(pic via Heavy’s UFC 150 Gallery)
Sure, Ben Henderson gets to swing his sack around town as the top dog at 155 by defending his title. And Donald Cerrone picked up $120,000 in bonus money, as well as whatever Melvin Guillard had to hand over to him for missing weight, so he’s likely sporting some decent wood as well, but there are others, less visible, who also deserve some accolades. Let’s show em some love.
Best Gameplan – Yushin Okami. After starting out by getting schooled standing by the unheralded Buddy Roberts, Yush remembered that he’s a pretty damn good grappler and used those skills to score a second round TKO.
Worst Gameplan – Ed Herman. Instigating a grappling contest against a better grappler may make sense on some cosmological sitcom, but in the cage it’s usually a recipe for disaster. Someone forgot to tell Ed Herman that. He instigated the clinch almost immediately and continued to do so until the final round when it was quite clear he’d already lost.
Captain Excitement Award – Jake Shields. It’d be foolish for a guy who has phenomenal ground skills and rudimentary stand-up ability to not utilize his strengths, and in that regard Shields does exactly what he should. But damn is he just not fun to watch. Ground work can be just as awesome and entertaining as great striking, but you got to do something. Someone at the Cesar Gracie camp needs to tell Jake he’s allowed to hit his opponent while he’s working for better position.
Most Glaring Weaknesses Award – Melvin Guillard. For years the knock on Mel has been his takedown defense. Of his 11 career losses, nine have come by the tap, so it’s not like that reputation wasn’t earned. As if that weren’t bad enough, now we have to accept the fact that Mel also cannot take a shot. And I’m not just saying at UFC 150. A shin to the head, glancing or otherwise can stumble anyone. But think back to his fights with Joe Stevenson and Joe Lauzon for a moment. Yes, they’re on the record as submission losses for Mel, but what set up those taps were jabs. In both fights, Mel was rocked by jabs. JABS! That’s a problem.
Best Technical Boxing Award – Jared Hamman. Young fighters could learn a thing or two from Hamman. That hands down, chin up strategy was a thing of beauty. Somewhere out there, Carl Weathers was wearing a half shirt, watching the action and screaming at the tube, “Damn man, WASSA MATTA with you?!”
Barely Able to Get Off a Punch Award – Eiji Mitsuoka. Coming off a knockout loss in his UFC debut, the last thing Eiji needed here was a poor showing. And it doesn’t get much poorer than not getting yourself into the fight. At all. Whatsoever. Nik Lentz dominated from bell to referee stoppage at the 3:45 mark of the first round. Two rough fights in a row for Eiji probably means a pink slip. Life’s a bitch sometimes.