UFC: Belfort v Henderson After The Fact

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Right, even without being able to see the prelims the general consensus is that UFC: Belfort v Henderson was an awesome card. I’m not going to throw a huge amount of detail into a recap but the show offered up some questions.

Vitor Belfort continued his incredible run of form with a first round knockout of Dan Henderson. The problem lies in who he fights next. The UFC would love to run a stadium show with Belfort and Anderson Silva. If Silva beats Weidman in their rematch, the Belfort – Silva fight would do all sorts of business. It’s twice as irritating knowing that Vitor has been using TRT for the last few years. With a steroid failure on his record, Nevada would never licence him for that.

Is it ethical to give Vitor a title fight while using testosterone? Is it right to give him a middleweight title fight after beating Dan Henderson at light heavyweight?

Hendo has the power to beat anyone. He’s also 42 and has lost his last three fights. It’s the last fight of his deal he signed with Strikeforce. There is no way he can be re-signed to the same €250,000 a fight. He also has zero leverage and he has burned bridges in the past. After leaving the UFC following his win at UFC 100, Dana White was very critical of his decision.

His choices are UFC, Bellator or retirement. He’s a sure fire Hall of Famer and could be a great asset to UFC’s ever growing PR team.

The Cezar Ferreira v Daniel Sarafian fight was pretty good in parts but marred by some very questionable officiating. Mario Yamasaki is a BJJ black belt and managed to stand the two fighters up when Ferreira was working for an arm-triangle from half guard. That’s inexcusable. It reminded me of Dan Miragliotta standing Roy Nelson up as he was working a kimura on Andrei Arlovski at an Elite XC event. Unlike the Nelson fight, Ferreira won anyway despite taking some hard shots in the ensuing rounds.

The fans don’t control the action, the fighters and referees do. What would the world be like if Herb Dean stood up Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 when he was ready to rain down pain on Frank Mir. The fans were going out of their minds but they just disagreed with who was winning. The Brazillian fans fucking HATED ground fighting last night and it wasn’t Yamasaki’s job to cater to their petty whims.

Rafael Cavalcante continued his streak of being an awesome black belt that manages to win all his fights by strikes. He overwhelmed a good fighter in Igor Pokrajac with vicious knees from the clinch. It’s tough to see who he could beat in the light-heavyweight top ten.

Brandon Thatch was the night’s other big winner. He destroyed Paulo Thiago with a step in knee to the midsection. Thiago is one of the tougher fighters in the division but he tapped out after Thatch landed. A Thatch – Kampmann fight would be an awful lot of fun. I’d love to see Thatch tested in the second and third rounds to see what his cardio is made of. He’s only been there once, in a losing effort over five years ago. Since then, of the ten guys he’s defeated, three have Wikipedia pages.

The Ryan La Flare v Santiago Ponzinibbio was great and infuriating in equal measures. LaFlare’s wrestling and top control looked great. He’s a deceptively strong dude and he ground Ponzinibbio out.   I was screaming in anger as he took the poor dude down and mounted him in one slick movement. Jon Anik and Kenny Florian just treated it like it was an afterthought as they were throwing out background trivia. LaFlare would have gotten over with the television viewers so much more by focusing on his technique. It’s something Anik and Florian have to work on as a team. Their call of the main event finish was great but this was lacking.

Jeremy Stephens had a career best performance in the opener. He knocked out Rony Jason with a killer high kick. It marks the second straight win since dropping to featherweight. He is the first person to beat Jason in almost four years. Jason had beaten everyone in his path since coming over after the Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.

The knockout itself was one of the worst in recent memory. Stephens knocked Jason clean out and landed a Hendo style punch after the fact. It was just brutal. It’s funny that it comes just three days after the UFC held their Fight For The Troops show help to raise funds for Traumatic Brain Injuries sustained during war.

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