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Talk Radio: Number one contender fights and top eliminator bouts in UFC should be 25 minutes long

By Zach Arnold | May 31, 2010

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From this past Saturday night’s Sherdog radio show. Jordan Breen has been leading the bandwagon for five round fights in non-title bouts. So has Josh Gross of Sports Illustrated.

JORDAN BREEN: “I think most people are content with Evans winning because Rampage looked so blasé but I thought to me it was another of those fight that reflected, I mean… if Evans was the better man, I think he probably would have won those next rounds and if Rampage did have the ability to knock him out, I want to see it. It just seems like another one of those fights that reinforces, these are guys that should be fighting five rounds in total especially where one of the narratives going into the fight is, ‘Oh, Rashad’s breaking down Rampage.” Well if he’s going to break him down, I want to see him break down. Give me rounds four and five. It seems a bit weird to have a fight this big… Dana White made it explicit that the winner, now Rashad Evans, is going to fight Mauricio Shogun Rua later this year. It seems just wrong to have this be three rounds. It seems anti-climatic and all too entirely short for a fight of this magnitude.”

MARC LAIMON: “Yeah, I agree. I mean, I kept making the mistake thinking this was a five round fight and I was like, oh man they’re getting close on time. And I was like, it was only three rounds and I was like, oh man. Yeah, I did feel kind of gyped. You know like I kept thinking this was a five round fight, five round fight, and I was like, oh no, it’s only 15 minutes. It’s… I really would have liked to seen what would have transpired those last two rounds.”

JORDAN BREEN: “Yeah, and obviously there then comes the issue and this is the thing that I brought up with Keith Kizer basically said, well when we go back and look at changing things in Nevada we’re going to sort of allow these promotions to petition us and say we would like this to be a five-round fight and then we know that there’s always going to be an issue of what fights become five round fights and you know where do you draw the line. And again with Zuffa, this is a card where the main event on a UFC card is still normally a title fight and this ended you know basically five minutes before you know five to seven minutes before they would have gone off on PPV. So, I mean there are time considerations for PPVs but it seems like absolutely, a title eliminator that Dana White explicitly says the winner’s of this fight is going to be fighting a title, surely that has to be the most appropriate step down from an actual title fight. I mean, it’s the natural step below it, surely if anything that’s the kind of fight that we can get behind for 25 minutes.”

Do you think that eliminators or number one contender bouts should go five rounds?

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 12 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

12 Responses to “Talk Radio: Number one contender fights and top eliminator bouts in UFC should be 25 minutes long”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Since the start of 2009, about 50% of the title fights in the UFC/WEC and Strikeforce (men only) have ended inside of 3 rounds. The only 3 fights to end in the 4th or 5th round were BJ Penn fights. And of the fights that went the distance, the vast majority of them would be considered snoozers.

    So I would say as tempting as it might be to make more fights 5 rounds…. I think it would actually hurt the sport more by doing so.

    I can see why people would think it is a good idea. And at one time I thought it was a good idea. But the facts…. Which is the history of the 5 round fights in the last 17 months…. Just don’t support the need for more of these things. If anything, it would just create more boring fights….

    • Jeff says:

      Not that I am trying to give you more work to do, but I wonder how many fights in PRIDE ended in Round 3 (15-20 min.) ? I think that could add a lot to your stats.

      • Mr. Roadblock says:

        This is completely off the top of my head/out of my you-know-what. But I seem to remember thinking way back when that most PRIDE fights that got out of round 2, went to the judges.

        I think 45 did some great work on his analysis showing that rounds 4 & 5 are almost always just more of the same.

        Rampage may have completely sputtered out and died in round 4 or 5, but I don’t think anything good would have happened.

        As it was my girlfriend (who loves MMA) had her coat on and was lighting a fire under my butt to get off the couch and go out to dinner before the second round of Rampage/Rashad was over.

        During round 3 she was taunting me about ‘these two are just going to keep dancing’ until Rampage clipped Rashad. As soon as Rashad got ahold of Rampage, she said ‘that was his only shot, it’s going to the judges’. She was dead on.

        That fight didn’t need round 4 or 5.

        Judges screw up a lot of 3 rounders, but adding 2 more rounds won’t make for better fights.

  2. Mark says:

    It’s not the idea that I have a problem with. It’s the hyperbolic tone its supporters are taking that is about as annoying as it gets. The belief fights would go different with 2 extra rounds is just speculation, because fighters train for extra rounds y’know. Plus how many great 5 round fights have there really been. It’s the argument people use on why women’s MMA fights are so entertaining: the less time you have, the more you’re able to go balls out instead of slowly pacing yourself with boring jabs and leg kick clinics. Acting like avoiding those as much as possible is a plague to the sport is just stupid. Get over it, it’s not going to happen very often in the UFC if at all.

  3. Mark says:

    Also, when 45 Huddle and I agree on something, since we have such different perspectives on what MMA should be, it automatically makes it gospel. 🙂

    But if you want to be swayed by the poor man’s Bryan Alvarez, Jordan Breen, go for it.

  4. Body_Shots says:

    I believe title eliminators should be five round fights. However, I do question anyone coming to that conclusion by watching a 3 round fight. Especially taking tactics & strategies into account.

