1. The event had an awesome early Zuffa feel. The small arena, smaller cage, intimate crowd and even the way the Octagon itself was dressed felt more like an early Zuffa show. It felt like I was watching an event from 2005 and that was pretty damn cool. The intimate and jacked up crowd reminded me of when only the hardcore faithful would show up to events at small casino ball rooms. The only thing missing was a Mickey's sticker and a UFC.TV url on the cageposts. Part of the reason Bellator is such a good TV product is most of their events are in small arenas in smaller markets with super rambunctious, capacity crowds. The same was true of older UFC events. Dana used to say one of the reasons the UFC stays away from larger venues is that would kill the vibe of the show which is so integral to the UFC. Bitch, don't kill my vibe. I quite liked the feel of the event and I hope the UFC hosts more like that in the future. While you don't get panning shots of an NBA arena full of fans, you can more than make up for it with the energy of the crowd that you can feel from two planets away.
2. The smaller cage contributed to the action packed fights. Cutting guys off is way easier in a cage of that size. For events such as WEC 54 - erroneously known as UFC on Fox 9 - that feature mostly smaller weight class fighters, I'd like to see a slightly smaller cage than used in most other arenas. WEC events were some of the best events in MMA history. No one who actually watched the WEC whined about "little guys can't finish" or complained that the fights weren't interesting because there was no drama. WEC events were wild. Never boring. Plenty of great finishes. One of the main reasons was the smaller cage accommodated sub-155'rs better. The fights in those weight classes were flat out better in the WEC than they are in the UFC(in addition to the smaller cage providing an optical illusion regarding the size of the athletes.) UFC on Fox 9 won't be held in an aircraft hanger. It will be at the
ARCO Sleep Train Arena which for a UFC event will be just shy of 20,000 seats. With a live audience that size, the UFC's hand may be forced(correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Aldo vs Faber, also held at the ARCO used a bigger cage than most WEC events) But I think a smaller cage still may be possible and that idea should be explored for future cards featuring smaller fighters.(yo, wtf kind of name is Sleep Train Arena anyway? These corporate renamings of stadiums are out of hand. I hope Vince Offer's post-hooker-tongue-bite comeback is successful and he is able to buy a majority share in MSG, renaming that shit the Shamwow! Arena, you following me camera guy?)
3. Tim Kennedy is one of the toughest humans on the planet. That guy is on another level. In addition to being a decorated war hero IRL triple prestige+100 star colonial, he is quite the MMA fighter. The pain tolerance that guy has is unreal. A week prior to the fight, he suffered a similar injury to the one which forced that sexist asshat Tim Gorman out of the TUF house this season. His injured thigh was about twice the size of the other leg and the bruising of the tear was clearly visible. He literally showed no ill effects, threw spinning kicks with it, and still launched that left hook which would have crushed not just Rafael, but also Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Slash, or any other Teenage Mutant Ninja Natal you could find. However, it looked like Kennedy clearly threw two shots after the fight was stopped, with one of them being especially flagrant. If a fighter like Palhares, Daley, Overeem, or any other controversial fighter threw those borderline late punches, people would be all over him. BTW, if you've ever followed Kennedy's twitter posts and other original content, if not for his super hot wife, you'd think the lifting of Don't Ask, Don't Tell would be welcome news to his ears...I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
4. The soldiers counting down from the clap was epic. I hope that starts a new trend with MMA crowds counting down the final ten seconds of a round. It added to the drama of those fights and kept the energy high. That was different, and at first kinda weird, but in the end pretty boss, at least when the time keeper was synced up with the titantron's clock.
5. Joe should have interviewed Yves. There is very little chance that Yves Edwards will ever fight in the Octagon again. He has lost 3 in a row, and 5 of his last 7. He is 37 years of age and his body has got more fight wear than a warehouse of 9 years worth of unsold Punishment Athletics. This was one of those situations where Joe should have given him some face time, as is typical for fighters who are likely at the end of the line. Yancy even tried to coax Joe into that by trying to put the attention on Yves during his post fight speech. Yves is losing to every decent prospect in the bottom third of the rankings he faces. The only way he can make it back to the UFC is if he puts together a decent winning streak. In such a talent rich division, with so many up and coming studs around every corner, unless he starts hand picking weak opponents, or fights only Jens Pulver, its tough seeing him make it back to the big show. Look for him to be fed to a Russian shark with an unpronounceable name in a future Bellator tournament.
6. Big John didn't have his best night. It is easy for us to point fingers at refs, and their job isn't easy, but the Krause fight was a pure fiasco. That was a groin shot. MMA isn't boxing, where a low blow is defined as anything below the navel, and shorts are pulled higher than the old people in windsuits who walk around the mall in the morning, but that was too close for comfort(especially for James). In the context of the earlier blows, and the replay which shows it clearly hits the upper region of the cup, I hope that TKO loss is overturned to a NC. But that wasn't the only issue as Big John let Yves take way too many extra blows. Granted, he had to run across the cage, but he was out of position and did not react to the knockdown initially at all, only starting his sprint after Medeiros was cracking a defenseless Yves.
7. Chrissy Blair and Vanessa Hanson make me happy. Arianny Celeste, to me, always kinda looks like
she is so out of my league it isn't funny is high maintenance and bitchy. She may be pretty, she just isn't my cup of tea. Britney Palmer is still the Fedor "The Spider" St. Pierre of ring girls. Does that even make sense? Let me put it another way : She's the goat. I'll be the redneck farmer. Regardless, the addition of these girls to the UFC is welcome and no doubt makes many other MMA fans hugely excited.
Goat farmers? Hugely excited? WTF? Yea, sorry, that's all I got. I couldn't figure out a way to work in "stand at attention" so. That is what you get.
See ya'll in the morning report.