Five Quick Rounds 12.18.12: Two Sets of TUF Results, Bellator Crowns a New Champion, GSP/Diaz, and More!
Welcome to another edition of Five Quick Rounds, 411’s fastest-finishing weekly opinion column. I’m your host, Wyatt Beougher, and it was a weekend that was packed with results, along with a sprinkling of news.
Round 1: UFC on FX 6 Crowns Smashes Winners
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
Friday night saw the sixth edition of UFC on FX, and it proved to be another night of great fights for the UFC. The show started with Hector Lombard returning to his Bellator form, battering Rousimar Palhares en route to a stoppage in just 3:38. Norman Parke picked up a unanimous decision and won the lightweight tournament of The Ultimate Fighter UK vs Australia: The Smashes, beating Colin Fletcher. Robert Whitaker was able to edge out Brad Scott for the welterweight crown with a unanimous decision of his own. And in the main event, Ross Pearson won the first two rounds against George Sotiropoulos before pounding him out at 0:41 of the third round.
As I said, this was another night of great fights for the UFC, but, with the exception of Hector Lombard, who called out Michael Bisping if Vitor Belfort is unable to compete in their upcoming tilt, I don’t see anyone on the main card of this show going anywhere in their respective divisions. Of course, the TUF winners are relatively young and have the opportunity to improve and potentially prove me wrong, but I don’t see Palhares, Pearson, or Sotiropoulos really setting the Octagon on fire. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that they can’t continue to put on exciting fights, and if you’re a fan of the sport, that’s what you should really care about, right?
Round 2: Bellator 84 Crowns New Heavyweight Champion
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
The UFC wasn’t the only show in town on Friday night, as Bellator also held their 84th show, and it featured the crowning of a new heavyweight champion (in the wake of former champ Cole Konrad’s retirement). The show started with Louis Taylor knocking Joe Vedepo out with a punch at 4:12 of the first round, followed by Felice Herrig earning a unanimous decision win over Patricia Vidonic and Daniel Vizcaya beating Jack Hermansson via split decision. The heavyweight title fight was the main event, and it saw Alexander Volkov pick up a pretty commanding unanimous decision win over Richard Hale.
And while I picked Hale to win the whole thing a few weeks back, I’m not surprised that Volkov was able to pick up the win, as he too turned in some impressive performances en route to the finals of the season seven heavyweight tournament. But, because this is Bellator, you know something had to go wrong if they had a non-controversial end to a significant heavyweight fight, and that just so happened to be the postponement of the season seven lightweight tournament final, scheduled to pit Dave Jansen against Marcin Held. Unfortunately, Held, at only 20 years old, wasn’t allowed to fight inside the casino where the show took place, which is about as classic of a Bellator derp as you’re likely to see.
Round 3: The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale Delivers
**TOUCH OF THE GLOVES**
And on Saturday night, the UFC finished off a jam-packed weekend of fighting with the finale of sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, the main event of which saw Roy Nelson TKO Matt Mitrione in just under three minutes. The main card started with Dustin Poirier earning a submission win via D’Arce choke over Jonathan Brookins, followed by preliminary action, as Rustam Khabilov tossed around TUF 15 competitor Vinc Pichel en route to a knockout win in 2:15. Shane Del Rosario and Pat Barry were up next, and in spite of Rosario handily winning the first round, Barry came out swinging in the second and he KOed Rosario in just 26 seconds. After that, it was more preliminary action, featuring Mike Pyle landing a beautiful knee and then following it up with some punches en route to the stoppage victory in just under two minutes. And in The Ultimate Fighter finals, Colton Smith took down Mike Ricci at will and controlled him throughout the three rounds to earn a dominant decision victory.
