When will Australia get better UFC cards?
In the wake of the most recent UFC on Fuel telecast, there were a couple of things that struck me as wrong. The first was that Sydney trained Kiwi James te Huna should fight Forrest Griffin.
The second was the way that UFC president Dana White all but tried to force Stephan Bonnar into retirement, right there and then in his own post-fight show.
Let’s have a look at the first point.
James te Huna destroyed Joey Beltran in his co-main event fight yesterday, landing more significant strikes in his fight than any other light heavyweight in the history of the UFC. He’s lost only once in his last eight outings and that loss was to Alexander Gustafsson, a guy who I think should fight in the next title elimination bout.
Forrest Griffin is a self-confessed ‘big slow white guy’ who stands in front of people and bangs and therefore is a fan favourite. There is also the added fact that he is hilarious.
However, Forrest barely squeaked past a slow old man wearing a Tito Ortiz costume last week. It’ s not fair to fans, it’s not fair to te Huna and it’s not fair to Forrest. If he wants to keep fighting, he shouldn’t be fodder for one of the fastest and most accurate strikes in the division, which I fear he would be against the heavy-handed ANZAC.
Which leads me to the second point. Bonnar wants to coach TUF with Forrest so that the pair can recreate their TUF one finale classic, at the time the most famous fight in UFC history. Dana White has said categorically that this won’t be happening, but he went a little far suggesting that Bonnar will no longer be given any more ‘main card’ opponents.
Bonnar is on a three-fight win streak, with his last loss being in Sydney in a wildly entertaining war against Krystof Soszynski. He should get another big fight.
He should get Forrest on the TUF Smashes card.
The esoteric personalities of Forrest and Bonnar play particularly well here in Australia, and everyone here remembers Bonnar’s battle at Acer Arena. If the pair want to go out as their final match, we will acknowledge them in the manner they deserve.
And speaking of being deserving, Australia has consistently been bringing some of the biggest gates to the UFC, but they haven’t always graced with cards that acknowledge that fact. If this TUF: Smashes finale is happening in Australia, Sotiropoulos and Pearson will be an enticing battle, but perhaps that pair shouldn’t be the biggest names on the card.
Both are entertaining and popular in their home countries, but they’re both fighting to stop backward momentum in the UFC.
I think we need a fight that will propel a local fighter forward and to that, I think the card should also include James te Huna in a true test, perhaps against one of the big names of the division like Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida or Shogun Rua.
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