UFC on Fuel TV 2: Gustafsson vs. Silva – This Event Had Fights. Just Like Jon Jones
The UFC finally held an event this past Saturday and it was watched by about 20 people thanks to zero promotion and an afternoon timeslot.
Alexander Gustafsson def. Thiago Silva: Did you know that Gustafsson wipes his ass just like Jon Jones? Gustafsson looked very good in this fight. His movement was good, his counter punching was good, and his uppercut was fantastic. But Mike Goldberg’s constant comparison to him and Jones completely ruined my enjoyment of the bout and even took away a bit from Gustafsson’s performance, because every smart MMA fan sat there thinking, “this guy is nothing like Jones.” Silva was a good match up for Gustafsson to showcase his talent due to his aggressive style and defensive flaws, and Gustafsson showcased his talents to a tee, but to compare him to Jones at this point, especially as often as Goldberg did, is stupid. Gustafsson looks very good for his age and seems to be improving every fight but there are still holes in his game. Had he turned up the aggression against Silva, there’s a chance that he could of finished things, he got caught hanging around a little too long in the pocket on some exchanges, and he had a lot of trouble with leg kicks. There are also still some questions about his takedown defense, which wasn’t on display in this bout thanks to Silva’s game plan. I hope the UFC continues to bring up Gustafsson slowly and lets him fight Rodrigo Nogueira next, because that’s another fight where he’ll have a chance to showcase his skills due to the style match up. As for Silva, he looked decent in his return, but rust seemed to play a factor and I don’t think he fought a smart bout, as he should have tried to clinch and get takedowns, but he was content on just moving forward and throwing. Silva is a tough out for anyone at 205 but his cardio will likely continue to hold him back against the elite level.
Brian Stann def. Alessio Sakara: If there was the MMA equivalent of the Lady Byng trophy, Stann would win it. After knocking Sakara clean out from the guard, instead of continuing to pound on him before the ref jumped in, he stopped because he recognized that his opponent was out cold. A pretty nice move by a violent man. Prior to the knockout, Stann showed off his power on the ground by winning some exchanges on the feet and then crumpling Sakara with knees in the clinch. Stann’s clinch work has become an overlooked part of his game. It was a knee that finished off Chris Leben and it was a knee to buckled Sakara. Stann’s takedown defense will always be a question, but on the feet he’s a handful for anyone with his power and technical ability. Sakara will always have good fights against fellow bangers, but everyone knows that he’ll never be a contender at 185.
Siyar Bahadurzada def. Paulo Thiago: You want to see a scary knockout, watch Bahadurzada vs. Thiago. There wasn’t much to this fight as Thiago came pressing forward wildly, Bahadurzada caught him with a clean right, and Thiago did a Ric Flair flop onto the mat. I understand that Thiago wanted to get inside, but he went about it all wrong. If there’s one thing Bahadurzada does well, it’s take advantage of fighters who are willing to wildly trade punches with him. The KO just goes to show how much power Bahadurzada has, because Thiago has a great chin and he went out cold with one punch. I don’t know how Bahadurzada will do against some of the elite wrestlers at 170, but if they’re dumb enough to stand with him, he will turn their lights out.
Dennis Siver def. Diego Nunes: These two dudes threw a lot of kicks and did a bunch of spinning. Siver looked good in his 145 debut as he was able to fight at a good pace for 15 minutes and not tire out. Nunes continues to disappoint me. He’s a talented fight and one of the better defensive fighters at featherweight, but he lacks aggression and never seems to throw a punch. Lets not forget that he dropped Kenny Florian in their fight with his hands, so it would seem that he has power, but he rarely throws punches. Nunes not throwing punches in one of the most baffling things in all of MMA and I’m not sure we’ll ever get a straight answer. Siver matches up well with a lot of guys at 145 given his striking and size, plus he has some name value due to his run at lightweight.
John Maguire def. DaMarques Johnson: For a Brit, Maguire has some solid wrestling and sweet grappling. The far-side arm bar that he finished Johnson off with was a thing of beauty. Granted Johnson made it easy on him by refusing to give up on a kimura that clearly wasn’t there, but it was still a high level move by Maguire. I still don’t know how high Maguire’s ceiling is, because Johnson is a mid-level fighter at best, but it was good to see him polish off a guy that he needs to beat if he wants to advance to that next level. His striking is still suspect though and he seemed to tire in the 2nd round before pulling off the submission. Weak striking and cardio obviously won’t cut it against the more talented fighters at 170.
Brad Pickett def. Damacio Page: For about two minutes, Page looked like a completely different fighter. He was finishing combos with kicks, getting in and out, and winning exchanges. Then he reverted back to form and started trying brawl and giving up takedowns. After that, this fight was all Pickett. He got takedowns at will and eventually put Page away with a rear naked choke. Despite his awesome nickname, Page is nothing more than a scrapper with limited talent. Pickett on the other hand actually has some talent. His technical boxing looked good and he absolutely dominated Page on the ground with his superior grappling. The loss to Renan Barao set Pickett back, but he’s still one of the better bantamweights in the division and is a tough match up for anyone at 135.