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UFC 256 debrief

Fun stuff. Seems it’s not just us fans worried about who’s getting cut. Fighters seem rattled as well.

Cub won his fight and got a bit emotional afterwards. He has 3 kids to feed.

Oh Jacare. He lost in a bad way to Kevin Holland. Got KO’d from the bottom Niko-style. Wow.

JDS lost in a quick one. Got clipped on the side of the head and started arguing that it was on the back of his head. It wasn’t. JDS looked old and worried in there. Like maybe he knew it was his last fight.

Tony Ferguson looks done. He was on a 12 fight win streak before the Gaethje fight. It’s sad and amazing how fast it goes. Oliveira is good. And several years younger.

The Main Event was a fantastic fight. Moreno extended the champ to 5 rounds and looked really good. An eye poke and a groin shot cost Figureido a point in the 3rd, but it doesn’t cost him the belt. The judges call it a majority draw. And by the way, Dana says this is the best fight in the history of the flyweight division and I agree.

Get some sleep. Southampton is playing at the crack of dawn.

M

UFC 256

UFC 256 is a great card of fights. It’s a great card despite the lingering idea that some of these guys might get cut.

Prelims on now. Question: Why do people get very publicly engaged, but never get married? What’s that about?

Anyway, my picks:

Cub Swanson vs Daniel Pineda – Cub is on the bubble, hope he gets the win.

JDS vs Ciryl Gane – Oh JDS, I’ll just go with him for the sake of nostalgia. And the fact that he’s also on the bubble.

Jacare vs Kevin Holland – Jacare is on it too, but Holland is not on this level yet. I got Jacare.

Dern vs Virna Jandiroba – I might be the only person who doesn’t care about Mackenzie Dern. She’s a strawweight, so she has to get through Rose, JJ, Andrade and of course the champ, Zhang Weili. Wake me up when she beats JJ or Andrade.

Tony Ferguson vs Charles Oliveira – What about Tony? He’s 37 and if he loses it’s a wrap. He either gets used as an elite gatekeeper or he’s done.

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno – Moreno looked good in his last fight, but I’m going with the champ. Fig has faced some adversity on his way to the title: He had to fight Joey B twice (an unnecessary do-over) and now has to deal with DJ’s trash talk, “Only time will tell if the hype is real.”

Hype? Why does he care what’s going on with the UFC’s flyweights? He claims to be happy in ONE Championship, getting a hero’s welcome, and thinks they do a better job of promoting their flyweights. Then why is he talking about the UFC? He should probably worry about his own stuff, mainly the situation at ONE.

Enjoy the prelims.

M

MMA News

Lots of news in MMA world. Let’s start with the big one: Dana White says he plans to cut 60 fighters from the UFC roster. This week, fans learned that Yoel Romero and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson received their walking papers and some are shook. I’m not.

If you don’t want to give 100% in the cage, you’re just playing. And I don’t want to watch grown folks playing around in the Octagon. That’s the feeling I got when watching Yoel’s and Rumble’s fights. Rumble was destroying folks until he got those title shots against DC. Memorable for me was UFC 210. Not only did Daniel have an unfortunate incident on the scales, Rumble went down and got choked out so easily. And he didn’t even care about the weight issues. I won’t bring up his domestic violence allegations.

I was unbothered when Rumble decided to retire.

Then Yoel emerged as the new Rumble, shredded for the gods and knocking out the competition in style. But when it was time for a title shot he couldn’t make weight. That’s interesting, isn’t it? Your whole life has been dedicated to fighting and you’re obviously good at it, but when it’s time to fight for a belt you can’t manage your weight. And when he managed to actually make the weight he lost. I told folks on Twitter after his title shot with Izzy, Yoel doesn’t want to be champ. He just stood there like a fool with his hands up. We were so disappointed. For whatever reason, that man did not want to be the champ.

It’s a real thing. I guess they fight for fun or something, but for some, being champ is not the goal.

But don’t blame the messenger. He’s gone now too.

Now we wait for the rest of the shoes to drop.

UFC 256 tonight.

M

Fight Day vs Fight Night?

I think I prefer these early fights, but today the powers-that-be were messing with us. Manchester United, Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC were on at the same time as the fights.

But we endured during this difficult time.

Liverpool won their match, while United vs Chelsea was a bit boring. Then it ended in a draw. A draw. Bruno didn’t take any penalty shots and the Twitter favorite, Harry Maguire, thought he was in an MMA fight at one point, wrestling a guy on the pitch. Took his back and everything. That’s exciting in a fight, but not so much in footy.

They spent a lot of money at Chelsea – really should be playing better than that.

On to the main card, Jared Cannonier looked like a rookie out there with Whittaker. Good for Bobby, he’s had a bunch of health and personal problems lately, maybe he’s ready for that rematch with Adesanya.

