Last night was another one of those magical nights where the UFC decides to stack a card with fighters who are unrecognizable to casual fans. Oh, what, that doesn’t sound magical?
Hear me out here. A card filled with relatively no name fighters (or at least not top ranked guys) is a card filled with hungry fighters who will fight tooth and nail to make a name for themselves or prove they still got it.
UFC fight night, in Bangor, Maine, headlined by Ryan Bader vs Ovince St Pruex, was no different from past fight night cards stacked in the same manner.
From dominating performances to video games style slug fests, last night’s card was filled with all the drama of a John McClane movie.
So once again, we have another installment of UFC’s the good, the bad and the ugly
Let’s start off with the headliner and by headliner I mean Bader’s takedowns. The hype train was at full speed for St Pruex leading up to his bout against Bader, but that ride was quickly derailed once St Pruex realized he couldn’t stop a takedown. The Ultimate Fighter season 8 winner, Ryan Bader put on a wrestling clinic, slamming St Pruex to the ground at every opportunity and dragging him into deep water he had yet to swim in. Bader looked every bit the UFC veteran, not throwing wild punches, sticking to his game plan and securing a dominating victory over a guy many people were high on in St Pruex.
Someone I’m always high is Ross Pearson. Technically this guy should be on a four fight winning streak leading up to his bout against Gray Maynard but I’m not going to go there right now. Regardless of what I believe, what I know is that Pearson is the English embodiment of what a fighter should be. Humble outside of the cage, fierce when in it, Pearson is a fan favorite who tucks his chin and throws caution to the wind. His second round knockout of Maynard at UFC fight night was Pearson at his finest, throwing a combination that made Maynard do the white guy version of the stanky leg. The fight that had the potential to be an all-out slug fest, ended up being a murder scene for Maynard’s career. Will get into that later.
Since we’re talking about slug fests how about Brad Tavares and Tim Boetsch doing what they do best and inflicting as much hurt as they can on each other. Tavares spent the earlier part of the fight using Boetsch’s face as a home for his knees and elbows and when you thought Boetsch couldn’t withstand anymore, shazaam, he pulled a Boetsch and landed vicious shots for yet another ridiculous comeback notch on the belt.
Or what about Alan Jouban vs Seth Baczynski. At one point Baczynski had Jouban badly hurt but when Jouban looked close to being finished he channeled his inner Chris Leben and took being rocked as a sign to start chin checking Baczynski until he face planted on the mat and the referee called it a night.
St Pruex’s takedown defense. It was as if he thought he could Volcan mind meld his way out of being taken down. It also doesn’t help that fact that he keeps his hands as far down as any professional fighter can, which would lead me to believe he’s watching for the takedown, but if he was then man, he needs to go back to the drawing board. St Pruex had poor stand-up defense, probably because he believes so much in his hand speed and poor takedown defense, because he was wrong in his beliefs. That’s pretty bad.
Do you want to know what’s truly ugly? Ugly is watching a guy get knocked out four out of his last five fights, including three fights in a row. I have grown to like Maynard as a fighter because he’s such a tough dude, but sometimes your toughness can be your weakness and that is Maynard’s issue.
It pains me to say this but Gray Maynard need to call it quits. He has had a pretty good career with the title belt eluding him a couple times, in some epic bouts with Frankie Edgar, but at some point a man has to question if the juice is worth the squeeze.