HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 80, TUF 22 Finale, and UFC 194

The UFC had a tremendous stretch of events over three days last week, culminating in perhaps the greatest event in UFC history. Let’s get right to it.MMAcolumnist-HydenFrank_300x250


UFC Fight Night 80

GOOD: Elias Theodorou vs. Thiago Santos

Santos won the decision and seemed to get stronger as the fight wore on. He cut Theodorou up with some nasty elbows and picked up a strong win.


GOOD: Sage Northcutt submits Cody Pfister

Pfister was able to do some work in the first, though Northcutt was able to neutralize him later in the round and then work towards the submission in the second. Another good win for Northcutt, and the sky continues to seem to be the limit for this young man. I eagerly look forward to seeing Northcutt fight whenever I can, because you can see improvements every time out. He has plenty of stuff to work on, of course, but he’s only going to get better, which is exciting.


GOOD: Michael Chiesa submits Jim Miller

I know Miller has slipped a bit, but a win over him still means something. A submission win over him means even more. This is a big win for Chiesa, who should get a top ten opponent in his next fight.


GOOD: Rose Namajunas submits Paige VanZant

This was an extremely violent, bloody, and one-sided fight. VanZant showed such tremendous heart as she battled hard. Namajunas put a brutal beating on VanZant, who refused to quit. Quite frankly, VanZant got her ass kicked for over four rounds until Namajunas was finally able to submit her in the fifth round. A lot of fight, a lot of heart from VanZant, but I do wonder if the fight should have have been stopped sooner. VanZant just wasn’t ready for someone like Namajunas. She’s got some stuff to work on. As for Namajunas, she’s getting close to a title shot. I think she still needs another win or so, but she’s in good shape and showed she’s here to challenge people. She’s a tough out for anyone. This was a good win for Namajunas.


TUF 22 Finale

BAD: Julian Erosa vs. Marcin Wrzosek

This was just a bad fight, dull and pretty boring. I don’t want to focus on the bad stuff this week, though, so I’ll just gloss over this fight. Erosa won the split decision.


BAD: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Jason Knight

This was another bad fight. Kawajiri just kept taking Knight down and laying on him. In other words, boring crap no one wants to see. Kawajiri won the decision. Moving on.


GOOD/BAD: Joe Lauzon vs. Evan Dunham

Dunham was good in this fight, as he picked up the clear decision win. He peppered Lauzon with shots over and over. The BAD comes from Lauzon, who looked done in this fight. He looked lethargic and like he didn’t care. At times he was just standing there going through the motions. I was surprised to see him like this. Dunham was very crisp with his striking and picked up a good win.


GOOD/GREAT: Tony Ferguson submits Edson Barboza

Ferguson was deducted a point early in the first for kicking Barboza in the head while he was down. I don’t know if that affected Barboza as the fight continued or not, but I hope he didn’t try to continue if he wasn’t fully capable of fighting to his fullest. Barboza did land some big shots after the point deduction so it appeared as though he was okay. Both guys were cut up and brutalizing each other. The finish came when Barboza shot in and Ferguson transitioned to a beautiful D’Arce choke for the win. That was really cool. Big win for Ferguson.


BAD/GOOD: Artem Lobov vs. Ryan Hall

I wasn’t feeling this fight at all. There was a cool transition from Hall in the first round, but I just wasn’t all that into the fight on the whole. It was a fine fight, it’s probably too harsh to call this a BAD fight, but I think my anticipation for the main event just made me not care that much here. Hall won the decision.


GREAT: Frankie Edgar stops Chad Mendes

Edgar dropped Mendes with a right hand about halfway through the first round. Mendes was out. This was a fantastic performance from Edgar, as he staked his claim to a title shot. I knew that Edgar had the advantage on the feet with his striking technique, but I thought he would have to wear Mendes down. I really didn’t see this coming, as Edgar showed big power to stop a tough guy in Mendes. This was one of the biggest fights the UFC has put on cable, and it delivered. That seems to be the common thread throughout this stretch of fights. Huge win for Edgar.


UFC 194

BAD: Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens

Not a good fight at all. Dull and lackluster are the two words that spring to mind when describing this fight. What was worse was Holloway after the fight saying that he wants either Aldo or McGregor next. Wut?


