UFC on Fuel TV 6: Franklin vs. Le Review – The Man With The Iron Fist
My review of UFC on Fuel TV 6, which featured a lot of long fights and a stunning main event.
Cung Le def. Rich Franklin: So this fight went the exact opposite of how I think everyone thought it would. Franklin did his usual thing early, but then he threw a lazy leg kick, kept his hands down, and was countered with a perfect right hand that sent him crashing hard down to the mat. For a guy who has never shown power in his career, Le delivered a picture perfect one shot KO. It was not only shocking to see Le show that kind of power, it was shocking to see him counter so well since he’s mainly an offensive fighter. At 40 years old, I don’t know how successful Le can be moving forward, but he’s delivered the best two performances of his career in his last two fights and he’s proven that he’s more than just a side show act. The UFC obviously has to be smart with how they book him moving forward but he’s now a guy where a win over him means a little something and can help a fighter take that next step towards a title shot. I actually wouldn’t mind if the UFC pulled Vitor Belfort from his fight with Michael Bisping so Bisping can fight Le, but I know that’s not going to happen. I think Le ends up fighting Brian Stann next, which is a fight that Stann should welcome with open arms. As for Franklin, I think he’s done. He’s 38 years old, his chin appears to be shot, and he’s too slow to compete at a high level anymore. Franklin has never been the most talented guy in the world, but he’s always out worked almost everyone. Hard work just isn’t enough nowadays when you have the skill set that he does. The UFC could obviously protect Franklin, but they tried to protect him in this fight and look how that turned out. Plus Franklin has either fought name guys who are good match ups (Wanderlei Silva and Forrest Griffin) or they’re now retired (Stephan Bonnar and Tito Ortiz). Maybe Franklin vs. Dan Henderson 2 is a possibility if Henderson loses to Lyoto Machida, but does anyone really wish that on Franklin’s chin?
Thiago Silva def. Stanislav Nedkov: Silva let Nedkov think he had a chance for two rounds and then he decided that he was tired of messing around so he finished things off. Nedkov did well for two rounds, baiting Silva into sloppy exchanges and then clinching to slow the action down, but he tired himself out after 10 minutes. In the third, Silva got an early takedown, easily moved to mount, and submitted Nedkov with an arm triangle. I’m pretty sure that Silva could’ve done that exact thing in the first round, but he decided to go for the KO on the feet instead. When he got dropped in the last few seconds of the second round, he smartened up and made things easy on himself. This wasn’t a great performance by Silva, who probably took Nedkov lightly and was in the process of switching camps, which can always be taxing, but he got the victory and that’s all that matters. His striking has really fallen off though as he’s usually a sharp boxer but in this fight he decided to lower his had and just swing for the fences. I still think he’s a good light heavyweight who can give guys problems, but his chin could hold him back from being a true title contender. Nedkov did better than anyone expected, but he’s really not a good fighter. He has power, but his striking is sloppy, his cardio wasn’t good in this fight, and it doesn’t appear that he has much of a ground game. I do think that Silva was a higher level of competition than he was ready for, but I still don’t have high hopes for him.
Dong Hyun Kim def. Paulo Thiago: I don’t know what happened to Thiago, but he got eaten up on the ground in this fight. For 15-minutes, Kim consistently took down Thiago and then had his way with him, passing at will and nearly locking up a couple of different submissions. In third round, Kim mounted Thiago and then went gangnam style on him with double hammerfists. Thiago has lost a number of times in the octagon, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him absolutely dominated like he was against Kim. And you know, maybe it’s time to take Kim serious. He’s only lost two times, once to current interim champion Carlos Condit and the other to Demain Maia, although that was by a fluke injury. His cardio was in check in this fight and if it continues to be so moving forward, he’s going to be a tough out in the division. He’s a solid striker, has good takedowns from the clinch, and is proving to give really good fighters fits on the ground. Thiago really disappointed me. I thought his takedown defense and ground game was much better than he showed in this fight. I was a little shocked to see him not go for the takedown, especially in the third round when he had to know that he was losing, as his strength is his top game. With this loss, Thiago might find himself unemployed, which shows just how hard and fast he’s fallen given that he beat Josh Koscheck in his first UFC fight.
Takanori Gomi def. Mac Danzig: THE FIREBALL KID IS BACK! Ok, so maybe this wasn’t the old Gomi, but this was definitely the best Gomi we’ve seen since his PRIDE days. He wasn’t just winging punches like he’s done so many times and hoping for the KO. He was a little more reserved with his punching and he mixed in a lot more kicks, which is what won him in the first round. In the second round, Danzig tried to grapple a bit, which nearly worked at the end of the round as he almost locked in a guillotine. With the fight tied at two rounds apiece, Gomi opened the third round strong, dropping Danzig and then landing some shots on the ground. Danzig got to his feet and tried to do enough to steal the round back, but it was too little too late and Gomi took the decision. I still don’t know if Gomi will ever be a title contender, but it’s been nice to see him win his last two bouts, especially this one. His cardio looked the best it’s ever looked (not wildly throwing punches probably helped that) and he just looked like he actually gave a damn. Maybe he should only fight on cards in Japan and China, because when he fights in America he doesn’t perform all that well. This was a pretty big loss for Danzig, who has never been great, but certainly should’ve won this fight if he was hoping to re-establish himself. That said, Danzig could go out and beat someone like Jim Miller in his next fight and no one should be shocked as the lightweight division is so competitive and even that nothing surprises me anymore.
Jon Tuck def. Tiequan Zhang: Tuck dominated the first two rounds with his grappling but then he seemed to tire and Zhang got the better of him standing on the feet in the third. That was this fight. The first two rounds of this fight were really fun, but the third round was pretty bad since both guys were so tired. Zhang isn’t UFC caliber but was on this card because he’s like the only Chinese dude on the roster. Who knows how good Tuck is, but beating Zhang is a nice start for him. I was definitely impressed with his ground game, but once again, his competition level wasn’t too high.
Takeya Mizugaki def. Jeff Hougland: This fight was all Mizugaki, all the time. He took down Hougland at will and beat him up from the guard position for the majority of the fight. That’s about it. Mizugaki continues his inconsistent streak and Hougland probably finds himself out of the company because he’s not a very good fighter.