UFC 182 was supposed to start the greatest month for the UFC. It certainly had a lot of anticipation and excitement going into it. Most of which was provided by Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Instead of setting the MMA fans on fire it left many of them wondering what happened. The night highlighted the problem with fights and the pre-fight buildup – you just do not know what you will get on fight night.
The card got off to a bad start with a fight that should not have happened. Marion Reneau put a beatdown on the human target that was Alexis Dufresne. It was a clinic from Reneau who used her speed, cardio, takedown defense and ability to hit a stationary target to dominate the fight.
Once again Dufresne missed weight making her 0-2 on weight cuts and fights in the UFC. She looked slow and sluggish in the fight seemingly affected by the weight cut. If the UFC had a featherweight division she would not even be trying to make the bantamweight class but it is hard to pass up a chance at the UFC.
If the UFC insists on only having two female weight classes than we will continue to get fights like this one. These kind of fights are not doing anything to help the UFC or the women’s side of the sport. As it is they have fighters like Dufresne trying to move down to a weight class that is not right for her. You also have other fighters fighting up in weight who are more natural flyweights. It also hurts the fighters. Dufresne had some hype coming into the UFC but that has been killed. Hopefully she moves up to featherweight in her next fight for another promotion.
This card was supposed to be one that would appeal to causal fans who were caught up in the Jones and Cormier animosity hype. The UFC was looking to use this card to create interest in their upcoming cards. It seemingly had all of the right ingredients but it did not come together. It is the problem with fighting in general you just never know what will happen.
The fight that most fans thought would be exciting was the Cowboy Cerrone and Myles Jury one. This had all of elements for a FOTN favorite but fell far short of that. No one seemed more disappointed than Cowboy himself. Afterwards he told Ariel Helwani that the boos he heard during the fight “hurt his soul.” It is this attitude that has made him such a fan favorite during his career. He almost seemed more disappointed in victory than Jury seemed in defeat.
Dana was quick to come to Cowboy’s defense saying he thought it was a solid win against a tough opponent. As someone who considers themselves a fight nerd I would agree with Dana on this one. Jury is a very talented young fighter with a sick and dangerous ground game. One that he tried to implement in the first round. He got the early takedown but was quickly controlled by Cowboy who first went for an omoplata before transitioning to Jury’s back. They essentially spent the rest of the round in that position with Cowboy working for a choke. He did get close but Jury fought it off.
That round was a technical grappling one. I found it interesting watching the chess match on the ground take place but that kind of round is about subtle moves that set up other moves. The kind of fight the causal fan hates.
Most of the second and third rounds took place in the standup where Cowboy also had a clear advantage. The problem with the fight is that Jury had no plan B. It appeared that he was not ready for Cowboy to be so good on the ground and did not have an effect plan for the standup.
All this meant was that instead of an entertaining back and forth competitive fight we got one that showed that Jury needs to do some work before he ready to challenge the top in the division. We also learned that Cowboy is close to getting a title shot. It will be interesting to watch his next fight. This is the point where he has stumbled in the past but seems to have become much stronger mentally and looks ready for his shot.
I feel that the other problem with this card was the focus on the main event. It is not something that the UFC did or did not do but more just the way the sport works. It is rare that we get two fighters who truly do not like each other. When they are also at the top of the sport fighting for a title the interest is exponentially increased. The Jones and Cormier fight had so much of the fans attention that it took away from the other fights.
Let me be clear I am not saying that UFC 182 is a failure or was a bad night of fights. It is more like one that came from a slightly altered parallel universe. Where everything looks familiar but just feels a little off. A lot of that had to do with the high expectations people had for this card and the main event. I suspect that when people go back and look at this event without their expectations, it will be better than their initial reaction to it.
It will be interesting to see what the PPV numbers are for the Silva and Diaz fight that ends the month. Silva has been one of the UFC’s biggest stars and Diaz is one of their most popular with fans hardcore and casual alike.
When it comes to PPV I am surprised that anyone expected the numbers to either grow or stay the same. It makes sense that they will sell less as there is more MMA available for free than ever before. The UFC themselves will give us 31 non-PPV events themselves this year alone.
By the time we get to the next PPV we will get two of those free events. The hardcore fan like myself will pony up the $60 to watch UFC 183 but it is hard to say whether or not the casual fan is willing to lay down $120 for two PPVs to start the year and for PPVs to work they need those fans.
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