Hype Train Round-Up: Gunnar, Jimi, and Sass Edition

jimimanuwa

The MMA community’s ambivalence over Renan Barao’s interim championship gave prospects Jimi Manuwa and Gunnar Nelson some rightful attention last weekend on the UFC on Fuel main card and they both looked ready for stiffer competition, taking apart Cyrille Diabate and Jorge Santiago respectively.

For a second time in a row we were denied a chance to see Jimi Manuwa work his endgame when Cyrille Diabate suffered a torn calf while being taken down at the end of the first round.  Manuwa outstruck Diabate for most of the frame and took him down multiple times but was confident enough by the end of the round to let Diabate right back up after catching a knee and throwing him to the mat.

Diabate is a serviceable gatekeeper at 205 but Manuwa looked every which way better and clearly needs a bump in competition.  While a fight with Shogun Rua would be a lot of fun, James Te Huna also won on the card and would make a pretty good matchup for a ground fighter like Nelson.  I’m personally hoping for the UFC to punish Thiago Silva for his blown drug test last November by throwing him in with Manuwa, but it would be extra nice if Jimi got to fight again before Thiago is cleared in May.

Earlier on the card, Gunnar Nelson outmatched Jorge Santiago but not without offering his fair share of confusion.  Easily up two rounds, Nelson chose to spend the last minute of the fight just standing in front of the reasonably heavy-handed Santiago and ate some heavy shots right at the final bell.  My only real complaint was with his gameplan, though – past that, Nelson’s striking looked sharp and he controlled Santiago on the ground in a way I’ve only seen Demian Maia do before.

Whether it’s fair to compare Nelson to Maia remains to be seen, but he definitely passed his first real test in the UFC and Tim Boetsch would be a stern test for him if they don’t decide to match Nelson against another prospect like Francis Carmont, Ronny Markes or Nick Ring.

Triangle ninja Paul Sass fought on the undercard but wasn’t able to do much from under Danny Castillo after the first round, which he began with a guard pull/flying triangle attempt that he was slammed out of.  He worked actively for heel hooks throughout the round but still lost the round on two of the three scorecards due to Castillo’s top control and ground and pound.

The fight said a lot more about Danny Castillo than it did Sass, so the major cause for alarm here is just the simple reality of Sass’ back-to-back losses which probably won’t earn him a better opponent than TUF Brazil winner Cezar Ferreira or maybe-just-maybe Riki Fukuda.

  • greenseed

    Diabate is a serviceable gatekeeper at 205 but Manuwa looked every which way better and clearly needs a bump in competition. While a fight with Shogun Rua would be a lot of fun, James Te Huna also won on the card and would make a pretty good “matchup for a ground fighter like Nelson. ”

    i think you meant “matchup for a fighter like Manuwa.” in that last sentence but im not sure

    good analysis

  • Nath

    Nelson is a welterweight but all the fights you suggested are middleweights

  • Nath

    Nelson is a welterweight but all the fights you suggested are middleweights.

  • shane

    I think dana white was confusing the sass fight and the grispi fight up in his head when he commented on the scoring. so way I give sass the first round. but I think I give it to grispi right?

  • drunkenjunk

    come on man. Gunnar Nelson is an undersized welterweight. everybody you mentioned for him to fight is a middleweight. did you even watch the fights? you suck.

  • Jim Harbaugh Scramble

    Why would Nelson be fighting 185ers? He fights at 170 and could probably make 155.

  • frickshun

    Does stmx know there are FUCKING WEIGHTCLASSES that prevent some of the suggested retardo match-ups from happening. Maybe the fact that Nelson is 170 or Castillo being @ 155 while Fuck-youda is 185???

  • stmx

    Good catch and thanks a bunch.

  • sandstorm

    wasnt nelson v. santiago at welterweight?

  • VanBurenBoys

    Not sure why you want Gunnar Nelson to fight out of his division to prove his worth

  • frickshun

    Not sure why my last couple of comments are disappearing but does STMX have any interest in checking WEIGHT CLASSES or are we going back to no rules?

  • CAP

    And sorry Boetsch is far up the ladder from Gunner Nelson that makes no sense to me. There used to be a guy that wrote around here that had a four letter name that started with s. He sucked too.

  • frickshun

    WE MODERATE COMMENTS NOW?? Holy shit. I’m about done w/the site if that happens….

  • SST

    OMG! stmx is a retard! at least subo knows there are weight classes in MMA.

  • stmx

    Arlovski vs. Rumble guize, it’s 2013 and weight classes aren’t a thing anymore … ESPECIALLY when you’re fucking up a column!

  • frickshun

    ^^Hey dickface…..I’ll be @ that fight reporting live from 1993.

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