UFC 164 goes to the movies
This past Saturday we enjoyed another great night in the octagon with some amazing fights from UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There were some close fights, surprising finishes which made it one of the best cards of the year; just the kind of thing you expect from an end of the summer blockbuster. Let’s take a look at some of the UFC through the prism of Hollywood and interpreted by my mind.
The Soa Palelei vs Nikita Krylov was the So I Married an Axe Murder of this night
So I Married An Axe Murder was Mike Myers next movie after Wayne’s World, and it did about slightly more than half of Wayne’s World at the box office. This was significantly less than its budget. The reviews were pretty mixed at best. There are some issues with the film but it has a lot of laughs packed in it with a great cast. It is one of those films that the more you watch it the more you appreciate it. Myers is great in it playing Charlie Mackenzie and his father Stuart. In fact, the acting is good throughout the movie and it is more that certain scenes do not quite make sense, that is the trouble with the film.
Then once you learn why there were some issues, it starts to make sense and you have a greater appreciation for the actors in this movie. A big problem was the director did not know who the killer was in the movie. He did not decide until very late in the shoot and just shot scenes multiple times with different characters being the killer. It was between Harriet Micheals, her sister Rose or a stranger and weird coincidence that it was her husband. Then when it came time to edit they chose the best shot scene but they all did not match up from a continuity standpoint. In some Rose was the killer in others it was Harriet and it comes across on-screen as confused. With this understanding of what the actors had to deal with it is a credit to their ability that this movie has so many funny moments. It is a case where the comedic genius rose to the top.
This fight has a lot in common with that movie. It had its flaws but there is a gem there with some great moments and they both had a ton of heart. To plow through a movie when your director is confused takes a lot of heart and to fight with recently broken ribs in training it takes even more. The thing is Palelei did not just keep fighting, he literally gutted out the win and got the stoppage.
Neither of these fighters had gone the distance in their careers. This was Krylov’s first fight to get out of the first round and Palelei had only done it a handful of times. It is just a fact that heavyweights are different from the lighter weight classes. They bring more power but generally less cardio, Cain Velasquez being the big exception. It is rare for a heavyweight fight to get to the third round without one or both fighters being tired. In this fight Palelei was also injured and one of the worst injuries for your cardio is a rib injury, especially broken ribs.
For those that have never had broken ribs here is basically what happens. Every time you breathe you get a sharp pain like someone is jabbing a hot ice pick into your side. The deeper the breath, the sharper the pain. So, you get tired more quickly because you literally cannot breathe. Also, you are constantly uncomfortable and the slightest bump or jarring will send little needles of pain shooting through the area. Now imagine having another heavyweight slamming knees and punches into it. Palelei endured all of this and fought on against a younger opponent and stopped him in the third round. It was not the most technical round or fight but it did embody the warrior spirit as Palelei battled exhaustion and pain for the victory.
So I Married An Axe Murder became a cult classic as more people watched it and learned to appreciate it for what it is as a movie. It is a very funny but flawed comedy with some classic lines and moments. If you go back and watch this fight knowing that every time they clinch up Palelei’s ribs are killing him, watch Krylov slam knees and punches into Palelei’s broken ribs and you will gain a greater appreciation for what was a great performance of heart and toughness he put in inside the octagon.
Ben Rothwell becomes Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in the third round
In the early fight for the five points in Gangs of New York between the “Natives” led by Bill “The Butcher” Cutting, and the Dead Rabbits led by Priest Vallon, there is a moment amidst the chaos of the fight when Cutting sees Vallon. There is still some distance between them but his focus is on Vallon and he gets this even more maniacal look in his eyes. He strides towards the priest hacking a path with his cleaver until he is almost there and then he buries his cleaver into somebody and replaces it with another knife. He shoves a body towards Vallon and reaches around and stabs him deep. A couple more with his other knife and Vallon is dying and the fight is over.
For the first two rounds of his fight against Brandon Vera, Ben Rothwell was just himself, a UFC heavyweight fighter. Then something happened in between the second and third round and he became Bill “The Butcher.” He came out for the third round fired up, and attacked Vera who had done a great job of using his movement to avoid him. Rothwell was in Butcher mode and would not be denied coming forward relentlessly. Vera once again showed his toughness and kept fighting back. Then with 3:40 left in the last round Rothwell started hopping back and forth, ducking and darting. It was weird, came out of nowhere, and seemed to puzzle Vera as well. Rothwell used his crazy slam dance kind of movement to back Vera up and then used a stumbling rush to tie him up. He landed a couple of shots to the body as he fell forward that did not do much damage and Vera got out easily but only for a moment. Vera made one mistake like Vallon who was aware that Bill was approaching but he did not see the person that Bill used to shield himself as he approached to attack.
Up to then Vera had done a great job of circling to his right towards Rothwell’s left, away from his power. Then he circles to his left into Rothwell’s power and a right hook landed and it stunned Vera. Rothwell chopped him up with his hands and elbows, and then finished it with a knee that sent Vera crashing down. Like Bill The Butcher with Vallon in his sights, Rothwell would not be denied.
Chad Mendes is Robert De Niro and this was his Taxi Driver
Early in his career De Niro got some attention for Bang The Drum Slowly. Then came Mean Streets which had more people noticing him. He followed that up with the classic The Godfather II, a movie which many people consider to be better than the first. Much of it has to do with De Niro’s performance. It is his next film that put him at a different level. Travis Bickle is one of those characters that stays with you and it is because of De Niro’s performance – he is electric in this movie.
This is similar to Chad Mendes and the run he has been on since his loss to Jose Aldo. He was riding not just a three fight win streak but one that included three first round KO/TKO’s. Clay Guida had never been stopped by strikes in his career. Guida has spent most of his career at lightweight this was only his second fight at featherweight. He fought some heavy hitters at that weight class including; Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz, and Josh Thomson. There are more than a few KO/TKO’s in that group. Thomson in fact is the only guy who has stopped Diaz. Since Guida has weathered that gauntlet of MMA striking excellence you do not expect him to get stopped at the lighter weight class.
That is exactly what happened on Saturday night when Mendes became the first guy to stop Guida via strikes. This was not some busted up on the decline Clay Guida that Mendes stopped. This was the best Guida has looked in a couple of years. This was the Guida we expected when he joined Jackson’s/Winklejohn’s MMA. It was an aggressive but not reckless Guida who fought a pretty great fight. The problem was Mendes is just at a different level right now, like De Niro was in Taxi Driver. There are some other great performances in Taxi Driver but nothing like De Niro’s. Right now there maybe nobody else operating at featherweight at the level of Mendes. Aldo will be busy recovering from his injury and then fighting Anthony Pettis after that. If anybody is going to fight for the title it looks like Mendes has to be a part of that fight. The addition of the pinpoint striking under the tutelage of Duane “Bang” Ludwig has turned him into an all-around mixed martial artist. He is able to dominate and control the fight in all phases and has thrust himself back into the front of the contenders with this impressive stoppage.
Duane “Bang” Ludwig is the Martin Scorsese of the Team Alpha Male
Martin Scorsese is known for getting some of the best performances in many actors careers. He has shown an ability to work with many different styles and generations of actors. He is passionate about his art, film, and was famous for day long viewing parties back in the seventies. They were probably fueled by more than a few substances, including marijuana.
On the Mike Dolce podcast Ludwig talked about breaking down film in three different viewing sessions. Once normal, another time after partaking of a little medicinal marijuana, and then a third time using Onnit’s Alpha Brain. He is becoming legendary for the amount of film work he puts in preparing for each fight and is obsessive and passionate about the sport.
