Well, I was right. The UFC 138 card went down this weekend in the United Kingdom, to a generally lukewarm build up, as the card was criticized as weak. But a group of well motivated fighters seized the opportunity to carry a show and put on great fights. The card was definitely entertaining for a free TV event, so people should stop complaining. I believe this was the last new material to air on SPIKETV, so it was an appropriate, solid fairwell.
But let’s get to the fights…
Thiago Alves looked solid again, taking out Papy Abedy by rear naked choke late in the first round. This was a crowd pleasing fight between two physical specimens, and it got the crowd charged up as most of the action was spent exchanging heavy kicks and punches. Alves was able to break thru and knock Abedi down, the end came shortly thereafter.
This puts Alves back in the hunt at 170 lbs, though that is one of the UFC’s deepest division. Should GSP get by Nick Diaz, a match I would like to see is Diaz against Alves.
Brad Pickett and Renan Barao came out in the co main event and left it all in the ring. A slugfest from start to finish, it was a knee from Barao that dropped Pickett. Pickett would not be able to recover, and he was forced to tap to a face crank, as the rear naked choke attempt by Barao deteriorated – but he was able to finish anyway.
Barao has now pulled off 27 straight victories, and I think is ready for a major jump in competition. The only downside with Barao is that he is teammates with Jose Aldo, the UFC Featherweight champion, so that is unlikey to be a match that materializes. But as long as he stays at bantamweight, he has a chance to make some great fights. I would not mind seeing how he does against a Uriah Faber, for instance.
Not to get too far off topic, but the criticism that the UFC is keeping it’s biggest stars away from England. One thing that would change all of that would be for a top level fighter to develop out of England. If they had a main event superstar (like a Georges St Pierre) you could be sure he would headline in England. Bisping, Hardy, Pickett and a few others are all good solid fighters, but none is championship quality. That would solve the whole problem!
As for the main event, kudos to Cris Leben and Mark Munoz for stepping up and putting on a war. Both men were able to showcase what they are about, which is gritty and tough. I will be the first to admit it, I was wrong about Mark Munoz. Munoz was very impressive, showing his solid wrestling and his wicked punching power in the ground and pound. Munoz hurt and took out one of the toughest guys in the game today, and he did it efficiently.
Future matches for Munoz could include Yushin Okami, Michael Bisping or Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller. either way, Munoz opened a lot of eyes at UFC 138.
So you see, the card didn’t turn out to be half bad after all!