Grading UFC 191

UFC-ON-FOXUFC 191 took place this past Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was headlined by a flyweight title fight between longtime champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and number one contender John “The Magician” Dodson. The two had met two years prior, which Johnson won by convincing unanimous decision. UFC 191 was thrown together quickly and was overlooked by many fans. The event followed two massive pay-per-views that were headlined by Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, who are the UFC’s top stars at the moment. Nevertheless, UFC 191 produced a few compelling story lines that mixed martial arts fans are currently discussing. In this article we will discuss and grade UFC 191’s top fights, as well as the event itself.   Demetrious Johnson vs John Dodson As a longtime fight fan, it is hard to see Demetrious Johnson not get the respect and admiration he rightfully deserves. “Mighty Mouse” is one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever had, he deserves better. As far as this fight is concerned, the champ dominated the action for twenty-five minutes and earned his second unanimous decision win over Dodson in as many attempts. Johnson used constant pressure and footwork to frustrate Dodson, who may not have landed a solid punch the whole fight. Every attempt at offense was easily shut down by Johnson. Like a boxer working a speed bag, Demetrious snapped Dodson’s head back over and over with his straight right hand. When his punches weren’t landing, he was attempting takedowns. When he wasn’t doing either, he was constantly moving and working angles. The champion did not stop for the full duration of the fight. It may have not been an entertaining fight in the usual sense, but it was a masterful performance by the pound for pound kingpin. It might be a while until we see Johnson really challenged inside the Octagon. Until then, let us hope the champion starts to get some credit for his vast accomplishments. Fight Grade: C- (Johnson’s performance was an A, but it takes two to tango)   Andrei Arlovski vs Frank Mir Taking place ten years after they were originally scheduled to compete, Arlovski and Mir met in a three-round affair that most observers believed be over quick. An impressive stoppage or hard-fought victory for either fighter could earn them a title shot down the road. What took place instead was a slow-paced three round affair that saw long periods of inactivity and a chorus of boos from the Las Vegas crowd. The fighters spent a significant period of time clinched against the fence or in a stalling position on the mat. When the fight was in the center of the cage they would land a punch or two and then proceed to stare at each other. It was not the fight that fans wanted to see and the crowd let them know it. The judge’s awarded Arlovski a unanimous decision after three dull rounds, though one judge’s 30-27 score raised more than a few eyebrows. Regardless, the fight did little for Arlovski’s cause. He was very upset about his performance after the fight, which he thought would be “easy”. Let’s just hope we don’t have to see another heavyweight fight like this for a while. Fight Grade:   Anthony Johnson vs Jimi Manuwa Johnson may be the most terrifying fighter in the world today. His brutal one-punch knockout power is unmatched in the light-heavyweight division. “Rumble” does not just beat his opponents, he destroys them. Manuwa felt Johnson’s power in the first thirty seconds of the fight and did not like it at all. He was reprieved for a short time when Anthony took the fight to the mat and held top position for a few minutes in the first round. This did not earn the appreciation of the fans in attendance, as they were expecting more from this fight. Johnson would not disappoint them, as he crushed Manuwa with a huge right hand early in the second stanza. My thoughts going into this fight were that Johnson would knock him out brutally because Manuwa just does not exit the pocket quick enough after throwing strikes. That is what ended up hurting him after all, as he stood there after throwing a strike and got absolutely blown up for his error. While Johnson may have lost to Daniel Cormier, he is still an improving fighter that will likely fight for the title again sooner or later. It is always a joy to watch this powerhouse compete and I am excited to see who the UFC gives him for his next fight. Fight Grade: B-   Corey Anderson vs Jan Blachowicz This is not the type of a fight that you usually see on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view, even in 2015. Anderson, the winner of season nineteen of The Ultimate Fighter, was coming off a knockout loss to Gian Villante in an uninspiring performance in April. Blachowicz, on the                                                                                                                                      other hand, was coming off an equally uninspiring performance against Jimi Manuwa. The Polish light-heavyweight works at an extremely slow pace, which was even worse in this fight because he gassed out after the first round. Anderson dominated Jan all three rounds with his wrestling, top control, and ground and pound. Blachowicz had no answer, zero. Anderson even managed to receive two 30-25 scores from the judges, which is something that rarely happens. While Anderson’s quality performance should be noted, this was not a good or entertaining fight. Fight Grade: D   Paige VanZant vs Alex Chambers VanZant is a young, talented fighter that has plenty of room to grow. She utilizes constant pressure and striking volume to wear down her opponents. In this fight the pressure and accumulation of strikes were too much for Alex Chambers. Paige dropped Chambers and almost finished her with strikes on the mat in the final seconds of the second round. However, Alex survived and managed to make it to the third round, barely. VanZant immediately went back on the attack and started clobbering the tired Australian. Paige ended up getting the win via armbar a mere seconds into the third round, which saved Chambers from four more minutes of punishment. The win is Paige’s third in a row to start her UFC career. That is all well and good but she should not be rushed towards a title shot. UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk is on a completely different level. That is not a fight VanZant should look towards right now. Instead, she should focus on improving her game and maturing in this sport. She is only 21 years old and her future is bright. There is no reason to rush her towards a title shot, even if the division is lacking in top contenders. Fight Grade: C-   UFC 191 Card The UFC has put on quite a few great shows over the last six months, but this was not one of them. There were a few good moments, such as Rumble Johnson destroying Jimi Manuwa, Demetrious Johnson’s great championship performance, and the crazy slugfest that was John Lineker versus Francisco Rivera. Besides those moments this card was seriously lacking in excitement and intrigue. It is expected that UFC 191 will do poorly on pay-per-view, which is not a big surprise. The casual fans have not embraced the flyweight division and Demetrious Johnson in the same way that they have embraced Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor.   UFC 191 Overall Grade: D

Written by Mike James

Leave a Reply

CES’s Patrick Walsh “If I could fight every day I would”

Boxing Preview: Floyd Mayweather vs Andre Berto is Here