UFC 132 was a great show with many surprising good fights, and with the continued free Facebook streaming, free Spike TV portion, and PPV, the entire card was at disposal. Sorry for the really late recap, but work and surfing got in the way of me posting a timely write up.
Jeff Hougland def. Donny Walker: In round 1, Hougland scores a body kick before ducking a punch to shoot in for a takedown. Walker gets hit by an elbow while on his back in guard. A few more elbows score. Hougland stacks up and applies sinks in a standing guillotine and back down to guard. Walker escapes and both are active on the mat. Hougland reverses to top position and just as the bell sounds, Walker attempts a leg lock. Round 1 goes to Hougland. In round 2, Hougland misses with a round kick to the head but scores on a short hook punch. Hougland is landing more frequently with kicks to the body and leg and a spinning hammer fist. Walker is pressing and lunges for a hook punch. Consecutive jabs from Hogland to a clinching knee as he shows better stand up than Walker, who is mostly known as a stand up fighter. Both fighters stumble to the mat and Hougland cranks a guillotine off his back and Walker nearly taps before being saved by the bell. Round 2 goes to Hougland. In round 3, Hougland drops for a takedown, but it is stuffed. Walker has double under hooks against the cage and lands a knee in the clinch. Both fighters go to the mat and Walker is in half guard on top. Walker is in full guard. Hougland spins for an arm bar and syncs it in deep before transitioning into a triangle. Walker picks Hougland while being choked and slams him to the mat to free up the submission attempt. The ref stands both fighters at 2:40. Walkers is more active and lands punches. Hougland shoots in, but looks clearly fatigued. Walker sprawls and is now on top. Hougland passes after being in danger from a Japanese Necktie, a variation of the Darce choke. Walker is desperate at :40 while on his back for a submission attempt, but Hougland is aware and stays out of trouble. Great round! Round 3 goes to Hougland. Official Judges Score: 30-27 29-28 29-28
Anthony Njokuani def. Andre Winner: On paper, this matchup looked to possibly content for “fight of the night” as both fighters excel at standup, but ended up being a lopsided victory. In round 1, both fighters exchange rapidly in the center of the cage. Njokuani explosively scores a leg kick and body hook punch. Njokuani follows with another leg kick to spinning elbow. Winner misses with a lead uppercut. Winner also misses with a step up round kick. Njokuani counters regularly and ducks most attacks with ease. Winner throws nice punches, but is mostly missing. Long jabs from Njokuani and kicks to the body make their mark. Njokuani counters with double upper cut to jab to big straight right. With 14 seconds remaining, Njokuani scores a takedown. Back on their feet, Njokuani tees off with uppercut and knees, counter punch, knee, punch, knee, clinch to a final knee. Round 1 goes to Njokuani 10-8. In round 2, Winner comes out aggressively swinging. Njokuani throws an explosive head kick. Njokuani lunges in for a 1-2, hook, to knee. Winner breaks the clinch after getting hit with a few knees. Winner scores with a lead left hook, but is pressing less than at the start of the round and is getting countered most time he leads with an attack. Winner leads with a straight right and connects. Round 2 goes to Njokuani. In round 3, both miss with head kicks. Njokuani is very good at lunging combos as he covers lots of distance in his attacks. Leg kick to head kick and body hook to straight right are thrown by Njokuani while effectively using repeated feints. Njokuani attempts a single leg takedown. Winner clocks Njokuani with a left hook and is throwing hard punches to end the fight. Njokuani wins round 3. This is the best performance I have seen from Njokuani. Official Judges Score: 30-26, 30-26, 30-27
Aaron Simpson def. Brad Tavares: Tavares starts the fight with a lead body kick. Simpson attempts a double leg takedown and while still holding on he scores with some knees to the leg against the cage. Simpson tries for a leg sweep. Tavares applies the whizzer to avoid being taken down and shows further excellent takedown defense. At 2:15, the ref separates the fighters for a restart. Tavares scores with a stiff counter straight right. Simpson lands a leg kick and clinches. Another takedown attempt by Simpson is defended against well. Both exchange punches to end the round. Round 1 goes to Simpson. In round 2, Tavares scores beautifully with consecutive counter straight rights. Simpson almost gets dropped, but grabs Tavares and counters back. In the clinch