Everyone’s busy talking about Fedor this and Anderson that, throwing Arlovski love and Barnett respect. But what about all the losers coming out of last night’s fights? Let’s talk about the other side of the eqaution and what these fights meant for them.
Tim Sylvia: People didn’t like Tim Sylvia before this fight, but at least they respected his abilities. Now he’s not even going to have that. How long will it be before people bring Tim Sylvia up without mentioning that humiliating 30 second ass whupping he just received from Fedor? Even if there’s technically ‘no shame in losing to the best’, there is shame from getting absolutely routed on the feet and then finished on the ground in less time than it takes to read this paragraph.
The fight raises big questions about Big Tim’s heart when things turn sour. You get the feeling that as soon as the fight went to the ground, he gave up all hope of winning and tapped out before a true fight-ending choke was even locked in. Out of all the outcomes to the fight that I was expecting, seeing Tim dropped and choked in under a minute was not one of them. It’s impossible not to adjust your mental ranking of him as a result of this fight, and unless he comes back and rapes someone harder than he just got raped, this could be a fight that largely defines the rest of his career.
Ben Rothwell: The more rust Andrei Arlovski shook off, the worse Ben Rothwell looked through that fight. He didn’t look bad, persay. Just outmatched, and that was while Arlovski felt out his opponent and got comfortable in the ring. Once he realized Rothwell didn’t have anything to answer his striking power, Arlovski went off on Rothwell and put together a combo at the end of round 2 that belonged in a goddamn kung fu movie, followed by a third round knockout.
The big question for the night was if Rothwell was able to hang with the big boys or if a career in the IFL’s middling heavyweight division had raised his stock past it’s true worth. While I don’t think anyone is going to count Ben Rothwell out after last night’s fight, I think the burden is now squarely on his shoulders to prove that he belongs in people’s top ten lists. Lots of people were pegging Rothwell as their pick for upset of the night. Maybe if the Arlovski we saw against Werdum had shown up, Ben might have been able to take him. But last night we saw Arlovski shifting gears until he was back in the same form that made him one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. Rothwell didn’t stand a chance.
James Irvin: The guy’s got knockout power, but one thing you’ll never say about James Irvin is “That guy always finds a way to win”. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Whether he’s blowing his knee out in the octagon or taking illegal blows to the face, any time ANYTHING happens to Irvin, it finishes him off. This is a pretty big problem if your gameplan involves ‘taking 30 punches to land 10 of your own’. In last night’s case, Irvin took one punch and ended up on the canvas.
It’s really too bad for Irvin. While few people expected him to win, many were hoping he would at least show some mettle and put up a good fight. But now he will barely register as a blip on the record of Anderson Silva … the first opponent at 205, but just another victim like everyone else.