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Mar 26th
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UFC 100: One Step Forward, One Step Back

ufc_100_results

Billed as the greatest MMA card ever put together, UFC 100 certainly delivered, at least as far the entertainment value went. Although there were no real surprises as odds on favourites Dan Henderson, Georges St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar captured victories in the three biggest fights of the evening, the matches were chalked full of excitement, possibly fuelled by the electric crowd in attendance for this momentous occasion. Unfortunately, what was meant to be a celebration of how far MMA had come for its early incarnations ended in a display that exemplifies exactly the type of stereotype that the MMA community has been trying to escape for so many years.
Henderson versus Bisping gave confirmed the notion that “The Count” just isn’t ready for someone of Henderson’s stature. Many believed Henderson would look to utilize his extensive wrestling background and take the Brit to the ground, where the former Olympian would have a marked advantage. Instead, the bout stayed mainly on the feet where, in a bit of a twist, Bisping seemed overmatched. Bisping managed to land some shots, but none that carried enough wait to cause any serious harm to the American. His tendency to circle to the left was either a careless mistake or just a dreadful game plan as it proved to be his downfall, leading him straight into Henderson’s legendary right hand. Sure enough, Bisping was caught square on the chin in the second round by a looping right hook. The shot, which knocked the Brit out cold, should surely earn knockout of the night honours.
The co-main event featured a much anticipated bout that would see welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre take on the man who many considered to be his toughest opponent yet in Thiago Alves. Despite Alves’ ability to inflict vicious knees and leg kicks and his impeccable take down defence, it’s safe to say that no one was surprised when the extremely well rounded St. Pierre nullified Alves’ stand up and took the Brazilian down at will. Not only did he handle his most dangerous challenger with ease, he did so after sustaining a pulled groin in the fourth round. The fighter was seen visibly wincing after the bell rung to end the fifth round and he could barely stand as he was presented with the championship belt for the fifth straight time after receiving a unanimous decision victory. The win will surely elevate St. Pierre to elite status, possibly putting him in the running for best pound for pound fighter in the world.
And finally the main event, the long awaited rematch between bitter rivals Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir. The bout was sure to end in one of two scenarios: A knockout by the gigantic Lesnar, or a submission by the jui jitsu master Mir. Lesnar is a mammoth of a man, with physical attributes unparalleled in the sport. In fact, despite his lack of experience and technical skill, even avid Mir supporters must have had some serious doubts about whether or not the physically overmatched Mir could pull off another victory over the former NCAA wrestling champ. It was evident from the start of the match that Lesnar really had come a long way from his UFC debut as he secured a dominant ground position and carefully placed devastating ground shots to the head and body of a helpless Mir. A brief flurry from Mir, ending in a wicked knee to the head of Lesnar would be the only offense he would be able to mount, as Mir was taken to the ground once again where referee Herb Dean was eventually forced to stop the fight.
And that’s how UFC 100 should have ended. A legend in the sport declaring he still has something left in the tank, a proud champion fighting through injury to further add to his ever growing legacy, and an exciting new superstar ushering in a new era for the Heavyweight division. But what ensued after Lesnar’s triumphant victory does not belong in the octagon, but rather the wrestling ring. Lesnar added salt to the wound to a battered Frank Mir as he taunted his defeated opponent before fingering a booing crowd and insulting the event’s primary sponsor for the evening.
If Lesnar wants to embrace his identity as the villain that is perfectly fine, and it would serve to give some added entertainment to the sport. But to take it to the lengths that he did was too far and only gives fuel to the fire of the remaining opposition to MMA. Lesnar’s action’s are precisely those that the UFC and all of the MMA community have been trying to avoid for so long. Dana White has made consistent efforts to promote the UFC’s stars as legitimate athletes rather than fight hungry thugs, yet tonight we saw one of its biggest stars act as if he were drunken street fighter. It is black spot on what was otherwise a fitting tribute to the UFC’s decorated history.
One step forward, one step back, that’s how UFC 100 can be described. It was a memorable evening showing MMA truly has come so far from its early obscurity. None the less, it appears the sport still has a ways to go before it can finally put its naysayers to rest and be embraced as a legitimate competition.

 

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