Sunday, July 12, 2009
Sundays at my personal blog I Blog Because I Can have been dedicated to a little something I've called 10 Things I Learned This Week for almost two years.
With last night's historic UFC 100 and all the headlines and stories to come from that show, I thought today would be a good day to bring 10 Things to Keyboard Kimura because honestly, last night offered up a lot to digest.
1. Welcome to the Brock Lesnar Era
When Lyoto Machida knocked out Rashad Evans, everyone started speculating about how long Machida would reign atop the light heavyweight division. My prediction is that it won't be as long as Brock Lesnar dominates the heavyweight landscape.
There isn't another heavyweight on the scene with the speed / power combination of Lesnar and it was very apparent that Lesnar is continuing to pick up the nuances of Mixed Martial Arts at a rapid pace. As he keeps learning, his freakish athleticism and brute strength will only become more dangerous and that is bad news for everyone in the heavyweight division.
2. Georges St-Pierre is the Best in the World
Not just in the UFC and not just at 170 pounds. He is the best in the world, period. Now, I've been saying this for some time, as GSP has sat atop my Pound for Pound rankings for a while, but last night should have solidified that for everyone.
Once again, St-Pierre spent five rounds picking apart an incredibly talented opponent, making Thiago Alves look entirely overmatched. The question that immediately comes up is where does "Rush" do next? First and foremost, he rests the pulled groin he sustained, but then who knows. A superfight with Anderson Silva would have to be at least a year away, as stepping up to 185 would take St-Pierre adding more muscle to his frame and you don't do that overnight.
3. Hey Bisping - How's the Crow?
I'm all for pre-fight hype and smack talk, but there are some times when you just need to be careful what you say. Michael Bisping learned that lesson in a big, big way last night.
Looking up at the lights, birds circling his head, I wonder if he was reconsidering all the junk he talked about Dan Henderson and how he was going to prove himself as the #1 contender at 185. What he proved was that he doesn't adapt properly in the cage, circling into Hendo's big right hand and that he needs to shut his yap and keep training, not to mention beating someone above the talent level of Chris Leben before talking about a title shot.
4. Another Tough Decision
Judging can certainly go either way and things like this are going to keep happening in fights that are as back and forth as the Akiyama - Belcher tilt was, but I'm sorry, how did one judge give Akiyama a 30-27 score?
29-28 I would buy, but when one judge has it 29-28 Belcher, having another score it 30-27 for the other guy only highlights that we're still missing something in the judging department of Mixed Martial Arts.
5. You're Lucky You Were on The Ultimate Fighter
If Stephan Bonnar wasn't Stephan Bonnar, I'd be wishing him luck outside of the UFC right about now. That being said, he was the losing half of the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Finale and Dana White is loyal to the guys who helped him get to where he is (save for Tito), so I doubt he's done.
But he should be. When I questioned what would happen if Bonnar lost to Mark Coleman, I never thought I would actually have to think about it again, but Coleman pulled out decision and now Bonnar is back to the drawing board.
6. Speaking of Ultimate Fighters
I think Mac Danzig might be the first Ultimate Fighter winner to get released from the UFC.
He's now lost three straight and is clearly nothing more than a middle of the pack lightweight. With the way the division is continuing to improve and despite solid performances in a losing effort in each of those bouts, the UFC has shown that three straight losses is usually the breaking point.
7. We're Movin' On Up... A Little
UFC 100 was the cover story on the websites of both ESPN and Sports Illustrated for the bulk of the day yesterday and through the early part of this morning, giving the sport the major media attention it rightfully deserves.
However, let's not go patting ourselves on the back just yet. It's not like there is a whole lot of options out there right now, so being the lead story in a quiet week is one thing. The trick is to be the lead story each and every time a major card comes around. Let's see how everyone handles UFC 101 before we start proclaiming victory over the mainstream.
8. Paulo Thiago is Better Than I Thought
I know he lost, but I thought the guy was going to get flattened. Instead, he fought a very solid fight against Jon Fitch and that deserves at hat tip in my books.
He's still raw, but the talent is there. As Ficth said on the MMA Live post-fight show, he's big and long and uses that to his advantage, like securing a guillotine attempt in the first round. Give him a little more seasoning and some time working on his wrestling and we might have ourselves another contender at 170.
9. I'm Back!
After struggling mightily in the prediction department as of late, last night yielded an 8-3 performance to give me some breathing room, taking me to seven wins to the happy side of .500.
August will be the real benchmark of my handicapping skills, with both UFC 101 and 102, Affliction's third show, WEC 42 and the Strikeforce card at MSG with Carano vs. Cyborg as the headliner on tap.
10. Let the Fedor Watch Begin
It's going to happen. The only question is when?
When asked who he sees as a future opponent, Lesnar immediately said Fedor. We all know that the fans want to see it and, despite the smack he's talked about him in the past, Dana White knows that Fedor to the UFC - especially to fight Lesnar - would be MASSIVE and massive equals piles and piles of money to roll around in.
Expect the full-court press to begin as soon as "The Last Emperor" disposes of Josh Barnett at Affliction: Trilogy.