national showing, a battle for training camp supremacy has clearly started, as Team Rough House had an exceptional night with Hardy, Pearson, and Andre Winner all earning wins.
While Wolfslair might still be the most well-known, another couple of nights like this and Rough House will certainly have something to say about that.
7. "The Real Deal" Indeed
Now, one fight certainly doesn't make a career, but Ross Pearson couldn't have had a better performance than his official UFC debut last night.
Before continuing, allow me: Holy crap, was I wrong on that one!
Pearson destroyed Aaron Riley in every aspect, utilizing a great clinch, precise boxing, and ending things with a devastating jumping knee to the face that split Riley wider than the doctors could consider reasonable, forcing the fight to be called.
While his ground game is still a question mark and something that will certainly be tested in the wrestling-heavy lightweight division, this kid lived up to his name, at least for last night.
8. The Hard Sell Never Really Works That Well
The UFC worked hard leading up to this fight to make Brandon Vera seem like a vaunted challenge for Randy Couture and that a win over Vera would send Couture into the upper echelon of the 205-pound division.
Ah... not so much.
Vera was Vera, Couture continued to look like Couture (capable but with limitations) and no one came away from that fight thinking, "You know? Randy Couture would be a handful for Lyoto Machida."
Even better, we're getting the hard sell on next weekend's main event too, as if Tito Ortiz's return and rematch with Forrest Griffin is something epic.
If you hear a thunder of footsteps, chances are it's horses, not zebras... no matter how much the guide tells you it's zebras!
9. Brock Lesnar is Seriously Ill
This isn't about whether you like or dislike Brock Lesnar, so anyone interested in saying he has "chickenshititis" or is ducking Shane Carwin...don't.
The guy is seriously ill and was rushed to the hospital recently. This isn't about fighting, this is about another human being dealing with whatever mysterious illness he has and getting better, not to fight again, but to live a normal life.
Minotauro Noguiera has additionally contracted staph again and will not be meeting Cain Velasquez at UFC 108. It's like he's gone back in time to play for the Cleveland Browns of two years ago...
Just kidding...get well soon, Big Nog!
10. Everyone Takes Aim When You're On Top
Whether it's as a fighter, in the business world or as a writer, if you're at the top of the heap, there are going to be a ton of people looking to cut you down.
Nothing you say or do will change the way your detractors feel about you, and no matter what you say, they'll find a way to spin it in their favor, call you out again and then tell you you're complaining for defending your position.
What's more is that they have suggestions galore about what you can do to improve, how you should act, what you should and shouldn't do, since pointing out your shortcomings or errors is easier than working to improve themselves.
People are going to believe whatever they want about you and more of them will try to cut you down than help build you up. All you can do is keep pushing forward for yourself and let the cards fall where they may.
Image courtesy of UFC.com