UFC 166: What an Amazing Night of Fights

| October 20, 2013 | 9:15 am | Reply

UFC 166 boxDana White and Joe Rogan declared UFC 166 the greatest night of fights ever, and I’m inclined to agree with those gentlemen. There was a ton of action and amazing performances across the board, so he’s what stuck out to me for the night.

Andre Fili: I’ve seen Fili fight several times before, but he looked like he’d tapped into something new and amazing tonight. Firing piston-like punches with an incredibly rooted base, Fili hit like a truck inside the pocket, chewing up a game Larsen in nearly every exchange. While there’s a few pieces to the puzzle not in place yet, Fili has great potential, and I look forward to seeing him with a full and proper training camp.

Adlan Amagov: An interesting fighter along with the rest of the UFC Russians who have made their home stateside, Amagov needed little time to put Waldburger flat-out with some dirty boxing.  Russian’s use a particular striking style from the art of Systema, and this was on full display in the finishing volley of strikes. The art uses a loose muscle striking style, where the limb tenses on impact, striking like a short whip, and allowing strikes to land from unconventional angles. Do you tend to bust your hand doing this? Ask Fedor. The proof of its effectiveness was written all over Waldburger’s face however, and Amagov’s ease of execution makes him an interesting welterweight foe.

CB Dollaway: Garbage decision aside, this was the greatest performance we’ve ever seen from Dollaway. Having always been a talented fighter, Dollaway has spent considerable time working his traditional boxing, and it showed in two facets in this fight. One is that he had some long-range offense for once, which is part of the issue he’s had setting up shots in the past, or keeping aggressive fighters at a manageable range. The other is that Dollaway had a major boost in confidence in this fight, which was his other major sticking area in his career. Of course, the cockiness, while effective in this particular bout, is a recipe for disaster against the wrong opponent, and we’ll need to see where this goes long-term. Even still, it was excellent work by Dollaway and a strong showing in terms of his resurgence in the division.

Diego Sanchez: Melendez won handily, but it’s Sanchez that stole the show. He’s had one of the oddest up and down journeys of any fighter, with weight issues, injury, camp changes, and just being a crazy bastard, but there are two undeniable truths about Sanchez. One, he’s the greatest third round fighter of all time. No one is as consistently down on the score cards and looking to turn up the heat like Sanchez, and while it hasn’t won him many fights, it’s kept him gainfully employed and bringing fans back for more.

Two, he’ll be the first high-profile deaths in MMA. I’m not talking about in the ring, but his often erratic mental states and a potential early onset of pugilistic dementia make him a prime candidate for suicide or overdose. People are worried about Dos Santos after his fight, but Dos Santos was making witty banter with Rogan and looked no worse for wear. Sanchez was barely coherent. Evan Tanner wasn’t known to the TUF generation, but if Sanchez checks himself out of this universe; it’ll be a dark day for the sport indeed. With luck, he’ll be matched softly for a time and exit the sport in one piece, but I don’t have a good feeling about Sanchez going forward.

Daniel Cormier: It says a lot about a fighter when they choose to get some ring time in as a co-main event, but that’s exactly what Cormier did against Roy Nelson. Using a sound kick arsenal, some upper body evasion and his bread and butter wrestling, Cormier effectively shut Nelson down throughout the entire fight and set up his move to Light Heavyweight. It’s hard to gauge how Cormier will do at a lower weight because the body structure of his opponents will be so drastically different, allowing him to work his full wrestling game which is currently hindered by his short arms and the wide build of his opponents. With a tune-up or two at 205lbs before a possible bout with Jones, we’ll see exactly what he can do against men his own size.

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos: It was a fight with both men at their best, and hats off to Velasquez for being the clear winner. Velasquez used a brilliant game plan of eating up space and trying to ruin JDS’ arms with constant clinch work, but JDS used a risky play in being ultra-conservative.  People called it being lazing on my twitter feed, but the strategy actually made sense, keeping his strikes crisp whenever he could make some space, rather than blowing out the limbs with uselessly fishing for underhooks. It was a risky gambit that came close to paying off several times, as JDS landed those crushing short elbows, but Velasquez pressure and strike output were too much. JDS remains the second best fighter in the division, yet both men are heads and shoulders above anyone else at 265lbs, meaning we may see this again in a year or so. Fine by me though, they’re worthy adversaries and always worth the price of admission.

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Category: MMA, Opinion, 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.

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