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UFC 170 fails to deliver

Champion Ronda Rousey (L) faces challenger  Sara McMann at the weigh-ins. McMann was in only her second UFC bout. Screen capture courtesy Dana White's Twitter page.

The UFC holds a lot of events every year now. Often the best ones aren’t the ones we expected to shine. Sometimes free TV events and not the highly-promoted PPVs are stellar, and preliminary bouts can be the best fights of the night in fan’s eyes. Not every hockey game, football game, or UFC event can be a good one, and UFC 170 sure wasn’t.

The headliner with Ronda Rousey was hardly deserved. I’m as big a fan of women’s mixed martial arts as anyone, but I’m honest enough to admit the talent pool is shallow. Rousey fought just two months ago, has no other competition yet (except perhaps Cris Cyborg, and maybe Cat Zingano, who is injured), and having her as a five round headliner---against relatively unknown Sara McMann in only her second UFC fight---is indicative of the predicament and is ballsy to say the least.

The co-main event had a serious talent---and hype train---Daniel Cormier fighting a replacement for Rashad Evans, another relative unknown, a man who supposedly schooled Cormier on the wrestling mat at the US Olympic training centre. His name is Patrick Cummins. Now you know.

So the  main and co-main fights featured wrestlers as opponents to seasoned UFC veterans, and the outcomes could not have been more predictable: first round TKO finishes in about a minute. This is good for Rousey and Cormier fans, not good for the scads of fans surrounding me at the pub, where I watched because I was completely unwilling to pay fifty clams for this.

Canadian Rory MacDonald was impressive in that he beat Damian Maia, who has been a monster since moving to 170, but not in how he beat the Brazilian. On the ground MacDonald held off the BJJ wizard, but something is lacking in MacDonald’s overall fight personae. He’s like the figure skater who has all the moves and lands all the jumps, but afterwards fans can only shrug and say, “Meh.” He’s been point fighting rather than fighting, and is  rather unapologetic about it as long as he gets the win.

MacDonald had to fight tonight when on the ground, but has forgotten that MMA is entertainment first. A notch in the win column is no good if UFC president Dana White and/or fans hate watching you point fight. Perhaps this win will begin to steer the Canadian on a better track.

Mike Pyle’s TKO over TJ Waldburger was fun to watch. Pyle was on a bit of a rise when he was seriously derailed by Matt Brown, who knocked out Pyle in 29 seconds last August. Win or lose, Pyle brings his fight into the cage, along with his goofy mullet. So there's a positive note.

A lot of UFC fans hate any criticism at all of the events or Dana White. That’s unrealistic and simplistic. Fact is, if you’re in sports promotion, competition, or any other type of entertainment, you’d better not expect everyone to like your choices or performances. Sincere criticism is good for the sport. And Dana White gets to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to all the media. Why can't fans pipe up?

Anyway, if you want everyone to like you, don’t do sports, don’t create art, in fact, don’t leave home.

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Follow me on Twitter @RenkoStyranka

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