UFC 250 AfterMMAth (Managing Distance)
Hey, I can really get used to watching MMA every week. I like this sport. There are a couple of more things I could definitely egt behind, like that small cage, or the absence of Rick Flair's mating calls. I kept telling people all week - do not sleep on this card. It's one of these events that are not studded with names (How is Amanda Nunes still not "name" enough?) but a quick review of the lineup, early prelims to main event, should've sufficed. Oh, well.
Let's jump right to my picks. Then, we'll chat about this, that and the other.
For your reference, my picks:
Two crafty and game strikers will deliver 9 times out of 10. I wouldn't mind it at all, had this fight gone for more than those three minutes. Wineland came in wineland-ing, and Sugar Sean? Well, he did him. Striking (stabbing) from distance, moving well. and feinting just as well. When you look at O'Malley, you may not belive those arms hold knockout power, but man, do they ever. A walk-off KO to start the main card in style (and land anothe bonus).
1 for 1
I had a difficult time picking this one, as I do appreciate Martin's record. Eventually, both Magny's experience and recent performance against Li Jingliang tipped the scales in my book. Martin fought well in the first two rounds, and although the commentators (looking at you, Joe. Again) spoke as if this was going Neil's way from the first strike thrown, I do believe he took round 1. Magny did well from range, landing well, but closed the distance and initiated the clinch, which I thought seemed to go Martin's way more often than not. This payed off for Magny in the third round though, when it was clear that Martin was tired, having to fight for position against the fence, for ten straight minutes. At that point, the fight was definitely going Niel's way and he got the W (I had it 29-28).
2 for 2
If there was a fight on this card that we all clamored for, this was it. Two of the top bantamweights were set to meet, in a fight which could've (and should've) easily been a 5 rounder, main event for the vacant title. The only disappointment was again, that we only got to enjoy it for about a minute and a half. Aljo came in with purpose. It seems clear the plan was to pressure Sandhagen from the get go, keep the fight close and not let him go off with his strikes. People (myself included) seem to forget that Sterling of 2020 is not the guy who'd take a night off. He's not a one dimensional fighter by any strech of the word. I really think he can pull it off and bring the belt back to Jersey. I picked Cory because I thouhgt he could pull the trigger and land the significsant strikes, being fairly safe on the ground. Perhaps it's the fan in me (I'm a fan of both), but what Aljo did, on behalf of his team was simply perfect. That pressure worked, when the fight went to the ground, very early, he looked simply phenomenal. What a great win. There's only one fight to make now.
2 for 3
The distance between Raphael Assuncao and the belt grew, in ten minutes last night, more than it had in the close to ten years he's with the UFC. I remember when he was supposed to fight Cruz for the belt, and stayed a relevant contender for all this time. Him training in Alpharetta (where I lived for a few years) also made him a favourite of mine, in addition to his hard working, no nonsense way. He should've gotten a shot, but Cody Garbrandt happened. I think, at this point (if it wasn't clear before), there is no title aspirations for Assuncao. Not at his age and standings in the organization. Cody Garbrandt on the other hand, came back to life. Let me dampen the flames a little here. He definitely looked better. He looked more measured, composed and relaxed. I cannot say yet, that everything is ok and Garbrandt fixed everything that needed fixing. For that we would need to see him face a more pressuring striker. But man, did he deliver the goods with that buzzer beater. I found myself stunned and staring, speechless at the screen for a long moment after that. Welcome back Cody! I picked Assuncao, because frankly, I didn't buy the hype. As you can see, I am still not completely sold, but I will defintiely cross my fingers for Grabrandt. We need a fighter like him back at the top.
2 for 4
Amanda Nunes GSP'd her opponent again. The distance between her and every other fighter, in both weight classes she champions is as great as they come. Put anyone else in front of Spencer and see how well that goes for them. For Amanda it could really go only one way. Which ever way she decided. The difference in technical striking skills was unmitigated. When Nunes put Felicia on her back, the first time, with ease... The story was over. That was in round one, I'll remind you. Felicia is gritty and tough and deserves all the respect she is getting. It's not her, you see, it's Amanda. Just like Georges Saint Pierre did to his opponents, she simply makes them look bad in comparison. It's simply a pleasure watching her rise to the top, and the way she keeps showing us what more she can do. So enjoy the ride, folks. In a few years, this will be nostalgia. "Remember Amanda nunes? Dude, that lady could FIGHT!"
3 for 5
The two I got wrong, could've, should've, would've... you know. and I'll take it.
We have a title fight at 135. It is the wrong fight, but at least, according to Dana, it's clear that Yan will fight Aldo for the belt, with Sterling getting the next shot. Well... I still have a problem with that. I am a very well documented Aldo fan. Not many things will make me as happy as him succeeding, in any weight class he chooses to fight. But this match up makes ZERO sense. It's not Frankie Edgar getting a title shot at featherwieght, in some mitigating circumstances. Bantamweight has some very clear pecking order. So why not - for once - give the shot to the next in line??? Why??? Aljamain just won a fight in a phenomenal fashion, is most likely completely healthy and available in a short notice. There is no reason to deny him now. I understand respect for legends. Hey, I'm mister respect for legends. But it has to make some sense. Yan/Aldo doesn't... Yan/Aljo does.
Who's next for Amanda? I don't know... a third fight with Valentina at 135? I have an idea. Is Julia Budd under contract with Bellator? If not, 2021, a rematch 10 years in the making? Weak? yeah... what else do we have? I saw Megan Anderson, asking not to write her off. I like Megan. She's a cool lady. She would also not last a round with Nunes...
The new star in the UFC is actually quite old - the smaller cage (shoutout to WEC). It seems to push for action. It allows cutting off opponents better, forces more engagement and, even retreat needs to be done differently. It maybe a fashionable thing to say, but why not? why not staying with that smaller cage? I think it merits a brainstorming session or two.
Four bonuses were handed out by the UFC for performance of the night, and you know I'm down for fighters getting bonuses. But... no fight of the night?... I mean... they can't all be Rory/Robbie but they can surely be Stamann/Kelleher? Are our senses so dulled by recent events that a fight like that, can't get the guys a bonus? This was a great technical fight that had it all. Add the circumstances into the fold (Stamann losing his brother, and to a much lesser extent, Kelleher fighting every week or something like that), and you got two fighters who should've gotten something extra for a fight that was more than just "ok". Well, at least I thought so...
I'd be paying attention to Cory Sandhagen and Cody Garbrandt. Where do both go from here? Cory needs to get back on his feet, and not allow this loss to affect him negatively. Cody, so it seems, has found the right balance between training with Alpha-Male and complimenting his set with Mark Henry. These two have a bright future. Whether following a loss or a win, there's work to be done, and if they do it, well... the sky is the limit.
I am still not a fan of Rogan. For every really smart things he says, there's bias and jumping to conclusion on its tail. I AM a fan of DC. he has the right mix of very well put analysis (especially when it comes to breaking down wrestling sequences, but not only) and charming humor. DC and Cruz works. DC and Bisping works. Felder works. Not sure, that at this stage we need Rogan. Both DC and Felder can deliver to the American viewer, in a "user friendly" way. Cruz can deliver the goods for the die hard fan. Bisping can deliver for international fans. Just my two pesos of course. I know there are people who can't wait for that "Ooooooooooh!".
Well. This was UFC250. Let's look at
Performance of the night:
Cody garbrandt beating the buzzer with an AMAZING KO:
The Sugar Show keeps on keepin' on: