Here you will get the UFC post-fight awards that others are either too afraid or too unimaginative enough to give out. UFC 188 gave us a night of mixed performances but do not worry Uncle Fight Wolff is here to sort everything out. So, kick back while we dig into the juicy goodness of UFC 188.
The Mission Impossible Aka The Ethan Hunt Award
This of course goes to our new undisputed UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. After being released by the UFC in October of 2008 Werdum has gone 9-1 and captured the UFC heavyweight title. During that run he has submitted Fedor, Minotauro and now Cain. In his previous fight he finished Mark Hunt via TKO. All of those finishes seemed impossible before each fight and they all finished with a goofy Werdum face and his hand raised.
Now some people are going to get way too creative with his next opponent. I am going to keep it simple and go with another heavyweight who was also released by the UFC in Andrei Arlovski. It was a loss to JDS that got Werdum bounced but it was Arlovski who gave Werdum his first loss in the UFC.
This rematch practically makes itself and will make a great fight for a fall card. It is exactly the type of fight the UFC and Dana White love to make. It is an easy sell to the old school and newer fans.
Look for it to be the main event at UFC 191 in Vegas. Then Cain will take on Ben Rothwell at UFC 192 in Houston and he will destroy Rothwell.
The impressive and dominant win from Cain along with Werdum’s win over Arlovski will setup a rematch between Werdum and Cain. The rematch will take place at UFC 195 with JDS and Stipe Miocic also rematching on the same card. Cain regains the belt and Stipe stops JDS earning him his title shot.
The Dread Pirate Robert or The Lisa Left-Eye Lopez Award
This category has a two winners which is more eyes than each of them finished their fights with and that is of course Johnny Case and Eddie Alvarez. Each fighter got their left-eye jacked up in the first round. Case was poked in the eye and screamed loudly while Alvarez had his closed up due to strikes.
Still, each fighter pirated-up, channeled a little of that Left-Eye craziness and went on to grind out a win. It would have been easy for Case to quit after the eye poke but he showed a lot of heart and smarts. It is what you expect of a veteran of 25 fights, you just do not expect it from a 25-year-old fighter. Case is both and that is why many people are excited about his future.
Anybody who saw the Alvarez and Michael Chandler fights already knew about Alvarez’ toughness and his ability to come back. After one round it looked like even a fighter like Alvarez was done. His nose was likely broken and the left-eye was basically closed. Alvarez refused to quit and went on to wear down Melendez who was exhausted in the third.
The Tony Jaa in Ong-Bak Award
Tony Jaa exploded into the action world with his first film Ong-Bak. In it he did his own jaw-dropping stunts. It is a great little action film that heralded the arrival of new action star. This award clearly goes to Yair Rodriguez.
This was not his UFC debut but it was his big international moment. Rodriguez was the underdog going into the fight but did not fight like one. He threw crazy highlight reel spinning and flying techniques that looked like something straight out of a movie. By the end of the fight he had captured the imagination and hearts of fight fans around the world.
The Tim Riggins Award
Riggins was the classic bad-boy with a good-heart on Friday Night Lights who played the game with a lot of heart, with more grit and toughness than technique. Riggins is the type of player that wins ugly but he wins. If Riggins were in the UFC you could imagine a similar path to the one that Cathal Pendred has taken.
Pendred has the rugged good looks to go along with the rest. On TUF, Pendred had some fun on the show with other cast mates. He also made headlines for saving a dolphin. Pendred fights with a gritty tough style and a lot of heart. He also wins and is now 4-0 in the UFC. Not every win has been the prettiest but they are all still wins.
The Chili Palmer Award
In Get Shorty Ray ‘Bones’ Barboni takes Chili Palmer’s jacket. When Palmer goes to get it back he wastes no time nor words. It is just a quick punch, a broken nose and Palmer is out the door with his coat.
For UFC 188 both Patrick Williams and Efrain Escudero easily share this award. Both fights were finished quickly, efficiently and effectively under a minute. They were also both via a standing guillotine.
This evoked some comparisons to Jon Jones’ finish of Lyoto Machida. I hope both Williams and Escudero hired a driver or least took a taxi after their respective victory celebrations.
The Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb Award
This goes to ‘Cassius’ Clay Collard who displayed that he has more toughness than technique. Like Cobb before him Collard can take a punch and also like Cobb we know this because he gets hit a lot.
Collard has a boxing background but we only know this because it is mentioned during the broadcast every time he fights. You would not necessarily know it by watching him. Collard uses very little defensive moves of any kind. Instead, like Cobb he just keeps coming forward.
If they remake Raising Arizona in about fifteen years then I nominate Collard to play Leonard Smalls.
The Kirstie Alley Award
Again we have another category with dual winners in Henry Cejudo and Kelvin Gastelum. Like Alley both Cejudo and Gastelum have struggled with their weight. Like Hollywood the UFC is very weight conscious.
During his short MMA career Cejudo has missed the flyweight limit more than he has made it. When he does make-weight like this weekend he struggles mightily to do it. His performance against the tough veteran Chico Camus was solid but also shows that he is four or five fights away from challenging ‘Mighty Mouse.’
This time he blamed a bad taco. If he wants a title-shot in the UFC at flyweight, then he will need to make the weight consistently, and start turning in some more dynamic performances. If not then Cejudo may be caught between two weight classes, too big for flyweight and too small for bantamweight.
Gastelum is in a similar situation, only his struggle is between the welterweight and middleweight divisions. As a welterweight he was oh so very close to a possible title shot. All he had to do was make the welterweight limit and defeat Tyrone Woodley. He failed on both accounts.
First he missed weight by nine pounds and then lost a close SD. The fight could have easily been scored for him but it would not have mattered as Dana had already decreed that Gastelum was moving up to middleweight.
At UFC 188 Gastelum looked great in his first fight since then. He destroyed another former welterweight in Nate Marquardt finishing him in the second round. As good as Gastelum looked in that fight it is hard to see him challenging the upper levels of the middleweight division. While at welterweight he is a true title contender. If he truly wants to make the move back down to welterweight he will have get serious about his diet.
UFC 188 was a mixed bag as a card. There were several performances that were either affected by the altitude or the matchup. At the other end you had a FOTY candidate between Cain and Werdum. These were the performances that stood out to me. Let us know yours either below or on Twitter.
Up next will be my Fearless Predictions for UFC Fight Night Jedrzejczyk vs. Penne.
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