UFC 205 was a great card, and while it’s behind us by over a week, I wanted to use this blog to talk about a couple of things that caught my eye.
There were several moments that stuck out to me, and I wanted to make sure I jotted them down before they become vapors amid an ocean of breaking news.
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson
I gave a pretty detailed breakdown of this fight leading into that Saturday night, and the fight went down pretty much as I figured it would. It was a little disheartening to see Woodley have so much success with his wrestling, only to see him struggle for the remainder of the bout.
I know things change when fatigue sets in. Whatever gameplan you might have had going in pretty much goes out the window once you start getting tired. He might have felt that he didn’t have enough energy to take him down. That happens quite often, but he found that level of success early in the fight, and if he’d just taken him down again and stayed on top like I know he could have, he wouldn’t have lost so much energy.
He still has some issues with allowing his opponents to dictate the range and pace of the fights, and he has a hard time when he’s being backed up. All that said, I feel he won the fight. I’m not crying over the decision being a draw, but I do feel he did enough to demonstrably win the scorecards for rounds 1, 2 and 4.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor
This is another one I broke down heading into fight night, and again, an instance where the wrestler abandoned his plan. Obviously, Conor did a great job. He did what he needed to do and utilized his strengths—mainly his excellent foot movement and quick hands—and caught Eddie in literally every exchange. It didn’t matter if Eddie was coming in, feinting…whatever.
I was yelling at my TV, wondering why Eddie was circling to his right the whole time (does that sound like someone we know??) and not trying to take him down. Eddie’s a damn good wrestler and could’ve taken Conor down if he’d went after it, but the way he was fighting—heading straight into Conor’s left hand instead of staying on the outside to Conor’s right—was exasperating to watch.
I’ve seen him execute a good gameplan before, and it’s not like he doesn’t know how to do it. It’s just a matter of pulling the trigger and getting it done that night. That night, it was like he was a deer in the headlights.
Conor fights much more calm now, much more focused. In that first Diaz fight, he was a little too excited to get it finished, and kind of shot his wad. He seems to have learned from that mistake and fights a very smart fight these days. I’ve got to give him credit, he’s definitely shown improvement in other aspects of his fight game throughout his last few fights. He’s going to be much harder to beat in the future.
This last fight was actually not the measuring stick for that improvement, though. His defense looked as sharp as it always does, but Eddie’s offense didn’t look good at all. We’ll just have to see how he does against someone that can actually implement their gameplan against him. Only time will tell.
As far as Conor’s demands of the company, it never hurts to ask. He’s a little crazy to think they’ll give him a piece of the pie. Over the years, he’s demanded more money and they give it to him. I think that’s more likely to happen—more money—than an actual stake in the company.
He is a big draw and he’s used his mouth to create an audience for himself and he’s backed it up. Those two elements came together to make him what he is. The thing to remember here is that he’s still improving.