    I do agree with Jordan that Rampage-Evans was somewhat anti-climatic, but I’m not sure 2 extra rounds would of changed that. It’s been my experience that in MMA, that [i]most[/i] fights (even at the highest levels where guys are harder to finish) are decided within the first 15 minutes. Either via submission, knockout or technical advantage. I must state though, as a fan, high level mixed martial artists should be fighting 20-25 minutes.

  5. Andrew Garvey says:

    If number one contender and elimination fights are five rounds then what exactly is special about the title fight itself being five rounds? A few pounds of leather and tin?

    And using Evans-Jackson to try and justify five round non-title fights is just wrong. Rashad was obviously playing for points and would have done even less if the fight went five rounds. And Jackson failed miserably to press the action (even when he had Rashad hurt) knowing he had to go only three rounds, he’d have been even more sluggish with a maximum of five.

    And finally, there’s nothing ‘official’ about a top contender / elimination fight. What’s to stop a promoter adding a couple of extra rounds to any old fight they feel like and pretending its an eliminator?

    Terrible, title cheapening idea.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    I posted this on a previous posting a few days ago, but it is directly related to this topic…

    2009 & 2010 Title Fights…. UFC/WEC Title Fights (not including duplicate WEC Lightweight) and Strikeforce Men’s Title Fights….

    Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir
    Shane Carwin vs. Frank Mir
    Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans
    Mauricio Rua vs. Lyoto Machida 2
    Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn 2 – FINISHED IN 4TH
    BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian – FINISHED IN 4TH
    BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez – FINISHED IN 5TH
    Jose Aldo vs. Mike Brown
    Brian Bowles vs. Miguel Torres
    Dominick Cruz vs. Brian Bowles
    Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers
    Gegard Mousasi vs. Renato Sobral
    Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock
    Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis
    Golbert Melendez vs. Rodrigo Damm

    Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua 1
    Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leitas
    Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia
    Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves
    Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy
    Frank Edgar vs. BJ Penn
    Mike Brown v s. Urijah Faber
    Jose Aldo vs. Urijah Faber
    Miguel Torres vs. Takeya Mizugaki
    Jake Shields vs. Jason Miller
    Jake Shields vs. Dan Henderson
    Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson 2
    Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki
    King Mo vs. Gegard Mousasi

    29 Total 5-Round Fights. 14 Decisions. 15 Had a Finishes. Which is around 50% each way.

    Of the finished fights, 12 of them finished by the end of the 3rd round. The only 3 that ended in the “championship rounds” had BJ Penn in them. Despite finishes in those later rounds, they did not change the outcome if the fight had been 3 rounds and went to a decision.

    Of the 5 round decisions… Only 2 of the 14 were exciting fights. Those were Torres/Mizugaki & Melendez/Thomson 2. The remaining 12 went from decent to extremely boring, with the last 2 rounds being the “icing on the cake” in making the fights extra boring more often then not.

    And with all of those decision fights…. I believe if you took the score cards after 3 rounds…. The winners of those fights would have all been the same as the eventual winners.

    Which means out of the last 29 title fights, the last 2 rounds… those “championship rounds”…. did not alter the outcome of ANY of the fights.

    I’m not saying they should get rid of 5 rounders for championship fights. I think it make those title fights special. But there are a lot of false ideas on what 5 round fights actually provide.

    Overall, they do not change the outcome of fights. Overall, they typically only extend boring fights that would have been 3 round decisions.

    A guy like Josh Gross has an agenda. He wants to find faults in the way Dana White is operating his business and write articles on it. Somebody writing for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should have done exactly what I just did…. Which is lay out the facts. Look at past 5 round results and determine if making more of these fights is a good or bad thing for the sport. And most logical people looking at the data would realize that adding more 5 round fights does no good to the sport. Of course, I don’t expect that sort of logical discussion to take place. But it would be a breath of fresh air to see it happen.

    I use to be in favor of 5 round fights for #1 contender bouts. And like most other things, I’m in favor of changing my mind if trends change. But as things currently stand, I do not see a good way of supporting such a big change to the sport with really no benefit.

  7. Chuck says:

    45 Huddle;

    The Cung Le/Frank Shamrock fight was in 2008, and it was early 2008 at that. That one shouldn’t count since you mention fights in 2009 and 2010.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      You are right. Not sure why I thought that one was in 2009. So it would be exactly 50/50 on finished vs. decisions.

  8. Basically, what I hear as the response from those against it is “the fights might be boring”. Which is…interesting. Doesn’t really come from a point of arguing on the basis of competition.

    Let’s be honest – both guys fighting in UFC 114’s main event had been booked in 5 rounders, and Rampage had been in argurably one of the greatest fights of all time. That was a 5 round decision. Why wouldn’t I want to see him fight Rashad for 25 minutes? Because Gilbert Melendez/Aoki was boring? Retarded.

    • P.S.: I am not a mouthbreather that prefers to see unaired prelims between garbage fighters over the main event of the evening, even if there is the possibility it may not be an POWPOWPOW WAR. If you want to see nobodies knocking each other out in 2 minutes instead of the best in the world fighting for a full 5 rounds, you aren’t interested in MMA as sport.


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