GOOD: Demian Maia vs. Gunnar Nelson

Maia completely and utterly dominated Nelson for the decision win. I picked Nelson to pull off the upset just because I figured why not? I thought it would be close, but it was anything but close. I was amazed that two of the judges gave Maia a 10-8 round twice while the other only gave him one 10-8 round. 10-8 rounds aren’t used nearly as often as they should be, but I suppose that’s a story for another day. Back to the fight, Maia was great here and should be put into a #1 contenders fight. He deserves it with a performance like this.


GOOD/BAD: Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

Jacare missed with a spinning back fist and opened the door for Romero, who delivered some punishment for the mistake. However, Romero tired and Jacare came back. I thought Jacare clearly took rounds two and three, but two of the judges saw it differently and gave Romero the split decision. Jacare can only complain so much, though, because you never know how the judges will see things. I don’t know, I really disagree with this decision, though. I think it’s a raw deal. It also throws things in the middleweight title picture into a jumble.


GREAT: Luke Rockhold stops Chris Weidman

Weidman came out strong as he usually does, but Rockhold weathered the storm and was chipping away at Weidman. Then, in the third round, he unleashed bloody hell on him. Rockhold just crushed and busted up Weidman with a series of elbows and punches that should have stopped the fight. I was very surprised that it didn’t stop things, to be honest. I’m sure some might try to argue that you have to give the champion all the chances possible, but Weidman was getting his ass handed to him. We’ve seen fights ended (rightfully) for way less than that.

Anyhow, things continued in the fourth as Rockhold poured it on even more, and finally got the stoppage win. Enormous win for Rockhold. This is the best we’ve ever seen him look. The killer instinct he’s displayed is going to make him so tough to beat. Weidman is a great fighter, and he got handled by Rockhold. Awesome performance and a signature win for Rockhold.

The division is in a weird spot. Rockhold says he wants to fight Vitor Belfort next. Belfort isn’t all that deserving of a title shot, but he’s about as deserving as anyone else in the division. I don’t think you give Romero a title shot based of his win earlier, mainly because I don’t think he actually won.

I think the best scenario is that you give Rockhold what he wants, a fight against Belfort. Then you match Romero against Weidman. If Romero wins, he gets the next title shot. If Weidman wins, he gets put into a #1 contenders fight. I don’t like the idea of Belfort getting another title shot, but Rockhold just smashed a great fighter, you might as well give him what he wants.


GREAT: Conor McGregor stops Jose Aldo

McGregor knocked Aldo out in thirteen seconds, the fastest finish in UFC title fight history. He’s done everything he said he was going to do. McGregor is MMA’s Muhammed Ali. He talks more than anybody, and he backs it up more than anybody. Now, obviously Ali has done more than McGregor, but McGregor’s still young. I plead guilty to hyperbole with the Ali comparisons, but I think they’re more appropriate than not. Jose Aldo hadn’t lost in ten years, and McGregor finished him in thirteen seconds. That’s unbelievable stuff, and it’s exactly what he said he was going to do.

McGregor was already one of the biggest names in MMA, and this will catapult him to even bigger heights. He’s an exciting fighter, and he brings out strong emotions in everyone. You either love him or you hate him, there’s almost no indifference. He’s a promoters dream, he does your work for you. In other words, he’s perfect for the UFC because they don’t market most of their fighters properly. Hell, look at the guy McGregor just beat. Jose Aldo is one of the best fighters in the world, but he wasn’t very popular and is primarily known by hardcore MMA fans. There’s no reason for that, he’s a great fighter.

Back to the fight, though, this really brings about a harsh reality in the featherweight division because someone is getting screwed here. Jose Aldo is absolutely deserving of an immediate rematch. He hadn’t lost in ten years. He’s defended the title against every challenger put in front of him. That by itself is enough to warrant an immediate rematch in my eyes, let alone how he lost. Aldo didn’t get dominated for five rounds, he lost in thirteen seconds. It’s very possible that McGregor beats him again in quick fashion, but Aldo deserves the chance to show that he won’t let that happen again.

The problem with this is that it leaves Frankie Edgar out in the cold. What else can Edgar do? He’s won five in a row, and that includes wins over Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, and Cub Swanson. What else can he do? Guys have gotten title shots for way less than that, including McGregor himself. Aldo hadn’t lost in ten years and didn’t get dominated, I think the title shot is clearly his. That sucks because I’m a big Edgar fan, but I don’t see how you can overlook Aldo. I would try to set up McGregor-Aldo 2 as quickly as possible, and then give Edgar the winner. It’s not ideal for Edgar of course, but it might be the best way to go here.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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