Try to keep your cool fight fans. Two weeks after the UFC set a record with 10 decisions at an event at UFC 169, they end up getting 10 decisions at UFC Fight Night 36. Dana White was cranky enough (probably an understatement) after UFC 169, I'm sure that he is just a bit more peeved this time around. Out of those 10 decisions, only one was a real stinker and most offered some pretty good action. Could the event have been better. Well... yeah. And some finishes certainly would have helped with that sentiment. So was the event a disaster? Hell no! Quit concentrating on what wasn't there and pay attention to what was there.
The biggest development to come out of Fight Night 36 is Lyoto Machida walked away with a victory and as a result should get a middleweight title shot as Dana White said he would likely get if he won. White has been known to promise those before only to rescind them and has done so to Machida before. So we'll have to wait and see how that development plays out. I could see White pulling it back due to the fact Machida didn't get a finish, but Machida did go for some kill shots that just didn't do the trick and dominated the fight. There is no good reason Machida shouldn't get next.
Aside from that, another middleweight contender strengthened his standing, an early celebration could have cost a victory, and two heavily promoted prospects got back on the winning track.
Lets break down the main card.
*indicates I was right in my fight pick
*Lyoto Machida defeated Gegard Mousasi via Decision
Though it went to decision there was little doubt about who won the fight. Machida utilized his usual elusive game plan and darted in and out with his flurries and a variety of kicks to the legs, body, and head. He went for takedowns as well and kept Mousasi guessing the whole time. When you don't know what your opponent is going to do next its hard to be able to make the right move. Mousasi took some heavy shots and the fact that he didn't go out from them (the head kick in the second round comes to mind) is a great testament to his toughness. Mousasi's best offense came in the form of an illegal upkick in the fourth round though. Overall, Mousasi didn't look very good. But then again, not many people do look good against Machida.
Machida should get a title shot against the winner of Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort over Memorial Day weekend. Did the fight go to decision? Yes. Was it a close fight? No, and that is usually what people complain about when it comes to a Machida fight is that its difficult to tell who won. No debate this time. Dana White stripped a title shot from him when he wanted more time to prepare for Jon Jones and he was robbed of another potential opportunity when the judges dropped the Phil Davis decision. There is no doubt that he is one of the best fighters in any division and being a fresh challenger in the division is further reason to award him the fight.
Mousasi is still a top-flight middleweight, so he should still get a name opponent for his next fight. I admit that Machida looked good largely because he is Machida, but I think ring rust on Mousasi's part probably had something to do with it as well. Remember that it was an ACL surgery he was coming back from. I fully expect he will look much better his next time in the Octagon. The loser of the Tim Kennedy-Michael Bisping fight in April makes the most sense as both are considered to be top-flight contenders. If that match is made, the loser will be eliminated from title contention for a long time if not permanently.
I gotta admit that Carmont really showed well for himself even in a loss. Souza is a grappling marvel and Carmont survived Souza getting his back in both the first and third round. Carmont showed strength and grit when he was able to pull Souza's arm from under his neck in the first round to survive that onslaught and determined not to let that happen again. He kept the fight on their feet in the second round and even get the better of the exchanges there effectively using his length. But Souza got his back again in the third round and controlled him the rest of the way from there despite being unable to sink in a sub.
Souza said in his post-fight interview that he wanted a title shot as well as the fact he fought with an injured arm. Its doubtful he'll get a title shot with Machida winning his fight and there is a question whether or not they would be willing to fight one another if Machida does become the champ. He is in a relatively bad spot though due to his relationship with Machida in the meantime. Still, he won a convincing decision by outgrappling Carmont, a talented grappler in his own right and should still be on the short list of contenders. If his arm was badly hurt that makes it that much more impressive. As for what to do with him... give me a second. I'm still thinking. How about match him up with Michael Bisping if Bisping can beat Tim Kennedy. I'm sure fans would love the idea of that.
Carmont's stock went up with this loss. Souza may have stifled him for two of the three rounds, but the fact that he never completely snuffed him was highly impressive. Souza has improved his striking as well and the fact that he hung with him there (if not outdoing him) is also something to laud him for. The fact that he is a relatively new addition to the middleweight hierarchy means that there are a lot of possibilities for him out there. Mark Munoz has been open for a while now coming off of his loss to Machida and a scuffle between Munoz and Carmont makes a lot of sense. The fact that Munoz has a wrestling background will make it difficult for Carmont to grind out a boring win ala Costas Philippou. If Carmont really wants to improve his stock, he'll need a finish victory his next time out.
