Two fighters, and two different definitions of ‘done’. For Wanderlei, he’s not done fighting. Stats freaks will point to last night’s loss as his fifth in six fights, but they ignore the fact that it was only a loss because the judges happened to score it that way. I’m not going to rip into the decision – a coin toss would have been equally accurate – but we all saw the fight and we all saw how Wanderlei did. It seems retarded to bang the retirement drum after that, especially considering that Franklin was moving up to 205 so he’d stop picking off all the contenders in Wand’s new home.
Based on Wand’s performance last night, I’m expecting him to terrorize a huge chunk of the 185 division. The middleweight herd needs thinning out (sickly TUF hang-ons have lasted far too long), and the Axe Murderer is the perfect guy to do it – if his conditioning coaches understand how to get him to that weight. They seem pretty obsessed with dressing him up in scuba gear and dunking him in garbage cans full of ice. Perhaps a few tips from American Top Team – who somehow manage to shoehorn Thiago Alves and Ben Saunders into the welterweight division – might help?
As for Cain Velasquez, he’s not done cooking yet. He dominated Kongo something fierce, but was too cautious on the ground and too sloppy on his feet. If Kongo had even been barely capable of keeping the fight standing up, it would not have been a good night for Velasquez. MMA Math is notoriously unreliable, but as fans all we can do is look at different aspects of a fighter’s game and match them up against other fighters. Last night, Cain showed some worrisome holes that a lot of other top heavyweights could exploit.
That’s not to say I’m off the Brown Pride train … as far as fighting Kongo goes, there’s no better way to beat him than to take him down and tenderize him for 15 minutes. You heard his corner tell him several times: position first. He wasn’t there to bang on the feet and he wasn’t there to try and finish Kongo with a sub. He needed that motherfucking win, and if that meant pinning Kongo down for three rounds then that’s what he was going to do. Different fights with different opponents will yield different results simply because a different game plan would be employed.
Still, I think it’d be smart of the UFC to bounce Cain around at the higher heavyweight levels for a few more fights until he has a chance to get comfortable. Lots of people saw a future UFC heavyweight champ last night. I saw a lot of work that had to be done first, and no guarantees.