The main event of UFC 209 was certainly a tough one to watch as we saw two of the best welterweights engage in a staring contest for nearly the entirety of their championship fight. I kid of course, but seriously, Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson were so gun shy during the main event that it felt like neither man was doing their best to prove they were deserving welterweight champion of the world. It’s easy to say that of course, but the reality is that by the time either man decided to pick up the pace the fight was over, which left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.
While I may have had the fight scored for Stephen Thompson, Tyron Woodley did do the most damage once again. After long periods of inactivity which saw Thompson pot shot and score points in the first and second frame, Woodley finally decided to do something in the third round with a takedown. He scored points on the ground but nothing significant and Thompson was soon back on his feet. Round four saw Thompson once again resort to his death by a thousand cuts game plan before being roughed up in the fifth round by a well time Woodley counter.
Thompson should have done a bit more as he found himself frozen in the southpaw stance for extended periods of time. Some jabs from the orthodox stance followed by a stance switch and sidekicks to the body and thigh would have made for more shots landed and more opportunities for Woodley to open himself up for counters. And therein lies the problem with this match up in the first place. With both men being counter fighters, both Woodley and Thompson have the tendency to wait for opportunities. This waiting game only led to long periods of feinting and set up (mostly on the part of Thompson) with no real meaningful strikes being thrown or landed. Love it or hate it, Woodley remained the undisputed champion Saturday night.
Perhaps even more interesting than the UFC 209 main event this past weekend was the announcement of Michael Bisping versus Georges St-Pierre for the middleweight title.
Yes, it’s an interesting fight that could make for some fireworks, but what are we sacrificing to see such this match up? While it may be a fight that gets casual fans excited, you have to consider the fact that Michael Bisping isn’t fighting the best of the best in his weight class which is the point of being champion. Yes, it’s prize fighting and athletes deserve to be paid for putting their lives on the line in the cage, and make no mistake this is a big money fight. But all this match does is hold up the rest of the middleweight division. Yoel Romero will either be on the shelf or have to fight to keep his spot in line. Jacare Souza will fight Robert Whittaker, which is admittedly a great match up. But what does the division gain with this match? An even more important question, what happens if Georges St-Pierre wins?
He’s not a massive middleweight. Hell, he wasn’t even a massive welterweight when he was competing. If he somehow gets past Michael Bisping you have to imagine that he’ll have some trouble doing battle with massive middleweights like Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza and other big men of their ilk. The reality is, GSP is likely one and done at middleweight with a win or a loss. A loss is easy to figure out. A win means that he’ll likely vacate and move on while the division will essentially be forced into some kind of tournament situation of sorts to decide the next champion. It’s a fight no one asked for and one that will likely only cause more chaos moving forward. Still doesn’t mean it won’t be enjoyable.
What were your thoughts on the Woodley/Thompson main event and the announcement of Bisping vs St-Pierre?