Nothing surprising happened here. Silva is known for quick finishes in his fights and there isn't a person out there that didn't believe that Sato wasn't outmatched in this fight. Silva hurt Sato with a body kick, Sato dived for a single leg takedown, and Silva pounded his head with hammerfists as Sato clung to Silva's leg. The UFC got what it wanted: Silva back on the winning track. This fight did nothing for me except give me an easy pick on the UFC Pick 'Em fantasy.
Silva should never have been in the ring with Sato. I understand that his loss to Dong Hyun Kim was devastating considering he was winning the fight before he got caught. But this was like Bill Gates getting a tax break. Completely unneeded. Silva is exciting, but he needs a win over a quality opponent to justify just a little bit of the hype around him. Mike Pyle would be an excellent choice if Pyle can get past TJ Waldburger at UFC 170. He has been around a long time and should know how to exploit Silva's aggressiveness. But Silva could very well blitz him as well. Waldburger wouldn't be a bad choice either if he beats Pyle. Why didn't I just say the winner of that fight?
I seriously doubted whether or not Sato was UFC material when he was signed and feel even stronger about that at this point. I don't dislike the guy... but Pancrase and the UFC are nowhere near as close in competition as they once upon a time were. I'm sure he'll get another shot to pick up a UFC victory, but it won't be anyone near as good as Silva. Wang Sai and Li Peng Zhang will be facing off at the TUF China Finale. Whoever loses would be a good choice to match up with Sato and allow one of them to rebound.
Nico Musoke defeated Viscardi Andrade via Decision
This match will always be a prime example of why you don't celebrate before the match is over. Maybe Andrade would have been able to finish Musoke in the first round after dropping him with a powerful right hand, maybe not, but we'll never know at this point and I gotta believe it would have made a difference. Musoke was able to recover and while he may have lost the round, he took the next two rounds as Andrade was gassed in the second round and was unable to get out from underneath Musoke once he got top control the next two rounds.
Musoke was in a lot of trouble in the first round and there was certainly question as of whether or not he would be able to recover from the knockdown mentally. But he certainly did and ended up putting on an impressive performance in the process. His ability to take a shot (and recover) has now been tested and proven. At 27, he is far from old, but not an especially young prospect. Still, welterweight has plenty of quality fighters so I'd be willing to take my time with him. Sean Pierson is an old veteran with a lot of savvy and he has a deep gas tank. Sounds like the right type of test for Musoke.
Andrade looked great in the first round, but whether it was an adrenaline dump or bad conditioning, he had little to nothing to offer after that point. I'm willing to guess his emotions betrayed him after he thought he had the victory and everything just dumped on him. I still think that he has potential to make some noise, but he'll have to make sure he has the gas tank to go a full fifteen if he is to do so. Pascal Krauss has had problems with injuries in his UFC time, but puts on fun fights when he can go. I expect something fun to be produced if that match happens.
What people took out of this fight wasn't necessarily the Oliveira victory as everyone expected that, but the fact that Ogle was able to defend Oliveira's submission attempts as well as he did. Oliveira had a dominant position throughout much of the match whether it be top position or getting Ogle's back, but wasn't able to get the submission until almost 13 minutes into the fight with a triangle choke. Ogle was even able to reverse position on Oliveira a couple of times which few expected. Yes, Oliveira walked out with the win, but Ogle walked out with the improved stock even with his loss.
Oliveira is still a young prospect and the UFC set up this match to get him a victory and back on track. Some might feel his stock should go down slightly, but he was aggressive in going for the subs and Ogle just showed loads of heart and resilience. To give him further credit, it seems he tightened up his muay thai in the few times that he got to show it. Still, I wouldn't be rushing Oliveira back in there with any Frankie Edgar's anytime soon. Tom Niinimaki scored an impressive victory over submission ace Rani Yahya. Can he do the same thing to Oliveira? That's something that I would like to find out.
Heart has always been more than abundant with Ogle and again showed it. The loss dropped him to 1-3 in the UFC, but he has a few things going for him that will likely keep him around. First, he is only 25, so he has plenty of time to get better. Second, he is British and due to wanting to have a few Brits for trips overseas to Europe, he gets a slightly longer leash than say Americans. And third, fans (and Dana White) love him. I don't know why or even if Josh Clopton is still hanging aroun, but if he is he makes a good choice to pit against Ogle in a loser leaves town match. If not Clopton, Rob Whiteford or Estevan Payan are other good choices.
Record for Card: 9-3
Record for Year: 39-18
Feel free to leave an opinion. Everyone has 'em.