I gave the show a thumbs up. The show started hot with the prelims but the actual FOX fights were a bit of a let down.
Best Fight: Dunham vs. Lentz
Worst Fight: Russow vs. Einemo
Best KO: Cub Swanson
Best Sub: Charles Oliveira
Lavar Johnson vs. Joey Beltran - The early strategy of going to the body and leg kicks seemed to be the way to go against Beltran's concrete head as the early body punch seemed to really hurt him but those was an amazing flurry of uppercuts to Mexicute Beltran for an impressive UFC debut.
Shane Roller vs. Michael Johnson - Johnson's striking was definitely superior to Roller's scoring great combinations in the 1st & 2nd. Herb Dean made the right call with the blows to the back of the head to give Roller a warning in the 3rd. Great 3rd by Roller. Smart move by Johnson to let him up in the 3rd once he escaped the body triangle as he was definitely winning the stand up. Johnson deserved the decision winning the first two rounds. Roller is in trouble of being future endeavored. He had a great start in WEC but he really needs to improve his striking game to survive at this level in UFC.
Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely - I have always loved to watch Oliveira fight and he continued to entertain here. Great presence to figure four Wisey's leg after the heel hook attempt to get the unique sub. He is going to be a force at featherweight.
Cub Swanson vs. George Roop - this was a great back and forth stand up fight, they were really evenly matched. It was a great KO to end it and I especially loved the slow mo of the right hand followed by Roop's mouthpiece flying out and rebounding off the cage. Would be a great still picture to hang in a sports bar if someone was able to capture it.
Mike Russow vs. Jon Olav Einemo - Russow imposed his will in this fight and deserved the decision but it was not very exciting. The first disappointing fight of the prelims.
Evan Dunham vs. Nik Lentz - Thought this was the fight of the night so far. Another really evenly matched fight. Dunham really came on in the 2nd and looked impressive in the win.
The prelims really delivered here again.
Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman - The puzzling career of Demian Maia continues. He did not look impressive here at all and seemed to gas as quickly as Weidman who had short notice for the fight. I would think if Weidman had more time to train for this fight he would have destroyed Maia.
Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen - Neither looked like they would have much of a chance against Silva after this performance. It was not the Chael Sonnen we saw dominate a very tough Brian Stann. Sonnen's post match interview in third person Rock talk sure sounded good but it wasn't backed up by his performance in the cage tonight. Third round was definitely Sonnen's but the first two could have gone either way. Lucky for UFC the big money fight wasn't pissed away by a Bisping win but Sonnen really needed a dominate performance here to draw some serious buys, his talking can only sell so many PPV's. The Countdown shows will be a big part of selling the Sonnen vs Silva rematch to casual fans after this one.
Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis - It will be interesting to see how the ratings on the main event go. Not an overly exciting main event but it least it lasted more than a round. The overun may help but you have people tuning into a rerun of the Big Bang Theory. Rashad steadily imposed his win in his striking with a lesser reach and his wrestling was superior to Davis as well. Wasn't overly impressed with Jones on the commentating desk. Couture did a good job. Jones seemed to look down a lot and not make eye contact with the camera and nervously kept swiveling in his chair. He seemed a bit uncomfortable in this role even though he showed none in his late night talk show appearances he has had.
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I'm looking forward to the Condit vs Diaz PPV. I really like Condit but I think Diaz will outstrike him and the volume of punches will be the difference.
Enjoy Royal Rumble tomorrow night. Check out my Royal Rumble Observer special. Email me for details.
I give tonight's show a thumbs down.
Best fight: Sonnen vs. Bisping
Worst fight: Evans vs. Davis (Weidman vs. Maia was a worse 3-round fight, but having Evans-Davis go 5 made it worse for me)
There is nothing to say here that won't already be obvious to most. We will see when ratings come out, but UFC could have potentially lost big with such a lackluster show, despite seemingly having won by getting 2 fights that they really wanted for 2012. I couldn't help but think that if I were someone watching UFC for the first time tonight, I would have changed channels after one round of Maia-Weidman and never looked back.
I don't think there is any doubt that interest in both Sonnen-Silva and Jones-Evans is lower now than it was before this show started, something that I would have thought was impossible if you had asked me three hours ago. Sonnen especially looked silly for the promo he cut, considering that his fight was so close (I actually thought Bisping won 29-28). Its one thing to talk about how great you are after taking Anderson Silva to the limit; its another thing altogether to do the same after barely getting past Michael Bisping. The first makes you a good promo, the second makes you a caricature. He may still be good enough to cut some money-making promos for the rematch with Silva, but he has pretty much lost all believability and credibility by this point.
