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UFC 142: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

UFC 142 Gabriel Gonzaga
(Face, you are a scary. / Photo via FOX Sports)

By Mark Dorsey
One final recap of Saturday night’s UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes event, Clint Eastwood-style.

The Good
Edson Barboza‘s astounding spinning heel kick knockout of Terry Etim. Mike Goldberg might have been exaggerating a bit when he called it “maybe the most spectacular knockout in UFC history,” but it’s certainly the early front-runner for Greatest Knockout of 2012. And props to Joe Rogan for immediately recalling Baraboza’s prior use of the kick against Anthony Njokuani. As Rogan mentioned, it’s an under-utilized technique that we may start to see come in-vogue in 2012, much like the crane kick in 2011.

Gabriel Gonzaga needed a good performance to provoke any sort of excitement in his return to the UFC’s heavyweight division. Even sweeter than his early finish was his proclamation that we can expect to see him return to the submission base that generated so much interest in his first run at UFC contention.

• After two highly energetic Brazilian shows within a year, the UFC has found its most passionate and dedicated audience. The crowd at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro was loud, enthusiastic, and everything one would expect from a bunch of rowdy Brazilian fight fans. There was a good amount of variation in the chants throughout the night — from “U.S.A., to “Thiago,” to the famous soccer anthem “ole ole ole” — and a surreal crowd-surfing celebration from defending featherweight champion Jose Aldo capped off the incredible fan involvement.

The Bad
• Referee Dan Miragliotta’s stand-ups in the Belfort/Johnson fight were far too quick. In both instances, Miragliotta should have allowed Anthony Johnson more time to improve his position or inflict some damage from the top. [Ed. note: A Bleacher Report column went as far as to suggest that Miragliotta was paid to make things difficult for Johnson, but the article has since been removed from the site.] If Johnson were in any position to complain, he might have a case; however, nobody wants to listen to any more of this guy’s excuses. Hope the free agent market treats you well, AJ.

• For a channel trying to brand itself as the new home of the UFC, FX did not seem to put much effort into their promo for this Friday’s upcoming UFC on FX 2 card during their prelims broadcast. All they could manage was a promo that featured split-second highlights of Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller and an animated fighter made out of chain-link fence that pretended to punch the screen. Needless to say, it seemed like a missed opportunity.

• Felipe Arantes looked pretty silly jumping on the cage in celebration prior to confirmation that he had edged out a unanimous decision win over Antonio Carvalho, in their card-opening match on Facebook. Obviously, Arantes wanted to soak in what he was sure would be an appreciative hometown crowd but it seemed excessive for a performance that lacked the fight-ending dominance we’ve come to expect from post-fight cage jumps.

The Ugly
• Even though Rousimar Palhares’s submissions are a thing of beauty for leg-lock fanatics, they serve as an ugly reminder of the hideous damage that the “Tree trunk” can inflict on his opponents. When Palhares gets within snatching distance of an opponent’s leg, there is a large part of me that wants to scream at the referee to stop it already for the love of God before he inflicts permanent damage on this poor man! Get in the cage with Palhares and there’s a good chance he will get hold of your leg and tear some of the major tendons, ligaments and muscles. If that’s not ugly, I don’t know what is.

• The “Keys to Victory” segment has got to go. It was a horrible feature when Frank Shamrock did it on CBS and it’s horrible now. If the UFC insists on breaking something down in such a simplistic and grossly misleading manner, they should at least get somebody other than Joe Rogan to deliver it. As the color commentator, he’s already influencing audience perceptions about each fighter’s skills. It would make sense to mix things up by having a veteran like Randy Couture or Kenny Florian breaking things down.

• Mario Yamasaki may have made a bad call in disqualifying Erick Silva for what he deemed to be illegal shots to the back of the head but Joe Rogan challenging him about it post-fight was even more cringe-inducing. Joe should stick to interviewing fighters, not referees. It was disrespectful to Mario, a mainstay in the Brazilian MMA community. Mario seemed none too pleased with being called out and paced anxiously in the background as Rogan continued to rip on the decision while interviewing Silva. It was an uncomfortable moment in the broadcast and the empathy it invoked on behalf of Yamasaki almost seemed to negate his poor judgment in the fight.

Cagepotato Comments

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BaghdadBob- January 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm
Joe Rogan thinks he's a lot smarter than he is; a lot like Dana White in that respect.
AndyInflammatory- January 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm
calling out the ref and telling him unequivocally that he was "wrong" is not in Joe Rogans job description. He's not a ref and has never had to make a call like that on the spot.

