UFC 115 Recap: Could’ve Been Better

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First of all, it doesn’t get much better than UFC, so whenever anyone expresses disappointment in a recent UFC event, you have to think of it in relative terms. UFC 115 comes out after a season that included some of the best UFC events in recent memory. Measured against, say, UFC 100, of course it’s hard to compete. But even the worst UFC event is better than most of what’s out there in other sports. I won’t name any names, but while other sports just get weaker and less intense, UFC keeps ratcheting things up every year.

UFC 115 was great because it gave us the opportunity to watch up-and-comers such as Evan Dunham, Tyson Griffin, Rory McDonald, Carlos Condit, and Claude Patrick. It’s not every year that there is this much talent going up against one another. Dunham, Patrick, and McDonald took the wins in their respective matches, but all three could have gone either way, and they nearly did at multiple points.

While all of that is great, the main event is of course the reason we were all watching. I for one was thrilled for the chance to watch Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell go up against the former champ Rich “Ace” Franklin, and I was expecting a great matchup between these two intense fighters. Liddell did a great job of challenging his opponent and even getting some good hits and scrambles, but Franklin got the win in the end with an unceremonious knock-out. The match was fine, of course, but it left many of us a little disappointed, just because it was so predictable.

Perhaps because the main event wasn’t quite as exciting as it could be, the after-event press coverage has focused heavily on what many consider to be troublesome refereeing at UFC 115. I won’t get into the specific grievances that some fans of the sport have against the referees at the event, but let’s just say that there were several moments where it was clear that the referees were pretty much just making things up as they went along.

In the end, the only way to fix these refereeing problems is to have a more widespread sanction of the sport and a stronger governing body. That’s not likely to happen any time soon, though, so we’re likely stuck with a long future of thrilling matches with questionable refereeing. If you ask me, the tradeoff is worth it.

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