Posted 09/15/2013 by Marlene Taborda in Untethered MMA

UFC 164 Fight Review

By Mike Fagan, September 3rd, 2013

Ask 100 MMA media types for their UFC 164 predictions, and not one would utter “Anthony Pettis by submission.” Which is smart given what we knew about Pettis’s offensive tendencies, Henderson’s history of escaping submissions, and the All Things Through Christ factor. Predicting fights is a banal practice when things like betting lines exist, and if you want to “be smart,” more often than not it’s wise to choose the most likely outcomes. “Pettis by submission” need not apply here.

At the same time, you ask those same 100 MMA media types the likelihood of Pettis submitting Henderson, and you would have heard things like “no chance” or “less than 1%” or “Hold on, Dana is ringing his bell. I’ll be back.”

Ben Henderson’s only be submitted one time in his MMA career: in his third pro fight way back in 2007. But we’ve seen him put into dangerous situations. And while Pettis entered the fight the superior kickboxer hoping to keep Henderson’s angel wings upright, he has three wins by triangle choke.

Human beings historically have a difficult time estimating rare events. MMA media and fans take it a step further. A guy like Ben Henderson is “not submittable.” Anderson Silva “can’t be knocked out.” Jon Fitch “is immune to the rear-naked choke.” Jon Jones “is an upstanding Christian man who avoids telephone poles at all costs.”

These things were once axioms of the MMA universe. Those axioms, over the last year-plus, have been destroyed.

-You figure Ben Henderson would stuff the “all things through Christ” line after losing in semi-embarrassing fashion. But then he goes ahead and leads off with it anyway. Gotta give the man credit for that, even if it’s a half-step away from trolling.

Christ lines aside. Henderson gave one of the better post-fight technical breakdowns I’ve heard:

“[He] got my arm, did a good job twisting it, turning it in the right direction. He had to turn it one direction to go to my shoulder, I moved just a hair in this direction so it wouldn’t go to my shoulder. [He changed] to my elbow. That’s a high-level armbar right there. Most guys might miss the technique behind it. That was a pretty armlock.”

-Rogan: Is your arm OK now? I see you don’t have your arm in your shirt.

Henderson: No, no, it’s killing me, dog.

-If you know my friend and Untethered MMA co-host Derek Suboticki, you know there are three truths about his worldview: 1) Donald Cerrone is his favorite fighter on the planet, 2) Josh Barnett is a dirty cheat and should never fight in the UFC again, and 3) Tim Tebow is a young quarterback with room to improve, and has already proven his NFL creds in a half-season as the Denver Broncos starting quarterback.

So, this has been a bad week for him. The New England Patriots cut Tebow, Cerrone shit the bed last Wednesday against Rafael dos Anjos, and Josh Barnett beat the will out of Frank Mir.

-You’ll hear some arguments about a bad stoppage, and sure I guess it  was a little early. Mir claims that he intentionally dropped to his knees in order to avoid future knees to the head. Unfortunately for him, if that is the case, it looked like all the lifeforce was sucked out of him in the process.

The “no knees to the head of a grounded opponent” rule sucks and fighters who try to exploit it by purposely putting themselves into an inferior position (in theory) to put themselves into a superior position (in practice) suck too. The Association of Boxing Commissions is looking at tweaking this rule to prevent fighters from going down to a knee intentionally in order to avoid knees to the head, but I’m not sure it would apply in a case like this where a guy plays Slip ‘n’ Slide with the mat.

Still, I’m not going to feel sorry for guys who have the referee step in when they’re trying to flop to the floor.

-Also, had referee Rob Hinds not stepped in, Mir would have taken a bunch more punishment. He acquitted himself fine in the opening minute or so, then Barnett starting applying pressure. Apply enough and Mir eventually folds. He was well on his way to doing that here.

-I was busy watching Dave Chappelle Saturday night, so I didn’t have a chance to catch the main card fights until Sunday morning. So, I have no idea how people felt about Mendes-Guida going into round three, but me, personally? All I could think about was Guida’s voodoo shit working on another top fighter. Not that I had Guida ahead – my scorecard read 20-18 Mendes – but this felt like another situation where Guida would do just enough in the third and two of the judges would give him round one and everyone would just throw their hands up in the air and be all “lol judging” and Guida would film another local car commercial and one day someone would think about it as they drove to work and laugh at its absurdity which would cause him to crash into a van full of starving children on their way to the local food bank.

So, it was a good thing Chad Mendes knocked Clay Guida’s ass out and prevented all that.

-Ain’t no party like a Milwaukee UFC party.

-While watching the Soa Palelei-Nikita Krylov fight, I wondered if corners are allowed to use cell phones during the fight. Twitter reminded me that some corners use their phones to keep time.

That made me wonder: What stops a team from ordering the stream, turning on the opposing corner’s audio stream, and texting any relevant information to the arena? For instance, Krylov’s team would have loved to hear that Palelei was complaining about his ribs after the first round.

I’d be surprised if this wasn’t happening already, though I have yet to see any evidence direct evidence of it on a UFC broadcast. It’s a small edge that would prove fruitless more often than not, but in the right circumstances in the right fight could provide fight-altering information.


Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at, also available as a podcast via iTunes.




Marlene Taborda