UFC 161 Post-Fight Wrap Up

The UFC’s event on FUEL TV last weekend featured 10 finishes in 12 fights, so we may have been a bit spoiled and perhaps thought the UFC was immune to the sort of tepid action that the World Series of Fighting put on Friday night. We were wrong. This was not a case of a card looking poor on paper but delivering on action. UFC 161 was — for the most part — a stinker, where 9 of 11 fights went the distance, including the main event of Rashad Evans versus Dan Henderson. Three decent underdogs came through to win, and they are all heading in drastically different directions, so let’s take a look.

The first solid dog that hit was Jake Shields, and in what he is quickly sealing as his reputation, this was considered far and away the most boring fight of the night. His opponent Tyron Woodley was all over the media talking about his athleticism and how hard he hits, while Shields in typical fashion said very little. Come fight time, Shields’ was physical enough to neutralize Woodley’s strengths, but he does so woefully little to finish, that UFC President Dana White was said to be apoplectic with the decision. Woodley still has some work to do and this loss is a major setback for the 31 year-old “prospect”. For Shields, it is unlikely to move him any closer to a title shot judging by White’s reaction. What is more likely for Shields is a brutally tough fight, or even a cut outright, even coming off a win. There really is not much use for Jake Shields in the UFC, and it was proven again last night. The big winner on the card is Stipe Miocic, who walked in an underdog against popular and tough Roy Nelson, and he put the boots to him (so to speak). Nelson, a wide favorite, had KO’d his last 3 opponents heading into the fight, while Miocic was coming off his first career loss in a match that exposed his gas tank as a major weakness. Prior to that loss, Miocic was making rumblings as a prospect, and look for him to do so again. He showed good management of his energy in this fight, staying active and battering Nelson with big punches, kicks and short elbows. For his part, Nelson looked like age and fatness might have finally caught up with him, as he took a lot of damage and dished out very little, missing a lot of punches and getting visibly frustrated early in the fight.

Miocic did his career a lot of good, hopefully the UFC will not match him against someone over his head. A Stefan Struve rematch or a bout with one of the other few bright spots at UFC 161, Shawn Jordan, would both be excellent tests for Miocic. As for Nelson, the loss likely spells the end of his run in the UFC. He is 37, and his act has worn thin with his boss, and the loss puts him in a position of weakness heading into negotiations. Though Bellator and their TnA Wrestling-Spike TV incentive package might offer some leverage, that offer is likely to be reduced as well. Bellator is firmly B class, and they have their own Reality series, Randy Couture has a reality seires, Quinton Jackson is talking reality series, TNA wrestler Eric Young has a reality series and who knows what else is on the books. Nelson in a reality series might be interesting for about half an episode, and that is if he comes up with new material and doesn’t rehash his own material (going clothed to the weigh ins and saying people have to pay for the PPV to see you with out a shirt off, Roy? We all heard that one already.) Further down on the undercard, The James Krause picked up an impressive win over long time UFC vet Sam Stout via third round submission. Krause was able to effectively control the distance with his jab and kicks, even hurting Stout with some head kicks, busting the Canadian open in the first round. The fight was competitive however, and with the way the judging had gone earlier on the card, Krause had to be worried when Stout took him down in the final minute. Rather than resigning himself to keeping guard and throwing strikes from his back, Krause instead snaked in a guillotine and got the tap with less than 15 seconds to go. For Krause, this was a stellar UFC debut, especially since his earlier stint with Zuffa (an 0-2 record with the WEC) was less than inspiring. With the lightweight division as crowded as it is, there are several options for Krause moving forward, but his style seems to ensure entertaining fights regardless.

Written by Miguel

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