Nothing like a nice, soothing afternoon of UFC fights on your screen on this Easter weekend, eh? UFC Fight Night in Fairfax, VA has wrapped up and at the time of this publish it’s not even 5 PM ET. Consider me a fan of afternoon fighting, which honestly makes poorly paced FS1 cards more tolerable than going into 1:30 AM covering fights.
The main event saw another virtuoso performance by Chad Mendes, who destroyed Ricardo Lamas like nobody else has at featherweight. Jose Aldo may be fighting Conor McGregor next, but for my money (get it? GET IT?!), Chad Mendes is the best 145er in the world not named Aldo. And yes, that also implies I think Mendes is better than and would beat Frankie Edgar in a hypothetical match-up.
Some more thoughts on today’s card:
- Chad Mendes is just a scary scary man. The only opponent he’s failed to knockdown since the first Jose Aldo fight is none other than Nik Lentz. If Aldo were to move up to lightweight right now I’d peg him as the new featherweight champion in an instant.
- What the hell was Dan Miragliotta waiting for? Ricardo Lamas could hardly stand up and was stumbling around like a drunk man. Mendes had to self-police, although not quite Mark Hunt style.
- UFC 186 was advertised on the canvas, but with the Dillashaw vs. Barao II main event still listed. Oops.
- I gave Jorge Masvidal the win over Al Iaquinta 29-28, but I have no issue with the decision going Al’s way. Masvidal had Iaquinta badly hurt in the 1st round and opened up a huge gash underneath his right eye, yet his offensive output and aggression declined and opened the door for Iaquinta to get back into the swing of things. Iaquinta landed some brutal leg kicks and just by being “busier” he probably did enough to get the decision.
- Jorge Masvidal and Josh Thomson are their own worst enemies in the cage. They consistently lose close decisions to top 15ish type fighters because they fail to produce a consistently high level of offense that can sway the judges towards their side.
- Iaquinta cursing out booing fans (who were probably booing the decision and not him) made for great TV, although of course it got blanked out on the FS1 broadcast. This was his response in the post-fight after telling them “don’t f**king boo me!”.
- Michael Chiesa and Mitch Clarke are like the future Pat Healy, Jim Miller, Mark Bocek type of fighters in the lightweight division. They’re tough, very solid fighters who don’t necessarily have the tools to be elite level (read: top 5 caliber) guys but are definitely dangerous against most of the division. Chiesa performed very well today and Clarke did well to at least gut out a 3rd round win when he was clearly 2 rounds down. I can definitely envision Chiesa having a top 10 ceiling more than Clarke.
- I am glad that Julianna Pena was able to get a quick and easy win in her first fight in well over a year following her devastating knee injury. That said, I wasn’t at all impressed by the way she handled the finishing sequence vs. Milana Dudieva. It was far too flailing and wild for my liking, throwing sloppy punches and hammerfists before finally committing to elbows to get the win. She’s still a great prospect in the women’s 135 lbs division but I wasn’t overly wowed.
- Clay Guida has graduated from “master of the shoulder strike” to actually throwing knees to the body and passing guard. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea when he’s winning, but it’s good to see Guida put in a solid performance against Robbie Peralta. We’re uh … not going to delve into whatever the hell that stream of incomplete thoughts was from Guida in his post-fight interview.
- Carlos Diego Ferreira basically chose the worst possible option for himself against Dustin Poirier. He’s a BJJ black belt who opted to brawl with (and get KO’d by) a far superior striker in Poirier. It was like Jorge Gurgel never left the UFC. On the flip side, Poirier looked sharp in his lightweight return, and his opponent also played right into his game.
- Liz Carmouche vs. Lauren Murphy probably goes down as the most boring women’s MMA fight since the UFC added it to the fold in 2013. I don’t really think Carmouche deserved the decision but I was so mentally checked out that I’m not sure I care too much that she got it anyway.
- Gray Maynard’s chin is completely shot and for that reason alone I don’t want to see him fight again, whether it’s the UFC, Bellator, WSOF, you name it. Maynard is an effective boxer offensively but his wrestling has clearly declined and he gets stung with just about any hard punch these days. Today’s loss vs. Alexander Yakovlev really drove the point home as far as how badly he’s fallen off.
- I applaud referee Mike King for deducting a point from Shamil Abdurahimov for his repeated fence grabbing in the Timothy Johnson fight. He warned him enough times and actually punished him instead of warn him 25 more times.
- Justin Jones is tough, physically strong, and that’s about it. He’s way too raw to be in the UFC right now and if he gets released (and he probably should) then it’s for his benefit. Needs to improve his skills in the gym and rack up wins on the regional scene.
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