Here’s a quick rundown of news and notes from the UFC 110 post-fight press conference.
– UFC 110 drew 17,831 attendees for a $2.5 million gate. Dana White said it was the highest live gate for an overseas show in UFC history. They’re planning on making an annual trip to Australia and hope do a show in Melbourne once MMA is legalized there.
– Dana White confirmed Cain Velasquez is in the mix for a title shot by beating the “best heavyweight of all time.”
“Because of Brock’s absence, it’s a little plugged up right now in the heavyweight division, but this guy?” White said. “In my opinion, Nogueira’s probably the best heavyweight of all time, and (Velasquez) absolutely demolished him tonight. He’s for real and he’s in the line right now.”
If Nogueira is the best heavyweight of all time, then I guess we need to invent a new title for Fedor’s greatness.
Dana wasn’t the only one singing praises for Cain. Big Nog gave credit where credit is due.
“Of course I’m disappointed, but he had the best hands tonight and deserved to win,” Nogueira said after the fight. “He’s very good, a very new, upcoming guy.”
Then he stopped himself and reconsidered his words.
“He was upcoming,” he continued. “Now he’s one of the best fighters in the division.”
Cain’s next opponent will be up in the air for the next month or so as the Carwin-Mir and Dos Santos-Gonzaga fights play out, but should he get the shot at Brock in the summer, he expects it would be a war.
“For me, I have to fight a smart fight and get with my coaches and figure out a good game plan,” he said. “Definitely, with those kind of guys — super big, strong — you’ve really got to worry about the power. I think this could be a war; you’ve really got to fight to the end. You’ve gotta really try to tire them out, but that’s easier said than done.”
If you look at the stats from the fight between Wanderlei and Michael Bisping, the numbers don’t seem to bear this out. Silva made a career out of bull-rushing opponents throwing wild hooks with both hands. The Silva at UFC 110 was much more likely to throw single strikes, including a greater reliance on straight punches, like the lead jab. The 37 jabs he threw to the head at distance was the second-highest total of his career (the most was against Liddell).
Also notable was his new-found reliance on leg kicks. Wanderlei threw 33 leg kicks in 15 minutes, or 2.2 per minute. His previous career average was 0.51 leg kicks thrown per minute, meaning he threw more than 4 times as many leg kicks as normal. He had only twice before thrown more than 20 in a fight, despite the 20-minute time limits in PRIDE.
– Naturally, in a close fight the loser almost always thinks he won. Last night was no different. Bisping was respectful in defeat, but felt he won the first and second rounds to give him the win.
“It’s a close fight, but personally, I thought I won rounds one and two. Congrats to him though…I’m good to go. I feel like I could do another three rounds now,” Bisping said. “I’d love to have a rematch with Wanderlei. I love to fight top guys. I lost tonight. I’m pissed off; I don’t like losses. I take this very seriously, this is my life. I don’t know if people realize how hard I train.”
Wanderlei also felt he won and thought he could have finished him if he had five more seconds.
“Tough fight, close match, but I think I won. I had good position, and [the] knockdown in the last round. Maybe if the round last five more seconds, I’d win by knockout, too.”
– Looks like Yoshihiro Akiyama is next for The Axe Murderer. Dana basically announced the fight at the press conference but wasn’t sure when it would happen since Wand was a little banged up.
“Akiyama wants to fight Wanderlei very bad,” White said. “It’s a big fight that he wants. He wants this fight. We offered him another fight and he said he wants Wanderlei.”
“Wanderlei’s sitting here with stitches in his chin, and a black eye and everything else so he’s going to go home, relax, heal, and then we’ll talk to Wanderlei and see when he’s ready again,” commented White. “But yeah, Akiyama wants that fight really bad.”
“It just pissed him off that I said Akiyama wants to fight him, so now he wants Akiyama,” White said about Silva’s next challenge.
Early rumors have the fight pegged for UFC 115 in Vancouver.
– Dana was extremely impressed by George Sotiropoulos and says he’s “in the mix.”
“Everybody who knows anything about MMA knows how good Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson is, and he got dominated tonight by Sotiropoulos,” White said. “[Sotiropoulos] looked unbelievable. No matter how good you are, sometimes there’s other factors that play into your fight – like nerves, competing in his hometown for the first time – and he stepped up tonight. Not to sound condescending, but I’m proud of him tonight.
“He looked amazing. Big, big night for him. He’s in the mix. He didn’t beat Joe Stevenson; he dominated Joe Stevenson. All the judges had it 30-27. He just catapulted himself right into the mix.”
“To go in there and face competition like Joe Stevenson – and do what he did to Joe Stevenson tonight – is huge and very promising for his future,” White said. “If he continues at the pace he’s on now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw him in a title fight within the next year.”
– Cro Cop showed up for the post-fight press conference. He was pleased with his victory and performance.
“I can say I was satisfied with my performance. I didn’t fight my original opponent. He canceled the fight. Perosh jumped in, and I’m grateful to him for that. He showed great courage and guts. He came to fight…But where I’m at in the heavyweight division, I don’t know. I believe I belong in the top, so we’ll see in the next fights. It depends on the next fight…I changed the way I used to train. I spent four weeks in Amsterdam at Vos Gym training with a new coach, Ivan Hippolyte, a legend of Muay Thai. And this was the first time in my career I came (to the location of the fight) two weeks before (the fight) to adapt. I always underestimate so many things. I’m a very experienced fighter, but even in Japan I came two days before. In my last fight in the States, I came two days before. They needed to wake me up before the fight. My coach needed to put ice on my back to wake me up. So I just underestimate so many things. Of course there is fuel left in me, but you need to keep training more to keep in the game.”
Dana says his original opponent, Ben Rothwell, will probably be Mirko’s next.
“I think what we do is we do the fight that was supposed to happen tonight. We’ll make that fight happen, and obviously Mirko didn’t have a rough night tonight. Ben isn’t out because he’s injured or anything. He got a stomach virus, so hopefully we can make this fight quick and put this one together soon…Ring rust is a real thing, and he got to get in there and at least work on his timing and everything else. Hopefully, we can back-to-back make this fight with Rothwell now and make it happen pretty soon – get him back in there and keep him active and busy.”
Cro Cop lives to fight another day in the UFC, but it still feels like his days are numbered. Cro Cop looked decent last night, but it was against an inferior opponent. I’m not sure he would have won if he had fought Ben Rothwell last night.
Image via Sherdog