- The Nogueira’s brothers’ chins: not what they used to be. I know, I know. Sokoudjou hits hard and Big Nog actually ducked into Herring’s kick. Those are shots that would drop just about anyone. But the vulnerability the Nog brothers are showing is something we haven’t seen before.
- Sacramento MMA fans are awful. Who the hell boos either the Sherk/Franca fight or the Nog/Herring match? I’ll tell you who: idiots. The Sacramento fans disgraced themselves and the UFC should think twice before heading back to the ARCO Arena.
- Hermes Franca has nothing to be ashamed of. He lost just as I thought he would, but he fought so much better than I ever expected. His knees were well-timed, powerful, and came as close as anyone to finishing The Muscle Shark.
- Will Sean Sherk hold the title for the foreseeable future? Only if he can get past BJ Penn. The UFC announced Sherk would take on BJ Penn for the lightweight title in November. My recommendation to Penn: let the cardio machine pass your guard. Use his passing to set up reversals or to take his back.
- Tito Ortiz defeated Rashad Evans, but beat himself. I don’t care what anyone says, Tito Ortiz dominated most of that fight with superior wrestling and physical pressure. He beat Rashad Evans. Period. But his fear of losing cost him a fight that could’ve been an excellent answer to the critics. Instead, the criticism will continue.
- Heath Herring: what were you thinking? I realize the referee was giving you odd instructions, but that could’ve been the biggest win of your career. When your opponent is hurt, finish him. The referee wouldn’t have stopped an aggressive attack. I hate to say it, but you blew it.
- Frankie Edgar is a threat to Sean Sherk. Who knows what will happen in the Sherk vs. Penn fight, but one thing’s for sure: Frankie Edgar is the truth. Edgar’s good stand-up and excellent takedown defense make him a serious threat to The Muscle Shark’s title.
- Mark Bocek: better luck next time. I put a lot of stake in the Canadian jiu-jitsu phenom, but them’s the breaks. No worries, though. He’ll be back. Sometimes all a fighter needs is a rude awakening. Welcome to the UFC.
- Kenny Florian impressive…I think. I never really know what to make of a win over a fighter not many people have heard of. I will say this, though. His punches from top control and surprisingly accurate. Kenny Florian can now add dangerous ground and pound to his already well-rounded arsenal.
- Rashad Evans does not live up to the hype. I’m sorry, but the “Rashad is going to smash Tito” predictions aren’t just ridiculous in retrospect. They were moronic to begin with. Evans is a talented fighter and he very well might beat Tito in a rematch, but Tito proved that just because you don’t like him doesn’t mean he’s lost his ability.
- Chris Lytle: so close, yet so far. A reverse triangle choke on top of an inverted arm bar. Yeah, pretty impressive, right? It’s tragic a guy this talented can’t seem to beat top level opponents. Here’s to hoping this incredible win is a taste of things to come. Maybe the fight with Matt Serra woke up a sleeping giant.
- Yves Lavigne: are you stopping the fight or what? MMA referees deserve more scrutiny than anyone, so I feel perfectly justified in asking, “what were doing?” You not only let a fight continue that arguably should’ve been stopped, you also gave Herring mixed instructions, thereby giving Nogueira time to recover. That’s what I call poor officiating.
- Anderson Silva: not just a striker anymore. When a striker hits a switch on a reputed wrestler, something is up. I’ll tell you what’s up: Anderson Silva is the most dangerous fighter in the UFC at 185lbs. Make that official.
- Nate Marquardt: what’s next for him? To say Nate’s future is uncertain is the understatement of the century. He lost his title shot and it’s not as if his fighting style makes him a hot commodity to the television-centric eyes of Dana White. Don’t be surprised if we hear very little from the Greg Jackson-trained fighter.
- Marc Laimon: a coach that makes a difference. Everyone’s bagging on Herring for not finishing Nogueira, but the Texas Crazy Horse did show off a decent anti-grappling skill set. Laimon probably recognizes Herring won’t be landing any oma platas anytime soon, but he can use his speed and size to get himself out of trouble. Kudos to the Cobra Kai boss for helping Herring to improve his ground game.
- Hayato Sakurai makes an intriguing appearance. Who knows why he was there, but who cares? I can’t wait to see Mach back inside the cage.
- Big John McCarthy finally enforcing fence-grabbing rules. It’s about time.
- Welcome back, Stephan Bonnar. I didn’t see the fight, but from all written accounts, Stephan Bonnar looked sharp. He got rocked early, but that’s all he needed to finish Nickels and get himself back on the winning track. Congrats.
- Jorge Gurgel comes through on a must-win fight. Rich Franklin’s jiu-jitsu coach saved himself from falling into the depths of obscurity with an impressive win. Just don’t expect to see him in a title appearance any time soon.
- UFC 73: Stacked (Compared to Boxing). The most stacked MMA card ever? Not hardly. That title still belongs to PRIDE 25: Body Blow. But to Dana White’s point, this card is stacked compared to any boxing card in recent memory. What White does so well is make mixed martial arts vulnerable. He pits his stars against tough up-and comers (e.g., Silva vs. Marquardt) thereby greatly risking the ability to create and market stars. It’s a risky business model, but it somehow seems to keep paying off. The fans in Sacramento may have may have booed last night, but that’s only because they’re spoiled brats. Real MMA fans know smart and daring match-making when they see it.
More info here: Any Given Saturday interview with Travis Lutter, Fight Opinion‘s analysis, UFCMania‘s got some stuff (here, here, and here), The Baltimore Sun weighs in, Sherdog‘s write-up, and UFCtakedown’s coverage.
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