It might not have escaped you, gentle reader, that I haven’t updated this blog for a couple of UFC’s-worth of events. I’d like to say it’s because I got all confused about my feelings on Jon Jones, but that sounds weird - so instead I’ll simply admit that I’m busy and lazy and get on with this three-in-one special. Bonus: it means less wittering about the undercards.
So what are my feelings about Jon Jones? Everyone else was pretty quick to anoint him Best Fighter On The Planet after his handling of Lyoto Machida, and I certainly think - without getting into the semantics too much - he’s going to be the hardest to beat. Rangy limbs, demonic greco throws and katana-sharp-elbows are a tough combination for anybody to get around, and once he’s decided to dump you on the floor and start slicing your forehead open it’s pretty tough to stop him. But is the most complete fighter around? No. Machida took the first round, Jones hasn’t suddenly learned to love being punched in the face since the Rampage fight, and for all anyone knows he can’t fight off his back. I’d say the best shot anyone has of beating him is marching forward throwing solid punches straight at his chin, and coincidentally that’s the only gameplan Dan Henderson has ever employed. I’m not sure Hendo can win it, but I think he’s in with a chance. I was wrong about every other fight on the main card, so all I’ll say is that I was pretty sad when Nogueira’s arm snapped.
Strikeforce: Melendez vs Masvidal didn’t do anyone any favours. Noons looked terrible, but I’m still glad that he won, because taunting your opponent and smiling isn’t a valid way to score points. Mousasi showed that he can still wreck mid-carders, but didn’t do anything that made it look like he can beat a really tenacious wrestler. Melendez looked like he was out to send a message to the UFC lightweights by winning a match with nothing but punches - and for two rounds he looked like he might manage it. He’s so superior to Masvidal on the ground, though, that I have no idea why he didn’t take it there eventually. There’s a complete dearth of challengers for him in Strikeforce, but ending a title defence looking smashed up isn’t going to impress the UFC’s lightweight roster.
As for UFC 141: please let me be the first to say that I will watch either of the Diaz brothers fight anyone, anywhere, ever. Usually, super-hyped grudge matches disappoint - neither man wants to lose, so both play it excruciatingly safe, dry-humping against the fence or exchanging lacklustre jabs for 15 minutes. Fortunately, Nate Diaz does not fight that way - he’d rather throw a hundred straight punches at your face every round, and if he has to take some kicks, so be it. Apart from being a fascinating test of Calzhage-style slapboxing against very technical Muay Thai, this was just a fantastic tearup - the way Cerrone visibly wilted as Diaz flipped him the bird before the final round was a testament to the power of the 209. Diaz vs the winner of Lauzon/Pettis for a title shot, surely.
And that was it for Brock Lesnar. Better men than me have deconstructed his career in ridiculous detail, so I’ll just say that anyone who thought he ‘quit’ in that fight has simply never been kicked in the liver with any kind of appreciable force. I have, and I crumpled exactly like he did, and I wasn’t getting kicked by a 6’5” horse-meat-eating behemoth. As for quitting his career, I wish more fighters could get out as soon as their decline starts, with a massive sackful of cash, and live happily ever after. I hope Lesnar has a nice time out in backwoods Dakota, and that the wildlife can handle his wrath. Adieu, big man.