UFC on FOX 17 was this past weekend, and it ended the year for the UFC with a bang. Let’s get right to it.
UFC on FOX 17
GOOD: Randa Markos vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Kowalkiewicz made her UFC debut and looked good throughout. She outworked Markos and picked up the decision win. This was a solid fight. Nothing spectacular, but definitely solid.
GOOD: Michael Johnson vs. Nate Diaz
This was fought entirely on the feet, which probably wasn’t the best strategy for Johnson. Diaz lit him up, but Johnson certainly handed out some punishment of his own. This was a really entertaining fight, especially the second round which featured some furious engagements and a ton of punches thrown. Diaz won the decision, and seems to be ready to make a run in the division. We’ll see if it plays out that way, but Diaz definitely has the ability and skillset to beat a lot of the top guys in the division.
BAD/GOOD: Alistair Overeem stops Junior Dos Santos
This fight sucked, except for the finish. Overeem and Dos Santos were so tentative that it was ridiculous. I’ve seen sparring matches with more action. Overeem busted up the nose of Dos Santos in the first round, and that was about all that happened. Then, in the second round, Overeem clobbered Dos Santos with a powerful left hook that ended things. That’s about it. It was a good finish, but the fight sucked before that.
GREAT: Rafael dos Anjos stops Donald Cerrone
This ended quickly as dos Anjos hurt Cerrone and jumped all over him with a tremendous flurry. It was just punch after punch after punch until the ref had to step in. This was a fantastic performance from dos Anjos in his first UFC Lightweight Title defense. He just sent a statement to the rest of the division with this win, as he took Cerrone apart quickly.He also continued the theme of the evening by calling out the new UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. Nate Diaz did it earlier in the evening and now dos Anjos joins the chorus.
I don’t want to see either of those fights. I would love to see a fight between dos Anjos and McGregor, as both guys are badasses, but it’s not time for McGregor to move up yet. Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar are waiting for their shots so there’s work to be done there.
I don’t know who gets the next Lightweight Title shot, but there’s a lot of possibilities. You’ve got guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Anthony Pettis, and Eddie Alvarez there in the mix. The guy I think I would go with, though, is Tony Ferguson.
Nurmagomedov, who knows when he’ll be back? Pettis just got beat soundly by dos Anjos. I would be very tempted to go with Alvarez getting the next title shot, but he lost to Cerrone before beating Gilbert Melendez in his last fight, so I think I would favor Ferguson just a touch more. I would keep Alvarez on standby, though, just in case someone has to pull out due to injury. Ferguson has won seven fights in a row. That’s pretty damn impressive. To be fair, though, Cerrone had won eight in a row before his loss to dos Anjos so that doesn’t guarantee anything. However, I still think seven wins in a row is enough to get Ferguson a title shot. Especially since there’s no clear contender who’s head and shoulders above the rest.
This is a bonus UGLY that I’m bringing up again because it needs to get fixed. It needs to be legislated out of the sport. I’m talking about intentional eyepokes. There was a fight on the undercard between Cole Miller and Jim Alers that ended after Alers poked Miller in the eye during an exchange. It was ruled a no-contest because Miller couldn’t continue. That’s bogus. It’s ridiculous for all these fighters to stick their fingers straight out and not get penalized for it.
If you extend your fingers straight out, to where they’re pointing right at a fighter’s eyes, you’re doing that on purpose. You’re not gauging the distance there. You’re trying to force the guy to not come in to engage for fear of being poked in the eyes. That’s wrong, and it needs to be treated as such. This is a clear safety issue. There’s potential for serious damage here and it needs to be eliminated. I understand that there’s subjectivity here, but the UFC specifically and MMA in general, need to enforce some hard and fast rules.
It should be that if you poke a guy in the eye, you get deducted a point immediately. No warnings. If that fighter then can’t continue, you lose the fight. It doesn’t matter when, it doesn’t matter the circumstances, you lose. If you lose a title fight because of that, so be it.
Two, automatic fines need to be instituted. One eyepoke means you lose 10% of your purse. A second eyepoke (even if it’s in a different fight) means you lose 25% of your purse for that fight. A third eyepoke means you lose 75% of your fight purse. Four or more eyepokes mean you lose 100% of your fight purse. And all the money from these fines goes to the guy who got poked in the eye.
In addition to the fines, suspensions need to begin. Your second eyepoke results in a 90 day suspension. Your third eyepoke is a 180 day suspension. Your fourth eyepoke or more is a full year suspension. After a certain amount of time or fights, a strike comes off your record.
Is this over the top? Absolutely, but something needs to be done because it’s gotten pathetic and ridiculous. Fighters are doing this on purpose because there’s no consequences. The UFC should appoint a committee of former fighters to oversee these punishments. And if they feel as though you purposefully poked an opponent in the eye, your fine or suspension is doubled.
This is all about fighter safety. MMA is an inherently dangerous sport, with lots of the danger being stuff you can’t control. This is something you can control, though. Accidental eyepokes are one thing, but most of these aren’t accidental.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank
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