All the hot takes, insight, and pop culture references you need for UFC on Fox 24 in on tweetdown.
I need to start this article off with a bizarre discussion of pure minutiae. On Friday I did a bad thing. Phil and I wrote a preview for Rose Namajunas vs. Michelle Waterson, and the choice of photo ended of being a point of contention. It was a fight between Rose and Waterson, and the only person visible in the lead art was Paige Van Zant.
I don’t mention this to publicize my critic, using this platform to garner sympathy like some classic narcissist. I mention it because it’s completely valid. Details are important. Even something as simple as photo selection tells a story, and to that end, I’d like to tell you, dear reader, another one.
“DJ’s the man! So why the hell are we looking at Wilson Reis’ busted ass face??”
Well allow me to retort.
Demetrious Johnson is, indeed, the man. But perhaps Wilson Reis, in that final breath of octagon humanity, felt something more than volition. Once proud and resourceful, in the aftermath Reis sought only aid, and reflection. Like Billy in Predator, who’s asked what is hunting him and his fellow commandos, the feeling of solemn revelation demands only our resignation. For fighters, the resignation that DJ ain’t no man. No, sir. Demetrious is the hand every fighter feels on their neck. That grip is the cosmic arena no flyweight can hope to master. Not even for a moment. They’re all gonna die (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Show Him the Money
Demetrious Johnson wants that million dollar pay day. pic.twitter.com/YmOfB44lym
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) April 16, 2017
Hyperbole aside, Johnson put on an absolute clinic. Clinic is too tame a word. This was aciurgy.
The knee to the body, the ground and pound, everything Johnson does he does as more than simply a pugilist, but as a licensed poet. I’ll say no more except to note this talk of “GOAT”. Personally, I’m fine with calling DJ the best thus far. Every fighter can be hyper-critiqued when it comes to their resume. Or some of their performances. But DJ is the only champion who dominates in a way that deeply reflects mixed martial arts. To the extent that MMA has a soul, and that its nu-metal just bleed heart approximates a sweet science, no fighter better reflects this mixed martial arts-qualia, if you will.
Johnson is beating opponents at their peak in dominating fashion. And he’ll probably break Anderson Silva’s defense record.
As far as Reis goes, what is there to say? He was a good fighter facing down a legendary one.
.@rosenamajunas @Izi_Garcia @mma_gifs_ @ZPGIFs @MiddleEasy That choke was like out of a horror movie! Look at the [email protected] @mma_gifs_ @Izi_Garcia @ZPGIFs @MiddleEasy pic.twitter.com/o8b3V6A9Pz
— Fury’s Fight Picks (@FurysFightPicks) April 16, 2017
This was, frankly, a scary sight. You can actually pinpoint the moment Waterson realizes she’s stuck in Carcosa with just her and the Yellow King.
This was a critical fight for Namajunas, who I felt would have found herself in quite the foxhole had she lost. Instead she dominated in brutal fashion. And now she’s on her way to a title shot.
It’s well deserved. She has one of the tougher styles for Joanna to deal with. However, Joanna herself will have a challenge with the Andrade bout. Needless to say, the women’s strawweight continues to get more interesting.
Robert Whittaker! #UFCKansasCity pic.twitter.com/JCxdeKzIJB
— Josh Sánchez (@jnsanchez) April 16, 2017
If Jacare wanted to take that next step, he was gonna have to do it passing a proper striking test. Simply put, he failed. Jacare will remain a presence in the division because he’s a gifted athlete on top of a gifted grappler (not to mention, more durable than I ever expected after watching the punishment he took), but this is a step back in a career that is entering its twilight.
As for Whittaker, he’s been on a ridiculous tear since his loss to Thompson at welterweight. It’s clear he was cutting too much weight. Going up has allowed his speed to be much more pronounced at 185, and it’s been showing ever since. His left hook is just unbelievably quick, and he chambers with equal speed moving forward or backward. It’s just too bad Michael Bisping has Vin Diesel movies and Captain America stars to fight.
The other talking about, of course, was Mario Yamasaki, who appears to be perpetually held hostage by Satanists asking him to make a blood sacrifice.
Stephens is BEATING THE SHIT out of an invisible guy six inches in front of Moicano. #UFCKansasCity
— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) April 16, 2017
Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t expect much out of this fight. I saw some people debating the scorecards and whatnot, which I find shocking. See Snowden’s tweet. I don’t know if it’s just a minor bitterness I feel toward Stephens, who I feel has been pampered beyond what is even permissible, or what, but he did absolute nothing in my view except move forward and terrorize the surrounding wind.
Sure, Moicano “ran” a few times, but I felt like it was pretty obvious what was happening: Stephens was missing, and Moicano was landing. Intensity doesn’t mean efficiency, and that’s all Stephens could manage.
“When Nelson’s coming on to you, it’s pretty hot thing.”
— Wesley Riddle (@AllThatMMA) April 15, 2017
I’m not sure we saw the best of Alexander Volkov (at minimum, not what was intended in the above quote), but I know we saw the last of Roy Nelson, premiere heavyweight. Nelson fought a bizarre bout. Making faces like he was Frank Shamrock taking Bas palms to the eyes, and flowing with Tae Bo movement made it painfully obvious how done Nelson is in this sport. Even his vaunted power looked perfunctory. This is heavyweight, so who knows. I expect everything and nothing from the sport’s worst division.
Persistence Precedes Essence
Duquesnoy came up doing Combat Sambo originally, idolized Fedor. Had to Macgyver MMA camps at first because sport is illegal in France
— T. P. Grant (@TP_Grant) April 15, 2017
Tom Duquesnoy is a star in the making with all of the accompanying hype that stars in the making generate. Unlike Sage or Paige, there is nothing manufactured about Duquesnoy, except maybe his skin tone and preening. He through elbows as vicious and bloody as you’ll see in MMA, and did it while overcoming a little adversity. The future is bright for Duquesnoy, but please, not Thomas Almeida just yet. I’d love it as much as the next fan, but for the sake of their health, give them just a little more time.