Monday, September 8, 2008

UFC 88 Breakthrough True or False

UFC 88 Breakthrough is in the books and now it is time to take a look back and see what the event taught us.

Chuck Liddell is no longer a Light Heavyweight Title contender.
-False. Liddell remains a contender because he is still one of the top draws in the UFC. His knockout loss to Evans was devastating. It sets him back at least a year in his quest to regain the Light Heavyweight Championship. However, he is really only two wins away from serious contender status. His star power will keep him in a big fight the next time out. As we learned Saturday night, one big overhand right can change a lot of perceptions about a fighter. The early word I have heard is Liddell hopes to be back for the December show. Possible opponents include Mauricio Rua and Rich Franklin.

Rashad Evans is worthy of a title shot.
-True. Some will argue Quinton Jackson deserves the first crack at Forrest Griffin. If Jackson was not facing two felonies, I'd agree with you. His legal problems cloud things for me. I can't justify putting a fighter who might go to jail in the next year in a title fight. Evans is the best challenger at this time. He has defeated every one put in his way, and at UFC 88 provided the MMA world with the biggest knockout of 2008. Having two Ultimate Fighter winners fight for the Light Heavyweight Title will be a signature moment for the UFC. It marks the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Rich Franklin is a serious threat at 205 lbs.
-True. Franklin proved against Hamill that he can face bigger opponents with strong wrestling backgrounds and not get overpowered. He is still a couple wins away from a possible title shot, but the rest of this already stacked division now has another dangerous striker to fear.

Dana White would have rather seen Chuck Liddell knockout Rashad Evans.
-False.The best outcome for the UFC's future happened on Saturday night. Liddell's time in the sport is limited. The UFC rode on his back for years and now it is time to embrace the younger fighters. It reminds me a lot of when the WCW was killing the WWF in the ratings with a lineup of old wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man, and Ric Flair. The WWF's response was to get younger and more athletic. They spent a couple years losing in the ratings, but over time their product got better and people noticed. The time has come for the UFC to embrace their younger fighters. Dana White is a smart guy and knows that better than any one else.

Greg Jackson is the best trainer in Mixed Martial Arts.
-False. Jackson is without a doubt one of the top trainers in the sport. His fighters always come prepared and with a well-crafted gameplan. The success his fighters have had against Chuck Liddell is scary to say the least. That said, the best trainer in MMA resides across the country in Somerville, Massachusetts. In my opinion, Mark DellaGrote gets more out of his fighters than any other trainer in the business. Jackson has more accomplishments, but he also gets some remarkable athletes like Rashad Evans and Georges St-Pierre. DellaGrote transforms regular fighters into animals. To me that is the true indicator of who is the best trainer in MMA.

1 comment:

Bart said...

My first reaction to Evan's KO was, "Dude, Chuck is dead."

Thinking about it though, I'm not as optimistic about him regaining the title, but a title shot would still pull a good crowd due to his star power. Obviously he'll want to try to patch the holes in his game and you mentioned some good trainers in the MMA biz, but who might be a good match for Liddell?