Weekend feedback: UFC 136, Bellator, Sonnen

As a promotional tactic, this couldn’t have been stronger, but what some might be overlooking is also what a brilliant strategy this was to beat Anderson Silva.  Although Chael is a strong fighter who matches up well against Silva, it was obvious that Chael’s trash talk got into Anderson Silva’s head for their first fight.  Because of that, I figured Anderson Silva would be more relaxed in a rematch since the fighting would be the only thing he’d have to focus on, since the same insults probably wouldn’t have the same effect as before.  But when Chael Sonnen threw down the gauntlet with those stipulations, it changed the game and immediately put Silva on edge.

First of all, Silva has to accept these stips, or he’ll look like as much of a pussy as a RAW babyface, so it already throws him off.  It also shows that Chael still has no fear of Anderson, despite actually being finished by Anderson in their first fight, which Silva was probably hoping for.

If it was a simple, “Loser Leaves Division”, it could be seen as Chael looking ahead since he already offered to fill in against Rashad Evans earlier this year, giving himself an out to lose.  But by putting his UFC career on the line, Anderson sees that Chael means business (because there is no career out of the UFC anymore) and has no intentions of losing.  Meaning either he will not hold back in his fury, or if he has a clear points lead, will secure the win, rather than making himself vulnerable by going for a finish when he doesn’t have to, like the first fight. 

If it was “Loser Leaves UFC” for both guys, that might sell the show, but it wouldn’t be smart for Chael as Silva would be just as motivated to win as him.  But for it to be Silva merely leaving the weight class, it gives Silva an out.  After all what more does Silva have to prove as middleweight champion?  He beat everyone in the division for years, including Chael Sonnen.  The light heavyweight division offers him a new challenge, which he’s already dipped into with Griffin & Irvin, and with all the talk of Jon Jones, he has a new goal to reinvigorate his career.  What Chael did was plant a seed in Silva’s head that it’s ok to lose.  The only thing Silva could do to diffuse Sonnen’s heat would be to say he’s moving to light heavyweight even if he wins, but even that might reveal his insecurities about beating Sonnen.

I’m not saying it’s an easy win for Chael all of a sudden, but he is definitely in Anderson’s head as much, if not more so than the first fight.  I don’t know how long Chael took to calculate his challenge, but it was the smartest possible challenge he could make to hurt Silva mentally.  This promo/angle really distinguished MMA from wrestling, in that it not only sold buys like wrestling, but also increased his chances of winning in a legitimate fighting contest.

Steve Te Tai ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )  

Hi Dave,
Working out of town this weekend but caught UFC at a Boston Pizza.
Bar was dead. I counted 33 people in the bar watching.
I gave the show a definite Thumbs Up
Best Fight: Leonard Garcia vs Nan Phan
Worst Fight: Demian Maia vs Jorge Santiago
Best KO: Frankie Edgar
Best Sub" Joe Lauzon
I picked Stephens going into the fight. Stephens had the right game
plan of taking Pettis down but couldn't do much when he got him there.
Pettis didn't show too much "Showtime" here but he did deserve the
decision. If Stephens could have gotten Pettis down on those judo
throws or done more damage the times he got him down he would have
taken this. Pettis grabbed the cage twice stopping two Stephans
takedowns which could have changed this outcome.
Wasn't much to this fight. Maia couldn't do much on the ground where
he should have had superiority.
Fight of the night in my eyes, slightly edging out Edgar vs Maynard.
Sonnen looked great here. Smart game plan staying away from Stann's
power and totally controlled him on the ground. Beautiful setup for
the finish. If he is steroid free for this fight the Silva rematch
could be interesting. Speaking of...after that promo (and the build we
know is coming), if that fight doesn't do more than a million buys I
would be shocked. Getting re-licensed in California will become a very
interesting issue going forward. This would sellout the 100,000
attendance soccer stadium in Brazil for sure but I cant see them
running that Superbowl weekend. And would Sonnen get out of Brazil
alive if he won...or lost?  Will Silva accept the terms? If Sonnen
loses will he come back under a mask as the Dirty Yellow Dog or the
Midnight Rider? If he comes back under a mask and wins the title, will
Dana White ask him to unmask as UFC cannot have a masked world
champion? Will he then refuse and give back the title to protect his
identity and people will still know he is the uncrowned world
champion? Will Silva then demand he be reinstated to get revenge and
put up his wife in the tiebreaker? The possibilities are endless. Why
can't a WWE or TNA angle have this much excitement?
Again, Jose looks human and not as dominant as in the past. Is it the
calibre of opponent he faced in WEC? I still don't think Florian
should have received  a title shot after only one victory in that
weight class. Also's leg kicks were brutal. I was hoping to see Aldo
knock Kenflo out but alas was disappointed.
OMG! Flashbacks of their last fight. Edgar is all heart and proved why
he is the champion here. Maynard looked so much bigger and in a
totally different weight class. This was an amazing comeback and a
great KO to end the night.
On a TNA note...I am loving the build they are giving to Bobby Roode
and his title fight. Just hope they don't screw it up like everything
else they have done as of late. The vignettes of Roode have been a
real good build to make this a special fight. I have said for a long
time that Roode will be world champ as he has the it factor. Great in
the ring, on the mic, and has great charisma. My wish....give Roode
the title and let him keep it for one year, yes at least one year.
None of this weekly title switch bullshit to try to pop ratings or
parity booking. Build the title around him to mean something. Don't
have James Storm turn on him for at least 1 year. Do you hear me TNA,
1 year! Don't have him turn on him the night he wins the title or the
following week on Impact. Have him be the AA enforcer type role but
have him drop very subtle verbal and physical hints for a year
building to their eventual feud, it will make it mean so much more and
make the feud more memorable. When he finally turns he can reference
back to all the subtle hints that were done the previous year leading
up to the turn. Storm has done a great job for so long in tags in both
AMW & BM and being in the singles spotlight the last two weeks has
really made him shine with the great match vs Angle and now the one vs
Roode. Let's make wrestling matter again.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians and enjoy the rest of
your weekend to all other readers.
Grant Zwarych

