What’s going on?
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson here and as usual, I’m going to give it to you “straight, with no chaser.”
If you are looking for a UFC recap of Saturday….well….this ain’t it!
However, if you want to know what I saw, some things that were on my mind and how I took in the weekend….well, you are at the right place my friend.
So, sit back, relax and enjoy.
UFC 148 AS I SAW IT…….
I was sitting on the plane heading back to my home and all I can think about is how spectacular last night was.
When the fight between Silva vs. Sonnen II (which was originally supposed to be held in Brazil) was announced to take place in Las Vegas, my cornerman Winston “Ironman” Williams said “Bro! I really would like to go to that fight. Even if I don’t have any tickets, I want to be in Vegas when its going on because is going to be a historical night.”
I wasn’t really sold on the idea, but then the unfortunate turn of events per the injury of Dominick Cruz caused the card to be adjusted and changed and that left a spot on the card open. And that spot caused me to get a call from Master Lloyd Irvin. Master Lloyd called and said, “Doc, Mike Easton is on the UFC 148 main card.” I replied, “The tv or facebook card?” He retorted, “What part of main card don’t you understand? He’s on the main card damnit!”
And that is when I knew I was going to the fight for sure.
I think Silva is phenomenal and Chael is a great fighter and Tito is an icon in the sport. And Forrest is unpredictable and funny and Melvin Guilliard is an exciting fighter and a phenom BUT the reason why I went to UFC 148 was for Mike Easton.
I’ve been Mike Easton’s strength and conditioning coach.since he was competing in the UWC. I was called in by Master Lloyd Irvin to create and construct a comprehensive training plan that connected and was in harmony with the overall training, development and career trajectory plan that he has designed for Mike Easton.
So my relationship with Lloyd Irvin and Mike Easton was why I contacted my cornerman Winston “Ironman” Williams and said, “Winston, I’m going to UFC 148. Easton is on the main card!”
While I was there I had an opportunity to go to the UFC Fan Expo and meet the UFC fans and I could feel the energy building as the fights were getting closer. People were talking about Silva and Sonnen and Ortiz vs. Griffin constantly. Conversations were starting at the coffee shop, in the elevator, in the casinos and at bathroom urinals with that classic phrase, “So who you got?”
I’ve never been to a UFC where there was this much talk going on. And then I saw the buildup hit a massive level during the press conference.It was a constant buzzing in the air about “Who you got?”
I remember saying to Winston, “This is turning into a real sport!”
He looked at me bewildered and said, “Turning into?”
I said, “Yes!”
I continued, “This is starting to look like a REAL world class sport like judo and wrestling. When I come to a fight and there Russians, Brazilians, Canadians, Swedes, Koreans, Japanese, etc.,. that is full worldwide representation. When I hear people chanting, not for a name, but for THEIR country that is what I am talking about.”
Saturday night the UFC looked like a day at the final round of competition for judo or wrestling at the Olympics. I saw Japanese fans standing up, waving their flag and screaming at the top of their lungs. I saw the Brazilians celebrating and signing. I heard chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A.” I was sitting next to people on my right from Canada, people in front of me from Tulsa, Oklahoma, people on the left from, Washington, DC and people from Brazil behind me. Two rows up, the beautiful Bellator fighter Jessica Aguilar was switching in and out of the languages of spanish, portugues and english with level of ease that was admirable and ultra sexy. Another row behind her was Strikeforce205lb fighter and Haitian sensation Ovince St. Preux.
It was like a true international potpourri.
I actually felt like I was at the Olympics. I was happy and felt so blessed to be a part of a sport and a part of history. I’ve watched the UFC from its inception. I’ve cornered at UFC events, I’ve fought for UFC”s sister company, Strikeforce and I
feel like I’ve contributed to the sport, as many of you should. If you’ve ever bought a ticket, watched a fight, a pay-per-view or even practiced the sport or any related activity, YOU have helped grow this sport and the UFC. Last night I was able to see the fruits of our investments. I was a proud coach, MMA veteran, and fan last night.
Now on to my .02 cents about the fighters and the fights.
I saw the President of USA Judo Dr. Ron Tripp cornering Melvin to the ring and things felt even more nostalgic for me. I felt like I was in a time warp. Okay, Melvin Guilliard……
I am not sure what bottled-up lightening looks like but if there was a way to bottle up lightening and look at it, I am sure it would look exactly like Melvin Guilliard looked last nite at UFC 148. Melvin felt a damn near flawless fight and when he did make some errors he was able to fix them immediately.
