UFC 200 Review: One Week Later - John's MMA Column
We are officially one week removed from the monumental event that was UFC 200. Now that I’ve had time to fully digest what was considered to be the Superbowl or WrestleMania of MMA, and reflect on the aftermath, I’m left thinking… Was that it? The card was stacked from top to bottom, every match up could have very well have been a main event somewhere. On Fight Pass just imagine Miller vs. Gomi in Japan or Mousasi vs. Santos in the Netherlands, to two title shot eliminator bouts in Dillashaw vs. Assunção and Peña vs. Zingano, that could have easily headlined a FS1 Card. The entire main card of 200 could have been headliners for the next 5 PPV’s. With that said, the MMA Gods managed to get the last laugh with Jon Jones forced off the card on but about 3 days notice, the main event scramble began again, Lesnar-Hunt was bumped up for about a day before Tate-Nunes was made the official headliner. The return of Anderson Silva on 2 days notice was announced, stepping in for Jones against DC in what became a 2 round non-title bout. For those hoping to see some of that old school Spider magic, well the MMA Gods had a different plan that night.
Now I’m not just sitting here in my bedroom, writing this piece just to completely disparage or disrespect the UFC’s or the fighter’s efforts in putting on their biggest show to date. It’s just compared to just one PPV card ago, UFC 199, 200 fell a little flat. We touched upon this briefly on the Dream Elite Podcast [www.blogtalkradio.com/dreameliteradio], this past Thursday, but even on the production side, nothing quite popped or made the event feel like more than just another UFC Card.. with exception of the yellow mat. I appreciate the efforts in trying something new, I welcome it, but it just didn’t look right on TV. Something about the color was jarring and clashed with the fighters shorts. Speaking of new colors and fighters shorts, UFC brought upon the introduction of blue, yellow, and I believe green to the standard black and white rebook kit non champion fighters are issued out to wear. Again appreciate that we’re finally getting some diversity, but this was something that they should have had at the launch. Last July we were given one of the greatest UFC’s to date in UFC 189. Not only was it spectacular card fight wise (Lawler-MacDonald II), but they debuted the kits, we had new graphics, and live performances for the Main Event fighter’s entrance. It was an amazing spectacle in every aspect. Flash forward to about a year later... we get yellow mats.
When the card kicked off on Fight Pass, it seemed like we were truly in for an amazing show. Miller just steam rolling Gomi, Gegard proving once again, he’s a top contender, Louzon being the first man to truly stop Diego Sanchez (Not counting the doctor stoppage in the Penn fight), UFC 200 started off with 3 straight finishes in the 1st. This card was going to live up to the hype… and then the FS1 portion began.
I can’t speak of the Sage fight due a Yankees game going into 11 innings, by the time the game finished, the results of the match was being announced. We then got two solid performances out of Dillashaw and Peña, potentially earning themselves title shots in the process, but also two fights I don’t think I’ll ever need to rewatch. Johny Hendricks deserves an article just for himself. Since losing the belt he’s relentlessly struggled with weight just hasn’t looked the same. Respect to Kelvin in undoubtedly the biggest of his career, but again another fight I don’t ever need to rewatch.
Now we have Cain Velasquez figuratively and literally kicking off the PPV portion of the card. Cain 2.0 (3.0?) came out like he had something to prove and showed off a whole new set of skills, overwhelming Browne for a 1st round TKO. OK, UFC 200 is back on track with future highlights and signature wins... or so I thought. I know at this point it’s starting to sound like I hate decisions and all I want to see is Rock'em Sock'em Robots, but truthfully I don’t mind decisions or match ups that are grappling heavy. Dillashaw vs. Cruz is one of my all time favorite fights. From the story aspect of how Cruz never lost his title but was plagued with injury, to actual style match up and performance of the fighters… That was also a 5 round decision. Going back Wednesday’s card in South Dakota, Louis Smolka engaged in 2 round ground war against Ben Nguyen. A match up I considered Fight of the Night. With all that said, the next three match ups did little for me. Aldo returned to old form, dominated, look quick and technical, but lacked the killer instinct he had back in the WEC. Great performance against an always dangerous Edgar, honestly felt like the same old Aldo we’ve seen enter the octagon before the McGregor match up.
DC vs. The Spider. Anderson went from being in Vegas to sign autographs to being in Vegas to try to take out arguably the #2 pound for pound fighter in the world. Unfortunately for DC who can’t seem to catch a break, that’s exactly what the crowd wanted to see. Daniel did exactly what he needed to do to get that W. He took the path of least resistance and maintained his credibility as the Light Heavyweight Champion… It was still a boring fight. The blame shouldn’t solely go to DC though. Anderson had no takedown defense and when it hit the mat, the Brazilian black belt was more than content remaining in the lockdown position, limiting DC’s offense and pretty much stalling for a stand up.
Brock Lesnar made his octagon return and decided to borrow DC’s game plan. The fans were a lot more forgiving. The people love Mark Hunt… They love Brock Lesnar more. If we look at this fight at face value, it wasn’t by any means anything spectacular. Hunt wasn’t able to get his striking going at any point; Brock was getting his takedowns with ease once he had the fence to Hunt’s back. There was some heavy Ground and Pound whenever Brock decided to let loose. Now if we look at the overall picture, Lesnar coming back from his health issues, coming back after a five year hiatus, and defeating a top 10 heavyweight relatively easily, is an amazing feat. Still doesn’t compare to his vicious victory back at UFC 100. Also I think I should mention Lesnar has reportedly failed an out of competition drug test. How this will affect his UFC 200 victory is still to be seen. Mark Hunt is demanding Lesnar’s entire purse or wants to be released of UFC contract.
Main Event time! Miesha Tate making her first title defense against Amanda Nunes. Miesha should be able to take this one, all she has to do is weather the storm and….. Oh, it’s over, we have yet again a new champion in Ronda Rousey’s absence. Roll credits. The main event wasn’t bad, I’ll admit I’m a Miesha fan and was pulling for her, but Nunes earned that victory and I have to respect that.
My issue is that it all felt anti-climatic. There was no crescendo. It all just ended abruptly. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was left dissatisfied. This is no fault of the UFC or the women in the main event. Expectations were high and unfortunately there’s no way to manufacture hit fight cards like 199 or 189. Maybe a returning Rousey facing off with Nunes, announcing the bout for New York, something along those lines could have fulfilled my appetite.
Again it just felt like business as usual by the time Mike Goldberg began reading off the credits which is not the impression I’m assuming the UFC wanted to leave on us.
Here’s to looking forward to UFC 300 and seeing what the new owners have coming our way in the next 100 Numbered UFC events.