MMA Fastball is not about long-winded introductions. So, let's get to this month's version.
We already know one thing?Amir Sadollah has the heart of a champion: Congratulations to Amir Sadollah on winning the TUF 7 crown. Has anyone ever gone through a tougher road on their way to winning a TUF championship? Gerald Harris, Matt Brown, and C.B. Dollaway were all winning their respective bouts against him before tasting defeat via stoppage.
In the end, Sadollah wasn't the strongest fighter on the show. He also wasn't the most experienced. But when it comes to heart, Sadollah was second to none, and that's usually a pretty good characteristic for a professional MMA fighter.
EliteXC- CBS Saturday Night of Fights is good for now but must change: Hardcore MMA fans simply weren't pleased with EliteXC's inaugural Saturday Night of Fights. The reasons? How about two fast stoppages in the Kimbo Slice-James Thompson and Robbie Lawler- Scott Smith fights? Add in the fact that there wasn't much in the line of ground fighting going on and most hardcore fans' opinion of Kimbo in general and voila.
The event did serve its purpose in that it created interest. Further, it created that interest on a purposefully striker- laden card, which is something that the masses could relate to.
Still, from here forth hardcore fans have a point. If you want MMA to make it then you need to market MMA. Kickboxing has never really made it in America, and boxing is on a freefall in U.S. markets. The draw from MMA is that it's as real as it gets and that means some ground fighting. Therefore, the next few EliteXC- CBS cards should have some impressive submission fighters on it. Whether the mainstream gets it or not initially isn't the point. Eventually they will, just as we all did.
Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith: This was turning out to be the kind of striking battle that would have drawn in the masses. It was looking like a Fight of the Year candidate before a doctor made the decision that Smith was unable to continue.
Good move by EliteXC in putting together a rematch.
We're all the best referees and doctors from our couch or upper deck seat: I thought that both of the critiqued stoppages at EliteXC's initial CBS show were warranted. That said, it's a lot easier sitting back on a couch or in a crowd with the opportunity to check the teleprompter when making calls regarding fighter safety. Try making a call like that in the middle of it all; there is no second chance. Not to mention that these people have a much better viewpoint to make decisions than we do.
We may all continue to critique decisions made. But it's still important to note that a referee's job during an MMA fight is a difficult one. Sometimes a doctor's is too.
Making weight: There are plenty of things that can serve to keep someone from making weight. Further, the recent rash of people not making weight for their fights -- Thiago Alves, Gina Carano, Nick Diaz -- all may have had excellent reasons. Still, making weight is important and it should be treated as such. Is there too much pressure on fighters who did make the weight to allow the fight to go on anyway?
Thiago Alves is the real deal: Yes, Matt Hughes does appear to be entering the twilight of a Hall of Fame career. Still, the way Alves recently handled he and Karo Parisyan would seem to indicate that he's got the stuff to truly vie for a welterweight title.
Perhaps Jon Fitch and Georges St. Pierre should be put on notice. A new contender is in our midsts.
Shinya Aoki's gogoplata: Katsuhiko Nagata may not be an MMA star, but he is a fighter. So when he gets caught in a "can you actually believe that happened" move like a gogoplata from the mount, you simply have to take notice of who pulled it off.
The bottom line is this: Shinya Aoki has some sick jiu jitsu. Speaking of that. . .
Shinya Aoki vs. B.J. Penn in a grappling match: Admittedly, this one has as much of a chance of going off as Fedor Emelianenko and UFC Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira do of fighting for a third time; and yes, Penn's striking skills are a good deal better than Aoki's.
But a ground fight between these two? How about a ridiculous amount of flexibility in a short space? It would be awesome.
Watch out for K.J. Noons: Noons deserves mention here for his lightning fast 48 second knockout of Yves Edwards. The bottom line is that you simply do not want to throw down with this guy on your feet.
Referees tend to jump in when other fighters decide to.
An up and comer worth watching?Dave Herman: Dave Herman looked like the real deal during his TKO victory over MMA veteran Ron Waterman. He appears to have skills both on the ground and on his feet?how about that kick he pulled off? -- and well --roundedness like that is rare with young fighters.
Expect Herman and his undefeated record to go places.
Hideo Tokoro vs. Darren Uyenoyama: If you missed this DREAM 4 match up, try to get your hands on a later showing. It was a demonstration in toughness and ground skills.
In fact, it was the exact kind of fight that the mainstream masses need to see; one that would signify what MMA truly is about.