Posted 06/19/2013 by admin in Untethered MMA

UFC 161 Fight Review

By Mike Fagan, June 18th 2013 

I spent the weekend at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, an annual gathering of hippies and freaks and bros in neon to celebrate drugs and music and drugs. This is a particular sort of hell for me. I’m neither a hippie nor a freak nor a bro (at least one in neon), and my drug experiences are limited to those substances deemed legal by at least a couple of states in the union. Not that I’m opposed to drug legalization – I’m in favor of it – but drug culture is annoying on a small scale. It’s insufferable on a large scale.

Yet, it sounds like the MMA world had a collective worse time Saturday night. If my Twitter feed is any indication, UFC 161 ended as one of the most poorly received pay-per-view show in recent history. I didn’t think it was that bad, though I’ve only watched the pay-per-view portion of the card…with the benefit of a fast-forward button.

In any case, this was not a great show.

Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson

-Renan Barao was originally scheduled to defend his Interim Bantamweight Title against Eddie Wineland, but pulled out with an injury. The UFC bumped Evans and Henderson into the main event, but, because of the short notice, it remained a three-round fight. Which is bullshit. Not so much that the UFC allowed it to continue as a three rounder. No, the fight should have been five rounds to start. Evans and Henderson are both former champions. Combined, they’ve fought nine times in fights scheduled for five rounds. It’s time to expand the five-round non-title fight past the main event.

-Those two rounds would have been useful. Evans won a split decision that hinged on a close second round. FightMetric’s Effectiveness Score gave Evans the edge in that round 42-38. FightMetric extrapolates any round Effectiveness Scores within three as a 10-10 round. It was a close fight. And it was a good fight that missed out on greatness because of a backward system.

-This fight transpired as expected, with one exception: Rashad’s inability to put Henderson on the mat. FightMetric scored zero takedowns for Evans in eight attempts.

Stipe Miocic vs. Roy Nelson

-Holy shit, Stipe Miocic is 30 years old. He’ll be 31 in August. For whatever reason, I thought he was 27 going on 28. He should hang around as a fringe top ten guy for a couple years, but I think that’s the ceiling we’re dealing with.

-Miocic beat Nelson with fundamental, one-two, straight combinations, and superior use of angles. It’s not enough to beat the likes of Cain Velasquez or Junior dos Santos, but he should beat most of the bottom half of the division, and remain competitive against the 5-12 guys in the rankings. I like him in a rematch against Stefan Struve.

-At some point, it became clear that Nelson was losing the fight, if not well on his way to losing a decision, when Rogan noted that he was losing to an “unheralded” fighter. After a short pause, he amended that statement to “unheralded…and talented.” I imagine someone in the production truck got in his ear about promoting the talent. In any case, it’s the UFC’s total control of production that leads to this weird whitewashing of their talent’s flaws, in the cage or otherwise. Guys aren’t “bad” strikers. They’ve “had issues in the past on the feet.” They don’t lose, but rather suffer setbacks. Miocic isn’t an unknown fighter due to any fault of the promoter; he’s unheralded (but talented!). What it creates, outside of the top draws, is a middling class of faceless fighters with generic well-rounded skill sets. That’s boring.

Ryan Jimmo vs. Igor Pokrajac

-I know this card went through some major rewrites, but Jimmo and Pokrajac on the main card of a pay-per-view show is tragic. And, for the record, I’ll always remember Igor Pokrajac as the guy Stephan Bonnar beat up on a TUF Finale. That’s it.

-This is the type of fight I end up watching without watching. Like Jason Alexander’s Acting Without Acting. You passively sit in front of your TV, taking in the action but not really processing anything that’s happening, all the while hoping one of the amorphous blobs knocks out the other, so you can go about with more interesting things in your life.

-One thing I will never understand is a fighter showing little to no urgency in the third round of a close or losing fight. That feeling is compounded when the fighter in question is content to sit on his back and hold onto guard.

Alexis Davis vs. Rosi Sexton

-I have no idea how Rosi Sexton allowed Alexis Davis to catch her in a triangle while she had Davis pressed up against the fence.

-The UFC would probably cut Sexton if she was in any other division, but women’s bantamweight is so shallow, she’ll probably get at least one more fight.

-Davis had a great opportunity to end the fight in the second round. Unfortunately, her ground ‘n’ pound would have barely kneaded dough, and referee Herb Dean allowed the fight to continue into the third round.

Shawn Jordan vs. Pat Barry

-Well, maybe not any other division. Pat Barry is now 5-6 in the UFC, and still has yet to put together two straight wins. Heavyweight has more depth than women’s bantamweight, but Barry’s still a good body to match up with entry-level fighters.


-Referee Jaren Valel sounds like a Game of Thrones character.

-”The Alienware Prep Point” #ThingsINeverExpectedToHear