Keep in mind whenever you had been a baby and you’d seize a flower and do the entire “She/he loves me, she/he loves me not” recreation? These had been good occasions, proper?

Properly, proper now our beloved sport of blended martial arts is that flower. And there is a lot I like about what is going on on in MMA as of late, however there’s additionally quite a bit I do not like.

Allow us to rely the methods:

I like the truth that the three title challengers going for gold this weekend at UFC 245 — Colby Covington, Alexander Volkanovski and Germaine de Randamie — are all of the rightful No. 1 contenders of their respective weight lessons. No video games, no politicking … simply good, old style meritocracy at play. That is wholesome.

I do not love the truth that the UFC might have taken Frankie Edgar away from Cory Sandhagen to have Edgar combat Chan Sung Jung subsequent week. Edgar vs. “The Korean Zombie,” whereas little doubt enjoyable on paper, feels method much less essential than the Sandhagen tilt, scheduled for Jan. 25 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The latter was alleged to be Edgar’s 135-pound debut. It was alleged to signify Sandhagen’s large step up in competitors. As a substitute, Edgar stays at 145. What does that combat imply? I do know the UFC is saying Edgar goes to compete in each fights, however that looks like an awfully fast turnaround. Sandhagen is irritated, and I do not blame him. The matchmakers ought to have discovered another person to switch the injured Brian Ortega.

Talking of Ortega, I am unhappy to see that he won’t compete as soon as this yr. It has been a troublesome go for “T-Metropolis” since his featherweight title loss to Max Holloway final December.

I like the Jairzinho Rozenstruik story. Full unknown a yr in the past. Heck, comparatively unknown two months in the past. Now he ends his UFC rookie yr with a 4-Zero file and 4 finishes, which had by no means been achieved earlier than. And now he is calling out Francis Ngannou. Nobody calls out Ngannou. Plus, did you see the love he obtained upon touchdown in his native Suriname on Monday evening? That is what desires are manufactured from.

I do not like to see how annoyed Ngannou is as of late. The Frenchman has fought solely twice this yr. His two wins lasted a mixed 1 minute, 37 seconds. He final fought in June. Six months later, nonetheless no combat booked. He looks like he must be preventing for the heavyweight belt once more, however the UFC is ready on Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier 3, which is comprehensible and justifiable. This is hoping Ngannou can combat very quickly, ideally towards Rozenstruk, as a result of I do not assume every other matchups make sense for him proper now.

I like how Bryce Mitchell is totally unafraid to be himself. I am unsure if I’ve ever met anybody fairly like him — I do know I’ve by no means met anybody else who eats squirrel — and I dig his vibe. He is enjoyable, he is completely different and he is a darn good prospect, too.

I do not love the way in which Liz Carmouche‘s launch was dealt with by the UFC final week. First off, anybody who’s coming off a title combat loss and is ranked within the high 5 shouldn’t be reduce. If you’re claiming to be the preeminent group in MMA, you’ll be able to’t make choices like that. Second, Carmouche’s loss to Valentina Shevchenko was 4 months in the past. Why wait so lengthy to chop her? And third, how will you reduce her whereas she’s doing promotional neighborhood work for the corporate? What a PR catastrophe.

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Liz Carmouche joins Ariel Helwani and elaborates on why she was reduce from UFC.

Is it attainable the matchmakers did not know she was in Washington assembly with veterans and sick kids? Completely. Nonetheless would not make it proper.

Carmouche, a legit ladies’s MMA pioneer who was part of the very first feminine combat in UFC historical past, deserved significantly better than that. We have seen this story earlier than, with the likes of Jon Fitch, Jake Shields and Yushin Okami. All three had been high contenders, who weren’t very flashy, and had been launched whereas nonetheless ranked as a result of they had been getting in the way in which of different prospects. However none of them had been coming off title combat losses, not to mention within the midst of a PR tour.

I beloved the way in which Alistair Overeem dealt with that heartbreaking loss on Saturday evening. He did not noticeably complain or protest the stoppage, and he even gave the impression to be considerably smiling regardless of struggling a grotesque reduce on his lip. Overeem is among the all-time greats and has skilled his justifiable share of ups and downs in MMA. He has been right here earlier than, however this one needed to sting. He appeared good for 24 minutes, and he was nicely on his technique to a victory earlier than catastrophe struck. Kudos to him for dealing with the frustration like a professional.

I do not love the way in which Jose Aldo seems on his method all the way down to bantamweight for the primary time. Have you ever seen the photographs? They’re troubling, in my view. Now, I do know Conor McGregor publicly disagreed with me, however I stand by my emotions. I additionally stand by the notion that this weight reduce was pointless. Aldo is coming off a loss to the person who’ll be preventing for the featherweight belt on Saturday, Alexander Volkanovski, who has received 17 straight. Previous to that loss, we had been all celebrating the truth that the outdated Aldo was again after seeing him rating back-to-back stoppage wins. So, what is the level of Aldo making this transfer prior his 34th professional combat? Friday’s weigh-ins are going to be very attention-grabbing.

I beloved seeing Urijah Faber cornering his teammate Track Yadong on Saturday evening. He flew from Sacramento to D.C. and stayed there for the week to assist Yadong practice and reduce weight for his combat towards Cody Stamann. After cornering Yadong, Faber then flew again dwelling and is now in Vegas preparing for his showdown towards Petr Yan at UFC 245. That is not a standard factor to do, but it surely’s not stunning from Faber, who has at all times been an especially loyal teammate.

I did not just like the criticism Anthony Joshua obtained after his good win over Andy Ruiz in final weekend’s world heavyweight championship boxing match. Joshua fought a superbly sensible combat, efficient from starting to an finish. He used his size and jab fantastically. I feel we typically neglect that fighters aren’t rock ’em, sock ’em robots. Wins and losses matter. Joshua was closely criticized for his efficiency within the first combat with Ruiz again in June, when he was upset and misplaced his titles. Did you assume he would simply make the identical errors once more? Ludicrous. The entire level of the game is to hit and never get hit. Mission achieved.

Whereas I am on this temporary boxing tangent, I additionally did not like Ruiz’s weight for that combat, however I do give him credit score for acknowledging his lazy methods proper after the loss. The combat would have been so significantly better had he confirmed up in form.

I beloved the Paul FelderDan Hooker staredown final week in Auckland, New Zealand. As I beforehand wrote, I like every little thing about that combat, however after seeing the depth on their faces throughout that faceoff, I’m satisfied this won’t be a dud. Cannot wait.





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