I guess the odds makers in Vegas really do know their MMA. All three of their picks for the headline matches at UFC 100 came through – GSP, Henderson and Lesnar. While this was a fairly entertaining PPV to watch, parts of it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.
First off, apparently Dana White and co. need explained to them what the phrase “main event” means. If Henderson-Bisping, GSP-Alves and Mir-Lesnar are your “headline” matches that you are giving the most lead up publicity to, then they should be the last matches on your card, in that order. You don’t put the Jon Fitch-Paulo Thiago fight – a fight I was looking forward to see – on after the main event. The crowd was already dead, and to pour more salt in the wounds, the match was pretty slow. Add in a weak main event match leading into this and you end the card on a downer, instead of a high note. Kinda like how performers would never go on stage after James Brown. Some things you just don’t follow.
More about the dud of a main event later. On a more positive note, the first three matches on the card – Yoshihiro Akiyama-Alan Belcher, Henderson-Bisping and GSP-Alves – were worth the price of admission. I’m glad Henderson won but, at the same time, I lost a lot of respect for him for pounding a knocked out Bisping in the face knowing full well that he was already seeing birdies. That was one of the most gruesome knockouts I’ve seen in a while, but the usual classy Henderson should have remained that way rather than pound on the helpless, sleeping Brit.
Nuff respect due (word to Big Daddy Kane) to Thiago Alves for going the distance with Georges St. Pierre. Alves was totally dominated and outclassed by GSP, but I was impressed with the way he was able to thwart off St. Pierre’s ground game and get back up to his feet time and again. At only 25-years-old, Alves still has a very bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately for him (and every other 170lb fighter in the world) GSP is only 28-years-old and is only getting more dominant every match. There is NO ONE currently in the weight class who has any shot at beating GSP. Alves had the best chance of the bunch and all that got him was a mangled face. Which causes a dilemma for the UFC. With no one able to legitimately give GSP a run for his money – and the fact that he’ll have real trouble moving up a weight class (at least in the very near future) – what is the incentive for people to purchase future PPV’s that he headlines? The main reason we are all drawn to sports is the thrill of the unknown. There is no unknown with GSP – we know heading in that he is going to dominate his opponent.
Which brings us to the most disappointing of storylines in the sport – the reign of Brock Lesnar. While Lesnar playing the role of the bad guy is good theater (Vince McMahon taught him well) and makes me want to see him get punched in the face, who has any shot of beating him? Just take a look at Frank Mir’s face after the match (photo below) and let me know who wants to step up and be the next contestant in Brock Lesnar’s Ground and Pound of Doom?
Lesnar isn’t good for the sport for several reasons. First of all, as mentioned above he is so big and strong (and the heavyweight division so weak), that there are no legit challengers for him currently, especially as he gets more experienced. He appeared on the scene at just the right time to dominate. Randy Couture and Minotauro Nogueira have seen their best days, we just saw what he did to Mir, and the next generation of up-and-coming heavyweights aren’t ready yet. Additionally, his fights aren’t that exciting. He basically just overpowers his opponent and pounds on them, like a bully stealing kids lunch money.
Also, what kind of image of MMA does it convey when an inexperienced fighter can jump right into the sport and dominate? A former professional wrestler no less. With MMA battling to be fully recognized as a legitimate mainstream sport, this is not a good thing. So Brock Lesnar needs to be stopped for the good of the sport. But I don’t see anyone currently in the UFC who can do that. So I’m begging – pleading – that Dana White can persuade our white knight from Mother Russia to come over and save us all. Help us Fedor Emelianenko – you’re our only hope.