Lesnar turns heel! USA over UK! Mark Coleman: It's alive!
For all the hype, UFC 100 performed respectably, and inside the MMA community, actually exceeded realistic expectations considering all the marketing that went into it. For the first time in the UFC in recent history, a title fight went five rounds and was entertaining (Note: Anderson Silva's recent bout clearly not included). George St. Pierre dominated Thiago Alves so efficiently that there is almost a lack of future contenders that viewers will see as legitimate to Pierre's welterweight throne. St. Pierre is to the welterweight division as is The Undertaker to Wrestlemania.
If you were out with friends or simply socializing somewhere across America as I was during the event, you know that emotions were riding as high as the Revolutionary War for the Dan Henderson/Michael Bisping clinic. I suspected Henderson might simply play Bisping's game better mixed in with superior wrestling en route to a unanimous decision, but ended up with a knockout that emphatically sent Bisping back down the ladder. I'm guessing that Dana White was rooting for Bisping to come out victorious in order to set up a huge UK-hosted title fight between he and Anderson Silva, but the former Pride champion ended any chance of that emphatically.
And in a main event where the post-fight dramatics nearly overshadowed the bout itself, Brock Lesnar cemented himself as a legitimate MMA heavyweight, unifying the UFC Heavyweight Title in his dominating victory over Frank Mir. Lesnar used good posturing along with an overwhelming strength advantage to turn Mir's face into silly putty, eventually forcing referee Herb Dean to stop the fight after Lesnar started going Donkey Kong on Mir in the second round. Lesnar followed up with a post-fight interview that interesting to say the least.
The more important ramifications are similar to St. Pierre's case: Who's next for Lesnar? The winner of the Cain Velasquez/Shane Carwin fight upcoming is sure to get a title shot, but Lesnar is bigger, has at least equal wrestling ability, and his striking game is more advanced than Velasquez standing or on the ground as far as I can see. Dana White claims that the UFC will make a strong push for Fedor when his contract expires after fighting Josh Barnett next month, so things may yet get interesting.
Here's a look at the results of my predictions, with correct winners in bold.
Brock Lesnar v. Frank Mir
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Dong Hyun Kim v. TJ Grant
Winner: Dong Hyun Kim
Mac Danzig v. Jim Miller
Winner: Jim Miller
Mark Coleman v. Stephan Bonnar
Winner: Stephan Bonnar
Jon Fitch v. Paulo Thiago
Winner: Jon Fitch
Georges St-Pierre v. Thiago Alves
Winner: Georges St-Pierre
Dan Henderson v. Michael Bisping
Winner: Dan Henderson
CB Dollaway v. Tom Lawlor
Winner: CB Dollaway
Jon Jones v. Jake O'Brien
Winner: Jon Jones
Matt Grice v. Shannon Gugerty
Winner: Matt Grice
Yoshihiro Akiyama v. Alan Belcher
Winner: Yoshihiro Akiyama
Most surprising was the undercard fight which saw Coleman defeat Bonner by unanimous decision. I've yet to watch some of the undercard fights, but will have more reactions to them when I view them. I've been hyping Jon Jones as an up-and-coming fighter too, so look for big things from him. I went 8-3 for UFC 100's predictions. Overall on the year, here's a look at where I stand with CBSSports.com's expert MMA writers:
Ben Fowlkes: 77-33 (70%) Gary Herman: 76-34 (69%) Denny Burkholder: 74-36 (67%) Todd Martin: 73-37 (66%) Sam Caplan: 10-5 (67%)
My picks: 67-30 (69%)
I'll be back later in the week with some fantasy baseball reactions after I get back from a short vacation, and later with more MMA. Enjoy the All-Star Break.