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Sunday, April 19, 2009
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC 97 Thoughts
by Ivan Trembow

-The people who are criticizing Anderson Silva by saying things like "he doesn't care" or "he's not interested in fighting" are way off-base. Silva is a counter-striker. Some counter-strikers are better than others at adjusting their style and their gameplan when their opponent calls their proverbial bluff and forces them to be the one to come forward and be the aggressor. Thales Leites’ gameplan against Silva wasn’t all that different from Patrick Cote’s gameplan against Silva, or from Rashad Evans’ gameplan against Chuck Liddell.

-As Sports Illustrated wrote last night, "The champion [Anderson Silva] enters the cage after a coat of Vaseline is slathered on his face. I’m sorry to say this, but it was pretty obvious that Silva took his hands, wiped down his face and rubbed his chest and arms."

The accuracy of the previous sentence is made clear as day by this video: http://mmafrenzy.com/files/2009/04/anderson-silva-ufc-97-greasing.gif

The video starts just after Silva enters the Octagon with Vaseline on his face, just prior to the beginning of his fight. I have no way of knowing whether it was intentional, but whether or not it happened is not something that's up for debate.

-If that was indeed Chuck Liddell’s last MMA fight, he had an incredible career and provided MMA fans with a lot of great memories. The UFC is doing the right thing by pressuring Liddell to retire before he suffers permanent injury.

-On a related note, It’s amazing to me that there hasn’t been more talk of Wanderlei Silva retiring, just as there has (rightfully) been for Liddell.

While Liddell has been TKO’ed three times in recent years, only one of those was a knocked-out-cold KO. Wanderlei Silva has, in his last five fights, gotten brutally knocked out cold by Mirko Cro Cop, gotten brutally knocked out cold by Dan Henderson, taken a horrible beating in a unanimous decision loss to Chuck Liddell, beaten Keith Jardine, and gotten brutally knocked out cold by Quinton "Delirium Absolves me of Any Responsibility" Jackson.

If there was a list of fighters who should retire (for their own sake) as a result of taking too much punishment over the years and suffering too many bad knockouts, Wanderlei Silva would be far higher on that list than Chuck Liddell.

-More of UFC president Dana White’s credibility went flying out of his mouth and into the night at the UFC 97 post-fight press conference.

White said, "Fedor [Emelianenko] is not the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. These guys [referring to Anderson Silva] continue to fight the best. Fedor is at a buffet somewhere in Russia."

Let me get this straight. Fedor’s last two fights were stoppage wins over the #4-ranked heavyweight in the world and the #3-ranked heavyweight in the world.

Anderson Silva’s last three fights were against nowhere-near-ranked James Irvin, nowhere-near-ranked Patrick Cote, and not-quite-top-ten-ranked Thales Leites... and yet it’s Fedor who is not fighting the best in the world?

That's not even the most credibility-shattering quote. Dana White also said this: “So until this guy [Fedor] decides to get in shape, take it serious, and consistently fight the best in the world, for you guys to even think about calling him the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is insane.”

Someone break out the clown make-up and honking red nose.

-The Montreal commission wouldn’t comment in the months leading up to this event, but we got our answer in the main event about whether the UFC agreed to use something other than the Unified Rules of MMA for this event. Silva did a foot-stomp, and the referee clearly said, “No foot stomps, no foot stomps.” Other MMA promotions do this with elbow strikes, but this is the first time I can recall the Zuffa-era UFC using anything other than the Unified Rules of MMA.

-Cheick Kongo may not be too far away from a UFC Heavyweight Title match, but I believe that is going to be a squash match for anyone with good takedowns. I’m sure Kongo is better now than he was when Carmelo Marrero dominated him with takedowns, but I don’t think he’s so much better that he wouldn’t be taken down and pounded and/or submitted by any number of heavyweights in the UFC. The UFC is not stupid. They know this, and that’s why Kongo’s last three fights (after the loss to Heath Herring) have come against Dan Evensen, Mustapha al Turk, and Antoni Hardonk, three fighters who were overmatched against Kongo and also had limited ground games.

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