First written at Bloody Elbow
UFC 118 wasn’t the most entertaining card (compared to 116 and 117 you’d think 118 was UFC 61) but the event left us with plenty of talking points. Here are some of my thoughts on the show.
The Cut List:
* John Salter. When your only UFC win is due to your opponent (Jason MacDonald) shattering his leg it’s time to go. Salter needs to work on his stiff stand-up somewhere else. It’s a great bounce back win for Dan Miller, who had lost 3 in a row prior to this fight.
* Gabe Ruediger. The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 featured arguably the most talented roster in the show’s history. Gabe Ruediger wasn’t one of them. Joe Lauzon destroyed him in 2:01 and earned submission of the night honors.
* James Toney. I don’t want to see him fight Cro-Cop, Big Nog, Pat Barry, Cheick Kongo, etc. James Toney should RETIRE. I had it set in my mind that the loser of the Couture/Toney fight should retire from combat. In the end Toney lost, and I don’t want to see him win nonsense Alphabet Soup titles in boxing either. This freakshow is over and Toney got a nice paycheck….now hang ’em up.
Marcus Davis. I questioned whether or not Davis was finished as a fighter after Ben Saunders kneed the crap out of him at UFC 106. He looked impressive against Jonathan Goulet, but then again it’s Jonathan Goulet. Now after seeing Nate Diaz outstrike him it may be a case of being in too many wars. Essentially the remainder of Marcus’ career will be spent beating lower-level opponents but falter against a high-level gatekeeper or a contender. The Irish Hand Grenade will always provide entertainment so perhaps a fight with someone like Brian Foster would be ideal.
Kenny Florian. This is quite possibly the biggest loss of his career. Falling at the last hurdle over and over again is just something that cannot be fixed. Maybe fate just has it so that Keith Florian doesn’t get to yell and scream when Kenny wins the title, but Florian is the Buffalo Bills of MMA. Unfortunately he’s beaten “the best of the rest” so he’s pretty much stuck. Maybe they can give him Jim Miller or even George Sotiropoulos but I think his title window has slammed shut.
Mario Miranda. I don’t know enough about Miranda (other than his striking and now his very solid sub defense against Demian Maia) to have an opinion on what’s next for him.
BJ Penn. I don’t know what else he can do. Is he motivated to fight? Frankie Edgar pretty much GSP’d him and the situations are very similar. Edgar and GSP both won close fights the first time around and completely dominated Penn in the rematch. I’m not going to prematurely bury him as a fighter but I am starting to wonder if he has the mental strength to become a champion again. I do want to see how he does against a striker and I advocate a rematch with Takanori Gomi.
Joe Lauzon. Highly impressive win for J-Lau to make Ruediger look like a novice. I think he and Rafael Dos Anjos would be a compelling and entertaining battle.
Nik Lentz. You should only be allowed to fight at 3 in the morning so insomniacs can go to sleep. Let me make this clear, wrestling is fine and it’s clearly the best base for MMA right now. Fighting for a decision is painful to watch and Andre Winner/Nik Lentz was possibly one of the worst televised fights of 2010.
Nate Diaz. There are two fights I want to see happen with Diaz that are unlikely to occur any time soon; those are Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez. Both Alves and Sanchez would put up a good fight but they’re each on two fight losing streaks and Sanchez is fighting Paulo Thiago at 121. If Thiago beats Sanchez you have to think they would give Diego a softball so he doesn’t get cut. Alves decisively lost his last two and while he could probably outstrike Nate, his weight cutting issues are concerning and I don’t think the Pit Bull would risk a 3rd straight loss. Possible opponents for Diaz for me now are Jake Ellenberger, Carlos Condit, and Dan Hardy.
Demian Maia. Fight the Marquardt/Palhares winner. I think Demian either deserves a second shot at Nate without getting bushwhacked or a gruelling ground battle with Palhares where the loser leaves the cage with three limbs.
Gray Maynard. A title shot obviously.
Randy Couture. When the UFC is done wasting Couture’s fight contract with guys like Coleman and Toney can they give him someone semi-relevant to the sport like Rich Franklin?
Frankie Edgar. Defend your title again and defend it well, because Gray Maynard: Lightweight Champion just sounds boring.
Jim Miller, Evan Dunham, and George Sotiropoulos. None of them fought last night but they were all big winners. Two lightweights ahead of them may have factored out of the title equation and these three should pounce on this opportunity ASAP to contend.
Overall I give this card a 5/10. There were no knockouts, no close fights, no drama, a poor crowd booing everything, and no legbars. We did learn that 155 has changed significantly and we shall see how everything unfolds in possibly the most wide open division in the UFC.