Thumbs in the middle. Entertaining if not very competitive undercard more than cancelled out by a lousy main with a shitty, hometown decision. They also adopt the idiotic 'half point' scoring idea and then fail to use it in any way that makes sense.
Best fight: The opener, Khran vs. Chiappe, at least they took turns
Worst fight: The main, Jimmo vs. Sokoudjou. Horrible in every way.
KO: Adam Lynn
Sub: Kajan Johnson
The overmuscled Chaippe beat up on 'Genghis' Krahn (great nickname) for a minute or two, then Krahn reversed it and got the RNC for the tap. Fun while it lasted.
Terry Martin, blaming his recent slump on hand injuries incurred when left too long in over tight cuffs by the cops, blew away somebody named Hope, whose nickname should be 'No'.
In a matchup of Muay Thai fighters, Maromo battered Fadai for all three rounds, all of which were at best what an '8.5 round' is supposed to be, only to receive no better than a 30-27 UD. Brilliant.
Kajan Johnson outclassed Whitsun, who they're pushing as a great white hope, before securing a rapid tap.
Adam Lynn watched Curtis Demarce jump around with his silly hair and sillier style for a few seconds then knocked him cold with one punch.
Jimmo and Sokoudjou stunk the joint out for 5 rounds. Sok at least went 5 without gassing, though they didn't burn that much energy even combined. Sok clearly did more than enough to win the snoozefest, despite the ref breaking it anytime he came close to landing something, and the judges finished the ripoff. I swear I think TQ has deliberately made Sok a lousy fighter so they can laugh at him at the Republican Party meetings. Here's this guy, hits like a mule, 6'6" reach at lightheavyweight, and doesn't know what a jab is. Meanwhile he seems to be turning into as big a jerkoff as the rest of them.
Thumbs WAY up. Best card of the week.
Best fight: Lima-Lozano
Worst fight: none
KO: Lima
Sub: Saunders although every fight other than the Lima fight ended with a good to great sub, which again to me is why we watch MMA.
They got the heavyweights out of the way quick as Brazilian elephant Santos makes short work of American elephant Burns. Short fun fight that ended before anybody could gas and be embarrassing. Santos will replace the injured Not That Michael Hayes in the HW tourney.
Ronnie Mann earned his way into the next BW (I think) tourney with a sharp dismantling of Foster. Raked him from long range then secured the triangle on the ground.
The Arm Snatcher Santana notches yet another arm bar sub over the outmatched Darrell Cobb.
Douglas Lima, who is also the MFC champion (or relinquished it to fight in Bellator, which how can you blame him) outboxed and outpunched feared striker Chris Lozano before ending matters with a single right hand in the 2nd. Scary performance as he can also take an arm or leg home with him about any time he wants.
Rickels opened Avera up badly in the 1st before putting him away with a triangle in the 2nd.
ex-UFC Ben Saunders made you wonder why they fired him with as impressive a Jits display as I can remember, tying Luis Santos (himself a JJ and Judo BB) in knots before ending it with an Amricana from HG in the 3rd. Saunders clearly won ther first two rounds fighting from his back, although I don't know what the cards were. Saunders and Lima will fight in the WW tourney final which should be something to see. Bellator is delivering in terms of quality but I think Saturday nights is a BAD idea.
UFC 136
Thumbs up. Couple three so so fights but the card as a whole delivers.
Best fight: Phan-Garcia
Worst fight: Elkins-Quan, Maia-Santiago, and Aldo-Florian weren't a whole lotta fun
KO: Frankie
Sub: Lauzon and Chael
Massenzio and Cantwell get the prelims off to a good start. Massenzio comes from behind to win the clear decision. Cantwell has skills but can't seem to put it together.
Aaron Simpson does a three round paint job on Eric Schafer, and maybe should have finished but seemed to hurt his hands or something in the 3rd and coasts to a decision. First two rounds should have been 10-8 as Simpson battered Schafer at will, boxed him silly, busted him up, dropped him in both rounds, and Schafer landed nothing.
Elkions-Zhang was repetitive and boring. Zhang only seemed to have one grappling move in his repertoire. Kind of the Chinese Cody McKenzie. Elkins blankets his way to a wide UD in a lousy fight.
Miocic-Beltran was entertaining. Beltran always in much better shape than he looks. Miocic showed good, varied skills and could be a player in the HW division but needs to work on his conditioning, or maybe psychology, as he seemed to gas, but good win for his UFC debut.
Pettis and Stephens got the Spike prelims off to a good start with very close, fast paced three rounder. Pettis has improved his wrestling enough to control the fight enough to edge the split decision.
Maia and Santiago drop it in the toilet though. Maia has improved his standup enough to completely neutralize Jorge's and Jorge's JJ is good enough to defend Maia's JJ but not to attack and doesn't even try to. result is a stinker and  clear 30-27 for Maia.
Lauzon starts the main card off with a major bang by nailing an obviously overamped Guillard with a left hook jumping in and then calmly taking his back and transitioning from the RNC to Gable Grip for the tap in under a minute. Melvin spent some time away from Jackson's training for this  and that was obviously a mistake as his recently found mental control was not in evidence.
Phan and Garcia put on a much better fight than the first one, with Garcia at least somewhat maintaining discipline and Nam being much more focused and aggressive and following up on advantages.Texas local yokel ref of course breaks things quickly when it will help Garcia who comes on in the last round, but the judges surprisingly call it straight and give Nam the 29-28 UD.
Chael, as anybody with any sense knew he would, has a very easy night with Stann, and actually finishes a fight for a change, and cuts a great heel promo, challenging Anderson to Loser Leaves Town. Fat rednecks in the crowd jumping up and down going 'Yew're raht!' He's a douchebag but he can fight and he can sell tickets.
Florian fights a very smart fight against Aldo and IMO keeps it closer than the cards indicate, but Aldo although obviously weakened by the cut is still too strong. Aldo has not looked impressive lately and is going to have to go up in weight.
Deja vu all over again as Gray rocks Frankie in the first round and has him flopping around the ring (but not as bad as last time, this time it really is a 10-8 which according to something said at the presser ONLY ONE JUDGE GAVE HIM  [as opposed to last time when it was a 10-6 and only TWO judges gave him the 10-EIGHT]). This time Gray doesn't punch himself out but inexplicably doesn't do much anything else either, looking for the home run and ignoring his corner's imploring him to throw combinations, and allows Frankie back into the fight, Frankie is only too happy to oblige and completely takes over, beating Gray to the punch every time and is running away with the fight when he lands on the button in the 4th, and HE does not let it get away. Brilliant performance by Frankie, very very stupid performance by Gray. Dana at the presser insists that Frankie is the #2 P4P. Dunno about that but you can't not like the guy's work ethic.
Crimson Mask

