First I want to apologize for my extended absence, I really thought that I’d have more time during the holidays to get onto a computer and do my UFC 79: Nemesis predictions but, alas, I was not. On to the event..
Melvin Guillard continues to piss me off with his lack of effort on the ground. He now has seven losses, six coming by submission. You would think after the first couple that you would recognize the whole in your game and train appropriately, but I guess not. I mean I’m not privy to his training schedule and his methods but it sure seems after watching him get dominated by Rich Clementi on the ground and submitted in one round that he is bypassing that area. I like Guillard for his amazing striking ability, he’s got such fast hands with either one being able to put you away in connection. He’s also got the cocky attitude which to me, is fun to see in a fighter. Point is I’d like to see him start improving as a fighter in the MMA sport, rather than just seemingly going out for a street fight with only hatred and your fists. He’s better than pretty much everybody that he’s faced but because he doesn’t recognize the other aspects of the sport he loses.
Lyoto Machida showed once again in defeating Sokoudjou to extend his undefeated record to 12-0 that not only is he underrated but he is a legit Light Heavyweight contender. He deserves the title shot right now more than anyone including Forrest Griffin. He should be given one more fight, perhaps in May against somebody like a Keith Jardine (who is up there as well) or a Thiago Silva (who is also undefeated and rising in the division, but would present more of just a tune up prior to a title shot, much in accordance with how UFC match maker Joe Silva likes to do things). What is there to say about the fight? I had Machida in my unwritten predictions. He’s such an elusive guy that can do a little of everything and much like, Roger Huerta, just finds a way to win. As for Sokoudjou, I don’t think like others have been saying that he’s Houston Alexander all over again. I think he’s pretty solid on the ground and we know that he has world class judo to go along with his powerful striking ability. He simply ran into a better fighter at this moment in their careers. I think a fight against someone like Thiago Silva or a Tito Ortiz or Stephan Bonnar would be good for him (probably the latter two more so).
The Eddie Sanchez/Soa Palalei (sp?) fight I think showed that Soa doesn’t belong in the sport right now and that Sanchez has a way to go before rising into the Heavyweight contenders. However, I do think that Sanchez is improving and he’s still young so he’s got the chance to do that.
Onto the fight that we’ve all been anticipating for so long and did it ever live up to every ounce of the hype, pretty much. Watching the Liddell and Silva just bang in round two was awesome. Liddell really showed me that he’s, if not back, definitely on his way. It’s tough to be happy about this outcome though. I think a Wanderlei Silva win would’ve been much better for the UFC. He’s in his first fight since coming over from Pride, he’s beaten Rampage twice, and he’s just 31 (although for Silva, I don’t think that’s meaningful. He looks much older and worn down for a 31 yr old than I’ve ever seen. He could very easily pass for 40). But I just think Liddell vs. Rampage for a third time after two dominating defeats just isn’t nearly as attractive as Rampage going against Silva for revenge. Now there is a way that Liddell can make a third bout with Jackson attractive and the only way I see it is if he goes on a dominating tear through the division with 3 straight wins (that’s what it should take plus a Jardine loss perhaps in a rematch). That way it’s a new, focused Liddell who’s fighting as good as he ever has and training as well as he ever has out for retribution. BTW, I still don’t think it would matter. Rampage is just too good. Liddell’s next fight should be against Rashad Evans while Wanderlei should take on Keith Jardine maybe.
In the main event of the night Georges St.-Pierre showed in absolutely crushing Matt Hughes that he’s as good as anyone in the sport and clearly the best welterweight. GSP is an absolute monster when his head is in the game and I don’t see his focus ever being a problem again. He learned his lesson against Serra and the first fight with Hughes was when he was like 22 facing his idol. He’s not gonna be 22 facing an idol ever again. Obviously next up for GSP would be Matt Serra, the only problem with that is Serra won’t be ready for April (when the UFC goes to Montreal), I guarantee that. Serra might even be done for his career; keep in mind that he’s 35. I see St.-Pierre taking on Karo Parisyian in April on the Montreal card, dominating him and then facing Jon Fitch in July or so. I will be anxiously anticipating that fight.