Saturday, June 10, 2017

UFC Bantamweight Division Analysis & Frustration

There's a trend you'll notice in the UFC as of late: log jams at the top.

Between what McGregor did to featherweight and now lightweight, and what Bisping has done to middleweight it's gotten to the point where blame has to be placed. I am
by no means a fan of interim belts but the fact that Bisping is still ducking Romero desire the fact I can't stand Romero is a joke. Bisping was ducking Jacare as well and hoping Jacare would take out Romero, then Whitaker might be up to it, and now miraculously needs surgery again in hopes Whitaker takes out Romero for an interim belt. Only time Bisping has been cued up to fight was against Hendo or when it sounded like GSP was coming back. It's pretty miraculous how well Bisping has danced and weaved since defeating Rockhold in Cinderella man fashion on less than two weeks notice to avenge a previous loss by one arm guillotine.
At any rate, back to the topic at hand: Cruz deserves a rematch because despite the dramatic moments of the fight, it was still a very close fight on the scorecards. It's always interesting to "discuss" the fights the day after with people who were drinking while watching the fights versus those who watched the fight sober and remember it a bit more clearly and emphasize scoring the fight round by round (*ahem* how it is actually tallied).

Garbrandt won rounds with knockdowns but it ended up still very closely contested. Dominic deserves an immediate rematch as much as any champ could after losing his belt.

Dillashaw has good wins stacked up and has a great narrative to push his fight against Garbrandt. That being said, the rest of the division is what happens when there's a big chunk of time that the belt was in flux (ala when Cruz came back then got hurt and was gone for something like two plus years. Eventually, he had to be stripped and in the meantime Dillashaw faced Barao in a fight NO ONE thought he would win and further down the tier guys kept fighting one another to stay active and what happens is down the list of guys say ranks 5-15 or so it's a criss cross of guys who have beaten one another or so and so had 3 wins but a loss to a guy further up the totem pole et cetera.
Dodson took out Lineker in what I guess was billed as a contender match but why bother? There's two guys legitimately in front of him in Cruz and Dillashaw and now Garbrandt is injured. Much of the rest of the division is unbooked. Almeida is getting back on track  thanks to a KO loss to now champ Garbrandt. Almeida faces Rivera soon, while Raphael Assuncao just picked up a win over
WSOF import Moraes but didn't really advance
himself much toward a shot in the lackluster glorified sparring that fight was for those of us watching at home. Aljamain Sterling beat Augusto mendes who's got a few wins under his belt (but a loss to now champ Garbandt), and Bryan caraway is coming off a loss to Assuncao. That literally takes us thru the 11 top guys at bantamweight. Moraes is ranked above a bunch of these guys but hasn't proved much in the UFC other than that he didn't get blown out by longtime division solid Assuncao. It gets worse afterward with names like Wineland who has a loss to Dodson who sits further up the ladder, but some solid guys like Rani Yahya and Munhoz and Joe Soto with 2-3 wins apiece to their credit but no big breakthrough performance. I didn't realize even with the rankings in hand, what a mess the division looks like on paper when you look at it listed totem pole style 1-14 or so. There's the champ who could easily face either #2 or #3 and no one would complain, Assuncao who is just about there, but who does he fight? A guy who loses to Garbrandt when he defends his belt? Until then, does Assuncao take a fight with Dodson to prove he's the next best guy not named Cruz or Dillashaw?

Other than Cruz or Dillashaw, after that, I honestly don't know who I think warrants a shot. Pairing Almeida with Munhoz doesn't make MMA math b/c if Almeida beats him, Almeida has a recent violent KO stoppage loss to the champ? So then does he fight whoever's not lined up next for Garbrandt in Dillashaw or Cruz?

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