UFC 171 feedback plus Bellator feedback

Thumbs Up! Watched both, the PPV and Showtime's Boxing card, so for the first 3 fights didn't pay much attention to UFC. Woodley vs. Condit was good while it lasted. Too bad for Carlos. He joins the Anderson Silva club. Two high profile fights stopped due to injuries in less than 3 months in are just too much. It's not anyone's fault but those type of finish really hurts the sport.
Best Fight: Hendricks vs. Lawler. Excellent fight. Didn't need to see the whole card to know that this was the best thing on the show. Even Diego Sanchez couldn't surpass this. It was an all-action brutal brawl. The only bad spot was Hendricks' last takedown at the end of Round 5. From a competitive standpoint was the right call because that ensured the round for him, but from an entertainment point of view it was anti-climate because it took away the drama. The rest of the fight was 5-Rounds of heavy hitting. Hendricks not only showed the skills of a champion but also the heart. His face was a mess, specially his eye. Lawler in the other hand looked perfectly fine at the post-fight interviews. Funny how that works. Hendricks' reaction after winning the title was awesome. One really filled glad for the guy. Fight of the Year candidate!

Leonardo Mendez
San Sebastian, PR

This weekend reminded me a lot of one a few years ago in which two all-time great fights took place. With Alvarez vs Chandler 1 and Hendo vs Shogun 1, that weekend was hard to top. This weekend offered two  highly awesome fights in Curran vs Strauss 3 and Hendricks vs Lawler. This weekend one title switched hands, and another was awarded to a deserving champion. What a great weekend for MMA fans.
Thumbs up for UFC. Really bummed to see Condit get injured. Imagine him and Hendricks! Lawler took Johnny to where no one has taken him before, and he almost finished him midway through the fight. As someone who holds the Militech camp above almost anything in my fondness for MMA since 1993, I hope he gets another go at it. Hendricks seemed to understand they would meet again.
The rest of the card was solid. It's hard to see Shields get rag-dolled around, but he still almost caught Lombard after all that powerful dry-humping.
Best Fight: Hendricks vs. Lawler
Worst Fight: Lombard vs. Shields
Also really digging the Bellator season. This week's main card had. Three round war, two finishes by knockout, and one by sub in the final seconds of a title fight.
Matt Wright

Great weekend of MMA with two FotY candidates.


Thumbs up. Almost all entertaining card with outstanding performances and an off the chart main event.
Best fight: Straus vs. Curran
Worst fight: Gomez vs. J. Guida
Best performances: Curran, Koreshkov, Oropeza, Muhammad, Caldwell
Worst performances: Guida, Gomez
KO: Koreshkov, Oropeza
Sub: Caldwell

Successful pro debut from HW Daniel James, overpowering outsized and obese Erick Correa for a 2ndR G&P submission. Anthony Gomez sweeps the cards with one reasonable 30-26 over Clay Guida's useless brother Jason in a pathetic display at 215 flabweight. Derek Loffler card sweep UDs the unorthodox and gutsy but not very effective Bobby Reardanz @ WW. Ex NCAA champion Darion Caldwell quickly jump knees and Guillotines, holding on despite being slammed, for the tap on Lance Surma in an 0 Must Go @ FW. 50s.  A little slow to break. Very impressive. Bilal Muhammad although undersized just too fluid and dominates all ranges for an upset 29-28X3 UD over AJ Matthews in the WW alternate fight. I didn't see a round Matthews won. In the first WW tourney fight, Nathan Coy avenges a previous SD loss with a 3 round paint job on Paul Bradley for a card sweep UD.

Opening the top card, Adam McDonough stays a step ahead of Jesse Juarez most of the way in a competitive mostly-grappling match to take a 29-28 UD in the next tourney fight and stay unbeaten.

In the next tourney fight, Sam Oropeza drops Cristiano Souza with a leaping right hook and finishes with G&P to the temple a couple minutes in.

In the last tourney quarterfinal, previous tourney winner Andrey Koreshkov quickly drops Nah-Shon Burrell with a body kick that clipped the chin with the knee and finishes him with G&P. 41s. Looking like a good bet to repeat. Kinda hard to see any of these other three guys hanging with him.

For the main, Curran won their first fight years ago by KO, then Straus recently upset Curran by onesided decision to take the FW title. Curran had been so impressive he was was given an immediate rematch rather than having to go back into a tourney. Straus had to cut his TM dreads off to make weight this time. Both these guys are huge for 145. 1: Curran gets off to a fast start this time, getting the better of the early striking, getting a TD and controlling most of the round on the ground. Straus threatens with a couple of subs. Curran 10-9. Last time Straus took over right away. 2: Curran does a 360 with his hands down and Straus drops him with a left hook and tries to finish but Curran able to make it up, but he's cut and swelling up. Rest of the round is fairly even tactical striking. Straus 10-9. 3: Straus not pressuring like usual. That was what won him the last fight. Curran getting off first. Straus gets the TD midround. Can't keep Curran down long. Curran pressing Straus into the cage, the opposite of last time. Straus drops Curran with a left late in the round. Keeps him down this time. I think Straus stole the round 10-9. 4: They open slugging and Straus getting the best of it. Curran clinches till the ref breaks it. Straus now starting to be first. Curran letting his hands go later in the round. Very close round. Curran maybe stole it. I would have scored it 10-10. Fight is either even or Straus slightly ahead going into the last round. 5: Curran busier. Muscles a late TD and takes back. Going for the RNC but not 100% sunk. Finally Straus has to tap with a few seconds left. Curran regains. Great fight. Wonder about Straus' fight plan though. Didnl;t do whjat won him the second fight. Also may sound silly but wouldn't minimize the effect of Straus having to cut his hair either. I remember Emmanuel Stewart and Thomas Hearns saying it was a bad idea to buzz long hair just before a fight, that Hearns had done it once and felt very weak, and Hearns never had his hair anywhere near as long as Straus'. Curran thought he was behind going into the 5th. The judges had it a split draw.

