I almost hate admitting this, but I have been bored with MMA as of late. The UFC’s overwhelming slate of shows has given me little cause for excitement. While I understand their business strategy is to create new stars, appealing content extends beyond merely two people fighting in a cage.
We’ve been spoiled for so long with a plethora of intriguing personalities. Gladiators like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and Tank Abbott introduced us to this combative spectacle. At the same time, warriors such as Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, BJ Penn, and Matt Hughes ushered in the sports boom period.
The new generation of fighters have evolved quite nicely, but besides Ronda Rousey, no one else has mass appeal. People want to like Jon Jones, but his Ill-mannered and disingenuous personality is a turnoff. Cain Velasquez, Demetrious Johnson, and Chris Weidman seem like the type of athletes you’d want your kids to look up to. Unfortunately, they lack that larger than life persona.
UFC 181 rejuvenated my excitement for Mixed Martial Arts. The event had everything you could ask for and then some, and I wrote a column about it at What Culture.com titled 5 Things We Learned From UFC 181.
UFC 181 features two championship bouts to close out the promotions pay-per-view calendar for the year. With an unprecedented 45 events scheduled for 2015, this card will go a long way in bringing clarity at the top of the welterweight and lightweight division. From top to bottom, this looks to be the most intriguing and action-packed card of the year.
– Tony Ferguson vs. Abel Trujillo
This is a fight of technique versus raw aggression. Ferguson is very skilled, and Abel Trujillo made some serious noise with his win over Jamie Varner that turned into a violent slugfest. Ferguson cannot win a firefight and has to dictate the pace with takedowns. I believe that Trujillo will land big shots, thus forcing Ferguson out of his wheelhouse.
Weirdly, we live in a world where Georges St. Pierre isn’t the UFC welterweight champion. Personal issues outside of the octagon altered the one constant that seemed like a sure thing. Robbie Lawler and Johnny Hendricks will go to war for the vacated title, and a victory for both fighters would make a remarkable story. A win for Hendricks gives him what many feel is rightfully his, while a Lawler victory would be the perfect bookend to a bitter-sweet journey.
Bouts that promise a slugfest to fail to live up to the billing. I believe UFC 171 will deliver everything a fight fan can ask for. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I’m about this fight. However, you can read about it at Camel Clutch Blog.com
There has been little to zero attention on tomorrow nights Strikeforce event from the Rose Garden in Portland, OR. Sure, it’s not the sexiest line up of fights but it should provide some exciting action and answer some intriguing questions both in and outside of the cage. Showtime is really to blame for the lack of promotion and it’s shame because these fights are just wasting their time putting their bodies through a grueling training camp for little pay and even smaller recognition.
Robbie Lawler (19-8) vs. Lorenz Larkin (12-0): Lawler has a difficult time with technical fighters. Larkin often deviates from his technical prowess and in that, Lawler, the veteran, will find his opening to catch Larkin on the jaw.