Five things I learned from UFC 114

May, 31, 2010
5/31/10
11:48
AM CT

  1. The ‘10-point must system’ has got to go -- It's rare these days to have a UFC event that does not have at least one controversial decision on the fight card. It's the 10-point must system, originally designed to judge boxing, that seems to have failed deserving fighters over and over again. In the case of UFC 114, it was Jason Brilz -- a last-minute replacement to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira -- who was robbed of a victory. Although designed with good intentions, including such criteria as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense -- the system is without a doubt flawed. The problem is that much of criteria is weighted subjectively by individual judges. The word "effectiveness" in itself allows for individual interpretation by each and every judge. A new scoring system should be designed that specifically addresses MMA techniques and eliminates vague terms like "effectiveness" and "control." Until that point, we’ll continue to see the judges get it wrong.
  2. Diego Sanchez needs to stay at lightweight -- Sanchez, who's spent the bulk of his UFC career at middleweight and welterweight, transitioned to the lightweight division in order to compete against B.J. Penn for the belt. After losing handily to Penn at UFC 107, Sanchez returned to welterweight for UFC 114. Big mistake. Sanchez was upset by the highly underrated John Hathaway, who had the obvious strength and size advantage in the match. Sanchez should have stuck to the lighter division. There’s absolutely no shame in losing to Penn, the most dominating lightweight champ in UFC history. It seems obvious to everybody except for Sanchez that 155 is where he needs to be.
  3. The Heavyweight division is stacked -- I’m not saying that Todd Duffee or Mike Russow are the second coming, but they definitely add to the roster of an already intriguing division. Duffee, Russow, Nelson, Dos Santos, Velasquez, Mir, Cro Cop, Barry and Nogueira will make for some very interesting matchups in the heavyweight division. Brock Lesnar, current UFC champ, will certainly be tested over the next few years.
  4. 'Doughy fighters' need love too -- The remarkable thing about the sport of MMA is that you can never judge a book by its cover. Time after time, fighters with less-than-athletic builds demolish fighters that look like they have been lifting weights since the age of 4. Recently Tim Sylvia, not known for his build, defeated one of the biggest muscle heads around in Mariusz Pudzianowski -- five-time winner of the Worlds Strongest Man contest. At UFC 114, two fighters with what I like to call “doughy” body types -- Jason Brilz and Mike Russow -- got wins as well. Technique (with a little bit of luck thrown in) is the key to success in the sport of MMA.
  5. Rashad Evans will have problems with Shogun -- As expected, Evans grinded out a victory against Rampage Jackson to earn a shot at Shogun Rua's light heavyweight belt. Although he's only lost one fight in the lightweight division in his 4 1/2-year career, Evans has yet to face a fighter like Rua -- who engages with a lightning fast, chaotic speed. I don't think Evans will be able to implement his typical game plan of clinching and wrestling, with a sprinkle of striking thrown in for good measure. This might have worked with slower-paced fighters like Forrest, Rampage and Thiago Silva -- but he'll certainly have trouble dealing with Shogun's quickness.

Andrew Plante

ESPNDallas.com
Andrew Plante covers Mixed Martial Arts for ESPNDallas.com.

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