Tuesday, September 9, 2008

1 out of 3 aint bad

All I have to say is, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuuuuuuuck. How could he let this happen? On the brink of getting a title shot, he gets cold-cocked, and probably just closed the door on a title shot. The "Ice Man" now has 3 losses in the last year-and-a-half, and it just looks like his opponents have his number. In between the 1st and 2nd round, Greg Jackson, Rashad Evans' coach asked Rashad if he had Chuck's timing and he said, "yes." What that meant is exactly what you saw when Chuck hit the canvas. Rashad watched that looping punch come around and timed his punch right to Chuck's jaw at exactly the right moment and it was lights out for Chuck. In other words, Chuck's movements have become so predictable that all his opponents are watching his old fights, finding the holes in his game, and are exploiting them in the Octagon. At this point, Chuck has a few options: one, move up to heavyweight where he can face a whole new group of fighters, two, change his fight strategy, or three, retire. I think the latter probably wont happen just yet, but either of the first are most likely.

As for the other fights, Matt Hamill drove me nuts. He is not a striker, he is a world class wrestler; so what did he do against Rich Franklin? He boxed, and he lost. Look, when you are better than your opponent at one phase of your game, you do everything you can to get your opponent to fight your strength. Hamill totally neglected to do that until the 3rd round when his leg had been so battered from kicks by Franklin that he couldn't push off his leg and shoot with any speed, and Franklin easily blocked his takedowns. So, memo to all you guys who think you are Ali, when you are actually closer to Dan Gable: fight to your strengths, and if I guy ends up beating you when you fight to your strengths, hats off to your opponent, but at least you can walk away with the satisfaction of knowing you fought your best fight.

Finally, props to Hendo, he fought a great fight. Palhares, is an outstanding submission specialist, and once the rest of his game catches up, and it looks like it has the potentional to, he is going to be a dangerous middleweight fighter. But Hendo did exactly what he had to do, outclass the guy on his feet, stop the takedown, and get up fast when he was taken to the ground. Hendo played the gameplan to a "T" and won. It was a great example of game-planning and Octagon discipline. Sure, it was an ugly fight, but he posted a "W" and his victory made a strong argument for a rematch with Sylva.

After going 1 out of 3, I think I just might hold off on predictions next time, or maybe not, maybe 1 out of 3 aint that bad after all.


PRCalDude said...

If Chuck doesn't get new coaching and newfound motivation, he's done. His game hasn't evolved in a long time, and he's always been lazy with jabs and defense. I personally think that the only reason Wandy lost is because Wandy was listening to new coaches rather than being his old ferocious self, whom we saw against Jardine.

The reason Chuck was dominant for so long was that light heavyweight was full of a bunch of untalented donkeys like Tito. Now that the Pride guys have come over, Chuck is never going to be on top again.

John Sawtelle said...

yeah -- I would agree with you that Chuck, in the past, fought guys with a weak standup game. But, the thing about the fight with Wandy, is Chuck also gave Wandy something to think about beside looping punches when he shot in and tried to take him down. I really believe that Chuck has got to mix his game up more than he does. He needs to add some leg kicks, use a clinch and knee game, and at least hold out the threat of a takedown with some ground and pound or to a decent opponent or knocking him out will continue to be as easy shooting ducks on a pond.