UFC 90 Thoughts

October 26, 2008

Watching the main event from UFC 90, we saw Anderson Silva face off against what may be his toughest opponent yet, the opponent that may be his ultimate undoing. No it wasn’t Cote, who generally looked to be incidental to the night’s festivities. Silva’s most daunting opponent on the night, and his biggest one going forward, were the twin devils of apathy and disinterest. Silva’s toughest task on the night seemed to be more about entertaining himself as opposed to fighting Cote.

The biggest portion of the action by Anderson in the first couple of rounds was based around integrating his Samba game with his fight game than trying to finish the tough French Canadian. Anderson’s game seemed very much slow to boil, never reach the critical mass, the swirling ballet of violence that he is so noted for. From my view, this sense of ennui was based in Anderson’s mindset for the fight rather than Cote doing anything of note.

If Anderson continues his reign at 185, he may face a future much like his boxing hero, Roy Jones Jr. RJJ spent a big portion of his career fighting in the netherworld between boxing’s middleweight and heavyweight divisions, outclassing his foes to a laughable degree and left to his own devices to entertain himself since his opponents presented little challenge. Age eventually caught up with RJJ, moreso than anyone else’s skill level. That may be the future that befalls Anderson, unless he takes a leap of faith into the 205 division, a division that would test his legend and could cement the UFC’s marketing campaign that have you think he is the best P4P fighter in the world. Such a claim is going to be hard to take serious if he stays at the 185 limit, and faces the likes of Okami, Bisping, or a re-match with Cote.

The UFC through its surrogates put forward the notion that a re-match might be in order, but nothing in the fight of note would warrant that idea. Cote playing the game existence til the end may be a personal victory but it won’t make for an interesting fight if they are to do this fight again.

Most impressive on the night was the performance of Thiago Alves. Alves’ dominating performance over Koscheck solidified in my mind his bona fides, making him a serious threat to the winner of the BJ Penn vs GSP fight. Thiago’s rise to prominence has eerily mirrored that of GSP. Alves is the handsome young foreign born fighter with the endearing ESL lilt who has went through a murderer’s row of Karo, Hughes, and Koscheck. We’ve seen this movie before, in an earlier time with a certain Canuck superstar. Alves dominating performance gives credence to his being a viable threat to GSP’s crown, to a degree unlike anyone he has faced recently.

Thiago’s striking may be the most dangerous in the 170 division, and I would be hard pressed to name anyone in the other divisions that has looked as crisp and dangerous in the stand-up. To go along with this, Alves’ ability to deny the takedown in his fights against Hughes and Kos should bode well for the dominant wrestler that GSP has involved into. Alves’ performance in his last three fights against name brand opponents have been a tranformational stretch, taking him from a mid-range player in the weight class that was vaguely interesting to a next level guy that could draw money in a match-up with GSP.

Comments are closed.