UFC 114 feels like money down the drain
UFC 114 has been in the books for a couple of days and I’m no closer to deciding if it was a satisfying card or not. I’m leaning toward not. Again.
Yes, Rashad Evans’ decision win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had its moments, especially when Evans was tagged early in the third and visions of Evans-Machida danced in my head. That the most-hyped grudge match in UFC history even made it to the final frame was a bit of a surprise – everyone, myself included, was predicting an explosive early finish – but not nearly as surprising as the ease with which Evans took Rampage down.
Now, Jackson can claim ring rust all he wants, he can point to his movie obligations, his showing up to training camp 45 pounds above fight weight, it still comes down to the fact that Evans was stronger, faster and more explosive. Rampage got outclassed, plan and simple. End of story, no need for a rematch.
Instead, let’s look forward to Evans challenging Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the light heavyweight belt and Rampage taking on Lyoto Machida for bragging rights as the biggest loser.
As for the rest of the card, well, it was unpredictable, but mostly unexciting.
I tagged Dan Miller to upset Michael Bisping but he never got it to the ground long enough to work a submission and now Bisping is calling for a rematch with Wanderlei Silva. Again, enough rematches already. Stick Bisping in with Alan Belcher so they can decide who really is a serious middleweight contender and who just talks a big game.
Was Mike Russow’s stunning third-round Knockout of the Night against Todd Duffee the biggest comeback of the year or the biggest collapse? Duffee, a sculpted action figure of a fighter, was coming off a 7-second KO of Tim Hague and was expected to steamroll his flabby opponent in similar fashion. And he served up an all-you-can-eat buffet of rights and lefts that had Russow jiggling for the better part of two rounds. Somehow, though, he stayed on his feet and connected with Duffee’s head in the third that laid him out like so much timber. The lesson here: Duffee’s earlier record KO told us more about Hague than it did Duffee.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira’s split decision over Jason Brilz, a late substitute for the injured Forrest Griffin, was a mistake, a blunder, a serious error in judgment. Only three people thought Little Nog won that fight – two judges and Little Nog – but when Brilz failed to finish Nog with a second-round guillotine or his big looping punches that dazed but didn’t drop Nog, he left the door wide open for a bad decision.
And Diego Sanchez’s return to welterweight may have been brief. Sanchez was completely outmatched by up-and-comer John Hathaway, who cruised to an easy decision. You could tell something wasn’t right with Sanchez immediately – his walk-in was without the usual energy, the foaming mouth, the chant of “Yes!” and long-time coach Saulo Ribeiro was noticeably absent. Expect Sanchez to return to the 155-pound division with his tail between his legs.