FIGHT CLUB TRANSMISSION 1.22.2018 - REFLECTIONS ON UFC 220
I don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but “I told you so.” True, Stipe Miocic did not get the stoppage, but he scored takedown after takedown and made title challenger Francis Ngannou wear him like a wet coat. He weighed him down, wore him out and ultimately won a grinding 5-0 shut out. I’m sure neither guy wanted to go the full five rounds, but these types of fights are particularly hard on the 265-ers, the big boys that have to drop pounds to make the heavy weight cutoff. There is just too much mass to efficiently pump blood through to last a 5 round of MMA fight.
The key to Miocic victory was a proper game plan and composure. If he had chosen to stand and trade shots with Ngannou, there would have been a much different result, instead you saw Stipe use head movement and footwork to set up his wrestling. He got tagged a few times, a reminder that Ngannou is a dangerous “predator” who can sleep anyone with one shot, but he stuck to the plan.
Miocic defied the odds, a lot of journalists were counting him out. During the post fight interview, you could sense a bit of attitude. Imagine how it must feel to stand in front of a roomful of people that were predicting your demise and answer their questions. The criticism that Miocic is “unmarketable” is kind of a cop out. He demonstrated, what I thought, was an amusing, dry sense of humor. You probably won’t see driving around in rented Lamborghinis or trying to play the “mental game” with his opponents, but what you get is a guy that’s probably not much different from a lot of the fans that watch the sport; a regular dude who still has a day job and enjoys using his new snow blower. Also, lets not forget that Stipe Miocic has broken the record for consecutive title defenses in the heavy weight division.
As for Ngannou, let’s remember that he has been in the sport for less than 5 years. The fact that he could put together a campaign for a title fight in that short of a time is no less than astounding. It’s clear that his game is pretty one-dimensional so could you imagine if he learned how to wrestle and defend off of his back? What would Francis Ngannou be like with a real submission game? If he can make these adjustments, I feel like the sky is the limit for him.
Daniel Cormier’s defeat of Volkan Oezdemir was less of a reach. Let’s remember that Jon Jones is the only fighter to beat DC in his entire career! There was a moment in the early minutes of the first round where he was ducking his head to the same side that cost him his consciousness against Jones. Ever time he ducked, I was imagining a left kick to the head; maybe a more experienced striker would have capitalized on that opportunity. Oezdemir successfully defended a couple of DC takedowns, but one he found his range it was business as usual. Oezdemir just couldn’t compete with DC’s superior ground game.
It was largely wishful thinking on the part of the UFC that Oezdemir could defeat Cormier. There has been this vibe in the air that because DC hasn’t been able to defeat Jon Jones that he isn’t a worthy champion. I pose this question: If not Jones then who? Nobody has been able to defeat Cormier, so he deserves the respect of the UFC and the fans alike.
I was also keeping an eye on Bellator. Hail to Rory MacDonald for defeating Douglas Lima and becoming the welterweight champ. It seems that the change of atmosphere and some time off has done MacDonald good. I’m going to make a prediction that at some point, the Red King returns to the UFC after becoming a two-division champ in Bellator. Chael Sonnen defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jacson by unanimous decision in the first round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix. He advances to the semi-finals to face the winner of Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir. As is his custom, there was some entertaining points to Sonnen’s victory. Apparently, Rampage said that he would give Sonnen $10,000 per takedown; I guess Rampage had a lot of confidence in his defensive wrestling. When it was all said and done, he owes Sonnen $30,000. Let’s see if he pays up!
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