against the cage, Simpson hits hard with knees to the thighs. Tavares positions himself for a takedown and completes a double leg takedown. Simpson gets back to his feet quickly and scores with a knee. Simpson syncs a standing guillotine and tries for his own takedown to end the round, but is unsuccessful. Round 2 goes to Simpson. In round 3, Simpson gets Tavares in a clinch, but Tavares pushes off beautifully to get away. Simpson scores with a lunging straight right. Tavares uses the whizzer to avoid being taken down. With his back against the fence, Tavares avoids further takedown attempts by shifting his weight with great balance, however, Simpson finally sweeps Tavares to the mat. Simpson tries to pass and gets the back of Tavares as they both stand. Another sweep by Simpson, but Tavares is up quickly. Simpson continues to try for takedowns and Tavares does well to keep his weigh forward to avoid being thrown to the mat. The ref separates both fighters. Simpson scores a big straight right and immediately sweeps Tavares to a guillotine attempt. Round 3 goes to Simpson. Official Judges Score: 30-27 30-27 30-27
Brian Bowles def. Takeya Mizugaki: This fight was disappointing in that the matchup was good enough to be on the main card AND while Bowles did win (mostly by securing takedowns and positioning on the mat), I felt he did so with little intensity and effort. In round 1, Mizugaki scores with a leg kick and straight right. Mizugaki ducks to counter with a 1-2. Bowles shows respect and is unable to find his range. Mizugaki thumps with a leg kick and another counter straight right. Mizugaki ducks or blocks punches and counters with a 1-2. Mizugaki lands a knee to the head and from the clinch, the ref separates the fighters. Mizugaki lands a knee to the body and finishes the round with a flurry from his hands: jab, straight right, hook and a 1-2. Round 1 goes to Mizugaki. In round 2, Bowles is pumping out his jab. Mizugaki scores with a hard straight right and a right legged round kick. Bowles jabs again. Mizugaki displays excellent footwork to avoid danger and to get into range for his own attacks. Bowles lands a short right and more jabs. Both are landing with jabs and straight rights. Mizugaki is countering well and kicks Bowles in the head. Mizugaki gets his leg grabbed by Bowles after throwing a leg kick. This causes Mizugaki to go to the mat and get trapped in a body triangle. Mizugaki defends well against three separate rear naked choke attempts. At some point in the round, Bowles broke his hand. Bowles wins round 2. In round 3, Bowles clinches against the cage. At 3:00, Bowles secures a well timed and explosive double leg takedown. Crowd is booing as Bowles just holds on for 2 minutes. Both get back to their feet and Bowles ends the round with a left hook. Round 3 goes to Bowles. Official Judges Score: 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 (RIDICULOUS that 2 judges scored the first round 10-9 to Bowles)
Spike TV Prelims
Rafael Dos Anjos def. George Sotiropoulos: In round 1, both fighters show good head movement and footwork with lots of missed strikes and shrug offs. Dos Anjos lands a thumping leg kick to a hard straight left to palm strike to looping right hook which knocks Sotiropoulos out at 4:03.
Melvin Guillard def. Shane Roller: I was really excited for this matchup, but the way Guillard fought on this night, not sure anyone can beat him. In round 1, Guillard’s speed and aggression is immediately noticeable. Guillard misses with a jumping knee, but follows with a connecting jumping round kick. Guillard nearly misses with an explosive attack of left hook to straight right from way out of range. A running left hook, straight right to the body, to kick combo scores for Guillard. In addition to speed and explosiveness, Guillard continues to befuddle Roller with believable feints. Roller’s face remains calm, but is clearly confused by the distancing Guillard maintains to keep Roller at bay. A left hook to straight right lands from Guillard. Guillard maintains his bouncy and active footwork. Only 1 minute has elapsed as a short stoppage ensues after Roller gets poked in the eye. Guillard scores on a leg kick and quickly clinches for a jumping knee. Roller is missing on every attack. Guillard counters with a straight right and it is loud. Roller attacks, but is countered with a straight right, uppercut, and the left hook drops Roller. On the ground, Guillard hits repeatedly with hammerfists and as Roller stands, Guillard clinches for a knee to lunging punches. The left hook drops Roller and again more ground and pound from Guillard before the ref stops the fight at 2:50 in round 1. Impressive standup from Guillard.
