Considering all of the recent lackluster cards, it was important for the UFC to end 2009 on a high note, and UFC 107 certainly fit the bill.
From a brutal title fight to amazing submissions, UFC 107 had a little something for everyone.
Now that we have had some time to evaluate the performances we saw Saturday night, it’s time to look ahead to what will be next for UFC 107’s winners.
While Struve was able to earn the majority decision victory over journeyman Paul Buentello, it was obvious that the 21-year-old from Holland has some work to do to become a more complete fighter. Standing at 6’11”, Struve is a mismatch for everyone currently in the UFC heavyweight division, but if he is going to become a force, he will need to learn how to fight tall and stay out of harm’s way.
There were several times in the fight where Struve allowed Buentello to close the distance and deliver some punishment. It was not until the third round before Struve began chopping away at Beuntello’s legs with kicks, something he should have incorporated much sooner.
That being said, the sky is the limit for this youngster. Once he fills out more and improves his technical striking, he will shoot up the heavyweight ladder.
Getting past a cagy veteran like Buentello proved that Struve is ready to take that next step in the division and take on someone like Cheick Kongo or the loser of the upcoming Ben Rothwell/Mirko CroCop fight. Struve has the length and the submission game to do well against any of them.
Florian rebounded from his loss to BJ Penn nicely by finishing the always game and entertaining Clay Guida by RNC in the second round. Florian displayed noticeably improved boxing and wrestling while controlling the action.
The obvious choices for Florian are either a rematch with Diego Sanchez or a rematch with Sean Sherk. Both would provide Florian an opportunity to not only avenge a loss, but also display how much he has evolved as a fighter.
I have a feeling the Kenny Florian is destined to become a lightweight version of Rich Franklin: better than the rest of the top talent in the division, but unable to compete with the champion.
We should find out eventually, as it is only a matter of time before Florian is able to earn another shot at the title.
First, for everyone who likes to tear down Jon Fitch, give credit where credit is due. Fitch once again did what was needed to claim victory.
Admittedly, Fitch is not the most exciting fighter, but he consistently out works and grinds his opponents down. Not being flashy is going to hurt any hopes Fitch has of earning another title shot against GSP.
Fitch needs to finish fights if he ever wants to get a sniff of that belt again, and until that time, Fitch is going to be on the outside looking in.
His next move should be against Thiago Alves, the fight that was supposed to go down at UFC 107 to begin with. Fitch needs to do more than just win against Alves though; he needs to dominate and finish the Brazilian.
Anything less would further distance him from a potential rematch with Georges St. Pierre.
Without question, Mir looked good Saturday night against Cheick Kongo, but the outcome of the fight should have come as no surprise.
Sure, his overhand left knockdown was impressive, but Mir has always had the talent to be a freight train in the heavyweight division. It’s just that now he has finally begun to put it all together.
Mir’s physique looked phenomenal at the weigh-ins, and it appeared that the extra bulk did not have an adverse affect on his fluidity of motion in the octagon. A Frank Mir with size, power, and conditioning could rule the heavyweight division.
There is no doubt that Mir wants Lesnar, but with Shane Carwin still waiting for his opportunity to tangle with the beast, Mir will have to set his sights elsewhere.
His best option would be the winner of Cain Velasquez and Big Nog. Preferably Nog, to prove that the first go around was no fluke.
How do you even put into words what BJ Penn did to Diego Sanchez? Within the first minute of the fight, Penn had already floored the tough and talented Sanchez, and things would only get worse. Penn controlled all the action and won all of the exchanges leading up until the fifth round, when Penn threw a high kick that parted Sanchez’s head like the Red Sea.
Now the UFC must decide whom they will offer up for sacrifice next. Will it be Frankie Edgar or will it be Gray Maynard? Both have similar skill sets, but neither can boast the level of skill and talent it will take to dethrone Penn.