A review of UFC 148, which featured the greatest fighter of all-time taking advantage of the greatest mistake of all-time. And a bunch of other stuff.
Anderson Silva def. Chael Sonnen: Of all the possible fight ending scenarios, the one that actually played out was one that I don’t think anyone saw coming. The first round looked pretty much like the first fight. Silva was over-aggressive, which allowed Sonnen to easily change levels and get a takedown. To Silva’s credit, his defensive guard looked a lot better this time around as he limited just how many times Sonnen hit him, but Sonnen stayed on top of Silva the entire round and even passed to mount with just under a minute remaining. Even though Sonnen didn’t put the same beating on Silva that he did in the first fight, he was still easily up one round, and possibly up 10-8 on the cards. Then, between the first and second round, Silva’s ribs magically healed and his takedown defense looked Liddell-like. Sonnen was in deep on Silva a couple of times, but Silva showed good hips and balance to remain upright. Then it came. After breaking away from the clinch, Sonnen tried a spinning back fist and ended up on his ass as Silva easily ducked up. That’s right, a spinning back fist from a guy who I’m pretty sure has never tried that technique before, even in practice. It was a bad idea at the time and it led to the finish as Silva kneed him in the chest and unloaded with strikes. Sonnen was able to get to his feet, but he was hurt and Silva continued to unleash strikes, eventually dropping Sonnen with a right hand before finishing him with punches and elbows on the ground. The stoppage may have been a bit early given the situation, but it seemed clear that Sonnen was done for. The post-fight interview was just as good as the actual fight, as Silva rubbed in his victory by interviewing Sonnen and inviting him over for a BBQ. To Sonnen’s credit, he took it all in stride, but he looked like he wanted to be anywhere else in the world at that moment. Sonnen is still one of the best middleweights in the world, and with another couple of wins could find himself challenging for the title again because he is a money fighter, but this was a huge blow to his ego. A fight against Vitor Belfort makes sense for both guys, especially if the UFC wants to get either man back in title contention sooner rather than later. As for Silva, what more can I say? He’s the greatest of all-time inside the cage with his skills and outside the cage with his actions. At this point in his career, because he’s not getting any younger, he only needs big fights. There’s no point in wasting him against the likes of Mark Munoz or Alan Belcher. He needs to fight Rashad Evans (who says he’ll drop down to 185) or Dan Henderson (win or lose against Jon Jones). Obviously everyone wants to see Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre or Jon Jones, but I don’t think either of those are happening. No matter who he fights though, it’s always a treat watching the best of all-time compete.
Forrest Griffin def. Tito Ortiz: Even though he won, this was a morale loss for Griffin, and I think he knows it. After the fight, Griffin ran out of the octagon like he just lost and even hijacked Tito’s final in-octagon interview. Griffin out-struck Ortiz for the majority of the fight, he he was wobbled a couple of times on the feet and taken down as well. Things like that should not have happened with a fighter who should still be considered an above average competitor against a fighter who has been washed up for years now. There have been questions about Griffin’s chin for awhile now, but getting rocked by Tito pretty much confirms that his chin is extremely shot. Griffin works hard, and even though he’s a pretty sloppy striker, his out-put and pace allows him to win more than he loses, but this fight pretty much solidified the fact that he’s done as a top level fighter. The thing is, he’s still pretty popular and should only be given big fights. If you want to give Alexander Gustafsson a test, then Forrest is a great fight for him. If you’re just looking for money fighters, then Griffin vs. Wanderlei Silva is the way to go. If you’re trying to determine, “who still has it” then Griffin vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is the best possible fight. There are always going to be options for Griffin, but UFC has to be smart about things. Tito’s last performance in the octagon is how most fans will remember Tito. He was a dominant champion for his time, but he was facing overblown middleweights and past their prime fighters. Whenever Tito stepped up and faced real competition, he usually lost. He was a great wrestler and should be credited for just how effective he was with his in-guard ground and pound, but he never advanced past that. He’ll go down as a legend for what he accomplished during his time and he was a key part in helping the UFC reach new heights though and it was always fun watching him compete over the years. Mainly because he lost.
Cung Le def. Patrick Cote: Holy hell what a terrible performance by Cote. I don’t think he’s a great fighter or anything, but the book is out there on Cung: you press forward and throw power strikes. If Wanderlei Silva and his chin could get away with it, how come Cote couldn’t do exactly the same thing? Instead Cote tried to play a technical striking game with Cung, and even though Cung might not be much of a well-rounded MMA fighter, he is a good striker if you stay in his range, which is exactly what Cote did. There wasn’t much to this fight overall and neither fighter was ever in any real trouble, but man I just can’t get over how bad Cote was. Just think, this dude once fought Anderson Silva for the title. He was fortunate to get this return fight to the UFC and he completely wasted it. He should be back to local fights after this, because no real MMA fighter should lose to Cung. I give Cung some credit, because he did what he needed to do, and even mixed in some takedowns, but he’s screwed against anyone who fights a smart fight.
Demian Maia def. Dong Hyun Kim: This was a weird fight. Maia immediately went for a takedown, got the back of Kim, took him down, and then Kim popped a rib or something and the fight was over just after Maia mounted him and started raining down punches. It was an unfortunate ending to a pretty interesting fight, but it was also a must win for Maia. Even though things didn’t last long, the fact that Maia didn’t even bother messing around on the feet showed that he’s ready to get back to his grappling ways, which is obviously good. His cardio is still a question, but it seemed like the cut went well so hopefully we won’t see another performance like we saw against Chris Weidman. This was a tough loss for Kim, but one you can’t really hold against him. Hopefully we see a lot more out of both fighters in their next bout.
Chad Mendes def. Cody McKenzie: This one didn’t last long, and it shouldn’t have. McKenzie spammed a bunch of kicks, got a body kick caught, Mendes hit him with a body punch that dropped him, and then pounded him out on the ground. Mendes, a top 3 featherweight, treated McKenzie, a top 300 featherweight, exactly like he should have. This was a gimme fight for Mendes and doesn’t really prove much overall, but it was nice to see him get a big time finish. Hopefully he faces someone more on his level next time. McKenzie is what he is. He has a sick guillotine and that’s about it. He’ll beat terrible fighters who are stupid, but he’ll always lose to guys who know how to defend the guillotine choke.
Mike Easton def. Ivan Menjivar: So this fight took place. Honestly, nothing happened. Easton was aggressive and that got him the decision victory. Neither fighter really landed much or did anything and the crowd was booing for the majority of the fight. It was a solid victory for Easton, who is now 3-0 in the UFC, but it did him no favors overall as the fight sucked. Menjivar really shit the bed because he was Urijah Faber’s fake opponent for the interim title and now he’s not even close to the title after this performance.