Sunday, June 12, 2011

UFC 131: Dos Santos & Florian prove their worth

At UFC 130 last month, it seemed as though I couldn't get any predictions right. However, that was not the case last night as I had called that both Junior Dos Santos (pictured at left) and Kenny Florian would win in their respective fights and they held true to form. With that, Dos Santos (13-1, 8 KO's 3 subs) has now officially earned a title shot against current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, while Florian has made those same intentions known in the featherweight (145 lbs.) division. "I'm here to prove I'm one of the best featherweights in the world and earn a shot at the title," Florian said.

In the main event, while I had predicted a win for Dos Santos, I had also stated someone would get knocked out; whether it would be him or his opponent Shane Carwin (12-2, 7 KO's 5 subs). Granted it didn't happen, but the way Carwin's face looked after three rounds of punishment at the hands of JDS, he probably wished it did. Dos Santos battered Carwin at will throughout using superior boxing skills, almost finishing him at the end of the first round by unleashing a vicious ground and pound attack when he stunned and dropped Carwin with a thunderous left hook. At the end of the first, Carwin's face was a bloody mess.

Yet Carwin, withstood the barrage of punches for nearly 40 seconds, got up and continued. Unable to breath through what appeared to look like a broken nose and cut under both eyes, the former interim heavyweight champ showed the heart of Rocky Balboa against Apollo Creed as he stalked Dos Santos for two more rounds to the finish. He even mustered a takedown or two, but he couldn't do anything once he got there; Dos Santos's athleticism proved too much for the bigger Carwin.

In the post fight interview, Joe Rogan told JDS he had officially earned a shot at the champion Velasquez, who is currently recovering from shoulder surgery. Velasquez was in attendance and when asked by Rogan what he thought about Dos Santos's performance and how he felt about fighting his future opponent, Velasquez's response was, "he was typical Dos Santos here tonight." "I look forward to challenging myself against a great opponent such as him."

In the co-main event, the big question was, how would the cut to 145 lbs. affect Kenny Florian? Answer, it had no effect as Florian (14-5, 3 KO's 9 subs) looked better than ever as he won convincingly against a dangerous Diego Nunes (16-2, 5 KO's 6 subs). Convincingly is a deceiving word, as Nunes looked like he may be too much for Florian at the beginning, beating him to the punch and kick and even dropping him at the end of the first round with a combination. However, after that it was all 'Ken-Flo', as he used superior wrestling, striking and surprisingly conditioning to defeat the much younger featherweight.

Florian may not have to wait long for his shot at current 145 lbs. champion Jose Aldo as timing is everything. Chad 'Money' Mendes was most likely the next challenger, but when Aldo's nagging back injury forced Mendes to either wait or take a fight, he chose the latter, defeating Michihiro Omigawa in February. Now with Florian in the mix after a strong dominant performance and a much more appealing opponent for the flashy Aldo, UFC President Dana White jokingly quipped, "more than likely," when asked is Florian next in line for a title shot.

Florian, who is 0-2 in title fights at lightweight (155 lbs.), may find that the third time, now at 145, is the charm. One other quick note on last night's fights, something has to be done about the judging in mixed martial arts. Some of the scoring last night was downright criminal. Middleweight (185 lbs.) Mark Munoz defeated Demian Maia via unanimous decision in a very close fight that I actually had Maia winning two rounds to one.

I can accept that Munoz won, however I cannot accept that he won all three rounds on one judge's card. How that judge, or anyone for that matter, could score the first round for Munoz, where Maia clearly pressed the action, surprising Munoz with precision punching throughout and even hurting him clearly in that round is ridiculous? Don't believe me, just listen to what Dana White said afterwards, "I don't know what the *&%@ in the world that guy was seeing. He should never judge a fight again, ever."

1 comment:

  1. Heya Sam, I've been listening to your comments on MMA Junky for years -- you have the best laugh of any caller.

    Let me ask ya: Did you see any interviews with Carwin before the Dos Santos fight? Because I saw one pre-fight interview AFTER the fight and saw something I didn't notice before; his right eye was already blackened up a bit and the bridge of his nose was a little dark.

    It was a UFC interview and I don't know if they have to do any TV makeup for those, but having seen that after Dos Santos Picasso'd his face made me wonder if he hadn't already cracked or partially broken his nose in training camp. Dos Santos then finished the nose job.

    Once a nose breaks it's easy to break it again, so maybe Dos Santos was the beneficiary of a little Carwin pre-fight misfortune. (Former wrestler here; I stopped counting my own nose breaks at 11, and know whereof I speak from bloody, snotty experience.)

    Thinking back on the fight, it made me wonder if Carwin HADN'T come in with a cracked schnozz, he might not have been as gunshy or lost some pepper on his takedowns in the second round (but Dos Santos had much improved takedown defense).

    Carwin seemed to get past it by the end of the third when he sunk in that nasty rolling choke, but that was too little too late. Maybe if he came in with a solid sniffer he could have rolled that choke sooner, even if Dos Santos cracked the bridge of Carwin's nose (instead of flattening it).


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