Custom Search

Share MMA News

Share Share

Monday, December 12, 2011

UFC 140 Report Card Grades

UFC 140 grades

Chan Sung JungA+

Chan Sung Jung

You can't do better than what the "The Korean Zombie" accomplished Saturday. (Unless your name is Duane Ludwig, and you share the same record.) In consecutive fights, Chan Sung Jung (12-3) has locked in submission and, with his seven-second knockout of Mark Hominick on Saturday, KO of the year candidates. Jung, 24, finds himself among a pool of contenders in the featherweight division as he looks toward the coming year. He stepped into the cage facing a no-win situation, but somehow managed to come out way ahead.
Jon JonesA

Jon Jones

I've already gushed about Jon Jones' great year, so I won't go there again. That said, the most educational part of his campaign occurred Saturday. Though it lasted less than two full rounds, Jones, 24, showed -- and proved -- he possesses the composure of a champion. After all, it's one thing to dominate when things go your way. It's another thing entirely to have a fast, sharp, uniquely styled opponent unlock your timing, crack you across the jaw, and make it so that there suddenly feels a very real possibility that winning isn't the only potential outcome. I thought it was interesting that Jones (15-1) stuck to his game plan. He didn't shift gears and wrestle. Rather, he continued to stand in front of Machida, waiting for a fight-changing shot to land, which one did, of course. There has been criticism leveled at Jones in the wake of the win for the way in which he let Machida drop to the floor, but he did nothing wrong. In fact, Machida's camp said they don't have a problem with how Jones handled himself in the cage, and they pointed to instructions from referee "Big" John McCarthy, who told fighters not to release submissions until he intervened.
Frank MirA

Frank Mir

Back from the brink, that's what this was. Whether or not you think Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira made a tactical error by trying to finish Frank Mir (16-5) with a submission instead of continuing to punch, Mir deserves much credit for 1.) surviving and defending 2.) reversing position and going on the offensive and 3.) maneuvering into a position to finish and never letting go. It can be stated now, unequivocally, that Mir ranks as the most vicious submission fighter in MMA. He popped Roberto Traven's elbow. Disfigured Pete Williams' shoulder and elbow. Cracked Tank Abbott's ankle. Snapped Tim Sylvia's forearm. And produced a clean break of Nogueira's arm. Brock Lesnar should consider himself fortunate to be able to walk. Speaking of Lesnar, whispers are Mir, 32, could be in line to jump into a fight against Lesnar on Dec. 30 if Alistair Overeem is unable to compete on New Year's weekend. He took a few shots against Nogueira and was hurt, but it's unlikely he took enough punishment to keep him out of a fight later this month if that's what he wants.
Antonio Rogerio NogueiraA

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

It was must-win for Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, 35, and he came through as best as he could. "Little Nog" ripped Tito Ortiz apart for an early TKO, setting himself up with an opportunity to climb back into title contention. Not only did Nogueira (20-5) handle Ortiz without any trouble, he looked capable of doing something similar against better opposition -- and there sure is plenty of that in front of him at 205 pounds. Nogueira actually encountered an Ortiz who was willing to mix it up with him, which folded perfectly into the Brazilian's game plan. Nogueira subsequently cracked Ortiz to set up the first-round finish. What's next? How about a rematch against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua? Their fight in 2005 remains one of the best bouts in MMA history.
Lyoto MachidaA-

Lyoto Machida

The man was choked cold and he registers an A-? Hey, Lyoto Machida was terrific in the opening five minutes, connecting on punches and establishing range as well as anyone who's fought Jones to this point. He quickly decoded Jones' length and rhythm, and soon darted in and out of range, throwing power punches when he chose to attack. There were rumors that Machida was ill before the bout (his management vehemently denies there's any truth to the whispers) and I must say, he appeared fit from where I was sitting. In fact, this was as good as I can recall seeing Machida since he lambasted Rashad Evans in 2009. When Machida was hurt and he fell to the canvas, Jones opened him up with a cut. He also had difficulty seeing out of his right eye, and, according to his manager, considered quitting. Yet he chose to continue, to which Jones rendered the 33-year-old former UFC champion unconscious.
Antonio Rodrigo NogueiraB

