Analys: UFC on FOX 15: Machida vs Rockhold
There seems to be a miscommunication somewhere. I’m not sure where, but somewhere, someone forgot to tell the world that #1, #2, and #4 Middleweight fighters in the UFC are all fighting on the same card and they’re fighting for free for all to watch. And yet, even with that, no one seems to care. Having attended, open workouts, media day and weigh in’s, I can say that perhaps the only time I’ve ever been in a room that happened to be quieter than these past few days were the time I’d seen the Lion King 3D when it came to theaters a few years ago and it got to where Mufasa died and probably, funerals, the real kind, not the Mufasa kind. Maybe this is what happens when your headlining fight is the calm cool and relaxed southern California personality of Luke Rockhold up against the quiet, confident Zen karate master Lyoto Machida, maybe it’s the way they present themselves professionally (which I appreciate) but that eerie calm has been silencing rooms every where they go. Let’s go back a few days. This had to have started at workouts.
First, there were only about twenty people and I get that, it’s a Wednesday afternoon and it’s in SOHO (South of Houston) New York. But it’s still New York City. There were more people outside selling falafel than there were inside the gym. No matter how you look at it, it’s still the largest city in The United States and yet, very few people. This lead to the most unmotivated workouts I’d ever seen. Yes, I understand they are cutting weight and hitting pads isn’t exactly what they’d like to be doing right now. But, even for the people that came to watch, that waited an hour or so just to see these athlete’s, all of them (except Jacare) came and threw a few one two punches. A high kick or two and then after around two or so minutes said, okay guys, thanks for coming, I’m done. Jacare worked up a sweat but outside of him, no one at open workouts made me believe they cared to be here. So heading into this fight, no one seems to be acting as if, they need to win this fight. This fight is what stands between them and the rest of their lives. Maybe the travel was hard. Maybe the weight cut was hard, but by and large from the way the athlete’s have looked the only fight that seems to have any “oomph” are Sawnson vs. Holloway and VanZant vs. Herrig.
Maybe it’s just me, but everyone who has seen their interviews or the UFC Primetime, outside of Swanson and Holloway doesn’t everyone just seems… bored.
Also, what happened to Jim Miller? I love Jim Miller, I think he’s a terrific guy and a wonderful fighter but somewhere between three years ago and today he’s aged. He’s from New Jersey and they are fighting in New Jersey and somehow he is near bottom of the card. I love that guy and can only hope his mental focus is still strong and in the fight game. He can still reach for gold he just needs to reach out his arms and go relentlessly towards it melding his striking and grappling in that perfect unison he was always known for.
As of now, if I were to choose fights. After seeing everyone and watching them and hearing them talk, my list is like this.
Luke Rockhold #4 – He might not be as inventive with his striking (if you are counting thousand year old karate techniques as inventive,) but he has absolute control over his body. He uses his body better and while he might not be as clever as Machida on the feet, he still uses everything and uses it effectively. I would like Machida to win personally, I think it’s good to have him out there and mixing things up the way he does. He’s different, I just think that Rockhold finds small holes and uses them. He’ll wrestle when he needs to and strike when he needs to but he’ll do them when he wants to not when he has to. That’ll be the difference I think.
#1 Ronaldo ”Jacare” Souza – By whatever Souza wants. I’ve long felt he was the guy who could beat Anderson and now I feel like he is the biggest threat to Weidman. The fact Romero was injured is beyond bad timing as this could have been a huge coming out party for him. It would have been a much more interesting fight. Here, no, it’ll be interesting to see how much Camozzi has learned and if he can make it longer than before but I don’t see it being different. Souza is a different kind of person. He’s a freak athlete who did more for BJJ in 3 years than other did in their lifetimes. If there is anyone scarier than Weidman it’s Souza and then, there is everyone else.
#5 Cub Swanson – Holloway is a stud. He’s a mega tough guy that will be ultra tough going into the future. I think they threw him to the wolves on this one. Few fighters have improved in their careers as much as Swanson. The only people that improved as much would be people like Jon Jones (Not that he’s as good as Jones, but watch Jones horrible UFC Debut and then… Wham. Look at him now) Most fighters are really good to start, and they kind of stay that way until everyone else catches up. But Cub was a good fighter and then all a sudden he became a really good fighter. So, we will see if he’s finally leveled off or if he is still going up. Only way to beat Swanson is by grinding him out and submitting him. This isn’t something Holloway likes to do. But I see Cub imposing his will and making Holloway stay on his heels. Maybe he gets a good flurry in here or that, but Cub Swanson is a beast. Why people keep forgetting that I’m not exactly sure.
Paige VanZant #10 – I’d say Herrig is better. Actually, we all know she is better and stronger and all of that. But I think she is like the people I’d said leveled off. VanZant I think started training in the best possible place for her and will be just like those team Alpha Male dogs she’s around and just grind it out. If VanZant makes it past the first round, she wins. Big what if, but, still that’s my thoughts for this fight. The problem with Paige is that she’s very pretty and it’s hard for people to look past that so it’s very easy to assume she is no good. Rhonda is very pretty as well, but she handles herself much differently so we don’t pay attention to it. She’s a killing machine and she handles herself that way. Paige is doing the right things for her career and hopefully she can prove it, if she lives past the first round. Herrig will put it al into that first few minutes and each and every second it goes past those first five minutes will get worse and worse for her.
#13 Jim Miller – Because Dariush might be younger and hungrier and have more to prove and earn. Miller is still capable of doing all the things that Dariush can do and capable of doing all the things he’ll learn next year as well. This is of course if Miller shows up wanting to fight. I seen him at weigh in’s and he looked to be in zombie mode. Hopefully a good dinner and a glass of water reawaken him. Miller fights similar to Frankie Edgar with a relentless pace a blend of wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and striking that normally leaves people wondering what the heck is happening, where and what needs to happen to beat this guy. The difference is, Frankie Edgar doesn’t break. Not saying Jim Miller does, but it’s a different kind of fighter. Jim Miller on a good day and blend together enough skills to beat anyone, perhaps it’s just time he packs up his training and does so further down the street as it seems he has learned all he has to at his current gym and is probably unchallenged there.
#8 Ovince St. Preux – Cummins is not a bad fighter and Preux is in fact an over hyped fighter and while he might not be able to live up to the great Anderson Silva esq hope that people thought he would, he’s still a top ten fighter and Cummins isn’t there yet. Maybe I’m wrong, I think Cummins will try to grind him out and eventually working that game will tire him out and Preux makes his move.
Corey Anderson – Villante looks to have had a hard cut. Anderson came in calm and cool and while Villante has had twice as many wins as Anderson, he’s also walked away with five loses which puts him just above a 50-50 win ratio. If we were betting solely on numbers and I said, no named but do you want to bet on the guy who wins 50% of the time or the guy who wins 100% of the time, this wouldn’t be much of a discussion now would it. The UFC is hoping Anderson is special and they hand selected Villante to make him look good. Whether Villante let’s that happen is up to him but Anderson knows this is a big deal for him, he’ll work for it.
#6 Takeya Miazugaki – While I think Sterling’s best chance is to blast Mizugaki away the way Cruz did, I don’t think he’s as good as Dominic Cruz. But I bet he tries to do the same thing. Mizugaki looks to have had a hard weight cut but he is also super experienced and outside of traveling a further distance he’s fought way more times to make me think this will go the other way. Sterling is in amazing shape, he’s got a good team with him and has a lot happening down the road. But Mizugaki who comes to fight, comes to fight. That’s that. Like the Herrig/VanZant fight, every minute this fight goes on the chances of Mizugaki go up dramatically.