UFC 87 Notes And Observations

For those of you who watched the UFC 87 card on pay-per-view, you saw one of the better PPV’s of 2008.  Lots of action, lot of pops for Lesnar (no surprise there), Georges St. Pierre and surprisingly enough, Roger Huerta.  That aside, I noticed some other things as well, such as:

  • The crowd was well-behaved.  I would have to think that the UFC will make Minneapolis a regular stop, based on the crowd that was at the Target Center.  if you have watched any of the UFC PPV’s, you have probably noticed that the crowds are at times obnoxious; that couldn’t be said at the Target Center.  Don’t get me wrong – crowds can be obnoxious at just about every UFC event.  But you got the sense that the crowds there were, if anything, very enthusiastic – even though alcohol may have played no small part in that.  But yet, they were very well-behaved with none of the post-fight arrests that seem to happen after an event.  Oh, did I also mention that the Target Center attendance was 15,082?  Oh, yeah – the UFC will be back.
  • Cheick Kongo’s bout.  Kongo needs to do more of the same if he wants to get within sniffing distance of the heavyweight title.  His problem is that while he is very talented – as his fight Saturday night will tell you – he can be inconsistent at times.  If he can correct those minor issues, he could be a force in the heavyweight division.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a Kongo-Lesnar fight in the near future.
  • Roger Huerta doesn’t deserve a title shot – yet.  Huerta’s problem is that he hasn’t beaten anyone of note lately (wins over Clay Guida, Alberto Crane, Doug Evans, Leonard Garcia, John Halverson and Jason Dent).  People, that’s a Who’s Who of mediocrity.  He needs to beat a top-tier opponent before he can start making these stupid money demands on the UFC like he has done recently.  Losing to Kenny Florian didn’t exactly help his cause.
  • Brock Lesnar is for real.  After Lesnar’s butt-whooping of Heath Herring, I think it is safe to assume that Lesnar is legit.  Herring never gets thrown around like that – never.  Yet, Lesnar totally dominated him.  And that right hand by Lesnar in the first round – WOW!!  Lesser men in that weight class would’ve collapsed – literally.  But give Herring credit – he managed to hang with Brock for the entire fight.  Apparently, the training that Lesnar had prior to UFC 87 paid off in spades.  Expect this version of Lesnar in the future; he could possibly be the UFC heavyweight champion as soon as 2009.
  • Demian Maia’s stock is up – way up.  Maia last night showed that he is in the upper-tier of middleweights.  He displayed his top-shelf BJJ skills against Jason MacDonald, which is why I think he could possibly fight Anderson Silva in the future.  I’d like to see him fight either Patrick Cote or even Michael Bisping first before pitting him against The Spider.
  • Rob Emerson not breaking a sweat.  A quality win for Emerson as he knocked out Manvel Gamburyan in 12 seconds flat.  12 seconds?!?!?!  I don’t know what to make out of that, except to think that Gamburyan’s camp did him a disservice by having Manny rushing Emerson like he did.  And you saw the end result.
  • Georges St. Pierre is the class of his division.  I am surprised as hell that Jon Fitch lasted as long as he did against GSP – which tells you something about Fitch.  Fitch took everything that was in St. Pierre’s playbook, yet persevered.  That aside, GSP, after that fight, showed why he is the best fighter in the Welterweight division.  GSP will probably have to pull out all of the stops though, as it looks very likely that he may have to face B.J. Penn – which if it does happen, has the makings of the fight of the year.
  • Steve Bruno should fight for another promotion.  This isn’t a knock on Chris Wilson whatsoever, but Steve Bruno has no business inside an octagon.  Yes, Bruno is 12-4, but numbers can be deceiving.  Bruno was overmatched against Wilson Saturday night.  I expect the UFC to give him one last chance; if he doesn’t win, then he goes back to Spirit MC or whatever promotion will have him.
  • Jon Jones was impressive in his debut.  I liked Jones’ style in the octagon; he displayed some decent striking skills for someone who is a newbie to the UFC.  Meanwhile, his opponent, Andre Gusmao, didn’t show up.  I mean, technically, he was there.  But his showing suggests that either his heart wasn’t into the bout or he simply took Jones lightly.  One thing about the UFC – you never take your opponent lightly.  Unless the opponent is Steve Bruno.
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