Sunday, February 1, 2009

UFC 94 Turtle's thoughts

Georges St. Pierre put on one of the most dominating performances I've seen in my life. Sure, there have been other guys who have dominated their opponents in the past but this was a four round destruction of a top five pound for pound fighter in arguably the "biggest fight" in the history of the UFC.

I think it is apposite to stop here and address the opinions that this fight somehow loses significance because of the outcome. I've been saying in comment sections lately that it needs to be understood that historical significance can be achieved in two ways for a fight. 1) It is an obvious historic fight in its matchmaking. This is not a function of the outcome of a fight, it is a function of the factors involved in the fight prior to it taking place. 2) The aftermath creates a historic situation. This was the case with Griffin vs. Bonnar where it provided its own hype. It was the finish to a significant television show in the show but it provided its own significance via the action in the fight. This was a clearly historic fight from the moment it was announced.

But the amazing thing in the actual outcome of the fight was that St. Pierre dominated Penn in the stand-up despite all the talk of Penn having the best boxing in the sport, he got takedowns with frequency despite Penn's reputation as a very hard guy to put on his back, and he dominated on the ground even passing Penn's notoriously great guard with ease on several occasions. After the first few times where Penn threw his legs up to get a high guard and GSP was able to shrug them back down and do damage Penn looked worried and the first time that GSP passed to side control and started landing blows BJ looked downright chapfallen.

I sincerely believe that there is not a man on this earth who can beat the St. Pierre who showed up tonight in a welterweight fight. Thiago Alves is going to get thrashed if St. Pierre shows up motivated when the two clash. There was talk of GSP and Anderson Silva. That is the fight Turtle wants to see not Alves but hey whatcha going to do?

Let's also not diminish BJ Penn's place in the world of fighting. He is a guy who won the 170 lb. championship from Matt Hughes during the height of Hughes' dominance so I refuse to accept the idea that he is unable to compete at an elite level at 170. Despite this fight's outcome there is no doubt in my mind that Penn is still the best lightweight in the world.

Lyoto Machida is a beast. There was nothing different in his approach to this fight from any other. This was not a case of him trying to finish a fight to impress the fans. He used the normal footwork and legerity to force Silva to chase him and eat carefully chosen shots. When Silva was able to close distance Machida used simple foot sweeps to put him down and not be forced outside of his comfort zone. He put the stout Thiago down on THREE occasions with the final being as decisive as it gets. This man is not boring, this man is as legitimate as it gets.

Jon Jones - The man simply proved me wrong. I thought that Bonnar would survive an early flurry and catch the younger Jones as he overextended and gassed out. He did gas but he had built up a very big lead and Bonnar kept clinching in the 3rd round when he clearly was catching the tired "Bones" with strikes. Why he chose to do that, I don't know. But I can't take anything away from Jones. For as young as he is, his skill level and potential is amazing.

On a final note, while I enjoyed the fights it did start to feel a little like the magical "UFC Returns to PPV" card where every single fight was going to a decision. It was a fun night of fights but the more casual fans I've heard feedback from found some of the fights (especially Karo/Stun Gun) to be pretty boring. Lucky for everyone the show closed very strong with the Jones/Machida/St. Pierre putting on great fights.

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