I went 0-for-3 on my main predictions, but in no way could I be more surprised than by Frank Mir DOMINATING Nog. I can't decide if this means that Mir is for real or if Nog was never for real (in UFC).
Good show, but it didn't have the flashy finishes that UFC 91 did (but what does, really?).
It is the policy of the documentary crew to remain true observers and not interfere with its subjects.
If you wanna reach the Co-op, boy, you gotta get by me.
Mir is better than most thought he was, but I don't think Nog isn't for real. I think years and years of having a gameplan centered around "get the crap beaten out of me 'cause I can take it, pull off the sub after my opponent gets tired" is officially no longer workable. If you go backward through his fights, Sylvia, Herring, Barnett, Fedor, Kharitonov, Cro-Cop, Fedor (again) and Sapp were all fights that saw Nogueira take damage that would have finished 99% of the world's fighters. After ten years of fighting, I just don't think he's capable of carrying out the Nogueira Gameplan, especially not in the UFC, and not against guys who will scout him completely. He needs to go back to the drawing board and try to learn to be more aggressive and less damage-prone, or his future in the sport is going to be kind of painful. To be honest, I'm glad it went this way, because I can't imagine what Lesnar would have done to his skull.
Rampage/Wandy was kind of heartbreaking, from a fanboy point of view, and Griffin/Evans was what I expected it to be, much as I was pulling for Forrest. Lots of interesting matchups at 205 now, and it'll be interesting to see where Machida fits in. My wager is, Machida beats Thiago next month, Rampage/Forrest II for the next shot at the belt, while Rashad defends against Machida. Of course, if Rampage goes to jail or anyone gets injured, it could all go to hell. It'll be interesting.
I can't help feeling like this card signals the official end of the "PRIDE NEVER DIE" era. Pride's five big champions were Gomi, Hendo, Wandy, Nogueira and Fedor, and now Fedor's the last one standing--Henderson subbed again, Wanderlei knocked out by the bitter rival that gave Pride its best finishes, and Nogueira, who took a beating from Fedor that most would equate with murder, TKOed by a guy thought of as a UFC washout--and meanwhile, the bout to pretty legitimately determine the greatest 205er in the world is fought between two guys that all the Pride diehards thought to be talentless reality show superstars.
Hell of a time for the sport. Only getting better.
Silva/Jackson, Evans/Griffin were both fights where I really couldn't pick a winner going into the night. I was truly conflicted on both. Nice come back for Rampage, who should be right back in line for a title shot.
Evans and Griffin was good, and while Griffin had a lot of action early, I never really got the feeling that he was in control. He looked kinda winded after round one, and I think all of those missed kicks were taking their toll. Nice finish job by Evans, who follows up his exciting knockout over the Iceman by just taking it to Forrest in the ground and pound. I cannot wait to see him defend the title, especially since he trains here in state in Albuquerque.
Ok, Mir surprised the hell outta me. He totally dominated the fight, and was a lot more impressive to watch than the Lesnar fight. Lesnar/Mir 2 is going to be a bad ass fight. And the great thing is, if Lesnar wins, we'll get the trilogy to finish things off.
Kongo looked good in his fight, and the rest I don't really recall, but I know for me, I'm already looking past 93 for UFC 94, GSP vs. Penn!!
Firstly, anybody following this? Pride is the largest MMA org in the world, lightyears ahead of the UFC, really, though they get precious little exposure in North America. Anyway, a few brief thoughts: