Tuesday, September 25, 2007

UFC 76: Knockout

Knockout? HAHAHAH!!! Oh, that was serious...ok.

No, I'm not at all disappointed by the UFC 76 card. It offered many good fights, including the Sanchez vs. Fitch fight (which my coach Brian thinks Sanchez won...I disagree), the amazing performance put on by Forrest Griffin on Shogun to get the tap with seconds left in the fight, and the Tyson Griffin fight.

Although most people, including myself, would much rather have seen finishes instead of decisions, I would have to say that I agreed with the decisions that were handed out...although not entirely.

Specifically, Chuck vs. Jardine. I was rooting for Chuck the entire way, and I was furious when he was outclassed by Jardine. The only thing that could have put even more embarrassment on this fight was a decision win for Chuck. We're lucky that that didn't happen, but a split decision is too close. The only thing that we learned from that fight (if it hadn't already been painfully obvious from other fights) was the validity with which Joe Rogan constantly spoke about the terrible judging in the UFC by the NSAC, and other commissions. Chuck clearly lost that fight. It was obvious to everyone except, apparently, Chuck and the idiot judge who gave him the fight. Chuck, however, should be excused from having thought that he had a chance at legitimately (meaning not by bad judging) winning a decision because he was floored in the second round and pretty much beat up the other rounds...not to say that Jardine didn't receive his bumps and bruises, he certainly did; I'm just saying that Chuck was far too one dimensional for this fight, and the beating he took should excuse him from poor judgement. Anyway, a loss to Keith Jardine is terribly embarrassing for Chuck, and for myself as a fan of MMA.

Embarrassment aside, this loss for Chuck is made even worse when you consider the dream match of him vs. Wanderlei Silva. Fans have wondered for years when this would happen. The reason fans have been chomping at the bit to see these two knock heads is because they were widely considered the top two 205 pounders in the world. They have exciting styles, amazing records, and, at the top of their game, would make anyone drool from the hardcore MMA fan right down to the idiot who didn't know what he was paying for until he saw the highlight reels of the two the night of the fight after the gladiator suited up.

Look at the situation now: Wandy's last two fights involve him loosing by brutal knockout. Chuck last two fights involve him loosing by knockout in the first round, and then loosing a clear cut decision (even if the judges incorrectly disagree) to someone who everyone was hoping, and thought he should run right through. Exactly how is this a dream match now?

Anyway, I'll likely be upset over the Chuck/Jardine fight for a long time...I'm still not over the GSP/Serra fight.

All that aside, Forrest Griffin fought a great fight. Nothing can take that away from him. It cannot go unsaid, however, that Shogun did not fight like the Shogun we've all come to know and love. There has been much speculation as to why Pride fighters coming into the UFC have done so poorly, the most popular of which seems to be the steroid issue (they don't test, to the best of my knowledge, in Japan). I can't deny that this argument is supported by Shogun's apparent smaller stature (although, next to Griffin who is experience in weight cutting [something Pride fighters seem to be less accustomed to], this at least can be understood), "softness," and lack of aggression. I mean, come on! The only aggressive move Shogun made the entire night was with the elbow that opened a canyon on Griffin's forehead. The next best thing was an array of weak takedown attempts. Bleh.

It must also be mentioned that Shogun just got married...like a month ago. I don't know about you, but marriage is something that I'd think would distract me from my upcoming fight. Say what you want to about his decision to plan a marriage so close to an upcoming fight, but you'd be challenged to give a valid argument stating that it had nothing to do with his atypical performance.

I must say again, that Griffin looked dead on. As we've seen with Serra/GSP, Chuck/Jardine, Congo/CroCop, the better fighter doesn't always win. I wouldn't put a Griffin win over Shogun in such a drastic category as these other fights that I've mentioned, but it can't be denied: For at least one night, Forrest Griffin proved to be the better fighter of Mauricio Shogun Rua.

Anyway, I could ramble on forever...congrats to the winners, and I hope the losers come back stronger. There isn't anyone on that card that I don't want to see fight again. Thanks to the UFC for giving us a boat load of top-tier fights in the last month, and keep 'em coming!

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