As with any weekend featuring a UFC card, that event will be first and foremost in the minds of fans and media. However, the best action of the weekend will happen before the card in Philadelphia even kicks off. What I’m talking about of course is the plethora of action we’ll be treated to in the Flyweight division. I have often joked in the past about people throwing the “biggest fight in the _____ division” out like candy on Halloween, but I truly believe this will be the biggest day in the relatively short history of the division. While none of the fights could truly be considered the biggest in the division to this point, the collective talent is outstanding.
As he faces Dan Henderson this weekend in the main event of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson, Fedor Emelianenko reaches a crossroads in his career. This could be the fight that tells us just how much Fedor has left, and whether or not the former number one heavyweight has another run at the top left in him. Regardless of the result, however, Fedor’s has been a career filled with highlights and with his explosive power complimented by an unnervingly nonchalant aura, “The Last Emperor” once seemed invincible. Picking just one defining moment for Fedor is no easy task and the fight I have chosen may have its detractors. But a fighter’s defining moment is not necessarily the same as their greatest one. It isn’t about achievement, it is about what best encapsulates them as a combatant and, in this case, as a legend.
Many fans were discontent to hear this week that Kenny Florian has been granted another shot at a UFC title. Having come up short twice already at lightweight—against Sean Sherk at UFC 64 and again against BJ Penn at UFC 101—Florian will now challenge for his third UFC title, this time as a featherweight, when he takes on Jose Aldo this October at UFC 136. With the UFC’s past proclivity for granting undeserved title shots to fighters moving down in weight, as well as Dana White’s comments on MMA Live earlier this year, the news of another title shot for Kenny came as no surprise. What it did bring, however, was an all too familiar disappointment.
Four months after the Strikeforce World Grand Prix started, we've reached the conclusion of the quarterfinal round. Despite a few bumps in the road from the scheduling side, and the entire end game of the tournament being changed drastically with Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce, the tournament itself is still as intriguing - if not more - than when it began. To that effect, four of FLD's writers have come together to share their opinions on who will take home the tournament title, and likely shot at the UFC Heavyweight crown.
There has been an immeasurable amount of debate about MMA judging in recent years, debate which can be roughly divided into two categories: poor judging and poor rules. Either the judges themselves are not doing their job properly, or the scoring system they have been given to use is flawed. When discussing bad judging, it is usually a case of one fighter clearly out-striking and/or out-grappling their opponent but being let down by the judges and not given the nod. Most, if not all fans watching the fight recognise fighter A as the winner, yet the judges, often unjustifiably, award the decision to fighter B.
That title may seem a little harsh at first glance, and to be honest it is a bit sensationalized, even for me. Jiu-Jitsu is far from dead, but the way it’s used in MMA is changing, and its become far less of a factor in a fighter’s success (so let’s say Jiu-Jitsu is dying, instead). Sure you’ll still run across the occasional submission specialist at high levels in the sport (Shinya Aoki and Demian Maia, for example), but for the most part, the new generation of “complete” fighters avoid playing a Jiu-Jitsu game at all costs. The penalty for ending up on your back in any sort of grappling exchange is far too severe. Just ask Miguel Torres.
The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale this Saturday presents an interesting contrast to the recent UFC 130 card that was considered a thorough disappointment. Whereas 130 had some very high-profile fighters in fights that were rather boring from a stylistic perspective, TUF 13 is much lighter on name power (and perhaps more importantly, on the scale), however the action should translate much more favourably to your eyeballs. Plus, free MMA is free MMA.
The main card of UFC 130 wasn’t met with a great reaction from fans, fighters and even Dana White himself. In situations like that, the undercard often provides some great highlights, however at UFC 130 the premlinary fights were only slightly more exciting. All in all, it was not a banner night for the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
Saturday night, from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas we got one of the least anticipated fight cards in quite some time. Personally, I felt that this card actually exceeded expectations. It still wasn’t great or memorable by any means, but it wasn’t something laughably bad like Couture/Coleman.
After losing a lopsided decision in what is quickly becoming familiar fashion for him, it may be time for Thiago Alves to re-evaluate the mental side of his game. Outfought and outwrestled by Rick Story at UFC 130, Alves looked lost, hesitant and timid as he was consistently backed into the fence and forced to play Story’s game. Lacking the assertiveness that once made him so dangerous, one wonders how much it has to do with the 15 pounds or so in weight the Brazilian has dropped over the last year.