I’m bringing MMA Monday back, because it seemed popular and its always good to do a grab bag of the weekends happenings. Rather than just feeding you results, which you’ll all have from your twitter feeds and MMA Junkie anyway, Instead, Ill offer up five wee thoughts which have been shaken loose by the fights, press conferences and chatter over the weekend.
World Series of Fighting 3: Fitch vs. Burkman & UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson
– One Up, One Down
A little over two years ago, Jon Fitch headlined a UFC pay per view, knowing a victory would probably earn him a second attempt at Georges St-Pierre’s Welterweight Title on the back of a five fight winning streak.
Two weeks ago, James Krause wasn’t even in the UFC.
This weekend, Fitch was submitted for the first time in a decade, losing his World Series of Fighting debut to underdog Josh Burkman and capping a run of 1-3-1 while Krause stepped in as a late replacement to face veteran Sam Stout at UFC 161 and walked away with a win, a submission and fight of the night bonus and a potential $100k bonus in line.
– The Surgeon is In
On Saturday, Rosi Sexton became the first British woman to compete in the UFC, facing ranked Canadian bantamweight Alexis Davis. Broadly written off by North American media for being a natural flyweight, polite and well, British she faced up to the challenge of a noticeably larger opponent on the night (the day before, Rosi actually weighed in heavier…) in sterling form.
Defending submissions throughout and narrowly surviving ground and pound at the end of the second round, Sexton gamely fought to the end, reversed position when she had no right to do so on a number of occasions and in the end, took the fight against a bigger, younger opponent to a decision, where all three judges awarded her a round.
Not a walkover. We knew she wouldn’t be.
Hopefully, Rosi gets a second crack in the UFC and I’d like to see her face Sheila Gaff, after that fight fell apart twice in Cage Warriors.
– Steve Mazagatti
The oft criticised referee has taken a pile of flak this weekend, with the fact that he wasn’t even working the UFC no protection from the vitriol of Dana White.
The criticism comes from his failure to stop the main event of WSOF 3 when Jon Fitch passed out. Now, while Mazagatti’s positioning was awful (standing at full height on the opposite side from the choke), I’ve rewatched the fight a few times and the time difference between Fitch going limp and Burkman rolling him over and standing up, is about one and a half seconds. Take a look for yourself here here closing sequence starts at about 2:45, crucial period is between 2:59 and 3:03.
Even if Steve had been in the best position, I really don’t see how he could have stopped the fight any quicker, assuming Burkman wasn’t the gent he is. However…
… Dana’s calls for transparent referee oversight and culpability have merit. While I think the outcry against Mazagatti this time is a bit over the top, he and others have been responsible for some horrible calls, or worse LACK of calls in the past.
Ideally, I’d give Marc Goddard, Herb Dean and John McCarthy the authority and carte blanche to sort this out, but the likelihood of anything so sensible and practical is minuscule. Bureaucracy and self interest will win, as usual.
Dammit, I’m trying to be positive.
– UFC Manchester
It’s been confirmed that the UFC will come back to Britain, landing in Manchester before the end of the year. This is good for me, because it means a card at a reasonable time and Manchester is a pretty doable, indeed familiar location for me.
I’d like to see Michael Bisping headline in his hometown, probably against Costa Phillipou, assuming we’re not going to be gifted a title fight. The aforementioned Rosi Sexton vs. Sheila Gaff fight would be a good addition, as would something like Ross Pearson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov or Gleison Tibau.
While I’m dreaming, I’d quite like Jimi Manuwa vs. Gegard Mousasi, Ilir Latifi vs. Cyrille Diabate or Igor Pokrajac and UFC debuts for Graham Turner, Giorgio Andrews and (assuming he doesn’t wind up on the Boston card) Cathal Pendred.
Oh, Gunnar Nelson vs. Tarec Saffiedine would be nice too.
That’s all I’ve got, have a great week, train hard and play harder.