Scorsese also has a complete understanding of all the elements of film melding the different areas into one art form. This is something Ludwig also does in MMA, as he is able to blend the striking and the grappling. He understands using one to set up the other and then they flow together to create a lethal combination. The proficiency Team Alpha Male had in grappling is now happening in the striking. This is the best Team Alpha Male has ever looked and several of their fighters are at the forefront of their respective division’s title picture. It would be no surprise if there is a UFC title belt or two residing in their gym very soon.
Ricardo Lamas is the The Thin Man
The Thin Man movies are a series of films starring Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles. They go around solving various mysteries and drinking a lot. Many people think that the Thin Man is Nick Charles but in fact it refers to a character you barely see in the first movie before he is killed. He is literally not in the movie and is so forgotten about that people associated his nickname with the main character and they used it in all of the titles of the subsequent films. The character’s name was Clyde Wynant. Ricardo Lamas is in danger of becoming the Clyde Wynant of the featherweight division.
Lamas needs to get back in the octagon and remind everyone why he deserves the next title shot. He should have gotten the call instead of The Korean Zombie but like life, the UFC is not concerned with what is fair for everyone. Also, the title shot Lamas deserved yesterday is not quite as deserved today. The cases that Cub Swanson, Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes are making are getting more convincing with each impressive win. Meanwhile, Lamas’ win over Swanson fades further from the collective consciousness of MMA fans.
Right now it seems clear. Pettis and Aldo are going to fight next. While they heal up and then fight, the four top contenders should fight to determine the top contender. Pair them up anyway you like for the first fight. The two winners meet and that winner is the number one contender. One thing for sure is that Lamas needs to make a statement and make one soon.
Anothony Pettis is Will Ferrell
There have been more than one actor who have called Will Ferrell one of the most fearless actors. He has a level of commitment and passion that is unparalleled for any role he plays. Watch him streak in Old School and you see that fearlessness in action. Even in brief cameos like Big Earl in Starsky and Hutch you see it, and the talent that drives it all.
Anthony Pettis has the same fearlessness inside of the octagon. He will literally try anything at anytime. Most fighters do not attempt many of the moves that Pettis does because if you miss it puts you in danger. Pettis is not most fighters and does not fear dangerous positions. He will in fact figure out a way to not only escape the position but he will turn into an offensive one for him.
Ferrell first grabbed our attention on SNL with some great and memorable characters much like Pettis’ early career in the WEC. The real breakout for Ferrell was Old School where he was Frank “The Tank”. There are several scenes where he is pure liquid comedy genius onscreen. This movie is essentially the same as Pettis’ first win over Henderson via the showtime kick in the fifth round.
Next for Ferrell was Elf and then he played Big Earl. For Pettis he stopped both Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone in the first round with kicks. It was what came next for each that put them on a different level. Ferrell does Anchorman giving us Ron Burgundy, one of the greatest characters in one of the best comedies. While Pettis just went out and submitted Benson Henderson giving us one of the most exciting moments inside of the octagon.
One of the signs of a great comedy is the ability to watch the movie over and over and still find it funny. Anchorman passes that test; just like a fine french burgundy each viewing of Ron Burgundy is more satisfying than the last. The Pettis vs Henderson II fight also passes that test. Each time you watch the fight it is still amazing and hard to believe that he submitted Henderson in the first round. We are anxiously awaiting the forth coming second Anchorman movie and we are doing the same for Pettis’ next fight. Do not be surprised if it is against Aldo.
Dana White, and Ariel Helwani have a Will Ferrell Anchorman moment on Fox Sports 1
When Ariel Helwani asked Dana White if he was “leaning towards something for what is next for Pettis,” White got even redder in the face followed by a big shit eating grin. When he starts to talk his voice cracks a little like a teen boy about to ask a girl to the dance. This is because Dana is so excited about the possibility of this fight that he can barely contain himself. The thought of Pettis vs Aldo essentially left Dana White in a Ron Burgundy like situation that he had to walk off after the interview. It is easy to understand, as fight fans are also excited about the possibility of this super fight in the near future.
via Dwayne Wolff
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