One fighter who appears to have finally put it all together and emerge from the shadows is Mike 'Quicksand' Pyle (20-7-1, 2 KO's 16 subs). A veteran in this sport since 1999 Pyle has been a name that has been mentioned over the years by his peers as someone to look out for. Xtreme Couture fighters such as Frank Trigg, Jay Hieron and Randy Couture himself, have all sung Pyle's praises. Trigg has publicly stated "pound for pound, no one hits harder" and Hieron has said, "when it comes to submissions, no one is nicer." So why has he not emerged till now?
The knock on Mike Pyle has always been he is a gym fighter, a guy who is unbelievable in training, but could never transfer that into his fights. In the UFC alone, he's only 3-2, however he's won his last two, including a dominating performance in London against the previously undefeated and heavily favored Englishman John 'The Hitman' Hathaway (14-1, 5 KO's 4 subs).
Pyle beat him standing and on the ground, where in the second round he had Hathaway in a Triangle choke position from side mount that was so controlling, he literally pummeled his face at will for well over two minutes. To 23 year old Hathaway's credit, he withstood the onslaught of punches along with the choke and survived the round and the fight. It took 11 years, but it looks like Pyle has finally arrived.
A couple of other quick notes from UFC 120; first, it would not surprise me if heavyweight Cheick Kongo (15-6-2, 9 KO's 3 subs), may have wore out his welcome after 13 fights in the UFC. With a record of (8-4-1) in the UFC, Kongo's main strength has always been his striking. However, since getting cracked in the jaw by Frank Mir last December; he appears hesitant to pull the trigger. He's also resorting to illegal tactics in his fights. He received a point penalty deduction that cost him the win and into a draw on Saturday for excessive grabbing of his opponent's shorts for leverage against the cage.
One bright spot for England on Saturday came in the form of up and coming lightweight (155 lbs.) Paul 'Sassangle' Sass who remained undefeated in 11 fights with a slick submission victory in the first round. However, in the long run, his great submission game, he's got ten wins by sub, may be his Achilles heel. He's great on the ground, but he offers nothing in his striking and it may be a matter of time till he gets smashed upon stepping up against better competition. In all, UFC 120 was a success in the U.K., but unfortunately the majority of U.K. fighters were not.