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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
For the first time in the history of the UFC, the organization ran events back to back on consecutive nights this weekend, in two different countries. Friday's UFC on FX 4 event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Saturday's UFC 147 card in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, each had their fair share of excitement and disappointment, along with plenty of talking points moving ahead. With both events now behind us, here's what's on my mind from the weekend:
-- Clay Guida drew heavy criticism on Friday night for his strategy against Gray Maynard, where he hopped, danced, and ran around the cage in wild fashion. It was successful in keeping Maynard frustrated and unable to do much, but Guida himself also had nothing more to offer outside of the avoidance of damage. One thing I've seen mentioned multiple times is people claiming it was the same type of performance Carlos Condit utilized to victory against Nick Diaz in February, but that line of conversation doesn't hold water at all. Here's the major difference between what Clay Guida did on Friday night and what Carlos Condit did in February: Condit was constantly engaging offensively. Sure, he was avoiding Diaz's advances, and at times ran back to the center to reset himself, but he was also consistently landing kicks and combinations, keeping Diaz off balance and ineffective. What Guida did was all of the avoiding with very little of the engaging, justifying the criticism levied against him.
-- It's not just Condit who showed a more effective version of avoiding danger; Rich Franklin had a similar approach to his fight with Wanderlei Silva on Saturday night, and outside of the second round onslaught from Silva, his strategy worked. He avoided Silva's rushes, much as Guida was doing against Maynard, but he also attacked, and attacked, and attacked, scoring with his punches and kicks throughout the five round fight. Guida's offense was limited, and his attacks few and far between.
-- UFC 147 was alright as a fight card, though it wasn't at all a pay-per-view worthy event. The crowd was fantastic, and they were vocal and loud throughout, cheering on the "Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" prospects as if they were already stars. In some ways they were already, as there was massive viewership for the show in Brazil. However, as a pay-per-view offering, it was every bit as poor as expected. The main event had it's moments, and the second round was one of my favorites of the year thus far, but the rest of the fight was much slower. Additionally, the "TUF: Brazil" finals were two of the poorest fights of the night, with their fellow contestants putting on a better show during the FX prelims. Rony Jason did just enough, and Godofredo Pepey little enough, for Jason to take a decision in their bout, and Cezar Ferreira allowed a poorer striker in Sergio Moraes to stick with him for 15 minutes, getting cracked on occasion throughout even as he took the decision. They were far from pay-per-view worthy fights, and with the UFC charging fans in North America to see the card, it made for an event that was far from the level of pay-per-view cards fans are used to buying.
I'll end with some positive thoughts on the fighters that did stand out:
-- Cub Swanson earned his second straight knockout win in the UFC in a really fun fight with Ross Pearson, one of the better back and forth battles we've seen this year. Swanson may or may not be able to make a run in the featherweight division, but he will get himself an opportunity to do just that after wins over Roop and Pearson.
-- Ricardo Lamas deserves mention for his upset over Hatsu Hioki. Lamas has been a very good featherweight fighter, but his knockout losses to Yuri Alcantara and Danny Castillo in the WEC had him off the radar for many. However, he could emerge as another potential challenger in the division, and he's absolutely a capable opponent against anyone at 145 lbs. He never allowed Hioki to get too comfortable, and his constant attacks on the ground allowed him to score points with the judges as he rendered Hioki fairly ineffective. It was a surprising result overall, but Lamas deserves a lot of respect for the performance.
-- Hacran Dias wasn't immensely thrilling in his UFC debut on Saturday, but he's going to be a dangerous and legitimate competitor in the UFC. His wrestling game was on point, and he handled a very tough opponent in Yuri Alcantara throughout the fight, and was very active with his ground and pound game. That's not something you see a ton of these days, but he was very effective in delivering strikes from top position.
-- Finally, it was great to see Dan Miller pick up that third-round submission win over Ricardo Funch on Friday. He may have been down two rounds to none (although it could have been even) into the third, and he needed a finish to avoid what would have been another heartbreaking loss in the Octagon. Instead, he locked on that guillotine choke to the delight of his home state crowd, and earned $50,000 on top for the "Submission of the Night." That's money his family needs desperately as they continue to battle his young son's illness, and with all he and his family have gone through over the last few years, you can't help but feel ecstatic for him at Friday's outcome.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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