The following are newsworthy quotes from the MMA world five years ago this week with some analysis from Jamie Penick…
Though the Heavyweight Championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos is rightfully getting the most attention around the world of MMA at the moment, the year-end fight between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem is a close second. And like many that have been asked their opinion on the bout, dos Santos has weighed in during an interview with USAToday:
“As far as Alistair and Brock, they’re both really great fighters. I think Lesnar probably has a 70% chance of winning… I think Lesnar is explosive and strong in the beginning. He’s good where Alistair is not as good. Brock will be able to put Alistair on the ground and do some ground-and-pound in the beginning, and Alistair is not going to be able to take it.”
“I’ve been through some tough spots, but that’s just life, the way it happens. This fight was very special for me because I put in a lot of work and opened my eyes to a lot of things. I’m very happy. I’m very prepared for whatever comes next… I think the more time you spend in this sport, you find more ways to get motivated some way, somehow. You stop thinking about the bad stuff. It’s just life. Sometimes you have to go through stuff to get better. That’s where I think I am right now. I came through all of it, and I’m ready. I’m very excited. Bring it on.”
-Thiago Alves talks to MMAJunkie.com following his UFC 138 victory over Papy Abedi about his recent rough stretch and moving on past it.
Penick’s Analysis: Alves had an immensely impressive run into his fight with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 100, but he’s just been woefully inconsistent since and hasn’t really recovered from that loss. His performance over John Howard was excellent, but then he went out and had a terrible showing against Rick Story for two thirds of that fight. His fight against Abedi didn’t start off great, either, but he bounced back and pulled out a big win in impressive fashion, and if he can string together some more wins and some consistent performances, it will mean that he has indeed turned the corner. I hope that’s the case, as a consistent Alves can be a major factor in the welterweight division. If he can get back to that, he’ll continue to be a fighter worth watching every time he steps in the cage.
Chris Leben suffered a pretty brutal beating against Mark Munoz on Saturday night, with his corner forced to stop the fight following the second round at UFC 138 in Birmingham, England. Leben put forth a tough effort and constantly tried to keep himself in the fight, but he was completely drained after two rounds of action, and with a bad cut and damage to his left eye, it was too much to overcome. Now, a report from Fighter’s Only sheds some light into at least one reason for Leben’s exhaustion, outside of the ground and pound attack he endured from Munoz. Per the report, Leben suffered through a “terrible” weight cut, dropping 21 lbs. in just 24 hours to make weight for the fight. It reportedly got so bad that the medical staff overseeing the event feared for his safety and came close to pulling him from the fight.
Fighter’s Only stated that a source close to the proceedings characterized Leben as “shattered” by the cut, massively affecting his performance in the fight.
Penick’s Analysis: This isn’t to take anything away from what Munoz did on Saturday, because he was clearly the better fighter regardless of the condition in which Leben entered the Octagon, but this news isn’t surprising at all. It’s not the first time Leben has struggled with a weight cut, and flying to another country and having that much weight to cut is not conducive to success. Cutting that much in 24 hours is crazy; it’s good that he made it from a professionalism standpoint, but fighters can’t put themselves in that position and come away victorious very often. Hopefully Leben can learn from this and get himself into better shape before it’s time to cut weight for his next fight so that he doesn’t need to suffer through this again.
Dana White has in the past year and a half held the stance that Paul Daley would “never” fight in the UFC again. However, after Saturday’s UFC 138 event in Birmingham, White didn’t drop the “never” line about the prospect. At the same time, he still made it clear that he’s not a fan of Daley’s or his actions since then (via MMAJunkie.com):
“The Strikeforce-Showtime deal isn’t done yet. We’ll see what happens with that first. I just have a hard time with what Daley did… It’s not like Daley’s been so friendly since that happened, either. Plus, he hasn’t won. The guy’s got to win some fights. Any guy who loses in the UFC or other promotions, you lose, and you go get some wins somewhere else and come back.”