What a great night of incredible fights but what you walk away with most after UFC 76: Knockout (a misnomer since not a single fight on the main card ended in a KO or ref stoppage) on Saturday night was the potential great matchups that were ruined by the upsets. The light-heavyweight division in particular, a week ago at this time looking so damn strong, has now been tossed into complete disarray with a very unspectacular debut of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Chuck Liddell for the first time that I’ve seen, starting to show his age at 37.
Out of all the fights on the card, I was most looking forward to the Shogun — Griffin fight because I hadn’t seen him fight live yet and really wanted to see the fighter that is not only thought of as the best light-heavyweight fighter in the world but by some as the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA today.
Well after watching the fight I am utterly flabbergasted at how awful Shogun looked. Not only was he as gassed midway through the 2nd round as I’ve ever seen a fighter in all the fights I’ve seen inside the octagon (and I’ve seen at least 80 now) but even when he was energetic, he looked average at best. His striking is average for a light-heavyweight, I mean I can name five fighters right now who have better hands than he has (Rampage, Alexander, Liddell, Jardine, Tito) and where was his clinch technique? He just looked out of shape and incredibly slow. There are rumors flying around that perhaps he was on steroids in Pride (as Pride was known for its non-testing of performance enhancing drugs) and that now in the UFC the lack of steroids have clearly affected his game detrimentally.
I’m sure there are many of you out there, just like me, who can’t believe this. All I heard was how great Shogun was and there he was in the middle of 2nd looking like this was his first fight ever. Make no mistake about it, Forrest Griffin is no better than 9 or 10 in the division — he’s an average fighter with a big heart and good cardio. That’s what he is plain and simple. *shakes head sadly* I just….I’m lost for words. Had Shogun won and looked semi-good at the worst (like he was expected to) he’d have a title shot right now against Rampage in December or early 2008 at the latest. That would’ve been a great fight. Rampage has two prior losses to Shogun and you know he’d be incredibly excited about the chance to avenge those. Now I would argue that there is no one that deserves a title shot. And to me that is a crying shame because that means Rampage sits on the sidelines and he’s as exciting of a fighter there is in the sport. I want to see him every 3 months!
The next appealing fight was the main event, Chuck Liddell vs. Keith Jardine. Now, I didn’t think this was clearly Liddell going in but man, I was surprised at how tentative Chuck looked at times. Jardine came in with a wonderful game plan and executed it flawlessly with the leg and body kicks keeping Liddell at bay. Meanwhile he showed that his chin is mighty strong as he stood in there and took a number of Chuck’s best shots. Jardine is no joke and you know what that means? Houston Alexander is a beast! Alexander came out and put Jardine on his face in a minute. Liddell couldn’t do it in 15!
But again, this upset destroys another great potential fight — Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell, winner gets a title shot. Now, if your Joe Silva who do you put up against Wanderlei? Jardine? Alexander? Or do you suck it up and keep going with the highly anticipated and long awaited fight of Liddell vs. Silva? I really don’t know, especially after the retard Mike Goldberg stated over and over that Liddell needed to win. If it was me, I think you go ahead as planned with the long awaited fight. Both these guys have big names and will be on 0-2 streaks so it could really be hyped as a “last stand” sorta thing.
Other than the Light-Heavyweight division being in complete disarray now, the big story coming out of last night is the emergence of Welterweight Jon Fitch and a possible fight of the year between Tyson Griffin and Thiago Tavares which I was unable to see for crying out loud! *curses self* Right now, in my mind Georges St.-Pierre and Jon Fitch are one and two respectively in that division with Matt Hughes perhaps three. [On a sidenote, how stupid is this TUF 6 with Serra-Hughes bout delayed all the way to December? I mean that’s a 9+ month lay off for both fighters and now you have created a log jam of title contenders while tying up your best fighters. I mean GSP and Fitch aren’t going to fight anyone until that fight is over unless its somebody completely worthless or the UFC is retarded. But ohhh wait, they already are for postponing that fight at least 6 months with this stupid Ultimate Fighter season. *shakes head in complete disgust*]
This card was unbelievable, I’d say the best 1-5 fights I’ve seen put together yet and now we head into October and UFC 77: Hostile Territory with only two good fights. However, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the fighter I believe to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the World in Anderson Silva and the comeback of Brandon Vera [hopefully he mauls the big retard, geez I hate Sylvia].
UFC fans stay tuned this week for my updated division fighter rankings for all divisions. =]