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Opening Round: UFC 136 Fallout

Fans in Houston definitely got their money’s worth over the weekend at UFC 136 and not just because 8/11 bouts went the distance. Rather, the card featured a fantastic comeback in the conclusion of a trilogy, a title-fight no less, as well as the continued ascension of a 25-year old phenom, one of the greatest celebratory speeches in UFC history, a 3:1 underdog pulling off an upset, and some great back-and-forth battles to boot.

Mike Massenzio and Steve Cantwell started things out right with a rumble resembling the main event to a certain extent minus the finish. Cantwell hurt Massenzio early who in turn gutted his way back into contention and eventually pulled out a decision after brutalizing the former WEC champion for the bulk of the second and third rounds. Massenzio almost certainly saved his job with the win while 24-year old Cantwell would be best served by a stint in free agency to polish his skills and re-build his record. The loss to Massenzio was his fourth in a row.

Other UFC 136 fighters I see as potentially having pink-slips headed their way over the next few weeks include Tiequan Zhang and Eric Schafer.

It’s time to give Aaron Simpson another stiff test in the Octagon. He’s won three straight since losing to Chris Leben and Mark Munoz. Tim Boetsch or Jorge Santiago anyone?

Stipe Miocic needs to fully commit and start going with either a flat-top or buzz cut to complete his “Single White Kickboxer”-style transformation into Mirko Filipovic. It wasn’t shocking to see him beat Joey Beltran but the ease in which he handled him at times was definitely a bit eye-opening. Speaking of Beltran, he may only be 3-3 in the UFC but he deserves at least two more goes in the Octagon based on style and tenacity. He comes to fight every single time and hasn’t been finished in more than three years while dishing out a number of TKOs of his own along the way.

Why in the world put Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago as the second fight on Spike TV instead of Anthony Pettis vs. Jeremy Stephens? It seems as though one of the core purposes of airing preliminary pairings is drawing viewership from casual viewers and getting them to cave on forking out some dough for the PPV. That being said, Maia/Santiago might have been a good match-up from a competitive/divisional standpoint but it had very little potential to amaze while few felt Stephens/Pettis wouldn’t be a “Fight of the Night” contender the second it was announced for the event.

I’ll say it right now – Melvin Guillard will never be a great fighter until he gets help with the psychological side of fighting. Being submitted by Joe Lauzon is nothing to be embarrassed by but getting rocked by him, especially when viewed as one of the division’s most explosive strikers, is somewhat inexcusable.

What I won’t say is that I was wrong about Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia even though it was FotN. Their fight did not deserve a PPV slot based purely on their lack of recent success. There’s something to be said for two sloppy strikers throwing haymakers but when it comes to an elite organization, like the UFC, an emphasis should be put on high-level competitors. A barroom brawl does not equate to good MMA.

I have a tumultuous relationship with Chael Sonnen. One day I can’t stand him, the next I want to sing his praises. Silly rants aside, Sonnen is as good a grappler as you’ll find in MMA and proved it once again with Brian Stann playing victim. He made one of the division’s hottest prospects look amateurish at best and, like him or not, you have to give Sonnen his due on that front.

Jose Aldo. Nothing more needs to be said.

They’ve made a movie about Matt Hamill‘s life. A film is also in the works portraying Rich Franklin’s move from math teacher to UFC champion. Now it’s time to put one together about Frankie Edgar. In fact there’s already a book to base it on called “The Little Engine Who Could”. I will never doubt Edgar again, nor will he be an underdog in my book no matter who he faces…except Gilbert Melendez. He can’t beat Melendez, can he? There’s no way, is there? Right? Right?

I dare you to agree with those last few statements and believe it in your heart.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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