Making the Grade: Passes/Fails from UFC Fight Night San Jose
Robbie Lawler became No. 1 contender in the welterweight division by beating Matt Brown. Anthony Johnson sent Antonio Rogerio Nogueira’s head back to Brazil. Dennis Bermudez and Bobby Green emerged as legitimate title threats.
You already know all about who won and lost Saturday night. But at Haymaker we’re concerned with going a little deeper — beyond just the results. Here’s what we took away from UFC Fight Night: Lawler vs. Brown:
It’s not like Jorge Masvidal has ever been shy, but he turned things up to 11 this weekend and that’s going to help him moving forward. Even before he beat Daron Cruickshank on Saturday night, Masvidal called out Donald Cerrone, saying a fight with the popular "Cowboy" would be "easy money." Masvidal doubled down on that in the post-fight press conference, asking again for Cerrone. This is how you get big fights, ladies and gentleman.
Cerrone says he would fight anyone and he’s not lying. But don’t think it doesn’t stick in his craw that Masvidal is publicly slamming him. "Cowboy" is a prideful guy. Many people call him out, but Masvidal is doing so with force. It would not be stunning to see the UFC book that fight for UFC 178 on Sept. 27. If two guys are asking to fight each other, it makes the very difficult jobs of Joe Silva and Sean Shelby that much easier.
War is hell
Joe Rogan asking Noad Lahat about going back to Israel to serve in his country’s military made more than a few people uncomfortable Saturday night. The Israel-Palestine conflict is complicated and political and a UFC broadcast isn’t really the place to be debating it. But credit Lahat for being incredibly classy in answering the questions after he beat Steven Siler.
Lahat could not have carried himself any better. Basically, his message was that he doesn’t want to go back to take part in a military conflict. He would much prefer to do his job, which is fighting in the UFC. But it’s part of his responsibility toward his country. No matter whose side you’re on in the conflict, it’s hard to argue with his point: "As a combat soldier, there’s nothing I want more than peace."
Not easy being Green
Bobby Green has been through the ringer the last few months. His brother, Mitchell Davis Jr., was murdered in May in what Green suspects is some kind of gang retribution. One of the main reasons why "King" took Saturday’s fight on short notice against Josh Thomson is that he wanted the spotlight, on FOX, to tell everyone that Davis Jr. was not directly involved with a criminal element and that he was a family man. Green only had nine days to train for one of the best lightweights in the world.
Green got his chance to do that, wearing a hoodie emblazoned with Davis Jr.’s name at weigh-ins and while walking to the Octagon. He also spoke about his brother at the post-fight press conference. Oh and by the way, Green beat Thomson by split decision for the biggest victory of his career. What a way to cap what has been an emotional few weeks and months.
The rout stuff
Patrick Cummins did tool Kyle Kingsbury for three straight rounds. But were all of them 10-8? Judge Marcos Rosales thought so. We don’t recall ever seeing a 30-24 score before. Usually, when a fight is that lopsided, it gets finished. Cummins didn’t really come that close to putting Kingsbury away. Maybe the second round was 10-8, but the others were certainly not. Probably not close, either.
UFC president Dana White joked that we won’t see a 30-24 again unless someone dies. Alone, 10-8 rounds are pretty rare. There should definitely be more of those, but let’s not start handing them out like candy. Cummins outwrestled Kingsbury (who retired afterward) very badly, but he didn’t do the kind of damage that would necessitate 10-8 three times. Maybe Rosales is just a patron of Cummins’ former coffee shop in Dana Point, Calif.
Can we please get Joanna Jedrzejcyzk a nickname? It’s hard enough for us to write. We couldn’t imagine being Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan trying to pronounce it. If we were the play-by-play guy on the next event she’s fighting at, we would call in sick. That is quite the burden. Goldberg and Rogan were so thrown off by that haphazard mess of consonants that they said Jedrzejcyzk-Juliana Lima was the first women’s strawweight fight in UFC history when it was really the second.
A nickname would really help. The Jedi? Double J? Something. Jedrzejcyzk is actually quite good. She beat up Lima impressively with some high-level Muay Thai striking. But if she’s going to market herself to an American audience, she needs something a little catchier. Brazilians do it all the time and their names are relatively phonetic. All we’re asking for is something that doesn’t make us sound like we have a Polish kielbasa in our mouths when we’re saying it.
Main event weirdness
One of the best fights of the year was inches away from being a complete disaster. Maybe twice. In the third round, Robbie Lawler landed a hard kick and Matt Brown folded up. Referee John McCarthy stepped in and, judging by Brown’s reaction, momentarily stopped the action, believing Brown had been nailed below the belt. Replays showed that the blow was clean, but Brown sold it like he got caught in the groin.
It was very reminiscent of the Atlantic City event when Donald Cerrone landed a body kick to Jim Miller’s gut and referee Dan Miragliotta ruled that it was low. Luckily, in both cases, it didn’t end up mattering. Then, late in the fifth round, Lawler hit Brown with a head kick when Brown was clearly on the ground. Brown was dropped, but (chin made of steel and all) got back up and the two exchanged to end the fight. Imagine if an illegal head kick was the thing to end that bout? That would have been so incredibly anti-climactic.
What could possibly go wrong at a weigh-in? It seems pretty straight forward, right? On Friday, it wasn’t. Matt Brown and Juliana Lima both missed weight and what happened after that is open to interpretation. Brown was advised by a California State Athletic Commission doctor to not continue cutting weight. Brown thought the doctor meant he was not allowed to weigh-in again in the two hours allotted. So, Brown stopped trying to cut altogether.
When the UFC learned about what happened, UFC president Dana White argued with CSAC officials that Brown should not be fined 20 percent of his purse, as mandated, because the doctor was not clear with him. As he usually does, White won the argument and Brown did not have to forfeit any of his prize money.
The Lima situation was different. She was told by doctors she absolutely could not cut anymore and the CSAC ruled that she would not be allowed to weigh-in again. Officials stopped her when she continued to cut after coming in two pounds over. The weird part was that the CSAC did let her step on the scale again (well before the two hours was up), though it was unofficial. How strange. Lima was not fined either, though CSAC executive officer Andy Foster told FOX Sports on Friday evening that she would be.
Who is at fault for here? Probably all parties. A commission needs to be absolutely, 100 percent clear in communicating information to the fighters. This is about health. By that same token, it’s up to the competitors to know what their rights are. But hey, this wouldn’t have even been a thing if Brown and Lima just made weight in the first place like they should have.