Pay Per View Main Card
Carlos Condit def. Dong Hyun Kim: This fight was exciting and both fighters will continue to thrive in the 170 pound division, but Condit put on a show which I think finally opened up a lot of eyes to his fantastic skills in the cage. In round 1, I love both fighters aggression and overall skill. Kim ducks under for a double leg takedown and is still standing over Condit. Condit on his back and in butterfly guard with one foot and uses the other foot to sweep Kim. In full mount, Condit goes for a guillotine. Kim hip escapes from danger and both stand. At 3:52, the crowd acknowledges the ref’s decision to separate the fighters. Condit switches his stance and a rear handed left hook lands. Both are calm and patient while picking their spots to attack. Condit charges forward with a hopping knee (similar to a hopping front kick or “Karate Kid” Crane kick”) and knocks Kim out with perfect timing at 2:02 in round 1.
Tito Ortiz def. Ryan Bader: I have a hard time rooting for arrogant athletes who are one dimensional, therefore I was definitely not pulling for Ortiz. Bader seems to have the louder applause from the fans, but there is definitely a buzz in the air. In round 1, Bader lands a hard straight right, but has clumsy wrestler-style footwork during stand up. A winging left hook from Ortiz grazes and he checks an inside leg kick skillfully. Ortiz is trying to land a power jab, but doesn’t have much range on his punches. In a messy clinch, Ortiz lands a short right to a hybrid punch which resembled a uppercut/hook. Bader drops. Ortiz digs in a guillotine with one arm in and it is tight while in guard. At 3:04 in round 1, Bader taps.
Dennis Siver def. Matt Wiman: First off, I didn’t think this matchup deserved to be in the main card PPV portion, but ended up being a very entertaining fight. Second, Wiman got ripped off by the decision and should not have a loss on his record from this fight. In round 1, both throw a lot of punches but mostly miss. Wiman drops for a single leg takedown but it’s stuffed by a beautiful sprawl. Both stand and in short range exchange lots of punches, but again, miss mostly. Siver ducks a head high kick and follows with a few hard leg kicks of his own. Wiman looks solid in his standup. Both are getting closer to the target in hard exchanges. Wiman grabs for a spinning hip toss, but Siver applies the whizzer to stand up quickly. Wiman drops for a single after having double under hooks, but Siver has great takedown defense with his back against the cage. Wiman almost gets the single leg takedown. Both in the center of the cage and Siver lands a hard leg kick. Siver scores a takedown and gets half guard, but Wiman pushes off to stand back up. Wiman attempts another single leg takedown, but Siver hops around and frees his leg. Wiman grabs for a double leg takedown attempt, but is unsuccessful. Siver is scoring late with big punches. Round 1 goes to Wiman (very close to call). In round 2, Siver grazes with a front leg front kick and Wiman shoots, but Siver with only one knee down avoids the takedown. Wiman is still grabbing a leg and drops down to throw his opponent on the mat. Siver is unable to stand back up this time. In full guard, Wiman lands a sharp elbow to open Siver up. Despite the red face, Siver is able to block many of the elbow attacks. However, Wiman does land a few big elbows and punches from both hands from guard. Siver is covered in blood. Wiman tries to pass to side control just before the bell sounds. Wiman wins round 2. In round 3, the cut man did a fantastic cleanup job and Siver’s cut is sealed and all the blood is wiped away. Siver misses with a left hook to straight right combo, but Wiman looks a even more wild with his winging punches. Wiman grabs a leg which slips out and immediately shoots in for a single leg takedown attempt. Siver drops to knees to sprawl; beautifully done. At the center of the cage, Wiman blocks a head high kick and Siver also misses with a spinning back fist. Both continue to mostly miss with their techniques. Wiman stays aggressive. Siver scores with a front kick to the body and leg kick. Wiman drops for a single leg takedown, but Siver is slippery. Wiman scores with a big straight right and follows with a grazing straight right. Wiman ducks punches while some of them hit his face as he goes for another single leg takedown, but Siver has good defense. Wiman sweeps Siver and goes for an omoplata. Siver stands and Wiman falls, but it looks like a slip. Siver attempts a guillotine at the bell. Round 3 goes to Wiman. Official Judges Score: 29-28 Siver
Chris Leben def. Wanderlei Silva: I like Leben a lot and feel he has grown into a classy fighter, but Silva is one of my all time favorites. In round 1, Silva looks to counter a leg kick with a straight right to start the fight. As Leben lunges for a second leg kick, Silva throws hard looping punches. Leben counters with left hooks. Silva tries to clinch while getting hit with uppercuts and gets dropped by a left uppercut. It looks like Silva believes in his own chin too much at this point in his long career and probably should have just avoided the punches rather than attempt a clinch. Leben jumps on Silva for ground and pound with left hooks and at 4:34 in round 1, the ref stops the fight via KO. Stunning ending!
Dominick Cruz def. Urijah Faber: Of course there was no shaking of hands before the start of the fight. While it is obvious that Cruz would be the taller fighter, I was surprised to learn that Faber had the longer reach advantage of 1 inch. In round 1, Cruz lands a big straight right to start the fight. Cruz has a very square fighting stance and best footwork in MMA in my opinion when it comes to distancing for offense and defense and bridging the gap explosively when needed to attack. Faber gets hit again with a punch, but grabs onto Cruz to try to bring him down to the mat. Cruz stays up after getting spun around a few times. A key to the fight for Faber happens here when he scores on a punch during the Cruz exit, and this happens throughout the fight which was obviously premeditated strategy. Cruz feints then lands a head kick, dances around and whips out a leg kick. Faber swings wildly with a straight cross, but connects with a short hook. A short straight right stumbles Cruz to the mat, and as Cruz regains his balance, he is hit again with a hook punch. Cruz doesn’t appear hurt from the knock down. Cruz catches a leg kick for a sweep, but Faber defends well. A hard, whipping leg kick blasts Faber. As Faber rushes in, Cruz counters with a big uppercut from the rear hand. Jab, right leg kick, duck, right uppercut combo is hitting from every angle from Cruz. Faber shoots for a single leg takedown and holds on, but nothing is there. After a clinch in the center of the cage where nothing was landed by either fighter, again on the exit, Faber lands a short elbow. Seconds before the bell, Cruz scores a takedown. Round 1 goes to Cruz. In round 2, Cruz avoids a takedown early. Cruz scores a left hook, then follows with a a left hook to straight right combo which lands flush. Faber swings and misses wildly. Cruz lands a thumping leg kick. When Cruz seemed to relax his alertness for a second, Faber makes him pay with a hard straight right…perfect timing to catch Cruz off guard. Faber blocks a few punches, but eats a leg kick. In the middle of the round, Cruz only lands a few insignificant punches, but is warding off all attacks from Faber. Body hooks to a leaning looping straight right from Cruz scores before he stuffs a half hearted takedown attempt. Cruz may have slipped despite what announcers say at :57, but he gets up quickly, stalks forward, ducks a punch and secures a double leg takedown. Faber is in butterfly guard on his back and does a hip escape to stand back up, then scores on a left hook just before completely getting to his feet. Cruz lands a left leg head kick and right leg kick. After landing a right uppercut, Cruz scores beautifully with a left hook to right hook combo. Round 2 goes to Cruz. In round 3, Faber slaps with a leg kick. Cruz punches from long range and Faber looks out of sorts in the first minute of the round, while Cruz darts around like a mosquito. During the second minute of the round, lots of punches are missed and a few leg kicks land. Cruz feints to freeze Faber before scoring on another beautiful combo of lead uppercut, straight right, left knee to the body, and right hook. Cruz scores again on a lead leg head kick to rear leg leg kick. A takedown attempt is stuffed by Cruz. At 2:08, Faber takes Cruz down with a hip toss and holds on to the back. Cruz flips over and gets on top in side control. As both scramble to their feet, Faber again lands a short right hook like many of the exits beforehand. At 1:34, Cruz looks fatigued and less explosive, but continues to dance around and scoring on insignificant punches. A leg kick lands, head high kick doesn’t, but Cruz follows it up with a solid straight right. Cruz ducks a hook punch and counters with a straight right. Faber scores with a uppercut but cant hit the moving head of Cruz with the rest of his combo. Another