And then there’s Khabib. As real as it gets. He’s so scary, other fighters are scared to trash talk him. Not a peep out of his opponents. They don’t want any part of Khabib’s righteous anger. None. After the Conor fight, everyone was put on notice: don’t start none, won’t be none. Actually, folks got put on notice after Gamebred’s 3-piece and soda combo. That shut some people up, too. Walking around backstage talking trash can be precarious.

But anyway, Gaethje’s performance was worse than Poirier’s, and he’s supposed to be a wrestler! What happened?*

Afterwards, Khabib retired and from a personal aspect I don’t blame him at all. As a fan it’s sad. Now we have to watch while all the guys who froze up against Khabib jockey for the vacant title shot. That’s going to be so sad and ridiculous watching them trash talk each other when we all know who the King is.

But we go on.

Congratulations and good luck to Khabib. He should be P4P #1 and on top of any GOAT lists.** Retired undefeated, Khabib is the LW GOAT.

M

* I think we know what happened.

**Dan Cormier would be at the top of the GOAT lists if he had listened to me and retired when he held the LHW and HW belts.

Shocking

Last night’s co-main and main event were shocking. For months I’ve been telling everyone that Robbie Lawler is no longer the fighter he used to be. For months! Woodley took his belt; Askren grabbed what was left of his soul. If we’re lucky, this ridiculous fight with Magny will convince those in his inner circle (or Dana!) to urge him to retire. He has nothing else to prove.

But let’s talk about Neil Magny’s part in all this: He was playing. For parts of the fight he was playing in there. Several times he had Robbie’s neck and the commentators (you know how I feel about them) were like, now he’s gonna get the D’arce. Nope. He just kept playing.

He had several opportunities to get a choke but never finished it. Robbie’s listlessness made Magny look like a world beater. He is not. Remember back when he was doing really well? He rose to – I think #7 in the rankings. Then he failed a drugs test and was suspended for a bit. Now he’s back waving the Haitian flag. A guy on Twitter said, “I didn’t know he was Haitian.”

Me either.

So he beats Sad Robbie and said he wants a top 10 opponent now. I swear, in the last round of that nonsense he threw 4-5 fake jabs.

Sometimes UFC fights give me a good laugh. The main event was even funnier.

A very, very, very chiseled Alexsandar Rakic took on Anthony Smith.

Anthony Smith, the one who got a title shot against Jon Jones and lost. Rolled up in a ball for long sections of the fight, making the sideline cheerleaders wonder, “what can he do?”

After that he fought a crackhead in his garage. Another L.

Then came along one of my favorites, Glover Texeira. Glover, at his advanced age, beat the brakes off Smith. So brutal, at one point the referee was picking up Smith’s teeth. Savage.

So now here we are at the Main Event of the Evening. Can Smith come back from those losses? No sir. He almost got leg kick TKO’d if Rakic had any sense. For long stretches of this fight he was rolled up in a ball again, unable to do much of anything. To make matters worse, the 10 second clapper sounded and Rakic started celebrating. Today, Smith says he’s going back to Middleweight.

Which is probably for the best.

News: Jessica Andrade is moving up to fly. Why? Maybe she’s spending the quarantine sitting around eating and can’t make 115 at the moment. I’d like to see her stay at Flyweight and get a shot against Valentina.

Summer is almost over!

M

Still in the Game

I watched tonight’s Fight Night to see Frankie Edgar. Frankie, the former lightweight champ, former featherweight title contender, has dropped to bantamweight. As of right now (Round 3, 35 seconds remaining), Frankie’s looking pretty good. Looking strong, looking sharp, not depleted. To be fair, he is a small guy – maybe this is the right weight class for him.

But on the other hand, he and Pedro Munhoz seem evenly matched. I thought Munhoz would have an easy night here, especially fighting a 38 year old who just dropped a weight class. That’s not usually a great sign.

Munhoz is not having an easy night. He’s ranked #5 and currently being extended to the 4th round.

I love Frankie Edgar, by the way. 4th round over. On to the 5th.

Commentators and some Twitter peeps say 3-1 Munhoz. I say 3-1 Edgar.

Come on Frankie…

This is a straight up fist fight. Not much wrestling going on. 1 minute left.

Oh, Frankie’s leg is a mess. He doesn’t look like he has much left in the tank.

The decision? Yes! He gets the split!

I was worried in that last minute. I won’t lie. But he pulled out a win. He’s still in the game.

Great fight!

M

Lost Interest

Once Manchester United lost in the Europa League, I realized I don’t care about the Europa League. Rashford, Greenwood and Martial need to prepare for the upcoming season anyway.

PSG (Neymar and Mbappe) are still in the Champions League. So is Lyon (Memphis). If these teams get knocked out, I might find that I won’t care about Champions League until next year.

