UFC 138 Results: Questions Answered and Lessons Learned
UFC 138 is over and done with. Chris Leben couldn't handle the athleticism, power and wrestling of Mark Munoz, and Renan Barao proved that he is an amazing fighter with an effortless victory over Brad Pickett.
There were several other fights on the card that answered important questions and taught important lessons.
In addition, there were occurrences outside the Octagon that also were of some importance.
So what questions were answered and what lessons were learned? Read and find out!
Japanese MMA Isn't Dead
Michihiro Omigawa, a Japanese fighter, had success at UFC 138 by defeating British standout Jason Young.
It may not have been the most inspired performance in UFC history, but a win is a win, and Japanese MMA averts death for another event.
The Brits Aren't as Behind as One Might Think
British fighters have often been the butt of MMA-related jokes concerning the lack of any grappling abilities for a while now.
Thanks to John Maguire, those jokes will (hopefully) be no more. Maguire dominated Justin Edwards with superior grappling and nearly submitted him with a slick arm bar.
The Brits have been working hard to catch up at MMA; they aren't as backwards as the world thinks.
Terry Etim Looked Good but Looked Good Against Eddie Faaloloto
Terry Etim looked very impressive, but he looked impressive over a then 2-2 journeyman in Kajukenbo brown belt Eddie Faaloloto.
Etim will need to dismantle a more competent opponent in the same way for the MMA world to be justified in singing his praises.
Cyrille Diabate Needs to Become a Mixed Martial Artist, as Does Anthony Perosh
Cyrille Diabate's striking is exceptional, but his mixed martial arts is abominable. Diabate is still fighting from the 90's era, meaning that he is good in only one area of fighting (striking, in his case) and hardly proficient in the others.
This lack of developed wrestling and submissions lost Diabate his fight against Australian Anthony Perosh, who himself needs to develop his striking game in order to set up his takedowns better; neither man is a true mixed martial artist. Diabate is a striker who knows a little grappling and Perosh is a grappler who knows a little striking.
Papy Abedi Is Good but Won't Have a Future at 33; Thiago Alves Is Just OK
Zairean Swede (and I never thought I'd put those two demonyms next to each other) Papy Abedi looked very impressive against Thiago Alves, utilizing crisp, fast, powerful striking until he got clipped and eventually submitted by the Brazilian.
If Abedi were younger, he'd still be able to bounce back from the loss and become a force in the division.
However, at 33, his time is limited. It's not likely that he'll have a significant impact in the UFC.
What about Alves?
He was just OK.
He was taking some nasty shots and was losing the fight before catching Abedi with a powerful shot and then earning the submission victory by setting up a rear-naked choke with ground and pound.
A good victory, but will a performance like the one he turned in help him beat a real contender like Jon Fitch or Jake Ellenberger? Hardly.
Renan Barao May Be the Future at Bantamweight
Renan Barao has fiendishly good striking, slick, quick Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is only 24 years old.
Should UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz be worried?
Not until Barao gets a few more victories in the Octagon under his belt. Still, Cruz and the other top competitors in the bantamweight division should be keeping their eyes on him since he is clearly a skilled and dangerous competitor.
Sponsors Are Noticing the UFC (Albeit Slowly)
If you paid close attention to the Octagon, you'd have noticed the ad for the UFC's set of DVDs, the Ultimate Fight Collection.
If you paid closer attention, you'd have noticed the Best Buy logo next to the ad.
Hardly groundbreaking but still pretty cool.
British Fans Are Getting Better
There was less booing when the fights went to the ground. There was even cheering when fighters advanced position, went for submissions and escaped difficult spots on the ground.
If nothing else, UFC 138 has proven that the British fans are becoming more educated about the intricacies of MMA, specifically groundwork.
Athleticism (and Wrestling) Trumps Being a "Zombie"
Chris Leben simply couldn't compete with the wrestling and sheer athleticism of Mark Munoz.
Munoz set a brutal pace and Leben wasn't able to keep up, being visibly gassed by the end of the first round.
Leben continued to wilt to the point that not even his vaunted "zombie mode"—where he lurches towards his opponents, absorbing blow after blow—could save him.
The fight was stopped in Leben's corner due to the fact that he could no longer see, but he was physically and mentally beaten. Wrestling and athleticism can't often be bested by a brawler.