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

B is for "broken," as in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's right arm which was snapped clean by Frank Mir. "Minotauro" is in Los Angeles, having flown from Toronto on UFC president Dana White's private plane, where it's expected he'll undergo surgery on Monday. The injury is not expected to be career- threatening, which based on everything I know about the man isn't the least bit surprising. This is, after all, the same person who recovered and actually became more physically active after being run over by a truck when he was 9 years old. Nogueira is among the most courageous fighters in the sport, one certainly willing to take a beating in the name of attempting to win, and people closest to him expect he'll fight again. Some have argued that Nogueira made a horrible tactical error after hurting Mir by trying to finish with a choke. I don't think that's fair. I'm never going to question Nogueira when it comes to attempting a submission, especially after he had established control of the fight and hurt Mir. The 35-year-old former Pride and UFC (interim) heavyweight champion botched the finish, allowing Mir to recover and lock in his own Kimura. It was painful watching Minotauro's limb yanked backwards the way it was. Even worse were what seemed like hundreds of replays, which showed the pop of the arm over and over again. This is the kind of finish that would have forced lesser men to quit the sport. Nogueira, 33-7-1, is not one of those people.
Mark HominickC

Mark Hominick

If B stands for "broken" in the previous entry, then C means "class act" in this one. What a horrible set of circumstances on Saturday. Fighting in his home town for the first time since his trainer and mentor Shawn Tompkins passed away, Hominick's nerves got the best of him and he walked forward, hands down, only to take a punch that put him on the canvas. This all happened in seven seconds. After the fact, Hominick (20-10) fully credited Chan Sung Jung for pulling it off. Hominick admitted to fighting out of character, meaning he was tense and overaggressive in his attempt to find a finish. He will be sad for a few days -- that's normal -- but it behooves Hominick, 29, to remember how Tompkins would have picked him up. That's the legacy Tompkins left, one dedicated to good will and always staying positive, even in the worst possible moments.
Brian EbersoleC

Brian Ebersole

Brian Ebersole, by the skin of his teeth. Taking his third straight fight in the UFC means the competition will increase, putting the veteran's UFC run to the real test soon enough. Ebersole (49-14-1) meant to slow down the fight by clinching Patrick and grinding the clock down. That's pretty much what he did, resulting in the only poor televised bout on the card. The 31-year-old fighter looked average against a game opponent, but not one who ranks near the top of the welterweight division.
Claude PatrickC

Claude Patrick

On the wrong end of what Lorenzo Ferttita labeled a "bad decision," Patrick, 31, found it difficult to free himself from Ebersole's grasp. He had his moments, especially when he went after submissions, but it wasn't enough to sway the judges. For what it's worth, I agree with Fertitta on his scorecard, but neither fighter looked very good. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak for Patrick (14-2) inside the UFC, and 13-fight win streak overall, which has to be considered a setback even with Fertitta's public support.
Tito OrtizC-

Tito Ortiz

Tito Ortiz showed up ready to brawl with Rogerio Nogueira. He stood in the pocket and fired punches with power, but that's never been the strength of his game and he paid a price. A vicious knee to the body, which Ortiz said incapacitated him, dropped him to the canvas. It was eerily reminiscent of the strike that Rashad Evans used to put Ortiz down in August, as well as the knee that Lyoto Machida unloaded in their fight three years ago. Ortiz (16-10-1) has one bout remaining on his UFC deal, and there's little reason to suspect Zuffa won't make good on it. The 36-year-old "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" -- forget this "People's Champ" nonsense -- is far removed from his contender days, yet the idea of seeing a swan song fight Rich Franklin next summer would be intriguing for his long-time fans

Shop Amazon Deals