UFC 123 is now in the books. As A fan I have mixed emotions, as a journalist, this was an excellent card that gave me PLENTY to talk about. Lets get into it shall we?
Rampage Jackson was triumphant in his return to the Octagon over recent Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. Some controversy was created amongst fans regarding the split decision victory, but based on MMA’s current 10 point must system, Rampage took 2 out of 3 rounds. Rampage was very aggressive throughout the battle, looking and acting like he did in his PRIDE days. Aside from a solid uppercut, there were no threatening strikes landed, yet this was still a ridiculously exciting fight. As a fan, my heart was beating a million times a minute. Rampage Jackson also won this fight while battling a fever early in the week, which threatened cancellation of the fight.
To the fans that have contacted me regarding the idea of Machida being robbed of a decision. I just don’t see it. I’ve watched this sport for a long time, quite frankly, the amount of damage just isn’t always a factor in the decision in this sport. If you win 2 out of 3 rounds, you win the fight. Yes, it could be flawed, those flaws were most definitely exposed in the Gerald Harris vs. Maiquel Falcao fight. Unfortunately for yours truly, whom praised Harris heavily (and still will) before, Falcao controlled the first two rounds, but during the third round, simply would not engage at all. This is where a Yellow Card system would play a huge role. If situations like this occur, a yellow card (point deduction or reduced purse amount) should be handed out to the fighter who refuses to engage in battle.
Strategy wise for Harris, I smelled trouble as soon as I laid eyes on Falcao. Falcao is listed as 5’11 on Sherdog, but is easily 5’7. Harris being a wrestler, would have a difficult time getting his hips underneath Falcao’s, and when he tried, it closed the distance and allowed the superior striker (Falcao) to use his advantages. Great speed and footwork was displayed by the victor, but I wanted to compliment Harris’ jab, which he was using very well in the first round.
BJ Penn. YIKES. As much hell as I’ve given this guy in the past. That was simply dominant. 21 second knockout domination over the legendary Matt Hughes. Hughes was very emotional after the fight, and his post-fight interview was almost surreal. Hughes always works his ass off for a fight, and the disappointment was evident on his face. BJ Penn showed up motivated and more importantly IN SHAPE! After UFC 123 Dana White announced that BJ Penn would be facing welterweight contender Jon Fitch at UFC 127.
This is seen as almost punishment to Jon Fitch by some, who has been criticized for squeaking out victories, and is outmatched in every category aside from wrestling by Penn. Even though Fitch’s wrestling may be neutralized by BJ Penn’s world class Jiu jitsu game. I personally can’t wait to see this fight, although I’m not a fan of either competitor, Penn looked way too impressive to not be excited about.
Mr. Wonderful Phil Davis continued his undefeated ways in impressive fashion over Tim Boetsch. Phil Davis was able to secure what was referred to as a one armed kimura lock. Any pro wrestling fan will tell you that was a straight up Hammerlock, or a chicken wing. Brutal showing of strength to be able to lock this off, and Mr. Wonderful is a huge prospect in the Light Heavyweight division. This guy fights like a wrestler should, and really impresses me every time he’s in the cage. He is extremely well spoken, grounded, gracious and charismatic while giving his interviews.
I’d like to know why Karo Parisyan shows up to his UFC return in the shape that he was in. I got some flack on Twitter regarding my comments about him “getting what he deserved”. Let me tell you something folks. This is a sport, and for Karo, it’s his JOB. He is paid to train, he’s paid to be in shape. He’s given workout supplements by his sponsors. Him showing up in the type of physical condition he was in, after barely being re-hired, then throwing a temper tantrum after he was soundly defeated is uncalled for. Work hard, train hard, or run a judo school somewhere. Denis Hallman looked at him and said “let me use my stronnnnnng hand”.
Other fights included unsurprising victories by George Sotiropoulous and Brian Foster via submission, as both made major impressions, being on the televised portions of UFC 123. Foster and Matt Brown was a classic striker vs. Striker battle, which ended up making it to the ground where Foster took things over. Matt Brown is likely on the UFC’s chopping block as he is 4-4 in the UFC and 11-10 overall in his career. Meanwhile, Sotiropolous is facing Dennis Siver in the near future as he continues to climb the lightweight ranks. Edson Barboza also continued his winning ways by improving to 7-0 with a TKO victory via leg kicks in the third round.
Some judges somewhere where having some reefer madness. Tyson Griffin lost a split decision robbery to Nik Lentz. Griffin beat Lentz in every facet of the game, and for all three rounds. How Lentz was given one, let alone TWO rounds by any judge, especially two. I don’t get it. One of Griffin’s rounds could have even been scored a 10-8 round. This is a heartbreaking situation for the exciting fighter, who has dropped two split decisions this year.
I also had many questions regarding where Lyoto Machida’s career would go from here. In my opinion, he has simply been figured out. Not to say he would have continued success in the sport. However, his ravaging of the division is likely over. Say what you will about Machida, but if high profile victories played a factor, Machida would be in any hall of fame possible. Victories over Shogun Rua, BJ Penn, Rich Franklin, Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans give you legendary Status. Particularly when there are zero losses in between them. I see him possibly facing off with the winner of Forrest Griffin/Rich Franklin or Bader/Jon Jones, and staying within the top 10 in the division.
Rampage on the other hand…who knows? Everyone else in the division is tied up with fights, and Jackson has four more fights on his contract. Personally I’m still anxiously waiting a re-match with Forrest Griffin.
I guess we’ll see ladies and gents! Thats it for this week! As always FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!!! I love it