Sunday, August 2, 2015

UFC 190: The Rousey Edition Of "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out"!

Rousey's "Verbal Bully Beatdown" of Bethe Correia was probably the most exciting round in WMMA history, and it only lasted 34 seconds!  Her "face-plant knockout" of Correia redeemed a PPV that had waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many fights.  Aside from the Rousey bout and two other matches, UFC 190 was like watching a first-degree black belt sweep the floor of a dojo.  Here are my thoughts on each fight of the card:

Gadelha vs. Aguilar:  Aside from a brief rally in Round 3 (which was prompted ended by a Gadelha spear), Aguilar was completely dominated both on the feet and on the ground.  Gadelha not only brutalized Aguilar's face with boxing combos, but she also planted Aguilar on her back with four double-leg takedowns that made Edge's spears in WWE look tame in comparison.  These included one which rammed Aguilar into the cage in Round 2.  Suffice it to say that Gadelha's rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been well-earned.

Winner: Claudia Gadelha (Unanimous decision)

Silva vs. Palelei: Palelei may have come out wearing the hands of the Incredible Hulk, but it was Bigfoot who did the smashing in Round 2 of their match.  Palelei took Round 1 with a whizzer and finished with some ground-and-pound.  However, in Round 2, Silva turned the tide with a right-uppercut, left knee, two straight rights, and finally another right uppercut that dropped "The Hulk" by the cage before finishing him on the ground.  Bigfoot may never get the title, but it seems that he can hang out in the UFC heavyweight division's mid-card for at least a year or two longer.

Winner: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (TKO)

Struve vs. Minotauro: This was when the PPV started to go downhill.  The match began with a weird "Octagon Ballroom Dancing" competition with Minotauro and Struve taking turns spinning each other around and pressing each other against the cage.  Later in the fight, Struve was trying the keep the distance with sporadic striking, whereas Minotauro looked like he was trying to hug "Skyscraper" to death.  It is really disappointing to have this snoozefest allegedly be Minotauro's last UFC match.

Winner: Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve (Unanimous decision)

Vieira vs. Lopes: There were more guillotines used in this fight than during The French Revolution!  Other than the main event, this was easily the most exciting fight of the night.  It began with both men pulling jumping guards and getting guillotines in the first round.  Both refused to tap when they were caught in the submission.  Then Vieira got a standing guillotine (Lopes slipped out).  Round 2 was a back-and-forth technical striking battle until Lopes got a takedown.  Then in Round 3, after another 4 minutes of back-and-forth striking, Lopes charged forward and swung for the fences, and later, got another guillotine after spearing Vieira.  Vieira refused to tap, even though he was bleeding all over the place.  In fact, when he slipped out, he did some ground-and-pound from Lopes' guard before time ran out.  I personally thought Lopes was robbed in this Ultimate Fighter Brazil finale match by the judges, but these two guys still put on a show which indicated that they are exactly the shot-in-the-arm that the bantamweight division needs.

The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 4 Bantamweight Winner: Reginaldo Vieira (Unanimous decision).

Bruno vs. Franca: Whatever momentum that UFC 190 regained from Vieira vs. Lopes was lost in this bout.  Franca got the submission by rear naked choke after grinding out Bruno for nearly three rounds.  Was it effective?  Yes.  Was it fun to watch?  No, and I'm one of the few UFC fans who actually enjoys grappling.  Congratulations to Franca for winning a UFC contract, but he's going to have to step it up if he wants to survive in the shark tank that's UFC's lightweight division.

The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 4 Lightweight Winner: Glaico Franca (Submission)

Shogun vs. Little Nog: This is the second time in a row that the worst fight on the PPV got "Fight of the Night" honors from the UFC.  Me and my friends were seriously hoping it would be brief so we could finally watch Rousey fight and, as you can guess, it didn't turn out that way.  The end of Round 1 had some action, with Little Nog getting an uppercut and teeing off  on Shogun against the cage with punches before getting knocked back with a phantom punch.  He also got a standing guillotine and tried to swarm him again later that round.  However, neither legend did much for the rest of the fight.  It was mostly them throwing a punch or kick every thirty seconds with some clinch work and the occasional takedown thrown in.  I was so bored that I was booing the flatscreen at the sports bar.  Not to mention that the judges robbed Little Nog at the end, giving the fight to Shogun.  I was positive that Little Nog deserved the win, especially after that guillotine in Round 3 which had Shogun bleeding out onto the canvas.  To be honest, though, this fight exposed both men as over-the-hill legends desperately trying to reclaim their former glory and failing miserably.

