My review of UFC on Fuel TV 5, which was a fun event that no one watched.
Stefan Struve def. Stipe Miocic: Lets just face it, Struve is a slow starter. In the first round, he was typical Struve where he didn’t use his reach at all and got hit a lot. In the second round though, he started to use a jab and then put some power shots behind it, rocking Miocic a number of times before eventually overwhelming him with strikes. I get why people picked against Struve, because Miocic has power and Struve is extremely hittable, but I don’t think people give Struve enough credit for just how durable he is. Not only that, but he’s one of the few heavyweights, especially in the mid-tier, who has cardio. Struve recognizes that he doesn’t use his reach well, which is nice, but now he needs to do something about it. I’m fine with him not having a jab, even though it’d obviously be a good weapon, but where are the kicks? Jon Jones doesn’t have a jab, but no one touches him because he uses his kicks more effectively than anyone in the sport. Struve would actually be very well off if he went to train at Greg Jackson’s, because he and his group do a great job at getting the most out of their fighters. Rumor has it that Struve will fight Fabricio Werdum next, which is a good fight and one I wouldn’t mind seeing. As for Miocic, he’s just another heavyweight who will sometimes have good fights and sometimes be boring.
Dan Hardy def. Amir Sadollah: After criticizing fighters for just taking guys down, Hardy won via taking Sadollah down. I give Hardy credit for fighting a smart a fight, but this really exposed the flaws in his stand up game. For a guy who “comes to war” and is known as a striker, he actually gets out-struck a fair amount. This fight was no exception, as Sadollah landed the cleaner punches and went to work with leg kicks, but Sadollah proved that he might have the worst takedown defense in the sport as Hardy was able to take him down multiple times. Hardy did a great job from the top position, slicing up Sadollah with elbows and easily taking the last two rounds to win the decision. Despite the victory, Hardy pretty much showed just how limited he is in this fight. I give him credit for fighting a smart fight, but he’s not going to be able to takedown guys with the same ease that he took down Sadollah. Hell, he even struggled to takedown Sadollah. And on the feet, he’s very hittable and just throws the same left hook over and over. I honestly can’t think of a single above average welterweight that Hardy beats. Even a guy like John Hathaway, who is a bottom level above average welterweight, is a guy who I think Hardy loses to. Hardy is very popular, especially in England, and that’ll keep him around for awhile, but while Michael Bisping is legitimately good, Hardy is simply British good.
Brad Pickett def. Yves Jabouin: Pickett is my new favorite fighter. Not because he won this fight with one punch, but because he went Gangnam style after he did it. In all seriousness, Pickett may get hit a lot, but he has some serious hands. The problem is, he still gets hit a lot. Against a guy like Jabouin, he can get away with getting hit that much since Jabouin hasn’t shown KO power since 2008, but obviously it’s not in his best interest to get hit that often. To his credit though, Pickett’s boxing is some of the best in the division and, for the first time since since his Cage Rage days, he actually lived up to his nickname. In the bantamweight division, with it being as thin as it is, this win for Pickett puts him in line for a title shot. He lost to Renan Barao less than a year ago, but if Dominick Cruz beats Barao and Pickett can get a victory over someone like Brian Bowles, I see no reason why Pickett can’t get a title shot.
Matt Wiman def. Paul Sass: I feel bad for doubting Wiman in this fight. It’s not that Sass isn’t good, but Wiman was the perfect guy to test him. Sass brought the fight immediately to the ground and went for his trademark heel hooks and even tried a triangle, although it quickly turned into an omaplata as Wiman quickly got his head out. After some excellent submissions attempts/escapes and grappling reversals, Wiman locked up an armbar and forced the tap out. I’m not going to say that Sass was overrated because he lost to Wiman or that Wiman is the next title contender because he beat Sass, but this fight did prove a good bit about both men. For Sass, it showed that he might just be a two trick pony. Don’t get me wrong, those two tricks are excellent, but they’re not going to fly against some of the top guys. Submitting Jakob Volkmann was still eye opening and taking down Wiman was a great sign as well, but Sass still needs to improve his all-around submission game. As for Wiman, I don’t care who he fights, he’s going to scrap and make it a war. Wiman is comfortable wherever the fight goes and showed, by finishing Sass with a submission, that he’s getting better. Wiman may never challenge for the title, but he’s the type of guy that can make good fighters look average and beat just about every average fighter out there.
John Hathaway def. John Maguire: What the hell happened to Hathaway? He won this fight and everything, but it’s like Mike Pyle took his soul or something. I think Hathaway is an above average welterweight while Maguire is an average welterweight at best. By that, Hathaway should’ve easily put away Maguire and yet he struggled and once again was stuck with winning a decision. When you’re failing to finish guys like Kris McCray and Maguire, then you’re just not improving like you should. In fairness to Hathaway, he’s only 25 and has plenty of time to get better, but I’d just like to see some progress and since Pyle manhandled him on the ground, there has been none. As far as the fight, it sucked. Hathaway out-struck Maguire, got some takedowns, avoided some submissions, and won the fight.
Che Mills def. Duane Ludwig: This one had an unfortunate ending as Ludwig blew out his knee as Mills took him down, but prior to that, Mills was dominating with good knees in the clinch, easy takedowns and brutal elbows on the ground. Honestly, if I’m Ludwig, I’d think about retiring and just becoming a striking coach. This is the second time he’s suffered an in-octagon injury, he’s never been a great grappler, and his chin has recently started to fail him. I think he has a lot to offer young fighters outside of the cage with his technical striking, but he just doesn’t have the tools to hang with guys in the cage anymore. This was obviously a much needed victory for Mills to return to him killer status. His takedown defense and all-round ground game is still a question, but he’s proven that he hits hard and has some good ground and pound if he’s able to get on top.