Pettis, and his hopes at a title shot, come crashing down (pic: MMAFightNews.net)
Judging from the sparse commentary throughout last night’s live blog, most of you were out sipping $20 Manhattans and discussing the latest issue of The New Yorker while a few of us sat on the couch watching free cage fights and loathing ourselves. It’s cool. You know what you did was wrong, and you came back home to us. We forgive you, and we’ll give you the gist of what went down.
It only took three minutes and fifty four seconds to send ten weeks of buildup crashing to the mat. The bout between Tony Ferguson and Ramsey Nijem was competitive, with both men finding a home for their hands, but Ferguson was able to employ his collegiate wrestling experience and the time spent with Lesnar’s camp after the show to dictate the fight and set the pace. Following a couple of successful takedowns, Ferguson flipped Ramsey’s switch with a left hook and Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter crowned its asshole champion.
About 10 seasons ago that would have meant something, perhaps that a new player had arrived in the Welterweight division, but these days it just means that the TUF champ was simply the best fighter in the house, and that’s assuming that the best fighter didn’t succumb to injury during the hectic fight schedule. The legendary “six figure contract” carries little guarantee of future employment, but at least Ferguson left with the $40k “Knock Out of the Night” bonus in his pocket. So where does Ferguson go from here? In true Ultimate Fighter fashion, he said a drop in weight class is likely in his future. Then again, he also called out fellow TUF champion and resident UFC hipster Amir Sadollah, so who knows.
In the “co-main event”, Clay Guida was able to take Anthony Pettis off of his feet and reduce his highlight-reel style to a few momentary bursts of gif-worthy brilliance. Pettis took a major gamble in accepting this fight, preferring to stay active and risk losing his title shot rather than sitting idly by and waiting for a turn that may never come. It’s hard to imagine a fight so active resulting in so little damage. Guida used his strong wrestling base to put Pettis on his back each and every round, but it was all he could do to avoid the constant submission threats of Showtime’s active guard. Guida’s major offensive weapon, outside of his takedowns, came in the form of shoulder strikes from the guard and half guard while pressed against the cage. It was enough to secure the decision from the judges, but not enough to earn him the title shot that would have gone to a victorious Pettis. Dana White said post-fight that Guida is still behind Jim Miller in line for a shot at the belt. In short, Pettis will need to work on his wrestling to flourish in the UFC’s lightweight division, and Guida still needs to work on everything else.
In other action…
Ed Herman turned the longest layoff into the evening’s quickest win with his 48-second TKO of Tim Credeur. It was an exciting and much-needed win for “Short Fuse”, but with both men coming off of two year absences it tells us little about how he’ll fair against other competition or how he’s recovered from multiple knee surgeries.
My how far Josh Grispi has fallen. Once lined up to challenge Jose Aldo for his belt, “The Fluke” has now lost both of his matches in the UFC. George Roop also came into the bout 0-1 in the UFC, but he looked solid last night in his return to the win column.
The evening’s “Fight of the Night” was a throwdown between Light Heavyweights Kyle Kingsbury and Fabio Maldonado. Kingsbury landed some big knees from the clinch, but ate more than his fair share of digging body shots for his effort. Kingsbury left the cage with his fourth consecutive UFC win and an eye that looked possessed by demons.
Danny Downes was outgunned on the feet, and Danny Downes was outgunned on the mat, but damn Danny Downes is tough. Downes took a beating and probably should have left the cage with a detached arm, but he hung in there for the long haul in what ended up serving as a showcase fight for Jeremy Stephens.
I wouldn’t expect to see much more out of the TUF Class of Season 13. The undercard bouts featuring the non-finalists didn’t give much reason to believe anyone will be making an impact in the UFC. Chris Cope did look improved, and you never really know who’s a diamond in the rough, but even the shallow end of the Welterweight pool may prove too deep for these guys to tread. For some, this may represent their first chance to train full time with a credible gym; they’d better make the most of the opportunity.