And starting shit like that in front of ten thousand angry cannibals is grounds for an "incitement to riot" charge.
BlackHat- January 17, 2012 at 4:59 am
Joe Rogan's got too big for his boots.
KarmaAteMyCat- January 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm
@jfjjfjff; You think I care about my grammar when I'm just throwing out a quick post, Only to be in the car and heading to the gym 20mins later. Show me that badge or stop impersonating the grammar police.
jfjjfjff- January 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm
lol @ karma "I have one thing and one thing alone to say on all this" when you try to make your thoughts so poignant, you sound like an idiot, especially when you misuse "alone" and wonk your grammar.
with regard to joe rogan, one would have to be a moron to not see that he was out of line. interrogation != interviewing.
Get Off Me- January 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm
edit:stayed with Prater.
Point is, just like when Jones got DQ'd against Hammil, Mazzagatti warned Jones, stopped the fight to deduct a point, looked at Hammil and asked him if he was done, called the fight off. Rogan and Goldie were all signing Jones praises saying he was 10-0 in the Octagon and then the decision was read. The whole time between the decision and the original stoppage, Rogan explained why the blow was illegal and why Jones was being deducted a point, but he never stopped to think that the fight was being stopped as a result of the illegal blow.
It happened in the span of 5 seconds as I pointed out before, from warning to stoppage of the fight. If Silva hadn't run off, Yamasaki may have deducted one point from him or give him a warning, come back to see Prater couldn't continue and then maybe it would have been clearer for Joe and Goldie.
Get Off Me- January 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm
So that's the sign for the fight being over and the winner being Silva right. Fuck the gif, watch the fight and listen to Yamasaki warn Silva and then when he believes his warnings are unheard stops the fight. He stopped the fight and stayed with Silva and started asking him how the back of his head was. True story.
Mofo- January 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm
@Get off - go look at the CP gifs post, you can see Mario does the "it's over" hand wave. Please stop making things up.
KarmaAteMyCat- January 16, 2012 at 11:54 am
I have one thing and one thing alone to say on all this, if you go into a fight with Rousimar Palhares and hesitate on the tap it's your own damn fault. I mean seriously if there is no quick escape on the Horizon fucking tap, They don't say Tap or Snap for no fucking reason. I heard you like leg locks dog so I leg locked a leg lock and popped a little off the top.
Get Off Me- January 16, 2012 at 11:53 am
Re:Silva DQ
1.Yamasaki did give a verbal warning @4:35 rd.1
2.Yamasaki stopped the fight @4:31 rd.1
3.Many think he stopped the fight because Silva won, but he simply stopped the fight to check on Prater, decided Prater ws done and concluded it was as a result of illegal blows to the back of the head.
4.Don't rely on Joe Rogan's interpretation of things all the time. Go back if you need to and look at things for yourself.
5.Because we have seen illegal blows go uncalled in the past, we should not call them moving forward?
6.Don't bet on a guy who is -600 territory unless you are absolutely sure there is no chance he can other words don't bet on a guy who is -600.
Hope this makes everyone feel better. It's tough reading the comments sometimes when one person says there was no verbal warning given(which there was) and have others continue to follow that train of thought. The call was by the book once again.
Broken- January 16, 2012 at 10:51 am
Why can't anyone at CP get thier events straight? this friday isnt ufc on fx 2... its ufc on fx 1 you useless fucks.

you even have a link to an article about the real ufc on fx 2 which takes place on march 3rd. now go ahead and change it before anyone notices your incompetence. -___-
enrikk- January 16, 2012 at 10:36 am
^^ Gah, and yeah, it's Yamasaki... hard to have the patience to proof read when you're still this upset a couple days later...
Clyde- January 16, 2012 at 10:36 am
Is Rojogan just a spoonerism of your name to avoid being sacked for associating with CP?
Regardless, I think it's OK to say it was a questionable decision at the time but it's better to let everyone settle back, watch the replay in their own time before calling the Mario on it, even if you do follow it up with "he's one of the best referees in the game". Probably was a bad call, but it's very easy for us to say that from our ivory tower with our high definition video replays.
But for the love of god, never do the keys to victory again. It was bad with strikeforce and Elite XC did (I swear one of them was a right straight, no jab set up, no follow up, that was the only thing that would be a factor) and it's still stupid now. If the UFC wants to educate fans (which I'm all for), then just put up a section on the website for techniques and tactics and have a recognisable fighter go through some footage and give a few demos. As Mark suggests, Rand would be a great choice for that.
Austin3210- January 16, 2012 at 10:34 am
Glad i'm not the only one who noticed those fucking lasers. I got furious ecru tine I saw one. every time it was pointed at a non Brazilian. I got on my twitter I never use and tweed about it to Dana. Dunno if that did anything or not but didn't see it anymore after the tweet
enrikk- January 16, 2012 at 10:30 am
^^ correction: "But no verbal answer...?"
enrikk- January 16, 2012 at 10:28 am
I have to agree with Omelette Platter - the only thing Joe did wrong was not doing this sooner. I have a great deal of sympathy for the fact that refs sometimes have to give split-second calls ...but this was NOT one of them.

