My wife Jan and I watched UFC 100 with one of the Oklahoma Sooner football coaches and his family in our home here in Norman Saturday night. Here are my observations and not from a MMA "expert" or even a fanatic but simply from a sports fan who enjoys the UFC and respects the athletes who compete in the octagon.
The coach had never seen a UFC PPV but enjoyed the presentation and appreciated the conditioning and toughness displayed by the fighters. Henderson's sick knockout of Bisping seemed to be the highlight of the night for him.
Henderson's knockout punch to Bisping's jaw was all "business" while the second shot when Bisping was finished on the canvas seemed "personal." Nasty? Unsportsmanlike? You be the judge but if you watched the fight I doubt if any one left the room during the replays. No one did in my home.
It also reminded me that if promoted properly that the USA vs. a non American competitor still works in today's world.
The obviously talented Akiyama got a "welcome to America" decision, or so it seemed to me, but without question the excellent start to the PPV against Belcher was a close fight. This is a great example of why all PPV's need to have a great start as it sets the mood for the evening and quickly gets the crowd emotionally invested. Same goes for a pro wrestling PPV.
GSP is the best all around fighter in the world. You don't have to agree but this is my website and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. The striking, takedown's, strategy, defense, poise, and class displayed by the French Canadian are exemplary. GSP should be the new "face" of UFC if he isn't already. UFC officials will likely never have to worry about GSP making negative headlines for unprofessional conduct. This man has the kind of character that every organization needs more of in their locker room and especially among their "rookies." Many had thought that Alves would be GSP's toughest opponent to date and that St. Pierre might even lose. I said earlier in the week that I had to see GSP lose to believe it.
The Brock Lesnar- Frank Mir fight ended as I predicted and that was if Lesnar did not make any careless mistakes early because he was too emotionally charged that Brock would dominate Mir. That's exactly what happened.
Lesnar is a beast and when fighting at a well conditioned 280ish is too much man for most in MMA to physically match up. Mir put on a positive, competitive face in hope perhaps of PO'ing Lesnar between the first and second round but one has to wonder if it was a case of Mir trying to convince himself that he still had a legit shot at winning. Mir's a tough hombre and a great talker who lost no respect in the MMA world with his performance on Saturday night.
Lesnar's size, strength, take down ability, and punching power are challenging attributes to defend. The ability to take an opponent down seemingly at will, ala GSP, will always be a card Lesnar can play against any one I've seen on the MMA horizon.
I thought Mir hurt Lesnar with a punch and a couple of knees in the 2nd round but Lesnar's take down ability kicked in and Mir's, brief, offensive fire was quickly extinguished.
Lesnar seems to perhaps be vulnerable as it relates to his striking defense but that observation is arguable. If that argument does have credence, then that matter will become a major topic of discussion if the much talked Lesnar-Fedor bout ever takes place.
One thing is for sure, the more bouts Lesnar gets under his belt over the next several months, the better he's going to get which is something the Fedor camp needs to consider. In other words, perhaps Fedor's entourage should take the multiple fight, massive money deal now from UFC when Fedor's chances of knocking out Lesnar are better than they might be a year or so from now.
Lesnar's post match, unscripted remarks did not completely surpirse me. Those that do not personally know Lesnar as do I need to understand that his level of intensity and fury is scary. Brock has said many things in private conversations that I have been a part of that would make one do a double take. He is an intimidating, emotional jock who has been known for speaking first and thinking later. I don't think Brock is an inherently evil person whatsoever but his level of competitiveness can be dangerous. It's like Brock "moonsaulting" at Wrestlemania 19 in Seattle against Kurt Angle when being advised not to prior to the bout. Lesnar was told that men his size don't do top rope Moonsaults which was the wrong thing to say to the former NCAA All American and National Champion. Lesnar came close to tragically ending his athletic career that night while defying logic and doing what others told him that he could not do.
Lesnar, as I pointed out a couple of days ago, loves to be jeered...the louder the better. Brock takes his game to another level when he knows that it's him against the world. Former OU and Dallas Cowboys Coach Barry Switzer went into the College Football Hall of Fame and won three National Titles and a Super Bowl with that coaching style, "it's us against the world and the world wants to see us lose."
When Lesnar, who detested the travel and emotional demands of WWE's schedule, was the most "hated villain" on the roster he was at his happiest in sports entertainment.
Plus, let's not forget that some people genuinely enjoy being a badass bully. Lesnar, in a ring, mat, or octagon, embraces that persona. Brock may say that he did not like school but the South Dakota farm boy is far from being a dumb jock. Lesnar has plenty of common sense and knows, as Eric Bischoff wrote, that controversy does in deed create cash.
The UFC knows that as well. All great promoters get that basic element of selling tickets and pay per views.
UFC told a compelling story that had a 17 month arc beginning with Lesnar's first match, the tap out loss to Mir, culminating strategically with the main event at UFC 100 that was built on the time tested story of retribution and revenge, two basic human instincts. Long, story telling arcs are gold whether it be in MMA, boxing, or in pro wrestling.
Lesnar is seemingly so detested right now by MMA purists and fanatics that they will continue to pay big money to see someone humble Lesnar and "kick his ass." Even the Russian, Fedor, will likely be the crowd favorite against Lesnar if that fight ever happens.
Bottom line is the next man to beat Lesnar is "made."
I probably watch as much ESPN as the next guy but Saturday night late one, wise arse SportsCenter, talking head made light of UFC 100 by saying something with a sarcastic delivery to the respect of "what a nice, entertaining way to spend your weekend." This was the same "news" show that showed clips of the Annual Wife Carrying Contest in Sweden earlier this week. Just keep counting your on camera minutes, pal, and reading off your prompter. Let the rest of us enjoy what we choose.
My feedback to UFC 100 is normally not taken well within the MMA community, because I'm a "Pro Wrestling Guy" you know but I am a sports fan and am simply offering one paying customer's point of view.
On a side note, I received an email today from JBL who ran with the bulls earlier today in Pamplona, Spain and survived unscathed as I understand it. John send me a link to a website of a fellow who wasn't so lucky and can be viewed if you're not too squeamish at www.SanFermin.com. JBL said running with the bulls was akin to wrestling the Big Show. There is no question that John Layfield is living his life to the fullest which is damn admirable.
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