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UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson II (12/29/2018) - Inglewood, CA (The Forum)

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Out of all the people you be concerned with in the USADA era of looking and performing differently, Cris has been the least affected. I mean look at Ubereem, Alistair early in his UFC run, and then look at pictures of USADA era Alistair Overeem. Poor Vitor and Rafael Feijao. Johny Hendricks' performance dropped below the dashboard. It also helps she was never yoked like Ann Wolfe or anything like that where even if you aren't on anything, good luck trying to cut weight.

I think what happened with Cris in terms of reputation is that Dana and co went so hard at her pre UFC that she got turned babyface. Ronda is saying this and that about her and then Ronda loses right before Cris makes her UFC debut. Then, we get this passionate plea from folks about her cutting weight and whatnot. I think folks got tired of the whole drama show especially when Ronda made an unceremonious exit from the UFC. I'm not saying Cris is extremely sympathetic because I think there was some unnecessary "oh she might die cutting weight or something" overdramatic tomfoolery from her camp and the MMA media. The Tito Ortiz presser was a disaster. However, Ronda and Dana did themselves no favors. She was the last person standing. No Ronda. No Four Horsewomen. No come down to 135 bullshit. Plus, outside of maybe Holm and PVZ, she would be the most visible female MMA fighter left especially when Tate was also gone too.

But tonight feels like a watershed and maybe bittersweet moment for female MMA. This ultimately could have been Rousey vs. Cyborg if the cards were played right where the UFC finally reaches an endgame and moves on to an entirely different game. Now that you've done Valentina vs. Joanna and you had Cyborg fight the bantamweight champ, like where the hell do you go? Women's boxing has been exhumed and made viable a little bit by the fact that you have Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields, and Cecilia Braekhus fighting on the main cards. However, you know it's directionless due to the fact that's all showcase fights. Sure HBO didn't feel like spending money for the last couple cards (you got something that could've been a six or eight rounder as the co feature on Bivol/Pascal like it was goddamn ShoBox or Friday Night Fights), but that last card felt like a funeral. The thing is...it's not like Shields and Braekhus were fighting bums (at least in terms of female boxing...you can do worse... Hanna Gabriels is fighting a 3-4-2 boxer in a world title fight fresh off fighting Shields). The girl Shields fought was coming off a win over Nikki Adler, the girl Shields destroyed to win her first belt. Braekhus fought some lady from Argentina but I've seen her name at least on TyC cards in Argentina. It still felt like a fucking funeral. Larry Merchant looked Vince McMahon levels of old when they brought him out, but I digress. If you wanna build up women's boxing, that's not how you do it. That was a disservice to them even if they were headlining the last ever HBO boxing card.

Tonight, for the UFC, it felt like the end of the road. Cyborg is likely going to fight out her deal and go into boxing or pro wrestling. I think probably the latter because getting punched in the face for real is no joke and she wants to do wrestling. That's another piece off the table to go along with Ronda and Miesha. What else do you go from here in terms of making big fights? Going back to women's boxing, it's clear they have none on the horizon. Amanda Serrano, who won a title at 118, versus legit 135er Katie Taylor is not a big fight. Shields vs. Christina Hammer is not a big fight. Cecilia Braekhus ran out of opponents years ago, but 147er Braekhus fighting Shields who looks pretty normal at 168 is not a big fight even if it did happen. If women's boxing is back in the wasteland in the next two or three years stateside, I wouldn't be surprised. There just isn't buzz to justify having them on the card like that. 

I'm afraid women's MMA might go down that same road. I wouldn't have mentioned Ronda in the way that I did if I genuinely didn't feel this way. In the same way Ronda is giving the rub to the women in the WWE, Rose, Valentina, Joanna, Amanda, Claudia, Nina, and some of these prospects needed the rub. There isn't a major fight coming down the pipeline to generate buzz. I don't want female MMA to be around just to exist. The men's flyweight division just existed. Now it's on the verge of being axed. What's going to be the next big fight? Because women's MMA needs stars NOW to stay relevant. VanZant vs. Ostovich feels more like a desperate reach if anything. Just like you don't put those women on an HBO card where HBO is just taking a victory lap so they can do their obligatory final goodbyes and video montages, you don't start off the ESPN era with two women who legit shouldn't be nowhere near a title fight. It was different from the era where VanZant made her debut in 2014. Now it's clear fans are only going to watch the fighters they are interested in. You want new fans or old fans who may come back to be invested in the women, not just some women who may or may never compete for a title. I would be more happy with Irene Aldana vs. Lucie Pudilova, which was pretty entertaining, over airing PVZ vs. Ostovich. It doesn't really do anything for anybody. Just pops a rating at best. That's where Bellator has failed with their female MMA and kickboxing. You have Macfarlane do a solid rating on Paramount (well at least when the ratings everywhere else in Bellator are terrible). Where do you put her next fight? On fucking DAZN exclusively 15 minutes after a goddamn Canelo fight that a lot of folks probably didn't watch. So if folks don't want to watch Canelo for free...what do you think will happen with Macfarlane? People are going to tune in for the hell of it? it did terrible numbers. Why? You're overestimating the level of investment in the novelty of women fighting.

If the UFC doesn't keep the women's MMA boat afloat in the ESPN era, it's going to get murky real fast in terms of its outlook. If female fighting (boxing, MMA, and kickboxing) goes back to Gina Carano vs. handpicked opponent and Laila Ali and Christy Martin on a Top Rank PPV sideshow and showcase fights, it's going to be hard to come back from it.

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6 hours ago, Oyaji said:

I don't get why people still hate on Cyborg for her past PED usage. She hasn't tested positive in ages, her attitude is outstanding, and her work ethic is unquestionable. Fuck the haters.

Because everyone just knew she was on steroids before she got popped. Then she got popped. Then she got a TUE to have elevated testosterone because of her previous use of steroids. 

And a lot of her fights looked like a man beating up a woman, and that’s not cool. 

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It helps the roids circulate.. . . .

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As mentioned at the top of the page, Cyborg has gotten way better since the PED testing has intensified. Can people not redeem themselves? 

Anyway, yeah, the outlook isn't pretty for each of the women's divisions right now and there ain't a lot of great prospects out there. I think they'll need to be really careful with how they book the few women with potential they do have and the two or three female borderline stars they've already got. Investing in women's MMA at the grass roots would also be something I'd desperately look into if I were them. These inter division bouts are usually death but there's such a dearth of legit challengers at 135 and 145 right now I can't complain. Rose has a few legit challenges on the horizon and Shevchenko should defend against Suarez before they think of running her vs. Nunes again. It's going to take a while to build their divisions back up but hopefully fights like last night's attract more female athletes to the sport. And Kayla Harrison. If we don't get Harrison vs. Cyborg before the latter retires that would be a god damn shame. 

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5 hours ago, Lawful Metal said:

And a lot of her fights looked like a man beating up a woman, and that’s not cool. 

What the fuck are you talking about, idiot? She didn't fight a lot of talented female fighters coming up to be frank. She dominated Shayna Baszler. You know who also dominated Shayna Baszler? Bethe Correia, who isn't any good. And I love Bethe because she is a zany person.

Women's MMA for a long time wasn't that good and only had six or seven good fighters at best. Cris beat a woman who was considered at the time good (Gina Carano) after pulling her on top of her twice if I'm not mistaken. It was complete amateur hour even at the top level. Out of all the girls Cris fought prior to the UFC, the only ones who would get a UFC win over anyone from this current era are Marloes Coenen and Vanessa Porto...two fights that were her most competitive. I don't think Gina had any interest in being in the UFC so I don't even count her. Baszler went 0-2 in the UFC and got absolutely smashed in both fights. Shit, prior to coming to the US to train in 2011, Amanda Nunes was basically lesser Cris Cyborg.

There have been few girls that bad who had a UFC run in the last two or three years. 90% of them were TUF women who got an obligatory fight on a TUF finale undercard. Larissa Pacheco was bad and it was made apparent fast when she fought Germaine de Randamie.

Who in those days when female MMA was exclusively outside the UFC just fucking infallible? Self mount Cris Cyborg? I got kneebared by Erica Paes Cris Cyborg? Chute Boxe era Cris Cyborg, prior to going to Arena MMA in San Diego and from there Jason Parillo, was probably one of the most beatable fighters in MMA. When everybody else sucks...it's a goddamn tossup. Erin Toughill was winning fights. Who at the top level now does Erin Toughill beat? We already talked about how bad Roxy was when she was still living in Japan and teaching English and she was above and beyond one of the most successful female fighters in MMA at that point. Besides Megumi (who already beat some future UFC fighters), Coenen, and a handful of those girls in the smaller weight classes, it ain't a whole lot of good fighters who would be successful today. 

You know what's not cool? People talking about MMA with zero context.

 

 

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Lawful Metal has always had a weirdly obsessive hate-boner for Cyborg, I wouldn't pay him any mind.

I wasn't surprised by the main event but it was still depressing. Alexander Gustafsson just didn't look like he had much heart there. I hope that Jon Jones can at least string together three or four fights without any injuries/suspensions so we can see how good he still is. He may still be the GOAT, but I'll need to see a bit more before giving him back that crown. Amanda Nunes was amazing though, I love her. I don't think women's MMA is in the tank yet. Some divisions in the UFC have gone periods of time with just one or two stars in it, as long as its replenished within a couple years there was no harm done. At least they have a couple popular/well-known fighters (Cyborg, Nunes, and Thug Rose), and a handful of established fighters fans know (Holm, Shevchenko, Joanna) to prop it up while they see if new stars emerge. I don't think they will be main eventing PPVs and I think starting a third weight class was a mistake, but its still solid enough that I don't see it disappearing anytime soon. I mean two years ago, who knew that Nunes and Rose would be what they are today. It may not ever be a top-three division in regards to popularity but I think it will always have a place unless the well completely dries up.

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Dissecting the Nunes/Cyborg match even more here...

In the past most of us remarked about how this new, calculating Cyborg was the scariest Cyborg even because she could and would wait out her opportunity to win. As soon as they both came out swinging I got a feeling Cyborg was going to lose. It was like she cast aside all discipline and went all Chute Boxe for this one. Seconds later, Nunes tags her really good with a left. That was the real oh shit moment, that moment where, damn, Nunes isn't fucking around, isn't afraid, and she hurt Cyborg.

We all saw how the rest went.

For me, I think it was the best "feel good" moment of the year for UFC. Everything from how that crowd came alive, to how overjoyed Nunes and her camp and family were, to how well Cyborg handled the loss was awesome to see. I'll take that over the bullshit chaos that Conor brings with him or how fake Jones is.

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I was surprised Cyborg kept swangin' 'n' bangin' even after she was hurt multiple times. Death wish. If she fights like she has, where she picks her spots more, throws straight punches rather than Wanderlei wild hooks, I think she can absolutely win a rematch. That's why a rematch is the right move despite it being a 56 second ass whooping.

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1 hour ago, Kevin Wilson said:

Lawful Metal has always had a weirdly obsessive hate-boner for Cyborg, I wouldn't pay him any mind.

The guy I had to warn about making transphobic comments after some of her fights? No, can't be!

1 hour ago, Kevin Wilson said:

I wasn't surprised by the main event but it was still depressing. Alexander Gustafsson just didn't look like he had much heart there. I hope that Jon Jones can at least string together three or four fights without any injuries/suspensions so we can see how good he still is. He may still be the GOAT, but I'll need to see a bit more before giving him back that crown.

