UFC Fight Night 15 Post-Event Thoughts: Redemption.

I’ve subtitled my post Redemption because I that is what I got with my event picks this time. After posting a horrible record for UFC 88 (3-6), I came back with an 8-2record this time. In the grand scheme of things, what does this mean? Well, it probably means I’ll be back in the 3-6 arena next time – I rarely have good repeat performances in my fantasy picks.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the event. I did have a few complaints, namely that there were only four televised fights in a broadcast that ran just over 2 hours. I thought there would at least be 5, especially since all of the preliminary fights ended in stoppages, and some of them very quickly. Check after the jump for some more thoughts on a couple of the prelims as well as the televised card.

I think I was most proud of my call of Mike Massenzio beating Drew McFedries via submission. It ended in the first round (and I predicted the second), but I’m happy that Massenzio pulled off the upset victory. I was also happy to hear that Alessio Sakara won his fight (and got a KO of the Night bonus to boot), because I’ve always thought he’s been an underrated fighter. He does have somewhat of a suspect chin, but he is a solid fighter, and I hope this win puts him back on track to get some wins over bigger name opponents.

As for the televised card….

Houston Alexander vs. Eric Shafer – I was disappointed to see Alexander lose, especially in front of the home crowd. However, in spite of his previously claimed allegiance to Nebraska, he released a statement today in which he blamed the fans for the loss, saying that he couldn’t hear his corner shouting there were only a few seconds left in the round, and had he heard them saying that, he would’ve held on. Check out that comment on Cage Potato here.

I think that was kind of a cop-out. Sure, the fans were loud, but Alexander seemed to be feeding on that up to that point. Further, Alexander has gotten quite lucky in his short UFC tenure, in his ability to throw illegal knees without getting caught. He did it to Keith Jardine in his UFC debut (although at the point it happened, I don’t think it really made much of a difference), and did it to Shafer last night. Props to Shafer on the submission win.

Alexander stated prior to the fight that he was told if he lost he would have to win some fights outside the organization to get back to the UFC. I think this is a good idea, but I don’t think it’s going to help Alexander as much as some solid BJJ training would. I’m not saying he hasn’t been training BJJ, because all of the training fighters do is rarely showcased in the cage. However, I don’t think fighting outside the organization will do him too much good - he’ll likely go to a smaller show that doesn’t have nearly the caliber of Light Heavyweights the UFC does, he’ll rack up a few quick (and likely devastating) KO wins, and then they’ll bring him back – and if he gets taken down, he’ll lose like he did last night. I think Alexander is an exciting fighter, and I want to continue to see him in the UFC, but I’d also like to see him up his ground game, or at least execute it more effectively.

Ed Herman vs. Alan Belcher – Belcher pulled out a split decision win, which Herman later stated he thought went the wrong way. Although I was pulling for Herman to win, I agree with the judge’s decision. Belcher knocked Herman around for most of the fight, but Herman held in there much longer than I thought he would. He even got the better position a few times and came close to a few submissions, but ultimately was not able to end it. Herman had a few short bursts of dominance in the fight, but I do think Belcher deserved the split. I’d look for Belcher to fight somebody like Jason MacDonald next, since both are now coming off wins.

Clay Guida vs. Mac Danzig – I called this one exactly right, so obviously I was happy about that. One of the things I stated in my pre-event analysis was that “…I think Guida is much more explosive and will be able to frustrate Danzig to grind out a decision.” And I think that’s largely what happened. Guida’s tenacity is what makes him both an exciting fighter and a good fighter, even thoug his individual skill sets (i.e. striking) are often outclassed by other fighters. Guida clearly frustrated Danzig – the longer the fight went on, and the more Guida kept getting taken down, the more Danzig appeared to be frustrated that he couldn’t do anything to stop Guida from imposing his will. I’m interested to see who Guida fights next, and who Danzig will get next as well. I think Danzig will come back strong in his next fight.

Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer – I previously stated that I thought Guida vs. Danzig should be the main event, but I was much happier with Diaz/Neer than I initially thought I would be. Both fighters put on a hell of a show, and I give Neer credit for avoiding the submission attempts throughout the entire fight. I also thought it was interesting to see Diaz repeatedly use the roll traditionally used to set up a kneebar, to get away from Neer’s to hold him down. Diaz had a couple takedowns I’m sure they’ll use in his highlight reel from now on, and I think Diaz is still growing as a fighter, which simply means he’ll be even more of a force as time goes on.

I do wonder who he’ll fight next, and how much longer he’ll be able to keep his UFC undefeated streak going. I think a match-up with Lauzon would be interesting, as they’re both BJJ maniacs and are both coming off wins, but Diaz does have a submission loss to Hermes Franca, from a WEC event in 2006, and even though Franca is coming off two losses, the UFC could easily bill this is Diaz trying to avenge his only submission loss.

Also, I feel I’d be betraying the Diaz brothers if I didn’t somehow work in a mention of Stockton, and “The 209”. Diaz’s post-fight interview was largely incoherent (as is most of the things he says), but I did catch the Stockton and 209 references as well as a request for someone to fight his brother because KJ Noons and other people were ducking him…or something like that. Also, at the post-fight press conference, apparently someone said something that angered both of the Diaz brothers as they started yelling and stormed out. No official word on what that was.

All in all, a good fight card, and a great free event. Looking forward to the next free one on Spike.


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