Sunday, September 25, 2011

UFC 135 Thoughts

After UFC 133, I was wondering if the Rashad Evans/Tito Ortiz fight really taught us anything. My theory was that Rashad beating a quick-returning Tito Ortiz really didn't show us anything - Rashad is assumed to be a much better fighter than Ortiz, Ortiz was just returning after 4 weeks from his previous fight, and Ortiz was only fighting after 2 1/2 weeks notice. We would have learned more if Rashad did not finish Ortiz. But my pal GG of Fight Game Blog responded in a tweet saying "Rashad could give Jones a little more trouble than I originally thought."

After tonight I get what he means.

I mentioned in my preview post that Jon Jones really hadn't been tested by competition as of yet. Tonight did not really change that. While Rampage Jackson might be the toughest opponent that Jon Jones has faced, it really wasn't a difficult fight for him. Jackson has a definitive style (straight ahead striking, preferably from up close) that you can counter; he's not going to bring a varied game plan at all. With Jones being in the Greg Jackson camp, bringing a straightforward, one tone style to a Jon Jones fight is an easy way to lose.

What Rashad Evans brings to a table is a style that is difficult to imitate. Much like Jones, Evans' strikes come at you from unusual angles and levels. Evans is also a very good wrestler; Jones will also have to worry about the threat of being taken down. These are two things that Jones has never had to deal with in any other fight. For him to deal with one would be interesting; to deal with two in the same fight will likely produce the definitive statement on how good Jon Jones is.
Tonight also saw what seems to be the end of Matt Hughes' career. Age has forced a changing of the guard; instead of Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Matt Hughes, the faces of the UFC are Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Brock Lesnar.

What stays constant though is the UFC brand. The brilliance of Dana White and the Fertitta brothers was their decision to push UFC ahead of individual fighters, and to take advantage of the UFC name to equate MMA with UFC. When people talk about fighting, it is normally referred to as Ultimate Fighting or UFC. MMA is not mentioned by the general sports media.

This equality allowed UFC to build a monopoly of sorts, and to own the market. It also lets them weather losing their old stars, and create new stars.
My predictions ended up being 8-2, putting my record for the year at 78-40-2. My theoretical wagers ended up winning me $29.50 (thanks Mark Hunt!), putting my winnings for the year at $103.30.

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