While this past weekend’s UFC 127 was certainly a respectable fight card and delivered excitement in a number of the fights, the fact that main event ended in a disputed may have placed a bit of tarnish on the promotion as a whole. Still, all things considered it was a good night of fights. Below are five observations noted from UFC 127:
1. Count me among the many that believed Jon Fitch did enough to win against BJ Penn. Granted, the first round was a pretty solid effort by Penn, but I thought Fitch did enough in round two, and clearly won round three to in route to a 29-28 victory on my very unofficial scorecard. Yes, the fight was extremely close, but Fitch and his endless infighting and takedowns should have been enough to secure the victory Saturday night. Penn insinuated as much when he stated that the gods “smiled upon me” in his post-fight interview. Though, credit goes out to Penn for requesting a rematch. The UFC may want to have Fitch and Penn battle it out again in order to establish a clear-cut contender for its welterweight title.
2. The Michael Bisping – Jorge Rivera co-featured bout lived up to the hype that had been building in the weeks leading up to it. For those who may have been under a rock for the past three weeks, Rivera made a string of internet videos that mocked Bisping relentlessly. Obviously, Bisping did not take kindly to these videos and the epic stare down at Friday afternoon’s weigh-ins solidified the promise of pain Bisping stated he would deliver to Rivera. When the two actually fought Saturday night you could practically smell the mutual disdain between the two. However, and this is unfortunate, the fight will be marred by the fact that Bisping got the victory despite landing a concussive illegal knee to the head of a downed Rivera in the opening round. The knee clearly rocked Rivera to his core and cost Bisping a point deduction, but Rivera showed grit in weathering the round. Unfortunately, Bisping unleashed hell in the second round prompting a TKO stoppage in his favor. In a sport filled with manufactured animosity, it was sort of refreshing to see two fighters actually fight like they hated each other.
3. Speaking of Bisping’s victory, I will say that if he indeed did spit on one of Rivera’s cornermen immediately following the victory as is being reported then he should be disciplined accordingly. I completely understand that emotions run high after a fight, especially a fight with such tangible animosity as was exhibited between Bisping and Rivera, but as a professional fighter you have to present yourself in a professional manner at all times. The sport of MMA will always battle for mainstream acceptance and barbaric actions such as spitting on a fighter or his corner undermines the gains made by those who fight long and hard to legitimize this sport to the public.
4. Pressure always runs high when you fight in front of your hometown fans, or countrymen, which must make George Sotiropoulous’ loss that much more bitter to swallow. In front of his Australian countrymen Sotiropoulous was soundly beat by a much improved Dennis Siver. Siver’s takedown defense was impeccable and spoke to the training and strategic planning his team underwent prior to this fight. Knowing Sotiropoulous’ jiu-jitsu and ground game is top notch; Siver deftly avoided takedown after takedown and won the battle standing up with hard shots and combinations. It was a solid, solid, victory for Siver who spoiled Sotiropoulous’ homecoming.
5. I’m not breaking any new ground here but Riki Fukuda was flat-out robbed in his fight with Nick Ring. Fukuda simply controlled every aspect of the fight with his wrestling giving Ring fits throughout. Even when things were standing Ring fought in a lethargic manner lacking any sense of urgency despite being taken down at will by Fukuda. Still, despite Fukuda’s seemingly complete domination of the fights, the judges inexplicably ruled in favor of Ring with scores of 29-28 on all three cards. This verdict has to rang up there in terms of all-time judging ineptitude and prompted the following tweets from the UFC brass:
“Unbelievable.” – Lorenzo Fertitta
“Judges f***ing suck again!! Fukuda got robbed!!!” – Dana White
It has to be stated that White offered up some poetic justice when he paid Fukuda a win bonus following the fight.