Honestly, I still find it baffling that Miller didn’t put on a good showing last weekend. No offence to Dollaway, but I feel Miller wins that match nine times out of 10. Even with a bum knee, he came close to knocking the TUF finalist out on two occasions before falling victim to desperation takedowns.
It’s depressing that Miller never got to show off his skills on the biggest platform the sport has to offer. Unless he stages a comeback some time down the line, casual fans will be left wondering why he was even given an opportunity to fight in the UFC.
But Miller isn’t the first — and certainly won’t be the last — talented fighter to struggle in the octagon.
For years Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic was ranked among the top heavyweights in the world.
He also played a significant role in forcing MMA fighters to evolve. When he entered the sport, few could handle his stellar kickboxing abilities. As a result, everyone had no choice but to get better, or fall victim to a highlight-reel head kick.
But almost as quickly as Cro Cop rose to the top of the PRIDE 2006 open-weight grand prix, he plummeted to the lowest point of his fighting career.
After getting fed Eddie Sanchez in his UFC debut, Filipovic’s next outing saw him on the receiving end of his own patented move — a vicious high kick courtesy of Gabriel Gonzaga. He followed that up by dropping a unanimous decision to Cheick Kongo and promptly left the UFC for Japanese MMA promotion DREAM.
His return was less than stellar.
Though he picked up wins over Mostapha Al-Turk, Anthony Perosh and Pat Barry, Filipovic was finished by Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir, Brendan Schaub and Roy Nelson. By the time he retired from MMA, the Croatian striker had only put together a 5-6 record in the UFC.
He has since returned to kickboxing, picking up wins over Ray Sefo and Loren Javier Jorge.
Former Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago had his share of epic fights.
Outside of his difficulties in the UFC, the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt is best known for his epic fights with Kazuo Misaki. The two fought twice over the Sengoku 185-pound strap and both times Santiago finished Misaki in the fifth round — the first via rear-naked choke and the second by corner stoppage.
The latter of their two encounters was the best fight of 2010. Yes, even better than Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen.
Outside the UFC, Santiago has picked up wins over Siyar Bahadurzada, Jeremy Horn and Andrei Semenov, as well. He also split a pair of fights with top international middleweight Mamed Khalidov.
However, his showings in the UFC have been severely disappointing.
His promotional debut got off to a good start when he knocked out Justin Levens at Fight Night 5 in 2006. Sadly, this would be his last victory in the UFC, as he suffered back-to-back KO losses to Chris Leben and Alan Belcher.
Upon leaving the organization, Santiago turned his career around, winning 11 of his 12 bouts. Many MMA sites even ranked him among the top 10 middleweights in the world. Following the second Misaki fight, he was re-signed by the UFC and seemed destined to make a serious impact.
His return to the promotion couldn’t have gone worse, as he suffered a one-sided TKO loss to Brian Stann at UFC 130 in 2011.
After dropping a dull unanimous decision to Demian Maia five months later, Santiago was once again handed his walking papers.
In his first fight since being cut, Santiago scored a KO victory over Leonardo Pecanha in March. He is scheduled to face UFC and Bellator veteran Jay Silva on June 15.
NO FIGHT JUST WAR OF WORDS
For more than 13 years, MMA fans have been clamouring for Vitor Belfort to fight Wanderlei Silva again.
Perhaps now might be a good time to dust off some old board games because the wait just got longer.
A broken hand has forced Belfort out of the UFC 147 main event against the former PRIDE champion.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the news following Saturday’s UFC 146 post-fight press conference.
“I wake up this morning, and Vitor Belfort breaks his hand, and he’s in surgery,” White said. “It never ends for me. Every day we get up, and bad s--- happens. And guess what? I can guarantee you that when I wake up tomorrow, something else is going to happen.”
Since hearing of his rival’s injury, Silva has gone on the offensive via Twitter.
“It’s a great irresponsibility not to be careful in training,” Silva fumed on Twitter (translation by Tatame.com). “I’m ready to knock you out, you have nowhere to run.
“If you were scared, you shouldn’t have accepted it. If you really got it broken, it’s amateurism and if you didn’t, you’re scared. In both scenarios, it was irresponsible of you towards the fans. Pardon the word, but I’m pissed with your amateurism.”
In typical Belfort fashion, the MMA legend gave a veiled response.
“The emotional imbalance of some reveals their fears,” Belfort wrote. “I (thank you for your) support big time and also my sponsors. Believing in yourself is not being arrogant. I’m still confident and I respect my opponent, which now is my injury.”
Prior to the scheduled bout, the MMA legends served as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. The two were then set to meet June 23 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. With Belfort on the sidelines, Silva will now have a rematch against Rich Franklin in the main event.
The former middleweight champion won an exciting unanimous decision over Silva at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany on June 13, 2009. Franklin was originally expected to face Cung Le at UFC 148 in July. A replacement opponent for Le has yet to be announced.
DOS SANTOS TO FACE OLD FOE?
With his first successful UFC heavyweight title defence in the books, Junior dos Santos will likely see a familiar face in his next bout.
At the UFC 146 post-fight press conference Saturday, company president Dana White confirmed he “likes” the idea of having dos Santos defend the strap against former champ Cain Velasquez.
Both fighters delivered impressive performances Saturday night. The co-main event saw Velasquez maul Strikeforce veteran Antonio Silva in the most gruesome bloodbath of the year. Moments later, dos Santos handed out a one-sided beating to former titleholder Frank Mir.
Though it took dos Santos a mere 64 seconds to dethrone the NCAA Division I wrestler last November, critics have since claimed he didn’t face the ‘real’ Velasquez.
The only roadblock standing in the way of the rematch is Velasquez’s UFC 146 medical suspension. The heavyweight requires an x-ray of his left hand. If it is broken, he will be out until Nov. 20. If everything is well, he could be cleared as early as June 26.
STRIKEFORCE EVENT COMEING TOGETHER
The undercard of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy, being held July 14 in Portland, Ore., is starting to take shape. Canadian welterweight Jordan Mein returns against Tyler Stinson. After stopping Evangelista Santos with a vicious barrage of elbows in his promotional debut last September, Mein dropped a split decision to top contender Tyron Woodley on Jan. 7. No stranger to tough split-decision losses, Stinson lost a close one to Tarec Saffiedine the same night.
Also announced for the undercard, Pat Healy will meet Mizuto Hirota in a lightweight scrap and welterweights Jason High and Nate Moore will go at it.
The event will be headlined by a middleweight title fight between Luke Rockhold and Tim Kennedy. UFC veteran Nate Marquardt takes on Woodley to crown a new welterweight champion. The main card will also feature a pair of middleweight fights, as Roger Gracie faces Keith Jardine and Lorenz Larkin goes toe-to-toe with Robbie Lawler.