Fighting Emotions (UFC Moscow)
It was difficult for me to get fired up for UFC Moscow. Not only was the card not exactly star studded, it also started way too early (Sorry, European fans for being a whiney little b*^$ch).
There was no way I was going to miss a fight featuring Zabit, or Kattar, let alone one that features both. I am also not one to ignore prelims, having watched some real gems in the early card many times before. To add to my grievances, my attention was split for 2 hours in the middle of this event, by my soccer team’s game. Not very considerate from the UFC, this schedule.
Too many names I didn’t follow before, with a night full of decisions, made the pace pretty slow. Here are the moments who moved the needle up a notch and made me react.
Jessica Rose Clark coming back from injury, to fight at bantamweight. True, she lost. But she stood her ground, and was not so far back, even if the score was decisive. I like the attitude, and dogged determination to get better and look for the challenge.
David Zawada submitting Abubakar Nurmagomedov. What seemed like the least likely outcome (to me at least), happened. Nurmagomedov, predictably took the fight to the ground but instead of using the dominant positions he had, got caught in a beautiful triangle. Conor apparently tweeted something quite pathetic and then deleted, and of course everyone who doesn't like Khabib started jumping to conclusions (based on...?). This is one of those great things about MMA. Always expect the unexpected.
Magomed Ankalaev doing an Anderson Silva on Dalcha Lungiambula. Put that thing on loop, sit back and enjoy. There really is not much more to say about this. It's not going to propel him to overnight, international stardom, or money fights, but having this finish in your highlight reel will definitely not hurt either.
Ed Herman, old, tired, gassed, Whattcha talkinabout, Willis? Not sure how Ibragimov didn’t just drop after the steady diet of knees and elbows that Ed fed him. A brilliant opportunistic, intelligent and strong performance from the veteran.
I wish that Volkov would have capitalized more in a few moments in the fight. I believe there were at least two head kicks, and one body kick that made hardy freeze momentarily, but overall I’m happy with the striking clinic the Russian put on MMA’s most hated person. No boos in the arena, as Hardy walked in #NotSurprised?
How can anyone NOT like Zabit Magomedsharipov or Calvin Kattar? The only disappointment was the fact it was only a three rounds fight. We could have definitely used two more dynamic rounds of MMA. The variety and creativity of Zabit’s offense as well as the tight, sharp, technical striking of Kattar made for a really fun fight.
And finally - let me ask you a question.
I know UFC wants to win over foreign markets and develop identity in countries like Russia and China (for example), and the local crowds show up in numbers. Do you think these cards, featuring 50%+ local fighters, regardless of their level or appeal, are ok? Do you think the lineups should be changed? If so, how?