Sometimes, you’ve got to keep it real.
In my “Top Reasons” article, I warned that UFC Rio aka UFC Fight Night – Maia vs LaFlare would not be choice for the casual American fight fan. Just about every negative thing I shared in that article came true, and the one positive piece did not. Hell, the event ante’d up with several instances of poor officiating that turned out to be the most talked about aspect of the night. Such a shame.
Nunes vs Baszler
I wrote that Shayna Baszler had “never risen to the occasion to mount an important victory”. That trend continued. She was beaten, and it almost seemed effortless. I genuinely wonder if this is not the skills of Amanda Nunes, and more the lack of heart and talent from Shayna Baszler.
Oh, blah blah! So what if she’s a “pioneer of women’s MMA”. If you don’t have heart inside of the cage, there’s a big chance you don’t have it outside of the cage, either. That means for all her pioneering, I can’t testify that she’s worked with any sort of champion’s focus, grit, or determination. She was fed to the wolves in front of a crowd of jackals. They feasted.
Nunes builds steam to whistle at a title run.
Silva vs Koscheck
Though Today’s Knockout writer Jordy McElroy suggested that Josh Koscheck should only retire on his own terms, I say phooey!
Koscheck has lost five fights in a row. Five-in-a-row! They came like this: Split Decision, TKO, KO, Choke Tap Out, Choke Tap Out. If ever there was a sign that his wrestling-based, one trick pony style wasn’t going to work anymore, there it is.
From an athletic perspective, Josh Koscheck still looks the part. Form for form, he absolutely fit the bill against Erick Silva, and probably looked better on the outside. But Silva, an inconsistent fighter himself, made short and easy work of Kos. So, the looks were deceiving. His well-shaped pecs and abs did not reflect a condition of physical superiority, but a slower, less accurate man.
Erick Silva looked great, because whenever he looks good he looks great. Still, it’s not a fight you should worry about catching up with. He’ll get a Top-10 match, soon.
Do yourself a favor and hang ’em up, Koscheck. That, or Bellator.
Maia vs LaFlare
Oh boy. And I thought this would be the crown jewel.
Demian Maia, unsurprisingly, had the grappling edge. He almost always does. This time, he managed to make so many submission attempts seem unbearably boring, and if I told you I fell asleep during the fourth round, I’d leave it up to you to wonder where I were exaggerating for effect or catching actual Z’s.
Ryan LaFlare was an excellent survivor, but showed no capability for winning. It wasn’t until the final round that we saw him implement any sort of potential strategy for success. Unfortunately, that strategies hope lied not in his own abilities, but in the failing cardio and endurance of Maia, who could no longer explode for the takedowns that storied this fight for four rounds prior. (Or three? I did miss one of them).
In that final round, Maia began turning tail, running, and dropping to guard out of the blue. After several warnings, the referee took a point from him. The most boring 10-8 round in history, would have no effect on the outcome: 48-46 on all three scorecards. Four to one, Demian Maia.
The win won’t earn Maia any title shots, but it does give him a win over an undefeated prospect, reinforcing his position in the pack. He’ll likely get back to fighting within the Top-5, and should his strength & conditioning team fix his issues, he’s got everything else worthy of title contention at 170lbs.
To close out the column, I’ll list a few names you never heard of but might hear more of. Despite their big wins, the Main Card was still a major disappointment for me.
- Gilbert Burns – Performance of the Night – Round 1 Armbar
- Godofredo Pepey – Performance of the Night – Round 1 Flying Triangle Choke
- Kevin Souza – Performance of the Night – Round 1 KO Punch (Prelims)
- Freddy Serrano – Performance of the Night – Round 3 KO Punch (Early Prelims)