HYDEN: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 93 including Bader, Barnett, Gustafsson, Arlovski

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor

UFC Fight Night 93 was this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.

BAD/GOOD: Nick Hein vs. Tae Hyun Bang

It’s probably a little harsh to go full BAD here, so I’ll throw a GOOD in there for the effort. Both guys largely tried hard; things just never clicked. There were stretches of inaction followed by some decent stuff. Hein won the decision.

Staff08Hyden_150GOOD: Ryan Bader stops Ilir Latifi

Latifi caught Bader and dropped him towards the end of the first round, but Bader battled through it. Bader then caught Latifi with a knee in the second round that dropped him cold. Good win for Bader, as he bounces back from a loss in his last fight. I’m sure everyone expected Bader to win, but he had to actually come out and execute in order to get the win. Bader remains just outside of the title picture with this win.

GOOD/BAD: Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jan Blachowicz

Gustafsson showed off some good wrestling, as he kept taking Blachowicz down over and over. He also did a fair amount of damage on the ground. The BAD, though, comes from the fact that sometimes there wasn’t much going on. On a related note, but not applicable to the fight score, was that Gustafsson also gets a BAD because he was losing nearly all the striking exchanges. They would start trading, and Blachowicz would get the better of things, so Gustafsson would take him down. That’s obviously the smart thing to do, and the correct thing, but it also doesn’t bode well that he wasn’t doing so well on the feet.
It’s possible that Blachowicz was just hard to read or something like that, but if Gustafsson wants to challenge for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title again, he should try to shore up that aspect of his game. Speaking of, I think a fight between Gustafsson and Ryan Bader would be a great way to go. Both guys are really talented, but aren’t in the title picture as things stand right now. However, the winner between these two would be in a good spot moving forward. It would also be extremely interesting to see which approach each man takes. Would Gustafsson wrestle with Bader? Would Bader stand with Gustafsson? Lots of mental chess moves would be going on in that one.

GOOD/BAD: Josh Barnett submits Andrei Arlovski

Both guys got rocked early, but they battled through. There were some really dull moments, especially when they were clinching against the cage before being broken up, but there were also some very exciting moments. It seemed as though both guys being rocked early set the tone that anything could happen at any moment and made the fight more tense for me. Maybe I was reading too much into it (I am a fan of both guys), but it just seemed to make things more exciting.
Arlovski probably won the first round and Barnett the second, so the third started off tight as both guys exchanged strikes in the middle. Barnett got Arlovski down, had some nice transitions, and then locked in the rear-naked choke for the win. This was a pretty good fight. Yeah, there was some dull moments, but they’re both aging fighters as well as heavyweights. Considering those things, this was a pretty good fight with some pretty good action.
Neither guy was in the title picture before, and that remains unchanged, but it is the heavyweight division so another win or two for Barnett and he’s right there in line for a shot. For Arlovski, he needs two or three straight big wins and he’s looking at a possible title shot. Things remain wide open in this division so just about anything is possible.

(Comments and suggestions can be emailed to Frank at hydenfrank@gmail.com. Follow Frank on Twitter @hydenfrank.)

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