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UFC 160 Aftermath: Guts, Knockouts & Rubber Matches

(Photo via Esther Lin| MMA Fighting)

Antonio Silva is every bit the monster the UFC’s hype machine have promoted him as but champion Cain Velasquez once more proved to be too quick for “Bigfoot.” Just as he did one year ago in their first meeting, Cain wasted little time in stopping Silva in the first round, via ground strikes.

“Pezao” absolutely earned the title shot he received Saturday night – he has a list of victims that include two former UFC heavyweight champions, former long-time pound for pound kingpin Fedor Emelianenko and, most recently, Alistair Overeem – but Velasquez once more proved that the combination of his quickness, relentless pace and striking power are very hard to beat. In the post fight press conference, Silva objected to the stoppage by referee Mario Yamasaki, saying it was premature and that he allowed Velasquez to hit him to the back of the head illegally.

“I do agree the fight was stopped too early,” the Brazilian said.

“It’s clear watching it that I took several illegal blows to the back of my neck.”

It was also clear that Silva was out of the fight altogether before he hit the ground, after Velasquez clipped him with a left and hammered him with a right. Strikes to the back of the head being illegal is one of the least clearly defined, hard to enforce and altogether counterproductive to realistic sport fighting rules that exists in MMA, besides. At the least, fighters should not be allowed to hide behind the rule while laying prone, face down.

Yamasaki did his job and protected Silva from taking more damage by stopping the bout after it was clear Antonio could not move himself out of danger but before the brave fighter was beaten senseless.

Grant vs. Maynard Goes On Too Long

The referee officiating TJ Grant and Gray Maynard’s lightweight contender’s bout can’t say he did the same. Grant dropped Maynard with flush punches and knees to the chin multiple times and delivered more clean punishment to a defenseless Maynard while on the ground before the referee stepped in all too late and called a halt to the bout.

Maynard was out of the fight from the first nasty jaw shot that he took and did nothing to avoid or mount his own offense during many, many shots afterwards from Grant. It all happened quickly but when a fighter does nothing but fall over and over again, he’s been done for awhile and the referee should have recognized this earlier than he did.

The “stakes” of a fight, whether it is a number one contender’s fight like Maynard’s and Grants, or a title bout, shouldn’t matter when it comes to deciding how long a fighter should be allowed to take a beating. Many of these guys and girls are too brave, too well trained to stop moving, even if only flailing, even when their brains have already been shut down by strikes.

They need corners and ref who understand in the moment far better than they themselves do when they are done. Reffing is a hard job – one that I’m not qualified to do – but it needs to be said that Maynard took too much damage for too long last night.

The Tyson Effect

None of that is a poor reflection on either fighter’s performance. Grant has come out of nowhere to make a great case for himself as the most dangerous challenger to Benson Henderson’s lightweight title reign. Grant proved that he could hang with the best at welterweight (including number one contender Johny Hendricks) before dropping down to lightweight. Now, he’s got five fight win streak and just finished the perennial #1 lightweight contender in Maynard, and he’s even got Mike Tyson’s stamp of approval.

After last night’s event, UFC President Dana White told the media that he was set to give Junior Dos Santos the KO of the night bonus but Mike Tyson, who was UFC 160’s guest of honor, it seemed, told him that it should go to Grant. White went with “Iron Mike” and Grant is $50,000 less poor now.

White also said that Grant may get to fight for Henderson’s belt as early as August in Boston at the first Fox Sports 1 card. With his size and power, he may be the man to push Henderson to the limit.

Dos Santos Prevails Over K-1 Level Striking

Two-time heavyweight champion Velasquez now has his first successful title defense out of the way and looks towards a rubber match with Junior Dos Santos. “Cigano” earned another shot at the belt he once took from Cain by knocking Mark Hunt out in the UFC 160 co-main event.

Early in the first round, television analyst Joe Rogan remarked at how Hunt’s striking abilities were on a whole other level compared to Dos Santos. Moments later, Dos Santos sent the former K-1 World Grand Prix kickboxing champion careening to the canvas, face-first with an over hand right.

The moment, and much of the rest of the fight – Hunt survived until the third round when a spinning heel kick from JDS floored him and a right hand taken to the jaw while on his back knocked him out – demonstrated once more what a bad idea basing MMA match up assessments on resumes in different fight sports instead of using actual analysis of skills, tendencies and mechanics can be.

