September 10, 2007
I thought Iíd talk a little MMA this week. I donít follow MMA religiously or anything but I do enjoy it and watch it whenever possible. With a wife and kids at home who hate watching fighting the opportunity doesnít come as often as you would think, or I would like. I catch BoDog fight occasionally on The Score (my buddy Paul Lazenby does commentary for them), and follow UFC as much as possible on Spike TV. Iím not a PPV guy so this past Saturday when Spike TV offered UFC 75 for free, I invited a couple people over and made a night of it.
I enjoyed the show, but was a little let down by the indecisive finishes to most of the matches. I commented on this during the show and my brother pointed out that I still look at things from a bookerís perspective. I donít look at each individual match but at the card as a whole and since the first two matches had strong decisive finishes followed by 3 judgeís decisions, I felt the show ended a little flat. This isnít anyoneís fault mind you; itís simply one of the disadvantages to real competition.
We played pickíem all night and I started strong but finished poorly. I picked Houston Alexander in the opener and he did not disappoint. Alexander knocked out Sakara in I believe 1:01 of the first round. Iím 1:0.
The second fight was Marcus Davis and Paul Taylor and it was my favourite fight of the night. I picked Davis and he had me worried early. I think I liked this fight the most because it followed pro-wrestling ring psychology the closest. I had picked Davis to win so he was my baby face. Taylor knocked Davis down (possibly out) early and Davis was in serious jeopardy. Davis managed to compose himself, survive and comeback, fighting out from underneath and tapping Taylor out with an arm bar. Although relatively short you could not have booked this fight better. Iím a fan of the ground game and submissions to so the comeback win with the arm bar submission made this my fight. Iím also at this point 2:0 for picking winners.
From this point on the show flattened out for me, because up next was Mirko Crocop. Iíve heard so much about Crocop over the years. Iíve always heard how deadly the guy is and of course how much we look alike. The first fight of his that I saw was his K.O. loss to Gonzaga, so tonight was his chance to redeem himself, and wow, that certainly was not the case. At no point during that fight did I get the impression he wanted to be in a fight or that he was particularly good at fighting. Congo to the best of my knowledge is fairly inexperienced and should have been a fairly safe win for Crocop, which I believe was the point of booking this fight. UFC had big plans for Crocop when they brought him in and a strong win in this show was their chance to build him up to a money fight and get their moneyís worth out of him. Well the joys of real sport reared itís ugly head again because despite my picking Crocop as the winner Congo won the judges decision, and I would imagine Crocopís UFC career is all but over. I totally agree with the judgeís decision but unfortunately it was a close enough fight that the loss buried Crocop and the win wasnít big enough to real make Congo. Very disappointing and Iím now 2:1.
Next up were Hamill and Bisping, which was the fight I was most interested in. As I mentioned I donít follow UFC religiously but I had seen most of TUF where this match was built. I knew the history of these two and saw Bispingís solid outing on the last free UFC PPV from England. I picked Hamill in this fight and despite the judgeís decision feel I was right. This was a solid fight but not a real decisive one. Neither guy was ever in a lot of jeopardy so it was not an exciting fight either. I thought Hamill was more the aggressor in the fight and won at least 2 of the rounds perhaps even all three, and deserved to win the fight, and was extremely let down by the bogus split decision. This decision IMO really hurts the credibility of the sport. Crap like this reminds me of Don King and why I donít follow boxing. Officially I am now 2:2.
I was hoping the Main Event would put me back above 500 but that was not the case. I had never seen either of these fighters before, so I based my Henderson to win prediction, on Bryan Alvarezís prediction of Henderson, hoping he knew what he was talking about. Turns out Bryan didnít know what he was talking about and I ended the night 2:3 in predictions when Jackson won a unanimous decision over Dan Henderson (Thanks Bryan!). This was a real solid fight and I enjoyed it a lot. I think Rampage definitely won the fight but on the heels of 2 other judgeís decisions, one of which was bogus, this fight not ending in a stoppage really hurt the show. Had the other 2 fights ended clean I would have been more accepting of this decision. (I guess that is the booker in me).
If there is one thing I would change, and perhaps there are logical reasons behind it being the way it is, I would make all the fights 5 rounds. The two extra round likely would have resulted in clearer winners in both the Crocop and the Bisping fights. Fewer fights would go the distance and with only 3-round to base a decision on if there is a close round at all, the fight becomes a coin toss. I think Congo might have been able to beat Crocop with more time, and a knock out of Crocop would have made that guy. Bisping Ė Hamill would likely have been a lot clearer too with more rounds to base a decision on. Later round usually become more decisive so early feeling out rounds that are very even become less important in the scoring.
Well thatís my 2-cents anyway, but what the hell do I know? I was 2:3 in my predictions, and dumb enough to take prediction advice from Bryan Alvarez. (LOL)