Keep up your great work!
Daniel J. Della Posta
Thumbs in the middle
Best fight Chael Sonnen vs Michael Bisping
Worst fight Chris Weidman vs Damian Mai
Don't get Fuel so didn't get to watch prelims which is a shame cause looks like I missed some good action. The Fox portion of the show had 1 really good fight in Sonnen vs Bisping, one ok fight in Evans vs Davis and one terrible fight in Maia vs Weidman.
Prelims: Thumbs up
Main card: Thumbs in the middle
Best: Lentz vs. Dunham
Worst: Russow vs. Einemo
Best Sub: Oliveira
Best KO: Swanson slightly over Johnson due to the epic mouthpiece fly out
This is where matchmaking comes into play. Joe Silva so evenly matched the main card that the results were kind of meh due to the even match up of the competitors. This is refected in my best and worst which were all in the prelim fights. The main card fights were so evenly matched that they resulted in a lot of stalemates and unsatisfactory endings. I must say that Michael Bisping did better than I thought and deserved better than a 30-27 loss. Either way, neither man looked like he had anything for Anderson Silva. I am glad that Rashad Evans won so I can see him and Bones Jones duke it out once and for all. BTW, Jones needs to stop looking at his notes during a live broadcast.
Not a good week for Dana White. First he goes heads up against Anonymous over UFC's support for the SOPA Bill ( Apparently he didn't see how that worked out for Sony. ) then he puts on UFC on FOX2 in what was a train wreck of a show. I knew it was going to be a bad show when Kurt Meneffe didn't know what to call Jon Jones. Hey Curt if you were stuck you could have just adlibbed and said "Champ" that is assuming you knew that he was the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion bbt I hae assuming. Hello Chicago did u really spend $250 a pop to go a fight and sit on your hands? No worries though you could always pop in a WEC or UFC event from Sacramento and we can show you how it's supposed to go down Your city sucked the life out of this broadcast. Speaking of sucking the life out of things.... Chris Weidman vs Demian Maia sucked the after-life out of this zombie island crowd with a bad sloppy fight with both guys gassing and not looking good. Why Zuffa Corp felt the need to plaster Damian Meia on Network television after he embarrassed the company when he all but refused to fight against Anderson Silva in Dubai I will never understand but I doubt they make the mistake thrice. Chael Sonnen Have you lost your got damn mind? Channeling the Rock for your post fight interview with Joe Rogan, a man who is a much bigger celebrity than you was hilarious. Hilarious for all the wrong reasons. YOU LOOKED LIKE AN IDIOT. It wasn't clever, it wasn't funny and worst of all it wasn't original. Probably looked good in the bathroom mirror but on UFC FOX2 millions and the BonZ means MILLIONS of American's saw you look like a jackass in HIGH DEFINITION. The attempt at getting Rashad Evan cheap heat by pimping out his brothers service in military was tacky and felt very inauthentic. Rashad is an admitted heel, don't start insulting my intelligence ZUFFOX! Suga winning by 5 round bring decision shouldn't have caught many by surprise. This was a bad show from start to finish and things with FOX couldn't have started out worse. Why do i feel like I'm reviewing RAW? Oh well the homie Nick Diaz fights in 7 days in what should be an instant classic, until then keep me away from sharp objects and ledges. Out
The lethargic voice over by Michael Clark Duncan to kick off the opening was so bizarre and muted. Just because he's a celebrity and actor about to drop on a FOX mid-season series doesn't make him proper for that role. Show him on screen, it's more effective. But that's a small, small bitch.
Wait- one more: The NASCAR driver they gave TV time to looked rather unpleased with the appearance and like he couldn't wait to get out of there. That couldn't come across as less cool, hip or forced. Not a good move. Especially when considering the star power of show 1 from LA. Also, marrying NASCAR with UFC is not peanut butter with jelly in terms of branding strategies.
There was no life or energy to these fights or the overall show. The overall vibe was very subdued and sterilized. It didn't feel like the young generation's sport and instead came across like a cable TV boxing special which does not do anything for UFC moving forward in terms of gaining new rabid fans from the casual spectrum of the potential audience.
UFC does not feel like the cool, dynamic new kid in combat or sports tonight. It felt like a show that had a flat card, flat crowd and while that can be an anomaly, perception can and does often become reality. 2012 is going to be a very revealing year for UFC"s future.