All the promos in the world couldn’t change the fact that last night’s UFC event was essentially without a main event. Nonetheless, Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping put on a decent show with their extremely close three-round bout, and this time it was Bisping who came out on the wrong end of the judges’ decision.
As advertised, Evans relied on takedowns early and often to sway the judges in his favor. Bisping’s inability to stop him resulted in the Brit losing round one, though Evans seemed to fade after that point.
After the split decision was announced, Bisping said he felt that he won the fight and negated Evans’ takedowns by getting up from each one without sustaining damage. I have to admit that seemed like a novel — though mostly fabricated — criteria for judging fights.
Nowhere does it say that getting up from takedowns without sustaining damage negates them. In fact, nowhere does it say anything about how to score takedowns in MMA, which is part of the problem. But Bisping may have been onto something.
In rounds two and three Bisping looked like the sharper fighter on the feet, and while Rashad managed to put him down a couple of times, he never had Bisping in any danger and made very little effort to finish the fight.
I though Bisping deserved to win this decision as much as he deserved to lose the one against Matt Hamill. Maybe this is a way of the universe (or the UFC) evening things out, but Bisping proved that he does have the potential to be a top-ranked fighter down the road, if he fills out his game a little more.
The other fight the UFC tried to hype into a major contest was the Houston Alexander-Thiago Silva match. Alexander has enjoyed a big push from the UFC after his two quick KO victories, but he showed against Silva that for as intimidating and explosive as he is on the feet, he is equally helpless on the mat.
Silva had zero trouble passing his guard and moving to full mount, where Alexander’s answer was to grab Silva’s body and hold on for dear life. For those of you less familiar with the finer point of the ground game, that does not constitute an appropriate defense or escape attempt.
Alexander looked as if he’d done about fifteen minutes of jiu-jitsu in preparation for this fight, and none of it was spent learning how to deal with escaping the mount. Seems odd, considering he knew he’d be taking on Chute Boxe fighter Silva. Did he not know that Brazilians are born with a working knowledge of submissions?
Alexander’s inability to escape led to him being knocked briefly unconscious by a flurry from Silva, then knocked back into consciousness, then back out again. After the first-round stoppage, Alexander seemed angry and confused, which is understandable after that performance.
– Ryo Chonan never got going against Karo Parisyan, and the heat rolled to another lackluster decision victory. This time he did it without the benefit of flashy judo throws, but a win is a win.
– Ed Herman showed Joe Doerksen just how much he’s improved since their first meeting, although his recklessness almost cost him as he got caught in a tight triangle choke just before being saved by the bell in round two. He would go on to knock Doerksen out with a left hook in the third, and could be heard on the broadcast trying to convince ring announcer Bruce Buffer to call it a KO instead of a TKO. That’s cute.
– Joe Lauzon easily defeated Jason Reinhardt, and announcer Joe Rogan couldn’t stop talking about how “sharp” he looked doing it. While I agree that Lauzon looked good, he fought a 38-year-old Octagon rookie who had no business in there with him. Other than a paycheck, I’m not sure what Lauzon really got out of that fight. The guy beat Jens Pulver, so save the tomato cans.
– Spencer Fisher looked flat-footed and uninspired against Frankie Edgar. Edgar won the decision with takedowns and ground control, and if he can add a few more weapons to his arsenal he might be a title contender someday soon. Fisher never got going at all and seemed tentative the entire time.
Overall, UFC 78 was about as mediocre as it looked on paper. I’m just surprised they didn’t do more during the broadcast to hype UFC 79, which has at least two main events. Moving on.