The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
The last MMA column in The News recounted the Super Bowl weekend UFC 169 event
and how, like the Super Bowl, it was not the most thrilling by far. A
record-setting ten out of the twelve bouts on the card went to judges’
decision. Fans enjoy the emphatic submission or knockout finish to a bout and
that occurred only twice at UFC 169.
In an uncanny coincidence the following UFC event, UFC Fight Night 36, was a
exact carbon copy of UFC 169:
• It tied for most number of decisions with ten out of twelve bouts.
• All seven undercard bouts went to decision.
• Only two out of the five bouts on the main card ended with a finish (one KO,
one TKO at UFC 169; one submission, one TKO at UFC FN 36).
• UFC 169 broke the record for longest-lasting UFC event at two hours 51
minutes. UFC FN 36 broke that record at two hours and 53 minutes.
What is causing this recent shift towards decision-laden UFC events? Has mixed
martial arts evolved to the point where parity has been met?
MMA is the ultimate chess match. Perhaps fighters' offense and defense has advanced to
the point of being more prone to reach a stalemate. Has the ever-increasing
number of UFC events held each year, and larger pool of fighters led to this
phenomenon? Are fighters fighting not to lose rather than to win as a game plan
to move up in the rankings?
Or is it simply just a coincidence that has occurred for no rhyme or reason?
Like believers and detractors of global warming being or not being part of the
natural ebb and flow of climate change, and there being man-made contributors to
it, so is the debate on what is causing the recent increase in fighters not
being able to stop each other.
Time will tell. Back-to-back MMA events are too small of a sample size to
determine if it’s a long-term trend. Looking at more events going forward may
provide answers to these questions. Whatever the case, it should be easier to
determine than the decades, centuries and millennia needed to definitively
understand climate change.
UFC 171, slated for March 15 in Dallas, has taken shape and the fight card has
been finalized. Dallasite Johny Hendricks will have home court advantage as he
faces MMA veteran Robbie Lawler for Georges “Rush” St-Pierre’s vacated UFC
In fact, the entire card is welterweight-filled with many top fighters in that
weight class fighting for contention.
Former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit and former Strikeforce
welterweight challenger Tyron Woodley will go head-to-head in the co-main event.
Former Strikeforce middleweight champion now UFC welterweight Jake Shields will
face-off against former Bellator middleweight champion now UFC welterweight
Southeast Texas fans may remember Lombard for his emphatic
knockout of Nate Marquardt at UFC 166 Houston last fall.
Lastly, to round out what has become a welterweight showcase in Dallas, the
Ultimate Fighter 17 champion, Kelvin Gastelum, will square off against the
ever-dangerous Rick Story. People will remember Gastelum as the man who stopped
Port Neches-Groves alum Brian Melancon last summer at UFC Fight Night 27 giving
Melancon his only UFC loss after a successful UFC victory that enlivened Golden
Triangle MMA fans.
I will be on hand to cover the UFC 171 event, providing a more in-depth
preview and recap of the showdowns up in Big D.
David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at DavidEstrada@DavidEstrada.com