Thumbs up
Best Fight:  Maynard vs Edgar
Worst Fight:  Aldo Florian
Imo Edgar is the best lightweight fighter in the world.  Both his head movement and footwork were great.  I thought Florian won over Aldo.  On my scores I had him winning rounds 1,2, &4 making it 48/47.  Florian just seemed to be more aggressive in those rounds and had him trapped up against the cage for most of them.
Mark Black
Pittsburgh, PA

Thumps Up
Best Fight : Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard
Thumbs up and a welcome return to form after several dreadful shows.
Fights always mean more when big names are fighting each other. Enough
with the TUF rejects and never has beens.
Chael hasn't lost a step. Great post match interview and obviously
another stip that won't be upheld. It's killing the business.
I'll never tire of seeing that fraud Florian lose. What's the deal
with Rogan always overplaying Florian's ability? So which weightclass
will Kenny drop to now? Maybe he can have a crack at the Strikeforce
women's Featherweight title? And who has the bigger nose, Florian or
HHH? Aldo was very conservative, again. We're still waiting for him to
cut loose inside a UFC cage.
Incredible main event. Maynard had one hand of the title but paid the
price for being overly cautious in the second round when he should
have pressed home his advantage. Maynard is too big to be fighting at
Lightweight but the Welterweight division is stacked. I'm not sure
where he goes from here.
M B Mehdi
    Hi Dave,                                                                                                                                            UFC 136:                                                                                                                - Thumbs up                                                                                                                        - Best match: Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard.  Nam Phan vs Leonard Garcia a close second.                                                                                                                                    - Worst match: Jose Aldo Jr vs Kenny Florian                                                                        Great third round in Phan vs Garcia.                                                                                        Excellent post match interview by Chael Sonnen .                                                                    Great first round in Edgar vs Maynard III                                                                                                                            Regards,                                                                                                                    James Stanios                                                                                                                    Sydney, Australia

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