End of year

We are living through some very strange times: Everton’s in 3rd place, Arsenal is 15th. People are calling for Lampard’s firing – and should we light a candle for Rhian Brewster? One day he was riding high with the champs, the next he’s missing a penalty kick and being sent out of town to Sheffield. Life is like that. I’ve been thinking about him during this not-so-festive season.

I never wrote my post-mortem on the last fight night. So how did it go? It was a good night for Anthony Pettis, who fought out his UFC contract. He will be taking his talents elsewhere in the future as Showtime has signed a new contract with the PFL. Good luck to him.

It was also a good night for Marcin Tybura. Seems he also has Polish Power in his hands, because the ground and pound TKO of our friend Greg Hardy was brutal. But Greg Hardy though –

The MMA community hates him with a passion, and to be honest, he is a bit problematic. Kinda sad to lose your NFL career over some nonsense and end up fighting in a cage without your inhaler. But what else can he do? Fortunately for us, the novelty of a fighting ex-NFLer has long worn off. Hopefully he’s one of the soon-to-be departed. And the roster won’t suffer without him – the Contender Series supplies enough to fill out an entire prelim card.

Jose Aldo won his fight against Chito Vera. He looked decent. A lot of people were saying how great he looked, but I disagree. He’s nowhere near as dangerous as he used to be: He won a decision against Chito, who has been fighting lower level fighters for quite some time. This one was a big step up for him and he extended Aldo to 3 rounds. As I said before, Aldo is not washed, and he still has dreams of being champ again. Bantamweight is an exciting division and Aldo in the mix is good for everyone.

The main event had Wonderboy looking pretty good. He wanted this one. Bad. He knows the deal just like we do. Will he get another title shot though? Does a win over the #11 ranked guy do anything for him? I don’t think so, but his aggression and passion should keep him in Dana’s good graces. For now. Going forward, he needs a sense of urgency. Drop the nice guy routine and call some mofos out. Now. He ain’t getting any younger.

Last – I saw today that Scott Coker wants to wait before scheduling the rematch between Ilima-Lei and Juliana Velasquez. He wants the time to build it up again. But Ilima-Lei was relieved to lose the belt. Relieved. Rose Namajunas said the same thing. That’s puzzling to me. Look at Valentina, she lives to fight. I don’t think JJ was relieved to lose, she still claims to be The Strawweight Queen. Male fighters don’t lose their belt and act happy about it, they just sabotage themselves before the fact, like Yoel and Rumble. And Kelvin.

It’s late.

M

Fight Night at the Apex

First, I would like to thank Dana White for all this speculative material. All I can think about is who is leaving the organization next.

So who’s next? We might get a bit of clarity this weekend at The Apex.

Let’s make some picks:

Pettis vs Morono – Pettis is on his last fight with the UFC, fighting an unranked fighter. I’m picking him to win. I love Anthony Pettis. I tune in for his fights and I love seeing him point to “Showtime” on his back. I hope he has one more in him.

Tybura vs Hardy – Tybura. I hope. Hardy has dreams of being a boxer now, threatening to knock out Fury, Wilder, etc. Tybura needs to win this and usher Mr. Hardy on to the boxing world.

Pereira vs Khaos Williams – Williams. I really hope this is fight of the night wild madness, with enough flipping and spinning to drive Nick Diaz crazy.

Jose Aldo vs Chito Vera – OMG. If you’ve been reading my posts you would know I consider Aldo the featherweight GOAT and that I have a soft spot for TUF LATAM fighters. I don’t root against them. So who wins? Gotta go with Chito.

Is Aldo on the bubble? I think so, but he’s not completely washed. But he does need a good win to stay alive. If he’s dominated like Jacare, Ferguson and JDS – the clock will start ticking.

Wonderboy vs Geoff Neal – Let me just say that I don’t know where Wonderboy is going. Does he want to be champ or is he just fighting for a paycheck like Cub? He’s already had 2 title shots against Woodley and wasn’t able to win. Is he working his way to another title fight, this time against Usman? He seems to be stuck in place and confused about the way UFC does business. And he’s 37, soon to be 38.

In order for him to remain in the mix at 170 and with the organization, he needs a headkick KO. A KTFO that we will talk about for an entire week. If he insists on a boring point fight or a counterpunch clinic he’s done.