Winner: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (Unanimous decision)

Rousey vs. Correia: This fight is WMMA's "Hearns vs. Hagler I"!  It was a brutal, 34-second slugfest that resulted in Correia flipping backward after a failed takedown attempt by Rousey.  Then Rousey swarmed her against the cage with a knee and punches.  Rousey shut up and shut down Bethe "Loudmouth" Correia with a straight right that knocked her out cold and sent her face first into the canvas.  I could no longer tell if I was at UFC 190 or watching someone demo a re-release of "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out" with Rousey as a secret character!  Both "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Rousey's dad would be proud.                      

Winner by KO (and still UFC Women's bantamweight champion): Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

UFC 190: My Predictions

Thank goodness Ronda Rousey did not get injured, because she is basically the only selling point of an otherwise weak PPV.  Besides her "Trash-talker beatdown" match with Bethe Correia and what appears to be a tuneup fight for strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha, this event is mostly made up of, to borrow a phrase from Conor McGregor, "rookies and has-beens."  I'm not trying to be disrespectful, since Shogun, the man who got me hooked on UFC to begin with, is fighting tonight.  Nonetheless, even his best days are well behind him.  Suffice it to say that a blockbuster card this ain't...

Here are my predictions for tonight's PPV:     

Gadelha vs. Aguilar: I'm not that familiar with either fighter, but I find it very difficult to pick against someone who managed to go the distance with UFC strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk.  For that reason, I expect Gadelha to win by decision. 

Winner: Claudia Gadelha

Silva vs. Palelei: This is easy.  Palelei wins by KO.  Without trt, "Bigfoot" can't seem to hang with the elite of the heavyweight division without getting crushed anymore.  Even with trt, his biggest claim to fame was a come-from-behind upset over Alistair Overeem, whom, as Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell proved with subsequent KOs of their own, was seriously over-hyped to begin with.

Winner: Soa "The Hulk" Palelei

Struve vs. Noguiera: From a medical standpoint, Struve really needs to hang up the gloves.  No sport is worth your life and with his heart condition, I strongly believe that that is what he is risking every time he steps into the cage.  I see a submission victory for Minotauro here, although that may be more due to the health condition of his opponent than the skills of the Brazilian legend.

Winner: Minotauro Noguiera

Vieira vs. Lopes:  I know nothing about either fighter so I will follow my gut and pick Vieira.  Take it for what it's worth.

Winner: Reginaldo Vieira

Franca vs. Bruno:  Another fight, another gut prediction.  In this case, I pick Bruno.  I probably should have tried harder to watch "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4."  Oh well...

Winner: Fernando "Acougeiro" Bruno

Shogun vs. Little Nog:  Shogun is the reason why I started watching the UFC, and rest assured, I will be rooting for him during this bout.  That being said, Little Nog has been more successful as of late, beating Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans before getting smashed by Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.  In contrast, Shogun has been KO'd by Dan Henderson and Ovince St. Preux after defeating James Te Huna, so as much as I hate to admit it, I believe "Little Nog" will take it via decision.

Winner: Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogueira

Rousey vs. Correia: A lot of people seem to believe that Bethe "Pitbull" Correia will pull a "Matt Serra vs. GSP" KO upset over "Rowdy."  I commend Correia for her confidence and do believe she will throw everything including the kitchen sink at Rousey.  But the facts just don't point to her winning the belt.  Rousey has demolished the "Murderer's Row" of the women's bantamweight division: Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis, Sarah Kaufman, Sara McMann, and Miesha Tate (twice).  Out of the bantamweight's elite, only Tate has taken her outside of the first round and that was on her second try.  In contrast, Correia's best wins are a razor-thin division over Jessamyn Duke (who's 1-3 in the UFC against mediocre competition) and a lopsided beatdown of WMMA pioneer Shayna Baszler, whose time passed long ago.  That, combined with a lengthy layoff due to eye surgery, makes a victory for the challenger seem rather difficult...

In my opinion, how this fight will play out depends on Rousey's strategy.  If she sticks with the "Rousey smash!", go-for-the-kill-in-the-first-round tactic that has taken her to the top, then Correia will be just another name on her highlight reel.  However, if Rousey decides to stick with her current plan to drag out the fight with Correia and, in her own words "make her suffer", that will probably backfire.  In that case, we will end up seeing the female version of "Silva-Sonnen I", where Rousey gets brutalized for the majority of the fight before winning via a "Hail Mary" submission in Round 5 (most likely an armbar).  Either way, when Rousey leaves the cage, she will be taking the belt with her. 

On a side note, although Correia apologized and asked for forgiveness for her "suicide remark" taunt of Rousey, that was still a horrible thing to say to somebody.  That's been compounded by the fact that Rousey's father took his own life when she was a child (Correia claimed that she was unaware of this).  In my opinion, this definitely makes Correia the heel in this feud and I hope that Rousey does teach her a lesson, regardless of how long (or short) it takes.  The forgiveness can come afterwards. 

Winner: Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey