Wait, I thought this was All-Bruce month? If that question is crossing your mind then please think about who influenced mixed-martial arts popularity in America. Without Bruce Lee we may still be a world with boxing as our only combat sport… jousting has never really taken off in America.
Much like the opening scene to Enter the Dragon, two men dawning only shorts and light gloves will face off on a mat with ringside onlookers. Hand-to-Hand combat each fighter trying to end it with fists or a hold, either way someones body will give into punishment whether voluntary by tapout or involuntarily by KO, either way it is a war. Never let it go to the judges.
Just a decade ago legislators were trying to ban the UFC, it was viewed as barbaric and cruel. Then along came a cocky young man, broke and full of ideas. He convinced two very well-to-do brothers to invest in a promotion and let him give MMA a facelift.
When parents and teachers they tell you “one man can make a difference.” You better believe them next time, Dana White was that one man for MMA.
Following suit with his boxing background he implemented a time and round system, created a weight class ranking, then took the sport known for its No Hold Barred attitude and created the Unified Rules of MMA. A class and rule system now almost universally accepted Dana White has taken a sport that was almost banned in the Country to being sanctioned in almost every State and in many countries across the World, and now into their biggest playground yet, Network Television.
Fox. How much bigger can you get?
CBS once upon a time tried to capitalize by bringing the EliteXC to network, but taking a few aged legends and an internet sensation to be the face of your promotion is not a smart move. Sure Kimbo is a draw, and actually a seemingly nice guy, but not a good MMA fighter. (I think he is going to excel at a boxing career, good luck KS.) How can you draw fans into a promotion without real talent? Prime reason for it’s collapse, nothing beyond offering the name Kimbo.
Champion Cain Velasquez will face challenger Junior Dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title. I personally like the light classes, but in marketing there is nothing more lined with gold than heavyweight billings. Boxing has always showcased their biggest and baddest and MMA is no different.
Tonight two monster-sized men fully equipped with the knowledge to remove each others jaws from their faces will fight on the biggest stage ever offered. Dana White’s only wish is that he could have involved Brock Lesnar.
At the end of three rounds only one man will be left standing, yes I realize this is a title fight and it could go five rounds, but it will not happen, not with warriors with so much punching power.
When I first seen Cain Velasquez way back at UFC 99 fighting with Cheick Kongo I was not impressed, he was strong, but his talents just did not seem fit for success. Sometimes a young guy will come through with raw scraping talents that you know will be great once they learn formal discipline. Not Cain, he was just what I thought would be a guy how would disappear in 2 or 3 fights and end up tossing anchors on a dock someday.
I was wrong.
Cain has put in hard training and worked long hours to improve his fighting and it has shown. He took what I thought was an ugly lucky decision win and built a resume of knocking out some of the biggest competition the UFC could throw at him and in stunning fashion. In the Champ’s recent pre-fight mini documentary that UFC airs a week or two prior Velasquez goes on to say that as a child he was not a fighter growing up and that size got him involved with wrestling and a further career into MMA. He sure has learned to fight as an adult.
Not to make this all about Velasquez today, but he is the champion. Junior dos Santos is an impressive 13-1 coming into the fight, even more amazing then his record is his schedule with 9 fights in 3 years time. He has a skill of dismantling most of his opponents in the first round and moving right on to the next fight. He took on Shane Carwin, a man with lunch boxes for fists and took him to the bell, these two fighters will not see five rounds.
I am proud to be an American, but I am rooting MexiCAIN tonight! Cain Velasquez by KO in Round 3.
If I have one gripe about UFC on FoX it is burying a great fight like Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson not just on an undercard, but off tv. Guida may be the UFCs biggest mid-talent draw, he is never going to win a UFC title, but you ask anyone and they love The Carpenter. He fights every fight with enthusiasm and he always engages, none of the dancing, it is all business for the long-haired grappler. Normally I would root for Guida to win, even if he is facing an opponent I don’t think he has a shot beating. Not tonight, Ben Henderson is an amazing fighter one of my favorites to watch, I think this guy is the only fighter that may make me want to watch Clay Guida go down. Don’t get me wrong, a Guida win will not upset me either. But for a fight determining who goes on to face champion Frankie Edgar, I have to go with Henderson. His long legs and BJJ can beat the defending champ, but unlike me, his eye needs to be on this fight, not Edgar.
It is a shame UFC is not airing this fight, but you can catch the bout on Facebook. Ben Henderson by submission in Round 3. Henderson will be champion by the end of 2012
The original MMA fighter