The California Kid and Mighty Mouse steal the show at UFC on FOX 9

| December 14, 2013 | 10:05 pm | Reply

Demetrious Johnson UFC on FOX 9Demetrious Johnson showed his Power at UFC on FOX 9, while Urijah Faber cemented himself as the #1 contender for the bantamweight title.

One of the best fight cards of the year panned out to be exactly as strong as billed, showing that the best fights really do come from the lighter weights. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s look at the fighters who stole the spotlight tonight.

Zach Makovsky: An old Bellator and RFA fighter, but a new UFC contender, Zach Makovsky showed what a little weight cut can do for your career. Known for his snappy single leg takedowns, Makovsky is starting to enjoy a size advantage now and showing he has some tools he couldn’t show in previous outings. While he was hardly invincible in there tonight, he did show promise against a gamer in Jorgensen, and his left hand is coming along nicely considering he hardly used to strike at all only a few years ago. While I don’t think he cracks into the true elite of the division, he should make a great elite level gatekeeper for the next year and beyond.

Bobby Green: I said in my fight report that Green’s speed and outside striking were poison for Healy, and it proved just so tonight. Green is a more composed version of Melvin Guillard and that mix of athletic ability and pacing make for a tough combination, especially for a fairly one-dimensional fighter like Healy. Green did show a tremendous weakness to the counter tonight, as his hands down and chin up method of retreat will get him clobbered against a faster fighter. Time will tell if he can iron out that mistake, or only notices it when it costs him a fight.

Edson Barboza: Speaking of that flaw, here’s Edson Barboza. Barboza is one of, if not the best striker in MMA, but I find it disconcerting that he was nearly finished by Castillo in the same way he was finished by Varner. Not covering yourself on the retreat is a major flaw borne of overconfidence or laziness, and it’s something that Barboza should have drilled time and again after that Varner loss. The fact Castillo caught him three times with a similar rushing hook shows Barboza may have stagnated in training and needs some new partners to force this issue in the gym. Until then, keen fighters will continue to cue into this chink in the armor, against a fighter who really should have no weakness at all standing.

Ryan LaFlare UFC on FOX 9

Ryan LaFlare at the UFC on FOX 9 weigh-ins

Ryan LaFlare: LaFlare makes it onto my list twice in two months for a reason. He’s just that good.  Taking on a Welterweight tank in McGee, LaFlare showed further development in his striking, using a wide variety of strikes and angle to frustrate and damage McGee.  It was his takedown and takedown defense that truly impressed though, hitting all manner of dumps on McGee, while forcing reversals constantly when McGee was on the attack. LaFlare seems to live for this balancing act, never really holding position in the traditional sense, but floating over an opponent and looking for a sub. On the defense end, he’s keenly aware of his opponent’s center of gravity and is always applying a foot or hand at the right time to help carry them past a solid position with the extra momentum of the takedown. This isn’t going to work against true dynamos of the grappling world like Jake Shields or Demian Maia, but it shows he has a unique tool that can be crafted to do so much more.

Urijah Faber: A fighter whom will be criminally underappreciated by future generations, Faber had one of his best performances in his career, taking out a dangerous Michael McDonald with relative ease.  The final sequence of this fight is what legends are made of, as Faber has so much mental and physical alacrity, he was able to land on McDonald at a full run with perfect angles. Hitting a moving target is hard. Repeatedly hitting a moving target perfectly while you yourself are moving is damn near impossible. Looking improved despite the years, his next shot should be for the title, and could well prove to be an upset if he can bring these new skills into that bout.

Demetrious Johnson: I never thought I’d be writing about a brutal KO by Mighty Mouse, but sure enough, here we are. There isn’t much to say about DJ that hasn’t been said before, but he continues to improve, and despite having the build of a 115lber, he’s easily the best Flyweight in the world. With a division like this, I don’t see a point in having DJ stick around at 125lbs, and think a move back to Bantamweight makes the most sense for the time being, letting Flyweight percolate for a bit and create a more interesting landscape.

Click here to see pictures from the UFC on FOX 9 weigh-ins.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Featured, MMA, UFC

Mike Hammersmith (Featured Staff Writer)

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

Leave a Reply