Sunday, December 29, 2013

Did Rousey And Tate Bury The Hatchet At UFC 168?

After winning the most exciting match of the night, Rousey snubbed Tate when her rival offered to shake her hand. She is still getting heat for it today. Was it bad sportsmanship? Yes. Does it mean that she and Tate still hate each other? I'm not convinced, especially since they spoke so well of each others' performance after the fight. Considering their verbal and Twitter wars in the past, this is a huge step forward. It seems like they are willing to move on and tolerate each other at the very least. Here are my thoughts on each bout on the card.

Poirier vs. Brandao: Sometimes you are simply outmatched, even if you have a lot of heart. That's what happened to Brandao against Poirier. He dropped "The Diamond" with a couple of strong rights and managed to get a takedown. That being said, Poirier proved he was the better fighter last night by catching "DB" with a left and finishing him with ground-and-pound.

Miller vs. Camoes: That is the weirdest armbar I have ever seen. I didn't think it was possible to do one from bottom position while hugging your opponent's leg like that. Nonetheless, it worked, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rousey gave her seal of approval to Miller's impressive, albeit unorthodox, finish.

Barnett vs. Browne: I need to find some barbecue sauce so that I can eat my words about Browne's "sloppy technique." He came out looking more polished than ever. When Barnett shot in and pressed him against the cage, "Hapa" caught "The Warmaster" in the face with a knee before knocking his ear through his skull with some brutal elbows. I used to think that Cain Velasquez had no serious threat at heavyweight. Now I'm not so sure.

Tate vs. Rousey: I don't know what impressed me more: the fact that Tate survived being tossed around for three rounds before succumbing to the inevitable armbar, or the fact that Rousey turned face through commending and congratulating Tate at the end. Not only that, but she said that Tate did an amazing job. That's a complete 180 from what came out of the champ's mouth on "The Ultimate Fighter." Rousey claimed that she didn't shake Tate's hand because of comments that the latter had made against her family. I haven't read about that yet, but it would be hard to fault her if that happened. At any rate, it seems like the hatchet has been buried under the ashes of the best match of the night.

Silva vs. Weidman: Ouch! That shin break in Round 2 looked identical to the one in "Undisputed 3", when Boyka snapped Dolor's leg with his knee. Even before that, Weidman was dominating "The Spider", dropping him in Round 1 with a right hand in the clinch before using some ground-and-pound and attempting an Ezekiel choke. I wouldn't be surprised if Silva was done after that injury. At the very least, even though he is still arguably the greatest fighter in MMA history, it seems like his time has simply passed. Meanwhile, kudos to Weidman for proving that his first victory wasn't a fluke. He looks like he is game for the shark tank that the middleweight division has become.

On a side note, I am very excited about the announcement of the biggest fight in Women's MMA: Rousey vs. McMann! This future battle between two Olympic-level warriors is going to be freaking sick! It is the WMMA version of Ali vs. Frazier and I can't wait to see it at UFC 170!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My UFC 168 Predictions

This is bittersweet for me because this will be the last UFC event that I blog about. This coming January, I will resume my Kung Fu training, which I hope to complement with Brazilian jiu-jitsu training next fall. In addition, I plan to finish my Peace Corps memoir by September 12, 2015 and that will take up the rest of my free time. I will still watch MMA once in a while, but these things must take priority now and they will be the new focus of my blog. With that said, here are my predictions for tonight's awesome card!

Poirier vs. Brandao: The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winner is swimming with the sharks now. On paper, he doesn't stand a chance against "The Diamond." However, my gut tells me that Brandao is will heart it out and get a decision victory.

Winner: Diego Brandao

Miller vs. Camoes: This is a no-brainer. Miller takes this via submission.

Winner: Jim Miller

Barnett vs. Browne: "Hapa" definitely has heart, power, and is very fast for a guy his size. However, his technique is still somewhat sloppy, and that will get him into trouble against someone as polished and experienced as Barnett. I see "The Warmaster" knocking him out in Round 2 en route to a title eliminator bout against Fabricio Werdum. I would not be surprised, however, if Barnett was allowed to cut in line and face Velasquez next if his performance is impressive enough.

Winner: Josh Barnett

Rousey vs. Tate: This is another no-brainer. Rousey takes this via armbar submission, probably in Round 2 since Tate is a lot more focused. The only credible threat to Rousey's reign, Sara McMann, has dropped off the face of the earth after pulling out of her bout with Sarah Kaufman. Unless McMann reemerges, or more Olympic-caliber athletes enter the women's bantamweight division, that belt will stay around Rousey's waist.

On a side note, I believe that we will see a more mature and respectful Rousey than we did on "The Ultimate Fighter" and that the champ will turn face after her second victory over her rival.

Winner (and not just in the ring): Ronda Rousey

Weidman vs. Silva: Weidman's upset of Silva had more to do with the latter's foolish in-ring antics than the champ's fighting ability. Now that he has earned the respect of "The Spider", Silva will come at him with everything he's got. Silva will regain the title with a knockout in Round 4 at the latest and I suspect that he will keep it for at least another two years before losing it again.

Winner: Anderson Silva