Dan Hardy Column: Lentz went into hiding for the big fight
IT wasn't a good weekend for the Rough House at UFC 118 in Boston last weekend, with both Andre Winner and Nick Osipzak losing on points.
I thought neither of them looked themselves in their fights. Fighting Greg Soto, Nick had a very good first round – almost scoring a stoppage – but Soto then took over in the second part of the fight.
And Nik Lentz didn't come to fight Andre, he actually came to avoid one at all costs, like he'd be shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize and didn't want to mess up his chances of winning it.
Lentz grabbed hold of Dre's leg for three coma-inducing rounds, which the ticket-paying public clearly didn't appreciate. It was a real shame he did that. The fight was live on American TV and a great showcase for both guys, but Lentz just didn't want to fight.
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He couldn't take Dre down or get anything going on the ground. He didn't want to strike and he didn't go for any submissions, he just clung to Dre's thigh like a sailor to a mast during a storm.
Dre won't make excuses himself, he never does, but he was actually in hospital for two nights a couple of weeks ago. He had a cauliflower ear which then got infected and needed antibiotics. Physically, he looked in great shape but I can't help but think he wasn't 100%. Yet, even if he was, it takes two to have a row and he was in there with the UFC's answer to Ghandi.
In interviews this week, I've been asked if another two losses in addition to my loss to George St-Pierre and Paul Daley's defeat to Josh Koscheck, shows that the Rough House needs to bring in new wrestling coaches in order to be successful in the UFC.
I've just spent three months on my wrestling in the USA and I can tell you we all work very hard on all aspects of our game. We are all improving all the time and the reality is me and Paul lost to the two best wrestlers in the sport in GSP and Koscheck.
Then Nick got tired in a fight he was winning and Andre was maybe not right on the night and encountered an opponent who simply didn't want to fight.
Rather than saying 'oh, these guys can't wrestle', I think the problem is there's beginning to be too much wrestling in UFC Octagon, not too little of it in the gym. There are a lot of people out there calling themselves 'UFC fighters' who are nothing of the kind. In the UFC, you should go for finishes.
You should work for 15 minutes to knock your opponent out, submit him, or improve your position to give yourself the best chance of doing either.
But there's guys out there who just want to use wrestling to hold a stalemate for 15 minutes, without ever risking going for ground and pounds or attempting submissions.
This isn't 'cheating within the rules' – it is actually against the rules. 'Timidity' is outlawed in the Unified MMA rules and what better describes the act of holding on to an opponent and waiting for the clock to tick down with no attempt or inclination to do any damage?
And that's not the same as saying all UFC bouts have to be kickboxing or Thai boxing matches in order to be entertaining. That's not what I am saying.
One of the best fights of the year was George SotXX – who is a friend of mine and a guy I am tipping to win the Lightweight Title next year – beating Joe Stevenson at UFC 110.
About 13 of the 15 minute war was on the ground, but both guys were going for submissions, ground strikes, sweeps or trying to improve their positions constantly.
Neither of them secured top position so they could essentially stop fighting, which, quite honestly, is what is beginning to happen in the UFC.
The Athletic Commissions need to look at the scoring and refereeing to stop this from becoming a problem. If a guy is in a dominant position, but not actually doing anything offensive – stand 'em back up.
If he is consistently trying to tie the other guy up to avoid actual fighting – warn him and then start taking points. It is supposed to be a fight.
UFC 120, featuring Hardy v Carlos Condit, takes place at the O2, London, on October 16.