I think Gus realized there wasn't a whole bunch he could do. He came out like a house of fire early in the second and it did nothing to bother Jon. We've seen Max Holloway and TJ Dillashaw come out in the second and third round and just decimate people once they figure them out, get their timing, and cause them to fold like an umbrella during a category five mentally. Jon just kept kicking him in the body and the legs and made the early offense of Gus in that round obsolete. Gus said he couldn't move after the fight. I'm pretty sure that's why. Jon was landing some minor left hooks and straight rights, but besides that one crazy looping right hand that missed, he didn't really commit on any on those punches. Those punches were just there to bother Gus. How do you attack someone who is hitting you on your head, mid section, inner thigh with those knees, the calf, the upper thigh, and anywhere else he wants? He was getting broken systematically, and he knew he couldn't stop it. He tried to hide that limp but couldn't.

Meltzer made it seem like there was this great Gus and this other Gus. They are one and the same. I remember he got off to a rough start with Blachowicz. He needs to get into a flow and get his timing. When he does..he looks sublime like he did with Teixeira. When he doesn't...he looks like a punching bag like when he fought Rumble who was willing to just walk him down and eat one to land four or five. That's Gustafsson in a nutshell. If he didn't beat Jon at UFC 165, he wasn't going to beat Jon because Jon and the Jackson/Wink camp read his book.

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Yeah, only way Gus was winning this was if Jones was a shell of his former self and even Jones at like 75% is enough to beat anybody on the planet. He's a piece of shit human being that's fun to hate but he's also clearly the best fighter on the planet with no weaknesses. The only time I thought his gameplan was questionable was when he was clinching with Cormier in their last fight, negating his reach and allowing DC to hit him with some serious uppercuts in the dirty boxing exchanges. And I think he was doing that to demoralize and break DC's will. Other than that, he doesn't make mistakes, is super intelligent, and adaptable.

Who is going to challenge Jones at 205 if he keeps fighting there? Dominick Reyes? Jared Cannonier and OSP are the best guys on his record and Jones has a 7"+ reach advantage. Ryan Bader if he were to come back to the UFC (why would he?)? Rockhold has shown too many holes to be a serious threat to Jones. At heavyweight, I'd like to see Jones fight Stipe.

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BTW, you want to talk about murky divisions, the UFC LHW division is a wasteland. There is no one in that division that comes close to challenging Jones.

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5 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

I was surprised Cyborg kept swangin' 'n' bangin' even after she was hurt multiple times. Death wish. If she fights like she has, where she picks her spots more, throws straight punches rather than Wanderlei wild hooks, I think she can absolutely win a rematch. That's why a rematch is the right move despite it being a 56 second ass whooping.

Look how she fought whatshername in Lion Fight. If she feels she can engage you in that type of fight and win...she will do it. She got knocked down like five or six times and she knew that was the wrong fight to fight. That's why her going into boxing is a bad idea. She wants to be in this Hagler vs. Hearns or Foreman vs. Lyle fight with people who do have the ability to brawl. If she fought Claressa Shields or even Hanna Gabriels...she would get knocked down in every round and it would be like 100-83 across all the scorecards. She shows technical acumen in the other fights and against Holly Holm because she knows she can take her time and pick them apart. I think with Holly she wanted prove she doesn't have to stop her via strikes to win. I think she respected Holly's prowess as a striker and knew Holly would respect her prowess as a striker so it wouldn't be this crazy brawl. Amanda and Cris had this unofficial agreement where they meet in the middle and let the best woman win. That's it. The first two or three Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez fights look the way they did because that's ultimately how the styles intertwined. Rafael Marquez is a much better technical fighter than what he showed. I mean he's the brother of another fine technical fighter in Juan Manuel Marquez and trained by a guy who has trained boxing genuises in Nacho Beristain. Those fights were brutal and the reason why those guys didn't have much of a career afterwards. I don't see Nunes vs. Cyborg going any way but an insane sub two minutes no matter who wins or loses. I think at best Parillo tells Cris to stick and move and we complete an entire round. But after that? Business as usual.

