|For Many: The Prodigy, the Legend, the False Idol|
Had this been a systematic domination of a relevant fighter it may have held some merit, but this wasn’t that. This was an unnecessary rubber match against a post-prime recognizable name that really had no point other than to get Penn back on the winning track after his two clear defeats by the natural 145 lbs. Frankie Edgar. It wasn’t a new or improved Penn that fought tonight, it was the same BJ Penn that was outclassed by Edgar, its just that he wasn’t facing a capable fighter.
A quick twenty-one second flurry of a few punches resulting in a flash knockout of a fighter who even in his prime had D-level striking looks nice on a highlight reel, but as far as any real relevance goes, this was a fluff fight that proves nothing in regards to a Championship title.
BJ Penn will beat a Caol Uno, then lose to a Jens Pulver. Beat a Sean Sherk, then lose to a Georges St. Pierre. Beat a Diego Sanchez, then lose to a Frankie Edgar. This is what Penn is as a fighter, and his career from start to current supports it. So rather than letting his record speak for itself while naturally attaining legendary status through proven achievements, such as a Fedor Emelianenko, the legendary tag has been placed upon him by fan’s who only perceive possible accomplishments. This is simply not how true legends maintain the prestigious title, and time will surely strip BJ of the prefix.
- Machida Refuses to Evolve -
|Expand your game or become irrelevant|
This fight really highlighted the two lines of thought in regards to judging criteria, and in a way was a battle between Pride-style aggression and UFC-style stalling. Some believe a fighter wins when he dictates pace and avoids damage, even if retreating is his means of doing so. Others believe a fighter wins by pressuring his opponent and actively making an attempt to engage. Well in recent years the more cautious approach has typically earned the judge’s nod, and Rampage’s shocked reaction to his victory illustrates how deeply this passive fight approach has engrained itself into the MMA conscious. But after tonight it seems the judges have issued a rebuke to at least Machida’s taking advantage of this, and if a trend forms, it will benefit MMA as a whole. Although its worth noting that Machida’s jab-n-stall style is not exactly equivalent to a wrestler’s lay-n-pray.
Machida must now rethink his entire fight game, and should feel some level of embarrassment for his stubborn refusal to mix things up after his previous defeat. Its perplexing to think he actually believed his point karate style had become anything but obsolete. Shogun shattered it in knockout fashion, and now Rampage has demonstrated that its effectiveness is gone for even the play-it-safe decision oriented game planning that Machida has so thoroughly relied on for the majority of his career. Rampage, on the other hand, took a step in the right direction, but still needs to fully realize that he is fighting MMA, and not boxing.
- Snuffaluffagus One Step Closer to Gold -
|The Aussie had an impressive 2010, potential FOTY|
A rumored fight with Dennis Siver at UFC 127 presents a stylistic challenge he has not really faced before, a striker with proven and consistent knockout ability. Although Siver has basically only seen guys who want to strike with him and Sotiropoulos certainly wont do this, so a title shot seems very possible for the Australian.
What’s next for Joe Lauzon is probably another undeserved fight in the UFC. Maybe they’ll bring in another Reinhardt, Bradley, or Ruediger type of fighter for him to play with. At this point, those are really the only kind of wins he can collect.
- Davis Continues to Impress -
|Jackson style fighters could learn a lot from a guy like Davis|
Compare this performance to the similarly styled Nate Marquardt from UFC 122. There was no hesitation or meekness in Phil Davis, he embraced his role as a fighter and fought as one. That’s how champions are determined. Maybe he’ll win, maybe he’ll lose, but at least at the end of the night he knows where his true potential lies, and the majority of the time a person with such a mentality will find greatness in himself. Nate Marquardt doesn’t know if he is capable of beating Yushin Okami because he didn’t try to beat Yushin Okami. Rather than forcing his own will onto his opponent and proving to reality that he is the superior fighter, Marquardt tried to convince three people sitting ringside that he won through passive control. Phil Davis has the mentality and perspective that fighter’s like Marquardt probably can’t even fathom, its just not in the Greg Jackson lexicon.
- In Summary -
As a whole, the event was fairly typical of what the UFC is producing nowadays. Generally uninteresting matchmaking and too many fighters not willing to fight. Most of them just don’t seem to be of enough skill to warrant a ticket to the so called big show. But then again, at what point after continually pushing these types of fighter does it create the reality that this is indeed the level of skill required to gain access to the UFC? After all, with Sean Gannon, Kimbo Slice, and now Sean McCorkle, Zuffa has a history of recruiting fighters based solely on internet acclaim rather than fighting ability, so its not really a surprise that their cards are so often filled with meager talent.
On the positive side of things, George Sotiropoulos and Phil Davis share the spotlight as the real stand outs of the night. Edson Barboza showed some strong striking, but needs to prove he’s capable of executing it against better competition before any buzz is warranted.