Melvin's escapes were impressive. Josh made a point after the match of saying that Melvin had very strong hips.
The mind-boggling part was Melvin staying back so much in the second round after convincingly losing the first round, and I think this was even before he broke his hand. When he winked at the camera at the end of round two, I wondered if Melvin was using Ali's "rope-a-dope" strategy to wear out his opponent, but in the third round Melvin came out very cautiously again. Probably nerves and lack of experience. Franklin yelled "capitalize on transitions", but it seemed like Melvin felt more comfortable backing off and boxing... or dancing.
This fight may have been a blueprint for the whole season. Hughes took fighters based on fighting skill while Franklin took fighters based on athleticism and heart. Melvin showed great athleticism and heart with his escapes, but Josh had a big enough advantage in skill to implement a successful, albeit often passive, strategy. His decisions reminded me of watching Dan Severn in the early days of UFC.
I don't knock Josh for riding out the third round, but I don't think that is what the audience or Dana White wants to see which is why there is a cash bonus for knockouts and submissions. The apparent mismatch between Hughes and Franklin could become Dana's worst nightmare as it appears Hughes is more interested in results than excitement. In a shoot fight, that's the way it should be, but it doesn't necessarily make for must see TV.
For his bluster, I was surprised at how passive Melvin was in the first two rounds. He really was giving Josh a wide berth, with his offense only being those defensive chokes.
Armchair quarterbacking, I kept yelling at him to throw a friggin' punch. So much easier to criticize when watching at home, I know. Melvin seemed to have a lot of physical tools, but had no clue what to do on offense.
Josh seemed more skilled by a degree or two, enough to best Melvin, but I got the impression that he'll be meat for a quality fighter. Kinda like a C-ranked chess player beating up a D-rank, then the expert player comes and destroys him.
I don't like the emphasis on athleticism, I like the emphasis on drama and crazy personalities. From the religious reading sessions, it looks like a lot of the guys are on the straight and narrow. Good for them, but bible studies don't make for interesting TV.
Also, some of the contestants look pretty old, I don't know how believable they're going to be pimped as finely tuned athletes. I'm sure they're all in great shape, but they're not exactly all out of college. Is the talent pool that thin?
Plus, at least two of them seemed to only have a middling interest in the sport, as seen by their departures. Did they just pull big guys off the street in Hollywood to fill out the cast?
(edited by asteroidboy on 30.8.05 2037) -- Asteroid Boy