Aldo, Pettis, Wonderboy. Who’s next?

M

UFC 256 debrief

Fun stuff. Seems it’s not just us fans worried about who’s getting cut. Fighters seem rattled as well.

Cub won his fight and got a bit emotional afterwards. He has 3 kids to feed.

Oh Jacare. He lost in a bad way to Kevin Holland. Got KO’d from the bottom Niko-style. Wow.

JDS lost in a quick one. Got clipped on the side of the head and started arguing that it was on the back of his head. It wasn’t. JDS looked old and worried in there. Like maybe he knew it was his last fight.

Tony Ferguson looks done. He was on a 12 fight win streak before the Gaethje fight. It’s sad and amazing how fast it goes. Oliveira is good. And several years younger.

The Main Event was a fantastic fight. Moreno extended the champ to 5 rounds and looked really good. An eye poke and a groin shot cost Figureido a point in the 3rd, but it doesn’t cost him the belt. The judges call it a majority draw. And by the way, Dana says this is the best fight in the history of the flyweight division and I agree.

Get some sleep. Southampton is playing at the crack of dawn.

M

UFC 256

UFC 256 is a great card of fights. It’s a great card despite the lingering idea that some of these guys might get cut.

Prelims on now. Question: Why do people get very publicly engaged, but never get married? What’s that about?

Anyway, my picks:

Cub Swanson vs Daniel Pineda – Cub is on the bubble, hope he gets the win.

JDS vs Ciryl Gane – Oh JDS, I’ll just go with him for the sake of nostalgia. And the fact that he’s also on the bubble.

Jacare vs Kevin Holland – Jacare is on it too, but Holland is not on this level yet. I got Jacare.

Dern vs Virna Jandiroba – I might be the only person who doesn’t care about Mackenzie Dern. She’s a strawweight, so she has to get through Rose, JJ, Andrade and of course the champ, Zhang Weili. Wake me up when she beats JJ or Andrade.

Tony Ferguson vs Charles Oliveira – What about Tony? He’s 37 and if he loses it’s a wrap. He either gets used as an elite gatekeeper or he’s done.

Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno – Moreno looked good in his last fight, but I’m going with the champ. Fig has faced some adversity on his way to the title: He had to fight Joey B twice (an unnecessary do-over) and now has to deal with DJ’s trash talk, “Only time will tell if the hype is real.”

Hype? Why does he care what’s going on with the UFC’s flyweights? He claims to be happy in ONE Championship, getting a hero’s welcome, and thinks they do a better job of promoting their flyweights. Then why is he talking about the UFC? He should probably worry about his own stuff, mainly the situation at ONE.

Enjoy the prelims.

M

MMA News

Lots of news in MMA world. Let’s start with the big one: Dana White says he plans to cut 60 fighters from the UFC roster. This week, fans learned that Yoel Romero and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson received their walking papers and some are shook. I’m not.

If you don’t want to give 100% in the cage, you’re just playing. And I don’t want to watch grown folks playing around in the Octagon. That’s the feeling I got when watching Yoel’s and Rumble’s fights. Rumble was destroying folks until he got those title shots against DC. Memorable for me was UFC 210. Not only did Daniel have an unfortunate incident on the scales, Rumble went down and got choked out so easily. And he didn’t even care about the weight issues. I won’t bring up his domestic violence allegations.

I was unbothered when Rumble decided to retire.

Then Yoel emerged as the new Rumble, shredded for the gods and knocking out the competition in style. But when it was time for a title shot he couldn’t make weight. That’s interesting, isn’t it? Your whole life has been dedicated to fighting and you’re obviously good at it, but when it’s time to fight for a belt you can’t manage your weight. And when he managed to actually make the weight he lost. I told folks on Twitter after his title shot with Izzy, Yoel doesn’t want to be champ. He just stood there like a fool with his hands up. We were so disappointed. For whatever reason, that man did not want to be the champ.

It’s a real thing. I guess they fight for fun or something, but for some, being champ is not the goal.

But don’t blame the messenger. He’s gone now too.

Now we wait for the rest of the shoes to drop.

UFC 256 tonight.

M