The UFC comes dangerously close to over-saturation every year because it seems like they have monthly pay-per-view events. It’s too much and sometimes the cards aren’t even that great. UFC 87: Seek and Destroy is this Saturday. And, though I love MMA very, very much, I only ever write about fight cards when they’re actually interesting. Happily, this is one of them.
But first, I have to get something off my chest: As bad as MMA fighters’ tattoos are, their nicknames are stupid and horrible to the point of being offensive. They lack any amount of creativity and, with a few exceptions (Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez being one), rarely inspire any kind of reaction when you hear them. Why am I mentioning this? Because this card is absolutely packed with egregious nicknames.
There’s Steve “Hollywood” Bruno, who is from Ft. Lauderdale. When was the last time some one named “Hollywood” was cool? Top Gun? Hollywood Hogan in the nWo maybe? Does the nickname mean he’s a vapid sellout? Terrible. Just terrible. There’s also Tamdan “The Barn Cat” McCrory. I don’t even know what to say here. He has to have lost a bet. Brock Lesnar is fighting some one named “The Texas Crazy Horse.” Watch out, Brock, he’s not just your average crazy horse. He’s from Texas. Ooooooohhhhhh. The Texas Crazyhorse sounds like a run-down old strip club you’d pass on the highway outside Amarillo.
But your runaway winner, despite the above awfulness, has to be Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald. Apparently, he thought it was a good idea to make his nickname so boring, it would confuse his opponents into thinking too hard about it, and he could sneak in and beat the crap out of the guy while he stood there puzzled.
You’d just be standing across the Octagon thinking, “Man, ‘The Athlete’? Only a douche who isn’t an athlete would call himself that, right? Like a guy who calls himself his own number in another language, only screws up and says ‘ocho cinco’ instead of the correct ochenta y cinco so he sounds like an even bigger ass, even if ‘eight-five’ sounds good in English. But what if he really is athletic and that’s the whole point? Maybe if I run over to his corner real quick, he’ll tell me the origin of his nickname. Crap, now he’s got me thinking and…hey, how did I end up in the hospital?”
See? It’s all just a tool to mess guys up. Or the worst nickname ever. Whatever.
Undercard You Might Want To Watch Anyway:
Manny Gamburyan vs. Rob Emerson (155 lbs)
Well, the best fight on the undercard you may not know about is, of course, the one featuring Jason “The Athlete” McDonald, but I thought I’d fill you in on other fights without such nickname awesomeness.
You may remember Gamburyan and Emerson from The Ultimate Fighter. Or you may not. What am I, a psychic? Both of these guys went down pretty hard on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 5. Gamburyan lost in the finale fight of that season to Nate Diaz because he re-injured his shoulder during a reasonably even fight. He’s been a monster ever since, but that isn’t a great defeat to have on one’s record. Emerson didn’t lose to Gray Maynard that night, but he didn’t win either. Maynard was body-slamming Emerson, and injuring him in the process, but Maynard managed to knock himself unconscious as well, and the fight was declared a no-contest.
Despite past lameness, this should be a pretty darn good fight on Saturday. It’s one of those fights that pits guys with totally different styles against each other. Gamburyan, who is much, much smaller, usually attacks and submits his opponents, which he’s done very well since losing to Diaz. Emerson is much better on his feet and has a significant size advantage in this fight. All he’s got to do is keep “The Anvil” from getting inside and submitting him and he should be fine.
McD’s Vainglorious Pick: Emerson
The Real Best Fight Of The Night:
Roger Huerta vs. Kenny Florian (155 lbs)
“Ken-Flo” (another awesome nickname, and by “awesome” I mean awful) is the official MMA fighter of Rumors and Rants and has been since Cro Cop fell off the face of the earth after a couple of ignominious defeats in the UFC. Florian is the second-most well-rounded fighter on the card behind St. Pierre and has few or no holes in his game. He’s got crazy-sharp elbows and the stand-up skills to beat pretty much anyone he fights. He’s great from his back too, which makes him a pain in the ass to take down as well. Hell, he almost won The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 at middleweight, a full 30 pounds heavier than he’ll be fighting at on Saturday. That’s skill, people.
I like Huerta. He’s an entertaining fighter to watch, but he hasn’t beaten anyone on Florian’s level. That won’t stop this from (hopefully) being the best of all things for the fans and the UFC: an action fight and a showcase for Florian so he can be matched up with B.J. Penn for the Lightweight Title.
McD’s Vainglorious Pick: Florian
Interesting But Gimmicky Fight Of The Night:
Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring (heavyweight)
As good as Lesnar looked against Frank Mir before he was submitted, he’s still got a ways to go in learning MMA fighting. But, not to go all John Madden on you, you can’t teach size, and Lesnar is a big, strong dude. Yet this fight is really only interesting because A) Lesnar is a former professional wrestler who couldn’t catch on in the NFL and B) because he’s a prospect, but not proven yet. On the bright side for Lesnar, Herring isn’t nearly as good on the ground as Mir, so there’s less chance of another disappointing submission loss in his second UFC fight. The UFC really needs a heavyweight to step up and be a big name for them because the heavyweight division is kind of barren at the moment. Not middleweight-bad, but not good either.
McD’s Vainglorious Pick: Lesnar
The Underwhelming Main Event:
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch (170 lbs)
I love any fight in which a former Boilermaker is woefully out-gunned in all facets. I mean it happens all the time to Purdue because they suck, but it still never gets old. That’s not to say Jon Fitch is a bad fighter or shouldn’t be fighting for the title. He definitely earned this shot and is a very skilled fighter. It’s just that St. Pierre is better in every aspect of his game. He’s more athletic, has better stand up and is superior on the ground. Plus, St. Pierre owns wrestlers. He’s beaten Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck, both wrestlers with very similar styles to Fitch. The only way Fitch is winning this fight is through a Matt Serra-level upset, and that can’t happen twice to St. Pierre, right? Um, right? Some one say something.
McD’s Vainglorious Pick: St. Pierre
Other fights: Ben Saunders vs. Ryan Thomas (170 lbs), Chris Wilson vs. Steve Bruno (170 lbs), Andre Gusmao vs. Jon Jones (205 lbs), Cheick Kongo vs. Dan Evensen (heavyweight), Luke Cummo vs. Tamdan McCrory (170 lbs), and Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald vs. Demian Maia (185 lbs).