UFC 123: Ten Things We Learned

Falcao Spoils Harris Showcase

No one told UFC newcomer that Gerald Harris was a fighter the UFC had some plans for in the middleweight division.

The Chute Boxe student came out hard and fast for the first two rounds of his debut bout, putting Harris in danger over the opening ten minutes before putting things on cruise control for the final frame en route to a unanimous decision victory. A former light heavyweight competitor, Falcao showed the power that has produced 21 TKO victories in his career, as well as the nasty streak the Curitiba, Brazil training center he represents in known for.

In the final moments of the first round, Falcao latched onto Harris’ neck with a rear naked choke. When the bell sounded to signal the end of the round, the Brazilian failed to release the hold, maintaining the choke even as referee Dan Miragliotta pushed him off his opponent.

With proven power and a highly-visible and dominant win in his debut, Falcao could be a fighter to watch in the 185-pound division in 2011.

“The Mr. Wonderful” is Born

Not only did Phil Davis manhandle Tim Boetsch on the way to his eighth-straight victory, but the impressive light heavyweight prospect also christened a new submission hold in the process.

The former Division I national champion showed his continually improving jiu jitsu skills, snatching Boetsch’s arm behind his back in what was almost a one-handed kimura. Talking with Joe Rogan after the win, the two officially named the hold “The Mr. Wonderful.”

Newly-minted submissions aside, Davis continued to show why many feel he will be a title contender in the future. His stand-up continues to improve and his ground game is already at a very high level, leaving Davis in a position to continue testing himself against tougher opponents each time out.

Sotiropoulos Solidifies Standing as Championship Contender

Lightweight contender George Sotiropoulos stretched his winning streak inside the Octagon to seven, submitting Joe Lauzon in the second round to solidify his position as a championship challenger heading into 2011.

For the third consecutive outing, Sotiropoulos earned a win over a quality opponent, adding Lauzon to a list that includes Kurt Pellegrino and Joe Stevenson, as well as a handful of former TUF cast members who have since departed the organization. But there is a rub.

The lightweight title is being defended in January, and the winner of the upcoming WEC lightweight title fight is already established as the next in line, which means Sotiropoulos is still a fight away from challenging for the title.

That bout will take place in his native Australia in February and is rumoured to be against Dennis Siver. Should he come through with an eighth consecutive win, there will be no real way to deny the TUF 6 alum a title shot in the spring.

Foster Impresses on Spike TV

Brian Foster may not be able to fly under the welterweight radar for very much longer after the H.I.T. Squad member earned a second-round submission victory over Matt Brown on the Spike TV portion of UFC 123.

The win moves Foster to 3-2 inside the Octagon, with each of his wins coming by way of stoppage, and positions him for a step back up the ladder in 2011. He’s rebounded well from the knee injury he sustained when Chris Lytle submitted him in Australia last February, and stopping a fan favorite like Brown can serve as a stepping stone moment for the 26-year-old Oklahoma native.

The division is extremely deep, so a trip up the ladder won’t be rapid, but if he keeps earning victories in impressive fashion like he did in Detroit, Foster will be seeing more high-profile opponents and opportunities placed before him next year.

Hallman Stops Parisyan, Sends Him Packing… Again

Karo Parisyan’s return to the UFC was very short-lived, as the enigmatic Armenian was released following his stoppage loss to Dennis Hallman. UFC President Dana White spared no feelings in saying that Parisyan currently cannot compete at this level and needs to reassess his career moving forward.

With the instant release of Parisyan and the questions that accompanied the announcement, Hallman’s impressive finish has been a little overshadowed. The victory is his second straight and sixth in seven fights, with the lone loss coming five seconds before Hallman would have earned a unanimous decision win over John Howard.

The win puts an interesting possibility on the table for Hallman, who holds a pair of victories over Matt Hughes from much earlier in their careers. With Hallman on the way back up the ladder and Hughes being very selective about his opponents, perhaps a third attempt to earn a win over “Superman” is something the former welterweight champion would consider.

One Last Thought on Judging

Why is scoring a fight as a draw so taboo?

In the main event, the most reasonable outcome was actually a draw, with Jackson earning the first round, Machida earning the nod in the final frame, and the middle round being split down the middle. While the name of the scoring system is 10-point must, it doesn’t mean that only one fighter can be awarded a score of 10 in each round; if neither man really established themselves as the winner, hand out a pair of tens and move on.

As much as Octagon control and aggression are part of the scoring criteria, with a fighter like Machida it is incredibly difficult to ascertain who is actually dictating the pace and placement of the fight. Was Jackson stalking Machida around the cage, forcing him to back-pedal or was Machida circling out, causing Jackson to chase him around the Octagon as he looked for counter-striking opportunities?

When you can’t definitely answer that question – and you can’t – how can you say a fighter won a round based on those criteria?

Follow @HeavyMMA on Twitter for more MMA news

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x