The fight had already been *stopped* after all succeeding *legal* blows (also determined by Yamasake) had been allowed to opposed to the standard operating procedure of immediately calling time for doctors to determine whether the fight could continue. For all intents and purposes, Yamasake simply overturned his *own* decision on who won without consulting any reasonable source of information (including his own memory). Furthermore, I still see no reason why instant replays could not have been [provided to the ref and] reviewed in the intervening minutes, and clearly no one asked the fighter what he felt his greatest injury was (he said it was the shoulder shot that did him in).

Uncomfortable? Yes, it should have been. Again - full sympathies for split-second judgments (stuff happens) but there's no excuse for not employing some frontal-brain action when you have a few minutes to think things over and THEN you render a bullshit call. Heat-of-the-moment mutism? Sure, I can accept that. But verbal answer a few minutes after a thoughtful assessment was supposedly provided? If we can't rely on the judges OR the refts, who does that really leave? Someone needs to be put on the spot for these kinds of egregious errors, and I for one am glad Joe initiated it.
/end rant
SouthAfricanMMA- January 16, 2012 at 9:42 am
It's clear as day that Miragliotta was instructed to stand up Vitor and Johnson quickly prior to the fight. As unprofessional as Johnson was, he was subsequently set up to fail in a manner that brings mma into disrepute.

Also, Palhares' submission should've been included in the good section. The guy is a beast and his history of holding onto submissions after the ref had stopped the fight instills fear into his opponents and makes him one of the must-see middleweights on the planet.
ccman- January 16, 2012 at 9:31 am
It only changed the decision because the opponent couldn't continue, same as bones v. Hammill, and it took 2 min for the doc to say he couldn't continue. Otherwise I think Joe's only mistake was asking Mario to watch the replay and comment at that.
Jason Moles- January 16, 2012 at 9:28 am
'Keys to Victory' will probably help new fans know what to look for. I like it - for them, not me. KenFlo or Bonnar instead of Rogan would be nice.

Anyone think Rogan interviewing Mario will make AC's make a new rule about not putting a mic in the refs face?
Jokulgoblin- January 16, 2012 at 9:28 am
In our gushing praise for the Brazilian crowd, are we not even going to mention the green lasers? How did that go on so long? There was a literal glowing line that could be followed back to the owner of the laser. It's like the security staff and crowd gave the laser-wielding douche a pass since he was only targeting non-Brazilians.
k-onda- January 16, 2012 at 9:18 am
Yeah, I don't see what was so "cringe-worthy" about Yamasaki being asked to explain the call. I wish they'd do that in every sport with refs. And Joe wasn't hostile or insulting in any way.
And about the call, I'm torn - the dude does have to make the call in a split second, and at least one shot did strike the dude in the back of the head. On the other hand, something against the rules happens in almost every fight, so completely changing the outcome is too drastic.
tmanifold- January 16, 2012 at 9:03 am
I gotta agree with the above poster. Joe wasn't being disrespectful, he was doing his job. He even went on the UG after with praise of Mario. Mario seemingly made a mistake and it happens. As long as it doesn't become a habit, no big deal.
RoJoegan- January 16, 2012 at 8:47 am
Really, CP, really? Rogan’s interview was not disrespectful. Rogan has tons of respect for Yamasaki and has said so on numerous occasions, even calling him "one of the best MMA refs in the world, a life-long martial artist himself." I find it disrespectful that you think you have the right to tell Joe what his job should be. As the ref, Mario has the responsibility of explaining his calls, especially a questionable call, which he did. Joe was doing his job by asking the questions that most of us were asking at home. Sorry it was an “awkward moment” for you. Thank you, Joe, for not giving a fuck if you make CP uncomfortable.
Mofo- January 16, 2012 at 8:33 am
Jardine comes in 4th. He looks like the dude in Robocop who falls into toxic waste:
Mofo- January 16, 2012 at 8:32 am
No wait, Gonzaga looks like The Toxic Avenger:
(Your “Most Retarded Mean Mugs” article should include doppleganger pics like these)