There was no particular reason to believe that Hunt was a “better” striker than Dos Santos, leading into their fight simply because he was a former kickboxing champion anymore than there was reason to assume that JDS was the “better athlete” because he has a six pack. I would argue that Hunt’s success as a fighter, and striker in particular, are not due to being far more slick and technical than his opponents, but rather to his incredible athletic gifts and mental toughness.

Anyone with eyes and a memory knows that Hunt doesn’t knock people out with technical combinations. He throws one strike at a time but when you pack the natural power he does, one strike at a time can be enough. Hunt doesn’t avoid getting knocked out by using great head movement or tight footwork – he simply absorbs ungodly amounts of punishment without going down, giving his power shots a chance to do their magic.

The former UFC champ took advantage of predictable technical mistakes that Hunt always makes, not in wrestling or ground work, but in the stand-up striking department.

Hunt often shoulder rolls and turns his head away with his lead hand down to avoid punches. His sense of distance and durable block head allowed him to do this without devastating consequences until last night. Dos Santos continually hammered away at Hunt’s exposed jaw and back of the head with the punch that won him the UFC heavyweight belt – his over hand right. All of Hunt’s big punches, even those that landed, left him out of position to follow up.

The best strikers are not the ones in boxing rings, where referees break fighters up if they grab one another. The best strikers are not in kickboxing rings, where they can kick without fear of being taken down and put on their backs.

The best strikers are in the Octagon – where more realistic fighting takes place. The value of a punch, kick, knee or elbow isn’t in it’s prettiness – fighting isn’t a Wu Shu Kung Fu forms demonstration or Capoeira dance – it is in its efficacy. The guys that manage to land strikes on opponents who are not only also striking, but trying to take them down, choke them out or tear a limb a up, are the ones I want to learn from.

Hunt’s rise through the MMA ranks has been amazing, considering all this. He began fighting the very best MMA fighters nearly a decade ago with virtually no other skills other than his limited kickboxing ones yet managed to win early and often.

After his career took a downturn and the UFC bought his employer, Pride, they offered to let the New Zealander cash out and walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars without having to fight any longer. He rejected the offer, saying he wanted to fight for his money.

He proved everyone wrong by beating some of the best heavyweights in the world and coming one fight away from a shot at the title. Heck, he came within a breath a number of times against Dos Santos.

There is no objective reason why some of the leaping left hooks that Hunt hit Dos Santos with flush on the jaw, shouldn’t have knocked out the former champion. They didn’t, but that is no fault of Hunt.

He came in and fought as advertised – violently, effectively and with valor. After the fight the rest of the world discovered that Hunt suffered a nausea-inducing toe break in his right foot in the first round. Yet, he fought on and went out on his shield like the soldier he is.

Dos Santos and Hunt earned fight of the night honors for their brutal clash. They earned it. Hunt has also more than earned that Pride money that he insisted on fighting for instead of being given.

“Mini-IceMan” Lives Up To The Hype

Glover Teixeira nabbed his 19th consecutive win and submission of the night honors with a first round guillotine choke win over James Te Huna. The Chuck Liddell protégé is one well-rounded light heavyweight and even if he falls into the same category as every other 205 pound contender out there (not having much of a chance against champion Jon Jones) Glover has already done something nearly as difficult as beating “Bones” – living up his pre-UFC hype.

Glover had a ton of expectations placed on him when he entered the UFC a year ago. Others, like Hector Lombard, have had similar pushes and not been able to justify them in the Octagon.

Teixeira, however, has taken the light heavyweight division by storm, winning four times in a year, including multiple finishes and a win over former champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Who knows how far he can go but Glover has already accomplished a lot.

