With three non star-studded cards, I have consolidated all three into one column, but I assure you….I won’t let it fall into the judges hands….cause well…you know!
The controversy started as Jon Fitch and BJ Penn battled to a much talked about, but probably right draw. BJ Penn took the action to Fitch early, surprising him with a takedown attempt, which stifled the wrestler, and easily won the first round. Momentum seemed to shift not soon after, as the second round was split, as Fitch finally landed a takedown on his legendary opponent. However, Fitch didn’t do any damage, and Penn won the round.
Third round was all Fitch. I personally scored the round 10-8 for him. As opposed to his previous fights, where he utilized the lay and pray method, Jon Fitch did substantial amounts of damage. This is a far cry from the usual method of victory which is Technical Submission, via putting the audience to sleep. Yet, when the scorecards were read, a Majority Draw was the end result.
What it boils down to is advancement in the sport. Fitch simply wasn’t rewarded for not doing anything with his takedown attempts. Had he done in the second round what he did in the third, he would have been ridiculously far ahead on the scorecards. Kudos to the judges in this instance for now rewarding Fitch for not doing anything with his early takedowns.
Some title pictures were also cleared up as highly ranked fighters Chris Lytle and George Sotiropilous suffered upset defeats, and definitely dropped them down in their respective divisions. This is unfortunate, particularly in Lytle’s case, as the 170 division has been a revolving door of challengers for the past few years.
Back on the case of bad judging…there was plenty of that on Thursdays UFC on Versus. The main event landed 170 pound contenders Martin Kampann (whom was screwed out of a win over Jake Shields a few months ago) against a very out of shape looking Diego Sanchez. Kampmann completely brutalized Sanchez on the feet in the first round, opening up a nasty cut on Sanchez. The subsequent rounds were both close, but the judges awarded both to Sanchez, and thus creates the problem with the ten point must system.
The end of fight statistics told a different story. Both fighters threw around 200 punches, with Kampmann landing 30 percent more of his strikes. Sanchez also secured only one of his FIFTEEN takedown attempts. Rashad Evans said on MMA Live, that MMA judging should reward takedown attempts even if unsuccessful because it reflects Sanchez controlling the octagon and dictating the pace. What it reflects to me is Kampmann’s superb takdown defense. ATTEMPTING takdowns should not be rewarded, landing takedowns should.
MMA really needs to move away from the 10 point must system for every round, because it lends itself to being succeptible to boring gameplans and anticlimactic strategies (IE every Jon Fitch fight, Rampage vs Rashad). It was no question at the end of the fight that Kampmann had done far more damage and was more successful in every facet of the fight, but thanks to the wacked judging system, Kampmann was robbed yet again.
American favorite Dan Henderson experienced a career revival this Saturday, with a HUGE win over Rafael Cavalcante, to become the new Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. Even at age 40, Henderson packs one of the toughest right hands in the sport, although it looked as if Cavalcante may have actually knocked himself out as he faceplanted into the ground. Henderson followed him down, took the back, and pounded him into submission for the third round stoppage.
A source let me know shortly after that Strikeforce is entertaining the idea of also holding a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix as early as next year, although with things as they stay now, they’d like to just have a successful defense of the title. The 205 pound division is a much better fit for Dan Henderson, as a weight cut to 185 would surely be a terror on his body at this point in his career.
Speaking of Strikeforce, I broke news on my Twitter account this week, that Women’s Champion Cyborg Santos is considering a move to the world of professional wrestling, as the WWE has reportedly offered her a contract. Apparently, Cyborg and her husband were recently backstage at a WWE event, and she was offered a deal on the spot. With the lack of fights being offered to her in Strikeforce, and the prospects of a six figure contract (she fought only twice, and earned 75k last year), and career stability, she is entertaining the idea.
Other big winners this week include former champion Lyman Good and Jay Hieron advancing in Bellator’s Welterweight Tournament, as well as former UFC champion Jens Pulver picking up his second straight victory (via split decision), after five straight losses. Brian Bowles. yet another former Champion (from WEC) defeated Demacio Page by guillotine choke at 3:30 of the first round, the exact same method, round and time as their first meeting. Unfortunately, Mister Gerald Harris, this columnists personal top dog, was defeated in a tough fight against James Head, but will face a quick turnaround, and will be fighting on May 5th.
The most impressed I was this week? Mark Munoz. I was shocked to see how well this decorated wrestler had improved his stand up. Munoz got into the game late at 29 years old, but with a purple belt in BJJ, as well as his division 1 wrestling experience, and ever-evolving stand-up game, Munoz is making noise in the Middleweight division. CB Dolloway was “VINTAGE DOLLOWAY” as after the fight he looked at the ref as if he were the antichrist for stopping the bout.
Trouble, trouble. Thats what lies ahead for two fighters. Michael Bisping, and Joe “Daddy” Stevenson. Joe Stevenson has lost three fights in a row, to underwhelming competition, and is facing being cut by the UFC. Bisping, on the other hand is facing fines and/or suspensions for multiple infractions. During his UFC 127 fight with heated rival Jorge Rivera, he delivered a blatantly and deliberate knee to the head of a grounded Rivera, which nearly cost him a DQ loss. Rivera claimed to have recovered (but obviously didn’t) and held on until Bisping later finished him. After the fight, Bisping spit at Rivera’s cornermen, causing even more of an uproar. Since then, Bisping has been called out by Vitor Belfort and the suspended Chael Sonnen, to no reply by Bisping.
There is no room for actions like Bisping’s in a sport that is attempting to grow and be taken seriously. Bisping has repeatedly let his emotions get the best of him. The UFC could easily cut him, as any time he faces top tier talent (Wanderlei, Rashad Evans, Matt Hamill, Dan Henderson) he is exposed.
Thats it for this time folks, but we have a lot of epic battles looming on the horizon, so check out this trailer!!!
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