The finish line is in sight near the end of a frantic April.
UFC 159 on Saturday puts the stamp on a month which brought us, in order, the saga of Alexander Gustafsson's cut, Pat Curran's latest title defense, two new Invicta champs and Cris Cyborg's return, Ilir Latifi, the Matt Mitrione-Fallon Fox saga, Cat Zingano's comeback win over Miesha Tate, Uriah Hall's faceplant in the TUF Finale and a UFC on FOX fight card which featured eight knockouts and the closest title fight in recent memory.
So with Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen right around the corner, let's not waste any time getting into the latest edition of Fightweets. If you'd like to be considered for a future edition, go to my Twitter page and leave me a tweet.
@JLPWong: Who do you have for Tate-Carmouche?
I love this UFC on FOX 8 fight. Absolutely love it. One of the things that has made women's MMA such a breath of fresh air this year is that, other than a certain former featherweight champion who shall remain nameless, we've had none of the fight-dodging excuses we so often see from the men these days. I'm sure that will start to happen over time, but for now, Invicta and the UFC bantamweights have restored the "fighting for the pure love of the sport" vibe that all too often seems missing on the men's side of things.
Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche is a high-stakes fight. The winner gets right back into the bantamweight title picture. The loser, fair or not, probably gets branded a gatekeeper after high-profile, back-to-back losses.
Tate goes into this fight the favorite, but don't sleep on Carmouche here. Miesha's last three fights were her Strikeforce title loss to Ronda Rousey, an absolute war with Julie Kedzie in which she had to rally for a win, and a punishing loss to Cat Zingano. Carmouche has come up just short in her biggest challenges, but she was a late starter in MMA, she's gaining in experience and she nearly took Rousey's title. Tate has the more solid resume, but it could be that she's on the cusp of a downward slide, while Carmouche has undergone a trail by fire and is on the upswing. I see truly see this fight as a tossup.
Finally, great move by the UFC putting this fight on the FOX main card. Rousey and Carmouche drew well on pay-per-view. Tate and Zingano were the clear main event to the fans in attendance at the TUF 17 Finale. If Tate and Carmouche have the fight we're know they're capable of delivering in front of millions on network television, then the mainstreaming of the women's bantamweight division will be complete.
Moving on from Mitrione
@omaresco02: Are you surprised Matt M suspension lifted so soon? Do you think it was just for.show?
I'm of two minds on the abrupt lifting of Matt Mitrione's suspension. On one hand, yeah, this sure comes of as the equivalent of, say, a starting pitcher in baseball prompting a brawl, then getting a suspension which ends before his next scheduled start.
On the other, I don't know, maybe I'm just losing my energy for outrage. After watching my hometown get tangled in a terrorism saga for a week, I just can't get too worked up because someone isn't going to be punished eternally for saying something mean.
As it is, I've never been fully comfortable with this "one strike and you're out" mentality our society has developed, where a witch hunt develops every time someone says something offensive. Think of the worst things you've ever said in your life. Would you want that held against you forever? What Mitrione said was reprehensible, no doubt. If it becomes a pattern, then yes, it's probably time to give him the boot. But it was a first offense. Let's stop acting like Mitrione committed a murder.
Bottom line to me, Bill Maher got this one right: "When did we get it in our heads that we have the right to never hear anything we don't like?"
How would Fox fare in the UFC?
@WToad should Fallon Fox be allowed to compete in the womens BW division in UFC
Well, she's a featherweight, but to play along: Fox In the UFC? She's only fought twice so far. At this stage of the game, that's sort of like the questions which popped up around 2009 asking whether Kimbo Slice could beat Fedor Emelianenko or Brock Lesnar.
Minimum fights for title challengers?
@BreadandWater94: shuldnt a title challenger have more than 10 fights? Champs at a disadvantage? Challenger: 20 vids to study Champ: 9 to study
@BreadandWater94: example is Weidman vs Silva
My gut feeling all along has been that if you give Chris Weidman a shot at Anderson Silva now, the results will be similar to when Georges St-Pierre got his first crack at Matt Hughes too soon and had his career set back awhile because of it. I stand by this.
But, if you're the UFC, what other route could you take?
A year ago it seemed a new pack of middleweight challengers was breaking through. Instead, they all systematically knocked one another off in a manner that made no one look impressive. So you're left with the 9-0 guy who admittedly looked like a killer in his last fight. Silva vs. Weidman is not ideal, but it was the best available hand to play at the moment.
Next lightweight title shot
@auggie85: What's your thoughts on Grant/Maynard winner getting next shot at benson? Should the UFC have rethought Pettis?
I've said it a couple times already, but I'll say once more: I hate the idea of the Gray Maynard-T.J. Grant winner getting the title shot. The UFC has two clearcut better choices for Benson Henderson's next defense: 1. An immediate rematch for Melendez, who many people feel should be champion today; 2. Josh Thomson, who just finished Nate Diaz, which is something neither Henderson nor any UFC fighter in two separate weight classes could do.
I'll concede that if Grant can score an impressive win over a fighter of Maynard's caliber, which would be his fifth straight victory, then you can build a reasonable case for a title shot. But still, not a better one than Melendez or Thomson. And that doesn't even consider that Jim Miller could work his way back into contention with a strong win Saturday.
I thought it was a bad call when Dana White announced it on Saturday, and I still think it's a bad idea a week later.
Round and round
@joeburgers: GSP said he thinks MMA shouldn't have rounds, just 15 or 25 min fights. Does MMA need rounds?
@Dashamas3000: Do you think the 10 point system needs to be abolished? Each round is a single fight cuz of it. More 10-10 rds?
I'm going to combine these two into one. First off, I think GSP should be careful what he wishes for. Can you imagine the fan reaction to St. Pierre in a no-rounds fight, taking someone down and holding him there uninterrupted for a half-hour? Professional wrestling went fake a century ago in large part because the public tired of long stalemates in legitimate matches and Dan Severn's Superfight snoozer with Ken Shamrock back in the day pretty much killed casual interest in the early-era UFC on the spot, political troubles notwithstanding.
As for the 10-point must system, it isn't perfect, but I think it's better than the alternatives. I actually like the fact the individual round scoring gives each set of five minutes a fresh sense of urgency. I'd like to see judges score feel more free to score 10-8 rounds and I'd like to see referees actually exercise their authority to deduct points from time to time, both of which would make the scores a bit more fluid than what we've got now.
And anyway, by scoring each round, at least we've got the judges hypothetically paying attention in five-minute increments. If we were judging under PRIDE rules, can you imagine giving Cecil Peoples or Adelaide Byrd an entire fight to snooze, then have them simply name a winner at the end with no further justification or breakdown? Is that really better? I'm open to other suggestions, but I'm not sure I've heard anything yet that would be considerably better than 10-point must.
@mikewellman88: GSP thinks he's been abducted by aliens. Thoughts?
Did he say when this happened? Because if it was sometime around 2008, I could totally believe they abducted him, drained him of his finishing ability, and sent him back.