Posted 05/29/2013 by admin in Untethered MMA
 
 

UFC 160 Fight Review

by Mike Fagan, May 29th, 2013

Cain Velasquez made the first defense of his second title reign at UFC 160, blitzing through Antonio Silva in a champ-needs-a-fight-and-this-is-the-best-option rematch. In the co-main event, Junior dos Santos recovered from his five-round Slothing at the hands of Velasquez, scalping Mark Hunt with a spinning heel kick. Those results set up the rubber match between champion and former champion sometime later this year.

The UFC likes consistency. Pay-per-view barker ads, fight posters, commentary, matchmaking. You follow this sport long enough, and you’ll become familiar with the patterns. It’s trite, banal, and a bunch of other adjectives I could look up in a thesaurus, and leads to a product prone to feeling stale and sanitized.

But the UFC seems to have stumbled on a winning pattern here. Match up Velasquez and dos Santos, have them go their separate ways for an interim fight, then match ‘em back up. We’re – presumably; nothing is official and Allah forbid one or both of the principals suffers an injury in the meantime – on the precipice of the third showdown, and I’m already geared up for episodes IV, V, and VI.

It’s unusual for a division in the UFC to be so dominated by two men for a lengthy period of time. Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch held the top two spots at 170 pounds for a long while, though St-Pierre clearly outclassed Fitch, who was never afforded a rematch on account of a fighting style more boring than his name.* Urijah Faber has sort of filled that role at featherweight and bantamweight, though his five straight title fight losses puts a damper on things.

* – Not in the opinion of this writer.

That’s what makes this Velasquez/dos Santos rivalry so compelling. They’ve both established their dominance over the division, a combined 18-0 in the UFC against guys not named Velasquez or dos Santos. The only threat to their dual reign is Daniel Cormier, four years their senior and likely moving down to light heavyweight to avoid confrontation with teammate Velasquez. Past Cormier, every heavyweight on the roster is, at minimum, a 2-1 underdog against either man.

I’ll side with Cain Velasquez – the man signed an autograph for me, for god’s sake – in the rubber match, and in any sequel after that. But I’ll ultimately be rooting for a result that perpetuates the rivalry. Until, that is, Jon Jones steps into the picture.

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-Yes, Mario Yamasaki stopped the main event early. I’m not sure how anyone argues otherwise. Velasquez knocked him on his ass, but he quickly turned onto his hands and knees and attempted to block the punches coming from his right side. That’s “intelligent defense.” More damning, however, is Bigfoot standing up after the stoppage, clear-eyed and befuddled at the decision. We’re less than 90 seconds into a heavyweight title fight, Mario, you’ve got to give the main some more rope.

-Velasquez failed on his only two takedown attempts, and he started slow in that department in the dos Santos rematch. I wonder if that’s something to worry about, or if Cain isn’t committing 100% to these early takedowns, and rather giving his opponent something to worry about.

-How am I just noticing Bigfoot’s self-autograph tattoo on his left shoulder? Some cursory Googling tells me he’s had it since UFC 146, and probably further back than that. Who the hell does that?

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-Interesting stat from Mike Goldberg during the UFC 160 telecast (paraphrased): “Mark Hunt has the best takedown defense in the heavyweight division at 85%. He’s stopped 17 of 20 takedowns.” Here’s where context is important when rattling off numbers. First, Hunt’s UFC competition: Sean McCorkle, Chris Tuchsherer, Ben Rothwell, Cheick Kongo, Stefan Struve. Not exactly the ’27 Yankees of wrestling. Second, Rothwell was 2 of 14 in their fight alone. That’s over two-thirds of the total takedowns attempt against Hunt. Dos Santos, naturally, finished his only takedown attempt with ease.

-I know Hunt is a “K-1-level striker” and all, but the number of strikes dos Santos absorbed is worrisome. He proved the strength of his chin – some of the shots Hunt landed would have put lesser heavyweights down, but it’s a skill that will fade as he grows older.

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-Glover Teixeira made quick work of James “Bumble” Te-Huna, which is what he was supposed to do. He’s still not the man to beat Jon Jones. And it’s too bad Ryan Bader went down with an injury.

*    *    *

-From my UFC 160 preview:

“This fight screams upset. Maynard is 34 years old, hasn’t fought in nearly a year, and faces a 29 year old who’s been born again with violent revelation in a new division. He shows up old or rusty or both, and he’s in trouble.”

I’m not sure Maynard looked rusty or old; I actually thought he looked good for the first minute or so of the fight. Then Grant knocked him down three times.

-Granted, the fight finished just past the two minute mark, but Maynard made a huge mistake fighting Grant at distance. Or being content to do that. Grant has a history of opponents putting him on his back, and Maynard, you know, made his name as a guy who wrestles victories from his opponents. Instead, Maynard, a plodding striker, stands with a faster, more dynamic guy, and pays the price.

-I guess I’m ready to see T.J. Grant fight for a title. I guess.

*    *    *

-Just as I said, K.J. Noons shows up with the best hair of the night. And it stayed that way through three rounds of punches, kicks, and loose blood that attempted to disrupt his carefully manicured mane. What a man.

-Noons looked gas after the first round, and I’m not sure if that’s because of the cut, the punishment, poor training, or otherwise. And it reflects in the numbers: Noons attempted 60 strikes in the first round, and just 34 in the last.

-If Grant doesn’t get that title shot (and I guess I’m still ready to see it), I wouldn’t mind to see him fight Cerrone in the summer.

 

Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at FightFansRadio.com, and can be found as a podcast in the iTunes store.

 

 

 


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