Duan and Big D are of the opinion that there is simply too much MMA on TV. Cactus Jim and I are of the opinion that as viewers, we can pick and choose what is important to watch and thus, more MMA isn’t necessarily a problem. However, when it comes to B-level shows, I’ve noticed that I’ve been choosing to either skip entirely or watch later on my DVR more often than not. In that way, MMA is becoming far more like WWE than I’d hoped it would. And when I say MMA, I really do mean UFC since I’m not even going to bother with Bellator if I can’t keep up with the UFC.
– Dana White likes to say that Ben Askren is boring, and there’s definitely an argument to that. However, I think I’d rather watch Askren own someone at a game he’s really good at than watch two really good wrestlers have a sparring match, which was pretty much what we got with Gray Maynard and Clay Guida. I was super interested in the fight, but found myself bored entirely except when Maynard couldn’t take it anymore and just dropped his hands begging Guida to engage. Guida was once a must-see star on the rise. Now? Well, I’ve found his style much less interesting of late. It’s one thing to be in and out with your boxing. But he’s often more out than in.
2011 wasn’t necessarily a down year for MMA, even though PPV buyrates may show it. In fact, it will be a year that will be looked upon possibly as the year UFC took that next step, or the year that showed that MMA is a sport that has already peaked. The UFC showed that they are going for broke, signing a seven year deal with FOX to showcase MMA to a brand new audience. And to show how big of a year it was for the UFC, buying Strikeforce was the second biggest news of the year.
Ryan Pike, writer for Tough Talk MMA, Stevie J from Angry Marks, Jason Hagholm co-host of FGB Radio, friend of the website JP, and Big D from Superfriends Universe join the rest of the FGB crew with their MMA picks.
Fighter Of The Year
Alan – Jon Jones
4 big wins, including a title win and two defenses. Nobody has ever had a year like that in MMA.
Duan – Junior Dos Santos
This has been a massive year for Dos Santos – two huge wins, his first UFC title, and a successful run on The Ultimate Fighter. He became a real heavyweight superstar this year. With the winner of Lesnar/Overeem lined up for his first defense; that’s another major fight already guaranteed for 2012.
Jason – Jon Jones
Jon Jones lived up to his potential and dominated 4 of the top 205ers in the UFC.
Big D – Jon Jones
No denying this whatsoever. Jonny Bones has racked up not 2, not 3, but FOUR big wins, including one World Title win against a legend in Shogun, and two successful title defenses against two former champions; finishing all four fights in violent, punishing fashion. Never before has there been a young guy pop up and absolutely massacre a division of talented veterans since maybe Mike Tyson. Who can stop this kid!?
Cactus Jim – Jon Jones
Four wins in 2011, finishing all four fights, winning the title in the process and successfully defending twice against high level competition. Jon Jones is the new Georges St. Pierre without all the boring that GSP brings to the cage. My prediction is he’s the most dominate 205’er since Tito could actually win a fight.
UFC 136 wasn’t a resounding thumbs up according to entire the FGB crew, but some have pegged it as one of the better shows of the year thus far.
Here’s what the FGB crew thought about UFC 136:
Thumbs In The Middle (leaning up)
Best Fight: Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia
Worst Fight: Kenny Florian vs. Jose Aldo
Florian/Aldo really dragged and I think that being a good fight would have made this a great show, but it was a half an hour of boringness at a key part of the event. The main event was good but the rounds after the exciting 1st round were kinda quiet until the finish. Garcia/Nam was very entertaining, and Melvin/Joe was fun while it lasted. Chael’s win and promo were the most memorable things on this show for me.
Best Fight: Gray Maynard vs. Frankie Edgar
Worst Fight: Brian Stann vs. Chael Sonnen
After their draw on New Year’s Day, the hope is that we’ll have a conclusive decision tonight during the main event. Gray Maynard is still undefeated, but Frankie Edgar has a lot of momentum after being blitzed during the first round of their fight. On one card, he won every round except for the first. And on another, he won three out of five. It’s up to Maynard to press the action and nullify Edgar’s quickness advantage.
On the Spike TV prelims, Anthony Pettis won a split decision over Jeremy Stephens while Demian Maia won a unanimous decision over Jorge Santiago.
1. Joe Lauzon vs. Melvin Guillard
Lauzon caught Guillard with a really short left. Guillard was exposed completely trying to throw a big shot of his own. Guillard wobbled and Lauzon immediately jumped on him and sunk in a rear naked choke for the submission.
Winner: Joe Lauzon
2. Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan
Garcia was landing big shots right out of the gate. Phan looked to land a right hand that put Garcia down, but it also looked like Garcia might’ve slipped. Phan is landing his jab at will. Garcia’s defensive strategy is to block Phan’s punches with his face. Garcia telegraph’s all his kicks. Strong round like you’d expect and I’d give it to Phan.
Garcia took a lot of punishment. He can either take a ton of punishment or Phan doesn’t hit very hard. Maybe a bit of both. Garcia took an absolute beating this round. If Phan could’ve put him on the ground, might’ve been a 10-8.
UFC 136 comes just two weeks after UFC 135 and it’s really a loaded show. It’s a loaded show however, without that money main event. Even without that money main event, people who buy this show should definitely get their money’s worth. Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard get it on again, 10 months after their fight-of-the-year candidate on New Year’s Day. Jose Aldo defends his title against Kenny Florian. And Chael Sonnen returns to face Brian Stann.
The FGB crew along with friend of the site JP, have predictions for the three fights.
(Duan refused to give his pick for Sonnen/Stann on grounds that he doesn’t think Sonnen should be fighting after failing his drug test, but he did say this, “I will say this much, I’m not usually a fan of Brian Stann, but for this one show, I’m in his corner.”)
Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann
Alan: Sonnen by decision
JP: Sonnen by decision
GG: Sonnen by decision
Stann’s takedown defense just isn’t strong enough to deal with the ultra aggressive Sonnen. He’s going to show glimpses of success in this fight but will be ultimately frustrated by Sonnen taking him down and mauling him in dirty gritty fashion.