UFC 89 thoughts

Somehow, some way Michael Bisping continues to find a way to elude getting his ass beat even though he’s nothing but an average fighter. It’s really something to be admired even if it is mind-boggling.

Here’s a fighter who has no real ground game to speak of, average hands and boxing skills and an average chin and yet he is somehow 17-1? I don’t get it.

Maybe it’s the competition, maybe it’s biased judging due to him being the more hyped fighter going into basically every single one of his fights, especially those in his native land. But, whatever the reason is, as KGB says about Mike McDermott in “Rounders”, the kid keeps hanging around and hanging around. You can’t get rid of him. Perhaps that’s something for Bisping to be proud of?

After beating Chris Leben on Saturday at UFC 89 in London, Bisping continued eluding defeat like Jason Bourne eludes capture, it’s ridiculous. Leben, although nothing but a gatekeeper in the UFC’s Middleweight Division, is a far tougher fighter than Bisping and much-improved both sylistically and physically as a fighter. All you had to do was look at his physique entering that fight. Leben was clearly in the best shape of his career and more focused than he had ever been.

Yet, Bisping won. I watched the fight and although I’ll admit that it was very close, Leben was the clear winner. Leben was far more active, scoring big shots to the head of Bisping as well as body and leg kicks and scoring a couple of takedowns. Meanwhile, Bisping danced away and effectively worked a jab that battered Leben’s face to a greater degree than the shots he was enduring from his counterpart.

But that doesn’t mean anything. Maybe Bisping’s face takes longer to show damage than Leben’s, who knows? All I know is, Leben should’ve won that fight. Now, we are left with “The Count” as a coach on TUF season 9 coming up facing off against perhaps either Dan Henderson or Rich Franklin with a future fight to determine the No. 1 contender in the Middleweight division? Give me a break. At least we don’t have to see Bisping fight for probably an entire year and then get his ass destroyed by Dan Henderson. For once, I’ll be happy to see a TUF tie up a fighter.

Jardine splits up Vera

Here’s a fight I actually called accurately. It’s funny how so many fans of the sport believe Brandon Vera to be this “world-beater” as a fighter and yet he’s nowhere close. Sure the guy — with his muay-thai and BJJ ground game — has a lot of talent, but he’s just not a great fighter. He doesn’t show the aggression or killer instinct to be a top fighter, let alone champion at either the HW or LHW weight class.

Jardine on the otherhand is a top LHW but seems to be in the funk of win one-lose one in his career and as far as I can tell, will only ever be a guy that floats amongst the top five but never cracks it for a title shot. Regardless, it is a big win for the “Dean of Mean” and I’d expect him to fight a guy like Luis Cane or the loser of the Thiago Silva/Lyoto Machida fight.

Cane finds himself able against Sokoudjou

Speaking of Luis Cane, man, does he appear to be for real, or what? Sokoudjou came out in the first round and absolutely teed off on him with everything he had and it didn’t discourage Cane one iota. Cane just kept coming forward like the Mummy when Brendan Frasier and company try with no avail to shoot the Egyptian plague.

After losing round one, Cane began his methodical and strategic attack, wearing down the beastly Sokoudjou who really is as physically talented as any fighter in the division. Cane was able to knock Soko down with a big right hand and follow it up a vicious assault to get the TKO stoppage.

Look for Cane to rise quickly amongst the prognosticators rankings of the LHW division (he has already in mine which will be unveiled after UFC 90 this weekend) and in the mind of Joe Silva, UFC matchmaker. I say Cane should fight someone like Jardine and it makes the most sense of any of the top level guys to face because they both fought on the same card. Match-ups with Thiago Silva or Griffin/Evans loser would mean waiting for their fights to occur which are more than two months away.

Carwin moves up the HW ladder

After a 90-second beating of fellow heavyweight Neil Wain, Shane Carwin has strung together three straight impressive performances in the Octagon and has made a name for himself. No longer can Brock Lesnar exclusively lay claim to the title of the UFC’s “next big thing.” If Lesnar should lose to Couture in November, a matchup between these two behemoths (whom by the way, have the largest hands ever with Carwin’s 5XL gloves even larger than Lesnar’s 4XLs) would be insane. And even if Lesnar goes on to win and fight Mir/Nog winner in early 09, a future matchup between the two should take place.

For now, though, Carwin should take pleasure in knowing that he’s made a large impact (pun intended, I’m not going to lie) on those who follow the sport, like myself. No longer will he have to live in the darkness of the untelevised portion of the pay-per-view cards.

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