Cagepotato Comments

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JerryVohanka- May 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Watch them beating the s*it out of each other at *PUNCH*
Lillie- May 28, 2013 at 10:37 am
If you think Jason`s story is exceptional..., last munth my friends mom basically also got a cheque for $6530 just sitting there a fourty hour month from home and their neighbor's step-mother`s neighbour has done this for six months and earned more than $6530 in their spare time from a mac. follow the advice on this link...
Dagnut- May 28, 2013 at 2:44 am
Why is no one talking about Glover Teixeira?
Limbo Pete- May 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm
I have a memory of pretty much every fight Hunt-o has been in, and I have seen him clearly beat people with technical striking. It was wrong of Rogan to say he was on a different level than JDS, but just cause he got outstruck doesn't mean he isn't a good striker. He is one of the best.
mookiestick- May 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm
The best thing on this card was the interview/infomercial withthe poker dude
HEY- May 27, 2013 at 9:50 am
I like the part about the Dos Santos/Mark Hunt fight. Well done.
HassiumWitte- May 27, 2013 at 4:13 am
This is a very long article with many unimportant details/theories that are unnecessary to the overall article. The writer seems to be trying to hard to sound knowledgable and comes across as the guy that you know that watches MMA and 'could totally have done it if I didn't break m little finger six years ago!' Less fluff, and it'll come across better and less cluttered or forced.
Mongrel- May 27, 2013 at 12:10 am
Roy Nelson vs Mark Hunt.
Do it.
Mongrel- May 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm
The JDS/Hunt fight was a lot closer than this writer makes it out to be... at no point was I counting Hunt out, and at the start of the fight - while still fresh - Hunt was clearly connecting better and his timing was dead on until, of course... that bomb landed.

I think the reffing in the Maynard fight was fair. He kept standing up and blocking... it was a difficult fight to stop, and I think the ref reacted well.
Mongrel- May 26, 2013 at 11:52 pm
I just re-watched the Maynard stoppage. Yeah, I think maybe after that second knock-down it should've been stopped.
danomite- May 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm
I wish I could watch Hunt and JDS fight ten more times. I loved that fight. JDS came prepared for Hunt's counter left hook by baiting him into throwing it by feinting a jab and then throwing a counter of his own. It looked like Hunt stopped biting on it by the 3rd, but then JDS threw a spinning back kick out of nowhere. crazy fight.
mcdolph- May 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm
I came here for the dick jokes. what the fuck is this serious shit all about?
lilricky707- May 26, 2013 at 4:57 pm
You guys change your tune so fast. Last I heard you were riding the hunt bandwagon, after the loss you flip the story and act like you all knew all along what was going to happen. Ridiculous
paperplane- May 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm
I disagree that the grant and Maynard fight was a late stoppage
Cheeseburger Eddie- May 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm
JDS/Cain 2 will be great but it doesn't matter who wins now that The Warmaster is in the UFC!! Barnett for HW champ PRIDE NEVA DIE (excluding Hunt getting KOed haha)
amsterdamheavy- May 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm
All of the blood came from Stephens v Payan. Stephen open him up with an elbow and then it basically just poured blood. They spent a lot of time in one spot and it was so much blood the mat wasnt soaking it up at all, it was like spilled paint creeping across the mat.
dipsetkilla316- May 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm
@knacker I was wondering the same thing. They said something about it during the Ppv, but I completely forgot. All I know is it wasn't bigfoots blood this time lol. I thought he was going to need a blood transfusion after the first fight with cain. I was up set bigfoot didn't put up much of a fight, but I wasn't surprised. I don't think anyone was surprised.
Sopapo- May 26, 2013 at 11:32 am
Hunt on TRT needs to happen RIGHT NOW
Knacker- May 26, 2013 at 11:29 am
Did see the Facebook fights, does anyone know which fights creates the bloodbath on the mat?
Cestus84- May 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm
@knacker Yup, it was the first bout of the night, Stephens/Payan. It was caused by an elbow from inside Payas guard. The doctor took a look at the cut a few times but I guess they must have felt like Payan could keep going. Which he did btw, it was a UD for Stephens. If you can imagine it, it was worse than Velasquez-Bigfoot 1.
Knacker- May 26, 2013 at 11:33 am
Ok it was Jeremy Stephens and Estevan Payan, If I just waited till I read BR!!!!
fightfan- May 26, 2013 at 10:54 am
I disagree with the Gray stoppage. He was robbed of a LW title bc the ref didn't stop the fight even though he gave Edgar 3 or 4 concussion in that 1st rd 1 of their 1st title fight. SO I am glad the ref gave him more than enough chances to get back into that fight. Gray cant make an excuse for this one
Walrus- May 26, 2013 at 10:25 am
Loved that George Roop fight.
samclark- May 26, 2013 at 9:44 am
A wrong decision, an early stoppage and one hell of a knockout. Last night was fun.
algiersheadkick504- May 26, 2013 at 9:43 am
Glover overhand right ko of Jones when they fight....heard it here first