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I thought Cormier was fighting a hell of a fight in the rematch before the head kick. He was tagging Jon pretty good. I think he watched that first fight with Jon and looked at everything he did wrong and what he could do better. I think Cormier could beat him, but he can't make any big errors.

I don't know why Anthony Smith wants that Jones fight. That's a real bad fight for him. Anthony is better than his record indicates, but he ain't challenge Jon Jones better than his record indicates.

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So did Novitsky actually say that Jones pissed hot on multiple tests this fall on Rogan's podcast? That's what Alvarez is saying.

 

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8 minutes ago, Ace said:

So did Novitsky actually say that Jones pissed hot on multiple tests this fall on Rogan's podcast? That's what Alvarez is saying.

I don't listen to Rogan's podcasts but I think Novitzky said that he found similarities in results from Jon's prior tests that would be indicative of pulsing. That would be in regards to people saying if it showed up on one test why wasn't it on others. 

I wouldn't listen to anything Bryan Alvarez believes on MMA. He has some of the worst opinions on MMA. Also, when Dave forgets a name or messes up a fact on damn near every show (there was the time Dave confused Illir Latifi with Reza Madadi and said Latifi went to jail for robbery LMAO), he never steps in to correct him. It's the blind leading the blind.

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As it turns out, Alvarez was right. The December test was his THIRD time pissing hot. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Ace said:

As it turns out, Alvarez was right. The December test was his THIRD time pissing hot. 

The thing is...they aren't treated as failures just like the 12/7 or whenever it was wasn't treated as a failure. Nevada is likely going to agree with those findings or find it inconclusive. Hence, Novitzky's explanation.

If they were failures, Nevada doesn't tell them we need more time to investigate. They would say those are failures and they move on with any punishment.

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I'm watching the post fight presser with Cyborg and she evens brings up the aforementioned Jorina Baars fight in Lion Fight. She pretty much confirmed if she was granted a rematch with Amanda, she would fight the exact same way. I don't think Parillo could do anything to convince her otherwise.

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BTW, I don’t think I can be transphobic against Cyborg unless we all acknowledge that her steroid abuse has actually turned her into a man.

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18 minutes ago, Lawful Metal said:

BTW, I don’t think I can be transphobic against Cyborg unless we all acknowledge that her steroid abuse has actually turned her into a man.

Why can't you listen to the admin and not be a dickhead?

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9 hours ago, Oyaji said:

As mentioned at the top of the page, Cyborg has gotten way better since the PED testing has intensified. Can people not redeem themselves? 

 

I mean... I would think that redemption would involve an actual admission of fault and taking steps to make amends and such.  If I recall she did the standard "I hate steroids, but they happened to be in this dietary supplement I took" which... god I don't think any MMA fighter has ever intentionally taken PEDs as according to the people who failed the tests they were all accidental ingestions.

 

Now I don't think this means to adopt a transphobic hate boner for her, personally I'm pretty neutral towards Cyborg, but simply being good at sports doesn't absolve someone for previous bad behavior.

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9 minutes ago, username said:

Now I don't think this means to adopt a transphobic hate boner for her, personally I'm pretty neutral towards Cyborg, but simply being good at sports doesn't absolve someone for previous bad behavior.

I don't think anyone believes it absolves her just like I don't think Dan Henderson being everyone's favorite crazy uncle absolves him from being on TRT or at least being the person everyone accepts taking TRT. And I don't hate Hendo for it, but it was weird how people just kinda let him skirt by while we went through that whole bizarre time. He had a brief resurrection of his career when he should have been out of the UFC and MMA entirely.

Like I said... Dana and Ronda helped the perception around Cyborg improve. If they didn't campaign hard against her, she would be in the same place she was prior to going to Invicta.

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Sure, in an ideal world she would've come out and admitted it and moved on with her life. How many people who get popped for PEDs actually admit to blatantly cheating?

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