The Five Count – Top Storylines from UFC Fight Night 61 Fallout

ivan-jorgeJay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC Fight Night 61 from Porto Alegre, Brazil #1 Dog Day’s Night – After Ivan “Batman” Jorge got the night started with a close decision win over Josh Shockley, it seemed like a perfectly normal UFC card in Brazil. Then the card was turned upside down with perhaps the most shocking night in the history of the UFC. Per the betting odds at Several, 10 consecutive underdogs won to close the night. Previously, the most underdogs to win on one fight card was eight. A record set in March 2014 in Natal, Brazil. The underdog streak started Douglas de Andrade’s decision win over American Cody Gibson as a +225 (at closing bell) underdog and finished with Frank Mir’s stunning knockout of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the main event as a +145 underdog. Along the way, Matt Dwyer landed a superman punch knockout win over TUF Brazil finalist William Macario as a +365 underdog. The most shocking result of the night came when American wrestler Frankie Saenz controlled the #8 ranked bantamweight in the word, Iuri Alcantara, to a clear decision win. Saenz’s win was the biggest of his career and the biggest underdog victory in the UFC in months. Fight Night 61 proved that MMA truly is the sport to expect the unexpected. #2 A Menace is on the Loose–No fighter at UFC Fight Night 61 had a more important performance than Michael “Menace” Johnson. Entering his highly anticipated matchup with Edson Barboza, Johnson had some questions circling him. An injury layoff combined with a disputed domestic abuse charge, had Michael Johnson out of action for nearly a year. Off a long layoff, it’s very difficult to enter into the cage with perhaps the best muay thai striker in the lightweight division. Johnson prepared excellently for this matchup by sparring/training significantly with top Dutch kickboxer Nieky Holzken. It was the ability to train with a striker as accurate and refined as Holzken is in the kickboxing exchanges which gave him the confidence to compete against Barboza. From the opening bell, Johnson was the aggressor keeping the distance between Barboza and himself at a minimum. It was the key to the fight as Johnson’s ability to keep the fight at that range confused Barboza and made him reluctant to strike at his usual pace. Johnson combined his accurate striking with a couple of timely takedowns to secure the biggest win of his career. The formerly ranked #12 lightweight should move well inside the top 10 in the latest rankings and is ready to face a top five opponent in his next bout. Another clear victory will put him in the mix to be the latest TUF competitor to challenge for a championship. #3 One Can Always Learn New Tricks – Legendary heavyweight MMA fighter Frank Mir is the longest tenured fighter in the UFC. He’s fought consecutively in the UFC for over 13 years. The two time UFC heavyweight champion has more wins than anyone else in heavyweight history. The storied fighter had his back against the wall in Fight Night 61’s main event against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Mir had lost four straight fights and hadn’t tasted victory since perhaps the most famous submission in UFC history when he broke Antonio Nogueira’s arm in victory back in December of 2011. Mir had reached a crossroads in his career. Either he makes changes or is forced to retire from the sport. It was clear from the onset that Mir chose change. Mir made significant improvements to his striking, switching from a southpaw stance to orthodox. It seemed to catch Bigfoot off guard as he wasn’t prepared for it. Mir was able to land early on, dropping Silva to the canvas. A couple of follow up strikes and it was over. A quick change and Mir had rejuvenated his career. At 35 years old, Mir appears to have a little bit left in the tank. While he may never be champion again, he still has something left to give this sport. #4 A Bigfoot Out the Door– Fight Night 61 saw the rise of many fighters, but the fighter that lost the most from this fight card was Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Bigfoot had been winless in his last 3 fights and hadn’t been victorious in two years as he entered the fight with Frank Mir. Silva, like Mir, was no longer able to take TRT. Silva, unlike other fighters, suffers from acromegaly (a form of gigantism), thus was a necessary treatment for him to receive growth hormones to combat his disease. Fighting without these growth hormones has been a night and day difference for Bigfoot. His general appearance is significantly less muscular and simply looks aged compared to just a couple of years ago. In his previous fight with Andrei Arlovski, Bigfoot was dropped from a pretty standard strike. In Sunday’s main event with Mir, Bigfoot was barely able to move inside the Octagon and was reluctant to strike at all with Mir. The result was another knockout that Bigfoot wasn’t even able to counter. Both fights have been blowouts and it’s clear than Bigfoot is unable to be competitive without added hormones. If the UFC grants Bigfoot another fight, it would be a real mistake. He’s simply a shell of his former self and is risking further long term damage by continuing to compete in mixed martial arts. If no further exemptions are allowed, it’s in Bigfoot’s best interest to retire from the sport. #5 America’s Scariest School Teacher – In a division that has been nearly cleared out by Ronda Rousey, any potential title contender is certainly welcomed. What’s interesting is that the UFC’s oldest female competitor could in fact be Ronda Rousey’s most dangerous threat to her title. Late bloomers are nothing new to MMA. Fighters such as Daniel Cormier, Yoel Romero, and even Randy Couture started competing in MMA beginning in their 30’s. What makes the situation more unique is that Reneau is a mother, a school teacher, and doesn’t come from the Olympic accolades that the other late bloomers have originated. 2015 has thus far been the year of Reneau in the UFC’s Women’s Bantamweight Division. She absolutely dominated prospect Alexis Dufresne in her UFC debut, battering her with shots on the feet. In her matchup with top 15 bantamweight Jessica Andrade at Fight Night 61, Reneau landed a big shot in the opening stages which caused damage instantaneously. What stood out the most was when Reneau was forced to her back; she showed an excellent jiu jitsu submission game. Her power triangle from her back was a thing of beauty against a strong fighter like Andrade who is experienced in grappling. It’s the type of win that gets people to notice and to believe in a fighter. Reneau is clearly a fighter on the rise and should be given a chance on a big stage in her next fight. An opponent such as Liz Carmouche, Jessica Eye or Miesha Tate should be on Reneau’s radar. Given her punching power and submission accolades, the school teacher from California is not a fighter anyone in the division wants to face right now.

Written by Jay Primetown

Leave a Reply

Post-UFC Fight Night 61 Matchmaking Predictions

The Parting Shot Podcast – Episode 93 Live Show & Misha Cirkunov