UFC 113: 10 Things Learned
Controversy had no chance to rear his ugly head in the most anticipated rematch of the year, as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua knocked out Lyoto Machida three-and-a-half minutes to the first round to become the undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion.
Even before final flurry that ended the night, Machida had scored two separate takedowns, but was unable to maintain position for very long. He also ate a solid shot that staggered him, showing that the problems Rua presented in the first meeting remained.
Shortly thereafter, “Shogun” scored the finish, pouncing into full mount as soon as had Machida stunned. Unlike the first meeting, there is nothing left to debate: “Shogun” is the champ, and now he has the belt to prove it.
2. Round Three?
Before last night, I would have bet you a good amount of money that I certainly don’t have that Rua and Machida would end up meeting for a third time. Now, I’m not so sure.
For starters, the UFC isn’t keen on rematches. More importantly, perhaps, is that you can make a case for Rua being ahead 2-0 against Machida, and the definitive finish of last night’s fight will mean that the now former champion will have to do a great deal of work to avenge the first loss of his career.
3. High-Five Dana!
News broke immediately following the event that the UFC had cut Paul Daley. For this, I give Dana White a high-five.
White was extremely vocal in his disgust for the antics from Strikeforce: Nashville, and the instant Daley connect, I commented to my wife that this was an opportunity for Dana to put his muscle where his mouth is… and he did, swiftly.
For a sport on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream and gaining more acceptance by the day, unsportsmanlike and unacceptable actions like Daley’s can be a lightning rod for criticism and avoidance. Now, Dana White has shown that he too doesn’t accept it, and that sends a very strong and important message.
4. Thumbs Down, Josh Koscheck
C’mon, dude. Seriously.
I have no problem with playing the villain, talking all kinds of smack about standing with Daley and grinding out a win on the ground because that is where you hold a distinct advantage, but full on faking a knee is close to being as unsportsmanlike as punching someone in the face after the final bell.
I said close.
What irks me more about the situation is that this guy is now being rewarded with a prize position as a coach on TUF 12, and a title shot against Georges St-Pierre. He did the work throughout the fight, rightfully earning the unanimous decision, but the acting job leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
5. Stephens – Stout Scoring
I will never – ever – understand how one man can watch a contest, score it 30-27 for one fighter, and someone watching the same fight can offer up a score of 29-28 for the other fighter. Just doesn’t make sense.
Jeremy Stephens earned the win; he was the aggressor, landed the more powerful strikes and had Stout wobbled on a couple different occasions. He also lost the final round, so only the 29-28 score the lone lucid judge submitted makes sense to me.
Let’s hear it people – how can we fix this constant conundrum?
6. More Than Just a Meathead
Matt Mitrione is becoming a mixed martial artist, not just a former football player who likes to throw bombs and act aloof. He showed that improvement last night, thoroughly dismantling Kimbo Slice.
The most impressive part of the performance was the different submission attempts Mitrione threw at Kimbo, including a close call with a triangle and an anaconda choke. Let me say that again: Matt Mitrione came close to ending his second professional fight with an anaconda choke.
7. Kimbo’s 15 Minute are Up!
We need to just be done with this.
People are going to stop tuning in to see Kimbo, now that they’ve seen him horribly exposed for what he’s been all along – a great talker with not enough skills to back up the hype. He’s worked hard, I’ll give him that, but at 36-years-old and on the wrong end of a very one-sided beating, what’s left for him?
Note: I don’t mean done from the UFC, because Dana White confirmed that Kimbo has been cut. I mean done from major MMA competition. Please Strikeforce, don’t sign him.
8. “The Talent” is Shining Through
Alan Belcher is starting to live up to his nickname, earning another win – and a four-straight bonus check – by submitting hometown boy Patrick Cote in the second round.
What is most impressive (at least to me) is that Belcher took some serious shots from Cote and never stopped moving forward. Cote is one of the hardest punchers in the sport according to Joe Rogan, Mike Goldberg and many others, and Belcher didn’t so much as flinch.
Then he dropped Cote on his face and swarmed in for the finish, sinking in a choke on the dazed and confused Cote. And no one should be surprised Belcher called out Anderson Silva in the post-fight interview. It’s not the first time he’s stated he wants a chance with the champ.
A couple more performances like that could give Belcher what he wants.
9. Epic Friday, Epic Fail Saturday
Damn you, Tom Lawlor!
It’s hard not to like “The Filthy Mauler,” what with his outstanding entrances and Friday’s awesome Dan Severn tribute at the weigh-ins. But come show time, something is missing. Lawlor was this close to putting away veteran Joe Doerksen, but punched himself into exhaustion.
Round two started and you knew he was done. Doerksen landed some solid strikes, Lawlor caught his leg for a takedown, got reversed, gave up his back and succumbed to a rear naked choke from “El Dirte.”
Maybe instead of working on his weigh-in appearances and entrances, Lawlor should amp up the cardio efforts so that one two-minute stretch of punching doesn’t lead to an epic failure on fight night.
10. Home Court Advantage Doesn’t Exist in MMA
Seven Canadians on the fight card in Montreal, six came away with a fresh tick in the “L” column. Only Joe Doerksen managed to score a victory. If you didn’t know it before, you sure know it now – there is absolutely no home court advantage in mixed martial arts.
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @ESpencerKyte