Title contenders shine; judges don't
MMA Live Extra: Lawler Beats Brown
Saturday's UFC event in San Jose, California, saw a few things.
Anthony Johnson (18-4) did what he did to poor Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-6) in a bout that looked less like a fight and more like an unfair mugging. Bobby Green (23-5) continued to make a name for himself in a close win over Josh Thomson (20-7).
And a light heavyweight fight produced a rare set of scorecards.
Patrick Cummins (6-1) defeated Kyle Kingsbury (11-6) in a fight that was arguably equally as lopsided as the Johnson-Nogueira bout. Cummins dominated Kingsbury, accumulating 10 takedowns and landing 115 total strikes to Kingsbury's 22.
Official scores for the fight, which read 30-27, 30-25 and 30-24 in Cummins' favor, illustrated one thing: Judges still don't understand what a 10-8 round is.
At the very least, they obviously don't agree on what it looks like. They never have, really, and this is just another glaring example of that.
UFC president Dana White surprised me with his take on the scoring. He called out the 30-24 score, which in my opinion was far less egregious than the 30-27.
White's comment: "There was a 30-24. How about that? You'll never f------ see that again. A 30-24. Somebody will have to die for there to be [another] 30-24."
Aside from that, White should have addressed the 30-27.
The California State Athletic Commission discussed the use of 10-8 rounds at a training session for officials this year and one of the messages was: Don't be afraid to use them.
Well, the Cummins-Kingsbury fight appeared to include at least one 10-8. Besides a few leg kicks, Kingsbury scored no offense. Cummins spent nearly 10 full minutes in dominant position, busting Kingsbury up along the way. Kingsbury, 32, announced his retirement after the bout.
The CSAC made it a point to educate officials on what constitutes a 10-8 round this year, but it's obvious more education is needed. Whether you thought a 10-8 round was appropriate in the Cummins-Kingsbury fight or not, the point is that too many acting officials have different views of what one looks like. And that's a problem.
Now, ESPN.com grades for the UFC card at SAP Center.
UFC Fight Night: San Jose Grades
This was barely a fair fight, quite frankly. Not that the UFC shouldn't have made it or anything like that. Nogueira is a grown man and he knew what he was getting into in this one but ... wow. Anthony Johnson is not playing around right now.
Dennis Bermudez is like the new Matt Brown: Get this guy a top contender already. Enough with the journeymen or the young prospects. Bermudez made a statement here and he deserves to find out what he's got for the upper tier. Ricardo Lamas, anyone?
There were a few shaky moments, but when it was all said and done, it was Robbie Lawler's night. Not a lot to nitpick here. He was more skillful than Brown and matched him in levels of "crazy." You can tell he's got a lot of confidence in this title rematch.
It's pretty cool to shake your head every time your opponent tries, in vain, to hit you. It's not that cool to get hit as you do it. Bobby Green's theatrics are fine, if you ask me, but he got carried away a few times. He dropped the act in the third and won the biggest round of his career.
You can't teach a man how to wake up from a knockout before his body even hits the canvas -- and then laugh and continue to fight. You are either born with that kind of swag or you're not and Jorge Masvidal's got it. The Game is Bred, son.
Matt Brown created opportunities to steal one, but couldn't quite land the flurry he needed to seal it. Brown fought an intelligent fight and showcased his grit once again in the last round. He didn't win this fight, but he deserves another big matchup.
Tough one to swallow. That's it. Thomson might have gotten unlucky but he didn't get robbed. It doesn't do him much good to argue that he did. One thing he can't say is that he won the third round and in a close fight like that, you need to.
Low grade? I'm not sure. Kyle Kingsbury appeared to retire mid-fight. He didn't give up, but he appeared to understand in the middle of the fight: "Hey, this is over." And yet, Cummins couldn't put him away. His wrestling is phenomenal, for sure, but I don't know. I've been to a coming-out party before, and this didn't feel like one.
He looked bad, all right? Just plain bad. Guida's striking has never been his forte, but it didn't look like he even had much of a plan with it in this fight. Throwing strikes for the sake of throwing strikes. It was not pretty.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
He found himself entering the boss level with low health and the wrong weapons equipped. Any calls for Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to retire are probably a little knee-jerk, but at the same time -- he could hang 'em up and we'd probably applaud him for it. He looked his age (38) in those 44 seconds we saw of him.
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