UFC St. Louis is in the books, and the main card delivered worthwhile fights and interesting narratives moving forward. After every fight night, fans take stock of which fighters left particularly positive or negative impressions, shifting their support for the future. Let’s review some of the standouts from Sunday night, in grade order.
UFC St. Louis Results
Fandom Report Card Notables
Kamaru Usman (C-)
Emil “Valhalla” Meek took a fight no one wanted and clearly demonstrated why “The Nigerian Nightmare” is so consistently avoided. Over three rounds, Usman was able to power through the hands and hips of Meek to secure round winning takedowns and that’s it. As a fan sometimes it’s hard to accept when one of “your guys” has a rough night, it’s hard to just be thankful for the win against a tough opponent.
Usman either did not agree with this assessment or had pre-scripted his interview, as he was greeted by a chorus of boos in St. Louis. Johny Hendricks famously reported he was at “70%” in his loss to Georges St. Pierre, which was appropriately met with mockery. How is that even quantified? Usman took it a step further, telling the fans he was only at 30% for this fight. So you know, just imagine what it would be like if this fight was good! What was the most distasteful was the lack of respect given to Emil Meek, Usman even went as far as to question his Viking status.
If his requested fight with the despised Colby Covington does go down, it may be the only matchup in the welterweight division where Kamaru Usman is still the fan favorite.
(+) Still a gosh dang beast of a wrassler
(+) Broke out some Nigerian…trash talk?
(-) Some might call it “lay n’ pray”, or humping.
(-) Excuses, even in victory.
James Krause (B+)
It was early in the first round when “The” James Krause realized his dilemma. Alex White was able to pursue Krause with punches and stifle his movement, not allowing him to get momentum with his outside kickboxing game. In front of his home crowd, Krause had to decide whether to show out for Missouri and risk getting put down or to take an alternative, less exciting approach.
James Krause showed us you can have your cake and eat it too, surviving White’s blitzing comeback assaults with well-timed clinches, takedowns, and a solid positional grappling game. Oh yeah, and Krause nonchalantly whipped out a flying armbar in the third round, and nearly finished it. That one was for you, Missouri.
(+) Demonstrated versatility in his skill set.
(+) Obligatory handsomeness points.
(+) Classy interview!
(+) Flying armbar, man.
(-) White’s comeback and momentum shifts held most of the excitement.
Jeremy Stephens (A)
Stephens may always be best remembered as a Conor McGregor punchline, but he had himself a night. After an iffy first round where he was troubled by the distance control and long punches of the fan and betting favorite Doo Ho Choi, Stephens turned up the heat and earned a TKO stoppage in the second round. This was followed by the most interesting post-fight interview of the night.
First of all, there’s no way Stephens had a heavy country accent before this fight. He’s either been hiding it this whole time, or he won so hard it shook off the San Diego cobwebs. After going hog wild on the mic, Stephens showed his veteran savvy by snatching up the event’s Korean translator, in order to send a friendly message to all his new Korean fans. In true MMA fashion, Stephens ended the interview by bearing his blood stained teeth and gave a cute shout out to his kids, who he assumed were watching gleefully at home.
(+) Adjusting tactics to score the knockout finish, nice.
(+) Effectively communicating to the Midwestern and Korean fan bases.
(+) Josh Neer shoutout?!
(+) Calling out top contender Brian Ortega, yes please.
Jessica-Rose Clark (A+)
“Jessy Jess” Jessica-Rose Clark ended a tumultuous week on a high-note with a well rounded demonstration against the highly publicized Paige VanZant. The fight saw Clark navigate potentially dangerous kicks from the outside, work her own boxing combinations and dominate the action on the ground. After a failed headlock (a women’s MMA staple) by VanZant, Clark controlled the top position on the ground. In the second round, to the surprise of many, Clark pulled guard. A questionable decision for many, Clark quickly got to a leglock position and used it to get a deep double leg entry, ending up on top once again. That sequence showed a real intelligence and depth of skill in Clark’s game, along with being super dope.
Earlier this week, Clark’s house was robbed. Besides losing thousands of dollars in property, the burglars severely injured Clark’s cat because they’re monsters, and she had to be put down. Fighting through the loss of a loved one while staying positive and interactive with the fans? That’s an automatic A+. Here’s to Clark going on a “John Wick” style rampage through the division.
(+) They killed her cat, dude.
(+) Successful sweep from pulling guard!
(+) Staying positive as hell in the face of adversity.
This sport is more fun when you have favourites, choose your allegiances.
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