COMMENTARY | The UFC returned to Sweden on Saturday, April 6 with a card that delivered multiple highlight-reel stoppages and several interesting matchups. Here are three thoughts on the main card:
The underwhelming main event
When will the UFC ever learn? There will always be injuries in mixed martial arts; it's part of the game. The UFC puts on the best MMA shows on earth, but it can't seem to figure out what to do with their cards when main eventers get injured.
Don't get me wrong. I understand that the UFC didn't have a lot of options for Gegard Mousasi when Alexander Gustafsson was forced out of the fight. It's also important to note that Gustafsson deserves some of the blame for getting cut within days of stepping into the cage with Mousasi.
However, it wasn't fair to Mousasi to match him up with a fighter who has a completely different style than him on less than a week's notice. It also doesn't do a lot for the company's reputation overseas that it has continually put on shoddy main events over the years.
This is an easy problem to fix. The UFC must start putting together cards with more attractive co-main events. There aren't many people out there who care about a Ryan Couture-Ross Pearson matchup, so it doesn't make much sense for it to have such a high level spot on the card. Co-main event fights should always be strong enough that they can cover for the main event in cases like the Mousasi-Gustafsson bout. Instead, fans were treated to a horrible main event that was only suitable as an undercard bout.
The Couture comparison
The time has come for both the fans and the media to stop comparing Ryan Couture with his father, Randy. The two men have similar fight styles, but they have completely different skill levels. I was surprised at how many people kept comparing the two fighters online during the bout, but the truth is that Randy never would have lost a fight like Ryan did against Ross Pearson on Saturday.
I don't mean that as an attack on the younger Couture. I simply believe that Randy was at a different level throughout most of his career, and it's not a given that Ryan will ever develop into an elite fighter. Time will tell if Ryan will become a champion in MMA, but until then, I'm going to stay away from all of the comparisons.
The fans and media should let Ryan be Ryan instead of continually using his father to size him up. Hopefully, Ryan Couture learns from this loss to Pearson and moves on to have a successful career regardless of his bloodline.
Brad Pickett and Mike Easton put on a show
The bantamweight division takes a lot of criticism from fans who would rather watch the heavier weight classes compete, but they might want to re-think that after watching Mike Easton and Brad Pickett go to war. There's a reason why Pickett is nicknamed "One Punch." He's one of the most powerful and technically sound fighters in the UFC. His opponent, Easton, is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a powerful striker in his own right.
Together, the two fighters put on an outstanding show of grappling and power striking at UFC on FUEL TV 9. Their Fight of the Night performance is proof that the smaller weight classes can deliver more than a simple technical battle. Easton and Pickett went to war, and they deserve credit for the effort they gave in the cage.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA for 20 years. He has been published on Yahoo! Sports, UltimateApocalypse.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or on Twitter @dciapala.
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- Gegard Mousasi
- Ryan Couture