There is something about Messi I don’t like. Don’t ask me what it is because I don’t know. I watched Barcelona’s match against Bayern 3 times and enjoyed every one. If/when Bayern beats Lyon I might shed tears. I hope not.

I thought you only write about MMA?

Jon Jones has vacated the LHW Belt. In my opinion, he’s hitting a wall at 205. His last few fights were Ws, but not the usual JJ domination. We argue now about who really won and that’s not good. Give Jon credit for knowing his limitations and understanding these young lions. Light Heavy is going to be boring for a while without the bad guy.

If he’s set for cash, he can fight once or twice at HW to cement his villain reputation, then call up the WWE for some of that kayfabe money. Here’s hoping he gains enough weight to really make it interesting.

M

UFC 252 Post Fight

The top 3 fights were nice. No chaos, just Father Time catching up to some, levels revealed to others.

Let’s start with Chito. Marlon “Chito” Vera is one of my boys from TUF LATAM and I don’t root against them. I was worried though; I allowed UFC’s image machine to play with my emotions. Had me questioning the hype. But like a wise man once said, “don’t believe the hype, it’s a sequel,” this was Frankie vs Yair all over again. The day is coming for Sean O’Malley, but not on this night. What happened? Either Chito checked a kick, or it was his kick that injured O’Malley. He went down and Chito jumped on top. I immediately got flashbacks from O’Malley vs Soukhamthath, but Chito was ready. Elbows ended O’Malley’s night in the first round. Good thing he sold so much merch recently, he might be out for a bit.

You know, speaking of Andre Soukhamthath, if he had just a little bit of fight IQ, that hype train would have derailed a while ago. I blame him.

Exit Questions: Does frequent marijuana smoking affect the bones? Does he have a wonky right foot?

Rozenstruik vs JDS – Junior Dos Santos is the last of the Brazilian heavyweight contenders. When he retires it really will be the end of an era. We like him, but Father Time is coming for his belt, Junior. Young lions won’t be denied for long.

And speaking of Father Time, Stipe is 38. Young lions won’t be denied for long.

Stipe vs DC – I said a while ago that DC should have retired at 40 like he promised. For a few reasons:

  • He was holding two belts.
  • He can’t beat Jones.
  • There was a possibility for a fake fight with Brock ($$$$).

Why didn’t he take the fake fight money and run? Because for some reason he thought, as a world class wrestler, he had emerged as some kind of striking prodigy at 40. I called it for Stipe during the first rematch, thinking he wasn’t going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe again. I was right. He was even more prepared for it in the trilogy.

DC, losing on the feet, was also on the receiving end of a nasty eye poke. He said his foot was a balloon he couldn’t see. Usually those are words that stop a fight, but not on this night. And even if the fight was stopped, DC would have said he wanted to continue. They all do. That they don’t want the fight to end like this, etc. You know the boilerplate.

Congratulations to Stipe. This was a thrilling trilogy, and I was rooting for DC to go out on top. In heavyweight fights anything can happen and Daniel was in it until the end. Hopefully his eye is not permanently damaged and I look forward to seeing him at the desk in the future. Congratulations to Stipe.

What I learned from UFC 252:

  • You got to know when to hold ’em… You know he’s coming back for Jon Jones.
  • Chito is still my boy!
  • Francis Ngannou will be champ for a long time.

M

White-knuckling it in 2020

So our girl, Paige (PVZ to the fam) has decided to be a bare knuckle brawler. Alright then. Get that bag? To be honest, I really don’t understand her reasoning. A fighter should want to be involved with the UFC because they are the biggest combat organization in the US and their fighters get lots of attention. So why, when she was getting all that attention, did she throw that bit of shade – you know, how  she actually makes more money “sitting at home posting pictures on Instagram” than she does fighting.

Why do that? Why say anything publicly about your side hustles at all? She wasn’t the best fighter on the roster, but so what? She was in good company with a whole bunch of people with average skills. Where she differentiates herself is with her large social following, crossover appeal, she is well spoken, and very pretty. No scandals follow her and she seems to be a nice person.

Back when she was on DWTS, someone asked me about her. They knew I was a fight fan and wanted to know if she was any good. People liked her. I thought she was heading off to host a reality show like Fear Factor or Big Brother. Maybe some sporty commenting somewhere? No, she left DWTS and went back to cagefighting.

What’s wrong with fighting once or twice a year for 40/40, in a safe division like 125, be one of the revolving fighters who sit at the desk, all the while collecting a big bag on Insta? I’d smile all day.

But she has something to prove. Good luck to her.

Meanwhile, the corona virus is destroying everything in its path, including our sporting events. But not the US Open! Most of the stars have dropped out except Serena. And Naomi Osaka is also planning to compete. If those two are on opposite sides of the draw. . .

M