I was especially impressed with his increased awareness of time. He was able to understand when to “float”, when to engage, when to disengage, when the round was half over and when he needed to pour on the heat in order to win the round. There were times when he was winning the round and then the tide turned which could have made the judging of the round difficult to predict. But when this occurred Melvin was able to heed the urging of his corner to get active and turned the tide and won the round. I was really impressed. He came out with a lot of movement in the first round, kind of “geared down” in the second round and returned to his movement-based style in round three. It was truly one of his more brilliant outings. He looked very mature, very ready and focused.
Forest Griffin and Tito Ortiz
This fight was a total waste of time. I love Tito but its more than time for him to go and Frorest Griffin too. Forrest and Tito looked so slow. It look as if they were wrestling around in a tub full of cold molasses. As a former professional athlete it hurt me to sit there and watch that with my professionally trained eyes. A person like Mo Lawal or Rashad Evans would have sent either one of those dudes to the hospital that night.
With that being said, I did feel that Tito won the fight and it was a horrible way to end a fantastic career. But a tumultuous and controversy riddled career ended tumultuously and with controversy….. GO FIGURE? So………..
If you look at the stats, you can clearly see that Forrest landed more strikes, but I come a grappling background and I do provide a good amount of weight to takedowns and takedown attempts. “Stuffing” a takedown means ZERO to me. That’s like winning a boxing match because you parried all of the jabs. So what?!?!?
I do believe that Forrest has a couple more “pay days” in him but his time is limited. Especially if he keeps running out of the ring when he loses (or thinks he loses) fights.
Side note: I’m not sure how he can do that without being fired. If Rashad Evans ever ran out of the ring like Forrest has many of you reading this would be screaming for him to be fired, but Forrest does it and you watch it and let it slide. No uproar, no calling him a cry-baby, nothing. Simply, amazing. He’s a nice guy but a really poor sport and way to old to be acting like a kid.
I’m not sure if there are any 135 pounders out there who possess the punching power of Mike Easton. Easton, has NEVER
The only way to beat Mike is to be very good at pot-shotting or beating him at his own game. Either way, one might be able to keep that up for 3 rounds but not for 5. Mike’s opponent was in line for a title shot. Mike destroyed Ivan Menjivar in dominating fashion. In my opinion, Mike needs a title fight or one more fight and then the title shot. been beaten. He has one loss on his record that came by way of injury but he hasn’t been beaten inside of the cage yet. His style is very rare for that weight class. Most 135 pounders fight like mosquitoes. They come in, bite, and then get out. Mike comes forward the whole time and even eats some shots here and there and puts the little guys on their heels. The problem with this style for his opponents is that they can’t really generate enough power, at the 135lb weight class throwing blows moving backwards and off of their heels. And they cannot shoot off of their heels either. Couple that with the fact that Mike’s striking is world class and what you have are fights that are not that exciting because Mike’s opponents are running. And when I mean running, I mean, really really running. Most of his opponents get cracked with one shot and then they are on their bicycle for the rest of the fight.
I was volleying in my mind if the greatest fighter ever was Fedor Emelianenko or Anderson Silva. Fedor’s body of work is outstanding, phenomenal even. But after Saturday, there is no question in my mind that Anderson Silva is the GREATEST MIXED MARTIAL ARTS FIGHTER that this world has ever seen. I have seen this dude do some things that are absolutely phenomenal. It always amazes me how he can drop his hands in a fight and fire off a punch to his opponents’ chin with his hand by his hip and he’s is responding to their initial movement. So he is already “behind” in tempo before he initiates the strike and his fist still gets there FIRST! He did this with Forrest and he did it Saturday night with Sonnen. He is absolutely on another level.
Overall the experience this weekend was superb, from seeing my Olympic Teammates and Strikeforce Champions Ronda Rousey and Daniel Cormier to getting to hangout with my Strikeforce buddies to sharing some quality MMA time with my cornerman and frat brothers Winston “Ironman” Williams and Ovince St. Preux as we enjoyed the fights and the UFC Expo.
This past Saturday was a great moment in MMA history and I was just glad to be there.