Sunday, February 7, 2010

"UFC 109" Results and Review

It was a bit of an unlucky night for my picks, but I stayed above .500 and scored with another main event pick. So it wasn't a complete disaster by any means. My predictions record now stands at 153-87 (%63.8) and 20-6 (%76.9) in main events. [Photo Props: Dave Mendel,]

Speaking of disasters, the buzz around the Internet is that Tim Hague got robbed something fierce last night, which is frustrating both personally, because I picked him to win, and also from the perspective of a Canadian MMA fan. My analysis was pretty on-point in that fight, too, with Hague swarming all over an exhausted Chris Tuchscherer for the entire third round... more on that later.


***Randy Couture def. Mark Coleman by Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Rd. 2 [Submission Of The Night (60k)]
---Chael Sonnen def. Nate Marquardt by Unanimous Decision [Fight Of The Night (60k Each)]
---Paulo Thiago def. Mike Swick by Submission (D'arce Choke), Rd. 2
***Demian Maia def. Dan Miller by Unanimous Decision
***Matt Serra def. Frank Trigg by TKO (Strikes), Rd 1 [Knock-Out Of The Night (60k)]
***Mac Danzig def. Justin Buchholz by Unanimous Decision
---Melvin Guillard def. Ronnys Torres by Unanimous Decision
***Rob Emerson def. Phillipe Nover by Unanimous Decision
***Phil Davis def. Brian Stann by Unanimous decision
---Chris Tuchscherer def. Tim Hague by Majority Decision
---Joey Beltran def. Rolles Gracie via TKO, Rd. 2

*** Correct Pick ---Incorrect Pick

Overall Score: 6-5 (%54.5)

Sunday Morning Thoughts

- Randy Couture looked solid last night, using his superior boxing and footwork to great effect. That being said, Mark Coleman came out with a garbage gameplan that saw him attempt zero takedowns, and looked every bit his age throughout the match. This win keeps Randy relevant at 205lbs., but it will be difficult for the UFC to justify giving Couture a title shot for beating 2010's Mark Coleman. There are also a handful of LHW contenders who would likely handle Randy fairly easily, so it will be difficult to match Couture with another fringe contender that he can beat to justify such a shot.

- If there was ever a UFC fight to point to when arguing for Japanese scoring system, under which a fight is scored based on who came closer to finishing, Chael Sonnen's victory over Nate Marquardt might be just that fight. Sonnen was, by his own admission, briefly knocked out by a knee in the first round, cut wide open in the second, and nearly choked out in the third. After the fight, Sonnen looked like he had played shot-for-shot with a rhinoceros. Marquardt, meanwhile, looked like he had just engaged in an unusually spirited pillow fight. Don't get me wrong, under the "ten-point must system," of which I am quite supportive, Sonnen clearly won this fight with his wrestling dominance and constant activity. I'm just saying he got whipped pretty good along the way, and almost certainly would have lost in the fourth round if there was one. My analysis was strong here, though. I noted that wrestling was Sonnen's only path to victory and predicted a third-round sub for Marquardt, which nearly came through. According to Dana, Sonnen will fight the winner of Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort, for the title.

-Of my five missed picks, this is the one that I feel worst about. I waffled a good deal during in my research for the fight, and felt all along that Paulo Thiago was getting better in recent fights, while Mike Swick was getting worse. Admittedly, this was the best technical striking we've ever seen from Paulo "Braz-Cop" (my new name for the Bazilian special forces operative), but his improvement was highly predictable given the strides he has made of late. Mike Swick was a heavy favourite, but I shouldn't have put so much stock in his track-record of success, which is receding now into distant memory. Side-note: Thiago's d'arce choke finish was an absolute beauty to behold and it is truly criminal that Couture's perfunctory RNC was awarded "Submission of the Night."

- Demian Maia showcased improved stand-up in outpointing Dan Miller on the feet, but it was not so impressive that I would ever advise Maia to continue fighting that way. Let's not forget that Miller is primarily a wrestler and a BJJ guy in his own right. If Maia attempts to strike with, say, the winner of Michael Bisping vs. Wanderlei Silva, he will get savagely owned without a doubt. Still, improvement is improvement and you have to hand it to Maia for rounding out his game.

- The mighty midget got the job done last night, as Matt Serra transitioned fluidly from punishing Frank Trigg to the body to knocking him out upstairs with his patented over-hand right. Trigg, who must have collaborated with Mark Coleman on their "genius" takedown-free gameplans, should not, and likely will not, fight in the octagon ever again. Trigg protested the stoppage, but it was actually slightly late, if anything.

- Mac Danzig did exactly what he needed to do in handily dispatching Justin Buchholz, who should now work on his game in regional shows. That said, Danzig did not look like a world-beater tonight and there are very few legit lightweight contenders that I personally think he can hang with.

- Melvin Guillard upset my pick and even cost me money by beating Ronnys Torres over three rounds. Clearly, I put too much stock in Torres' positive buzz and foolishly overlooked the benefits of "The Young Assassin's" revamped training at Team Jackson in New Mexico. Indeed, this was the most methodical Guillard we have ever seen and his grappling was leaps-and-bounds ahead of what we've all come to expect. I would still say that an elite submissions guy beats Guillard more often than not, but it looks like it will take and MMA fighter on a higher level than Torres to get the job done. That said, Ronnys turned in an enjoyable performance and will certainly be back in the octagon soon enough.

- Rob Emerson survived to fight another day, and Phillipe Nover is officially an over-hyped washout. Any questions?

- Phil Davis successfully utilized his vastly superior wrestling to expose Brian Stann as the mockery to the sport of MMA that he is. That might have sounded harsh, okay it was a bit harsh, but the fact is that Stann, who has skated by as a one-dimensional striker for way to long, definitely had this beatdown coming. Davis still has lots of room to grow and needs to add something called "finishing ability" to his arsenal. Once he does, we could be looking at a quality mixed martial artist.

- There's nothing more frustrating in the predictions game than being one-hundred percent right and still being wrong. As far as I am aware, every credible MMA website that provided live results scored the fight in favour of Alberta's Tim Hague and most gave Hague a 10-8 final round when he straight-up pummeled an exhausted Chris Tuchscherer for five full minutes. The crown booed the majority decision heartily. If there's any justice in this world, the UFC will bring Hague back for a fourth fight despite his 1-2 octagon record.

- The less said here the better. Rolles Gracie looked slow, uncoordinated, and incompetent on the feet. By the second round, Rolles was sucking wind so bad that I thought he might tap out from being winded. Joey Beltran took this fight on less than two-weeks notice and efficiently exposed Gracie as an embarrassment to his lineage. I don't expect "The Mexicutioner" to go very far in the UFC, but I'll happily watch him fight any day over Rolles.

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