Poirier took way, WAY too much damage against Brookins before he was able to tag the Ultimate Fighter winner’s easily hittable jaw a few times, stuff a sloppy takedown, and lock in the choke, and if he wants to return to the upper echelon of the featherweight division, he’s going to need to work on his striking defense. As for Rustam Khabilov, that was the most impressive UFC debut I’ve seen in quite some time, and it was reminiscent of Jon Jones tossing Stephan Bonnar all over the cage en route to a decision win at UFC 100. I’ll be interested to see where the sambo expert goes from here, as he could potentially pose match-up problems for the wrestling-heavy lightweight division. Pat Barry isn’t going anywhere in the heavyweight division, and while I once thought Del Rosario had a bright future, I’m not sure he is either. As for Ricci, with both he and Colton contemplating drops to lightweight, perhaps he can get a rematch with Smith down the line and prove that all of that training with GSP and Rory MacDonald wasn’t for nothing. Roy Nelson is probably the most exciting gatekeeper in the UFC right now, and while I think he was a terrible coach on The Ultimate Fighter, when he’s healthy, he just doesn’t have unentertaining fights.
Round 4: Dana White Clarifies the Sara McMann Situation
**TOUCH OF THE GLOVES**
So last week I mentioned that Sara McMann and Miesha Tate had both denied ever being offered a fight against Ronda Rousey in the debut fight of the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division (a fight that went to McMann’s scheduled Strikeforce opponent Liz Carmouche before that Strikeforce card was cancelled) after UFC President Dana White said that both ladies had turned down the fight with Rousey. This week, White was back in the media, and he clarified his statements, saying that McMann had asked for one or two fights before fighting Rousey to build up to the Rousey fight. Apparently, because of that request, White never actually offered her the fight at UFC 157, but he still put her name out there as turning it down.
And while I don’t trust Monte Cox based on his time working with Tim Sylvia and Fedor Emelianenko, this would certainly explain why he said that as far as he knew, McMann was still contracted to Strikeforce (likely true until the completion of their final show) and why he had never been contacted regarding the Rousey fight. And while that should soften the perception that McMann doesn’t want to fight Rousey (just not yet), I fully expect Rousey, in full She-ael fashion, to claim that McMann is scared of her to build up the eventual fight between the two should it ever happen. And if I were McMann, I’d probably want a couple of fights before I faced Rousey as well, both to make sure I was ready for the most dominant female fighter to date, and also to build up interest in the fight and increase my purse for the event.
Round 5: UFC 158 Taking Shape
***TOUCH OF THE GLOVES***
UFC 158 is going to take place in Montreal, Quebec, and it will feature hometown hero Georges St. Pierre putting his welterweight title on the line against Nick Diaz. The winner of the Diaz/GSP fight will likely know his next challenger by the time he steps into the cage as well, as former interim champion Carlos Condit will square off against GSP training partner Rory MacDonald and once-contender Johny Hendricks will face Jake Ellenberger. Mike Ricci, who trains at Tri-Star with GSP and MacDonald, would like to make his UFC lightweight debut at the event as well, although nothing has been seriously discussed at the time of my deadline.
These are the type of shows that I wish the UFC would promote more of. After the relative success of the all-heavyweight UFC 146 back in May, it showed that cards which heavily feature one division can not only provide the fans with great match-ups, but also work to clarify multiple fighters’ positions within their division’s rankings. If Hendricks is able to beat Ellenberger soundly, one would have to expect that he’ll finally get the title shot that he was promised after dispatching Martin Kampmann last month. Of course, with an impressive win of his own, Condit could climb right back into the discussion, especially if Diaz is able to unseat St. Pierre. (If not, I’d expect the best that Condit could do is earn a title eliminator with Hendricks or MacDonald.) As for MacDonald, if he sticks to his guns and won’t face training partner GSP, then he’d be the odd man out if both he and St. Pierre win their respective bouts, though he could potentially face Ellenberger if he is able to defeat Hendricks. And as great as all three of those bouts sound, Hendricks/Ellenberger is the one I’m most looking forward to, as both guys are hard-hitting and the fight should end with fireworks.
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