Before last night’s UFC 107 event we posed 7 questions that would be answered during the course of the evening. Here what we discovered.
1. How will BJ Penn’s cardio hold out if the fight goes into the later rounds?
Answer: Last night’s performance should do much to silence the doubters who have questioned ‘The Prodigy’s’ conditioning.
It wasn’t quite the war we might have expected though. Sanchez was floored early in the first round and that took much of the wind out of his sales.
He stayed in the fight though, and Penn showed no let up in his performance in the later rounds, and indeed waited for the 5th round to throw his first head kick, which opened up the cut that ended the fight.
2. Diego Sanchez has the drive and the determination to succeed, but does he truly have the skills at the elite level?
Answer: On the evidence of this showing – no. Like others who have went before him, Sanchez could not match Penn in the striking department, and failed to break down his takedown defense.
He struggled with his range, his strikes quickly became predictable, and he had no answer to BJ Penn’s movement and counter-striking. According to the fightmetric stats Sanchez landed only eight strikes in the entire five round fight which tells it’s own story.
Now we will see the true strength of Diego’s character – whether he can learn from the experience, and come back a better fighter because of it.
3. How will Frank Mir cope if he can’t take Cheick Kongo down?
Answer: We never had the opportunity to see if Mir would have been successful or not had he attempted to take down Kongo.
What we did however get to see however, admittedly only briefly, was how Mir would cope in the striking department, and it was better than expected. Inside the first minute he dropped Kongo with a powerful overhand left that sent Kongo reeling backwards onto the canvas.
After having dropped Antonio Nogueira numerous times in their fight last year, this latest highlight reel moment highlights the fact that despite Mir’s ground acumen, his stand-up should not be underestimated.
4. Will Cheick Kongo show improvement in his ground skills?
Answer: It would perhaps be unfair to judge this considering he was clearly dazed from the punch that knocked him down when Mir began to work for the guillotine choke.
One thing he should learn is to tap before passing out – it’s never a good idea to be choked into unconcsiousness unnecessarily.
5. What effect will a change of training camp have on Kenny Florian and Clay Guida?
Answer: There were no drastic changes from either fighter on evidence in the fight. Clay Guida in particular looked to be his usual self, and after struggling to take Florian down, his weakness in the striking department was still evident.
As for Florian, he is an ever evolving fighter, but it was some of his familiar weapons from past fights – his razor sharp elbows, and his often used rear naked choke submission – that had the biggest impact on this bout.
6. How good is Stefan Struve’s chin?
Answer: Despite going the full three rounds with heavy hitter Paul Buentello I’m still not convinced by Struve’s chin. In general his stand-up skills are still developing though, and I believe he has yet to fully utilize his height and reach advantage which would keep his chin from being tested too often.
At just 21 he still has plenty of time to learn, and from Dana White’s post fight comments it appears that he won’t be throw in against the divisions top contenders just yet, which at this stage may be a blessing.
7. Can Jon Fitch get an impressive victory inside the distance to put him back into title contention?
Answer: Unfortunately for Fitch his fight ended in a decision for the sixth time in a row. Though he was facing a tough opponent in Mike Pierce, another workmanlike victory does little to push him closer to a second shot at current welterweight champion Georges St.Pierre.