UFC 171

Thumbs up. Great undercard, top card dragged a tad in the middle but capped, as above, by an off the chart main event. Some incredibly shitty Texas Local Yokel judging, I'm guessing all from one guy, that fortunately doesn't result in any wrong winners. Also how creepy is it how much Brittany is making herself look like Arianny?
Best fight: Hendricks-Lawler, HM to the women and Gastelum-Story
Worst fight: Lombard-Shields and it wasn't THAT bad
Best performances: Strickland, Scoggins, Bermudez, OSP
Worst performance: Shields
KO: Bermudez
Sub: OSP

Rob Whiteford takes a competitive UD with one 30-27 over Daniel Pineda in the FW weblim opener. He could have made it easier by being a little more aggressive. Super impressive UFC debut by unbeaten late sub Sean Strickland, dominating before tapping Bubba McDaniel with RNC late in the 1st @MW. Justin Scoggins showing a ridiculous (in a positive sense) blend of karate and wrestling techniques at age 21 and even more ridiculous conditioning puts a total skunking on the far more experienced Will Campuzano for a card sweep UD @FlyW. You could have called every round 10-8. Renee Forte missed weight and gasses after a good 1stR and Frank Trevino able to take over the fight for the 29-28 UD. Forte maybe a little too thick to be making 155 (he fought@ 185 in TUF Brazil).

On the TV midcard, Alex Garcia opens with a 29-28X2, 30-27 UD over Sean Spencer in a WW fight which featured some great back and forth action and a Rocky movie 2ndR. Garcia very aggressive for a Farah Salami fighter but overmuscled and might want to lean down a little, up his cardio.  Dennis Bermudez way too strong and active and dominates the entire fight, scoring a KD in the 2nd and finishes sub ace Jimy Hettis in the 3rd when the ref steps in after several KDs @FW. Bermudez now on a 6 fight streak. Badly outsized Jessica Andrade takes  a debatable 29-28 SD over Raquel Pennington, who seemed to have won the 2nd and 3rd. Andrade is no way a BW and would be better off dropping to 115. Very good fight, FotN most nights. So would Kelvin Gastelum vs. Rick Story. Gastelum took 3 tries to make WW but didn't show it in the 1st, pasting Story the entire round, dropping him with a HK and having him in trouble. I scored it 10-8. The cut got to him in the 2nd and Story fought his way back in, dropping Gastelum late and pounding on him and stealing the round. The 3rd was back and forth sustained action and I had it 10-10 for a 29-28 the hard way for Gastelum, but in general principles it should have been a draw. Judges go 29-28 split and one total bullshit Mexican Fighter In Texas 30-27 for Gastelum.

Ovince St. Preaux opens the top card with a quick TD and shocking Von Plug Choke putting Nikita Krylov, comig down from HW to LHW, to sleep. It was just with his left arm and shoulder from side control without even using his lat, with Krylov foolishly holding onto a Guillotine. Major props to Mirgliotta for being on top of it as nobody else in the arena or watching on TV realized what was happening. OSP never showed anything approaching this level of technique before.

Hector Lombard puts a total skunking on Jake Shields in the first big WW fight of the night, nailing him at will and totally dominating all grappling aspects with rediscovered Judo, but alienates the fans and probably Dana by not taking any chances with Shields' sub game, just keeping top control and waiting for standups. Shields was reduced to repeatedly trying a shitty left round kick to the body that would have sucked even if it landed. Probably that same judge somehow gave Shields a round.

Miles Jury turns in a measured performance @LW, completely controlling Diego Sanchez, busting him up, and not letting him pull off his usual 3rdR heroics. Same (I'm betting) judge somehow gives Sanchez a round. Jury stays unbeaten.

In a possible WW title shot eliminator, Tyron Woodley comes in looking maybe a hair leaned down, probably a good idea, and dominates the 1st over perennial top contender Carlos Condit, scoring with long rights early and hitting two late TDs, both times escaping from Condit triangles. Condit has some moments striking midround. T-Wood's round and looks to maybe be starting to fade, but hits another TD early in the 2nd that has Condit wincing. After a ref standup becomes clear why, when Tyron lands a hard LK that spins Condit around and the supporting leg collapses under him, ending the fight. Little flukey but all coming off effective attacks from Woodley and nothing to bitch about.

Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler rip it up for the vacent WW title. Hendricks looks completely recovered from missing weight and looking shaky on the scale. Surprisingly Hendricks mixes up hand and leg attacks, while Lawler only boxes, opposite from expectations, Hendricks looking very sharp to take the first 2 rounds. Lawler comes to life in the 3rd, using leg kicks and s heavy jab,  to open up his punches and lands about a dozen clean head shots and has Hendricks in some trouble to take the 3rd wide. He continues to dominate throughout most of the 4th working off his jab. Hendricks finally completes a TD late in the round but still Lawler's round and the fight is even going into the 5th. Hendricks proves to have the deeper gas tank, failing to get the early TD but working Lawler into the cage for the first couple of minutes. Lawler rocks him with a combo but then looks to gas and Hendricks has him reeling for most of the next 2 minutes, and caps it by securing a TD with 1m left and keeping Lawler down for the rest of the round and taking the obvious 48-47 UD... BUT: one judge, revealed as 'Crosby', somehow gives Hendricks a 10-8 in the competitive 2nd and scores the onesided 5th 10-10. Maybe his seeing eyed dawg spilled his beer on his cup of pencils. Wanna bet if he was responsible for those other scores too?
Crimson Mask

Thumbs in the middle show for me. (Main card only)
Worst fight was Shields v Lombard
It started off fine, but Lombard seem to gas out and fought smart to see out the next 2 rounds. His judo throws looked impressive.
Enjoyed the yes chant breaking out in the first round of Sanchez / Jury, apart from that the fight didn't offer much. Jury fought smart against Sanchez wild man approach.
I thought Woodley was on top against Condit before he stopped him.
Best fight was Hendricks v Lawler
I had it level at 2 rounds a piece going into the 5th probably like most people. I thought Lawler would have the momentum out of the 2 but the way Hendricks turned it around and took the round was a sign a real champion. What a great fight.
Sean Coleman, Manchester UK

I gave the card a solid thumbs up, a lot of really great fights on this card
Best Fight: Hendricks vs Lawler but hats off to Garcia vs Spencer & Andrade vs Pennington which were both outstanding as well
Worst Fight: Lombard vs Shields
Best Performances: too bad there can only be two tonite as so many people stood out on this card that this could go to...I'll say Garcia & Spencer since Lawler & Hendricks should get bonuses already but would love to see the ladies get it as well
Alex Garcia vs. Sean Spencer - Nice was to start the televised prelims off, both these guys had a lot of heart. During that 2nd round every time they threw something you were wondering who was going to go down first.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Jimy Hettes - Bermudez had a great solid performance and may have been his best to date. A solid opponent and at no time did he look like he would be in trouble. Hettes was just overwhelmed by his strength and aggression.
Jessica Andrade vs. Raquel Pennington - Loved this fight! These ladies were throwing down like rock em sock em robots in flurries. This could have gotten fight of the night on many cards but not tonight. Both upped their stock and cant wait to see them again.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Rick Story - Another exciting back & forth fight. Gastelum was saved by the bell at the end of the 2nd but recovers between rounds and comes back to win the 3rd and the fight. Everyone is out to win best performance bonus tonite..love it!
Nikita Krylov vs. Ovince St. Preux - The choke didn't look like it had much pressure on the left side of Krylov's neck the way his arm was positioned but he must have been cutting the circulation off with his shoulder. St Preux has a great look and gets an impressive submission here. Krylov looked like he was out for a long time.
Hector Lombard vs. Jake Shields - The string of good fights ends here. Lombard stuffs every takedown attempt & Shields has no answer for Lombard's power but Lombard reverts back to his UFC debut fight and cant do anything every time he takes Shields down. Shields gives up in the 3rd and doesn't seem to make finishing Lombard a priority when he must know he was down 2 rounds. Not sure what the one judge was thinking giving Shields a round unless he thought the guillotine at the end of the 3rd was worthy of winning a round.
Diego Sanchez vs. Myles Jury - Diego's cage face is awesome. Jury wasn't intimidated by it or Sanchez' experience and fought his game plan well picking him apart and not wanting to get into a slugfest with him. Solid win for Jury here as he moves up the rankings.
Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley - was looking forward to this fight as am a Condit fan since his WEC days. Too bad the fight had to end via a TKO as was looking to see how Woodley would do in later rounds. Huge win for Woodley here and another non top 10 fighter beats a ranked opponent. Will be interesting to see how the rankings change in welterweight division after tonite.
Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler - Hendricks wasn't his usual aggressive self in the 1st round respecting Lawler's KO power as they both felt each other out. It definitely picked up from there and turned into an awesome fight that came down to the 5th round. Great performance by both and would love to see them go at it again. Maybe Condit gets Lawler next and the winner fights the Hendricks vs Woodley winner.
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Happy St Patrick's Day!
Grant Zwarych
Official Index of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter

The UFC was a thumbs up show. Best Fight was Hendricks vs. Lawler. This was a great fight to get the new champ over. Worst Fight was Shields vs. Lombard. The bar I went to Twin Peaks was full, and outdoor seating was full as well. It didn't have the over flow of the big fights though.
Pete Schirmacher