single technique scores for Faber with a right hook. Cruz lands a stiff jab and tries to shoot in for a takedown, but it is stuffed near the end of the round. Round 3 was very close, but Cruz did way too much early in the round to give the round to Faber for his lone takedown, so I give it to Cruz. In round 4, Cruz misses with a left hook, but follow up with a straight right. Both look fresh to start the championship round. Cruz misses with a left hook, but stuns Faber with a looping right hand. Cruz continues to be very elusive with skillful head movement, but gets rocked by a straight right and drops to the mat. Cruz pops up quickly and avoids a dangerous follow up straight right from Faber and in the moment, secures a single leg takedown. Cruz tries to keep Faber on the mat, and nearly gets hit with an uppercut as he and Faber stand back up. In an exchange, both land hard punches. Faber doesn’t complete a double leg takedown, but scores with an uppercut as he gets back to his feet. Cruz lands body digs, but clearly has lost some endurance. Cruz doesn’t have the same explosiveness from before, nor is he moving as actively. Cruz attempts a jab, pause, left uppercut, right hook, body kick combo, but only grazes with it. On the next exchange in the center of the cage, Faber gets the advantage. Cruz tries for 2 unsuccessful takedowns. Cruz lands a right uppercut and Faber lands 2 left hooks. Faber thumps with a left handed dig to the body to straight right hand. Faber doesn’t seem to have lost much endurance and looks very explosive. Toward the end of the round, most would believe Cruz shoots in for a takedown, but on replay I notice he might have been caught by a right hook and was falling to the mat and merely held onto Faber. Round 4 goes to Faber. In round 5, as Faber lunges in he gets caught in the chin hard by a jumping knee from Cruz. Both press forward to attack. Faber presses and punches hard. Cruz attempts a takedown and Faber easily sprawls. Cruz holds onto the leg while both fighters are on the mat. Both scramble on the mat before standing back up. Faber tries to knee, but is taken down by Cruz. Cruz attempts a standing guillotine, but lets go for a left hook. Faber pays for a big swing and miss as Cruz ducks under for another takedown. After the scramble, both are in the center of the cage. Faber tries another takedown but slips. Both fighters stand back up and show unreal endurance and power. Faber lands a few scattered punches in the last minute. At :44, Cruz scores a final takedown. Faber stands and immediately is taken down again by Cruz. Cruz ends the round with a clinching knee. Before the judges decision, both fighters embrace respectfully. Round 5 goes to Cruz. Official Judges Score: 50-45, 49-46, 48-47
This was a great night of fighting from the undercards to the pay per view portion and really lived up to it’s billing. The crowd of 55,000 in Toronto, Canada was very appreciative, supportive, and knowledgeable. During the Claude Patrick-Daniel Roberts fight, the crowd in unison would yell during a clinch for the Canadian, Patrick, “KNEEEEEEEEEE.” Great job by the crowd all night long. A retirement was declared by a legend tonight, eliciting an emotional crowd to chant his name in at thundering decibels. A “Martial Arts never left,” statement was highlighted by a crane kick. A pound for pound great met his match. UFC nailed it tonight, maybe with the lone exception of the main event.
Pablo Garza def. Yves Jabouin: In round 1, Garza starts off with a cheap quick leg kick just as the fighters high-5 each other. Garza shows great mobility and leg checks for such a tall and lanky framed fighter. Garza lands a beautiful leg kick after feinting a hand combo. Jabouin scores a looping right hand over the top and clearly needs to move in and out at great lengths based on the height disadvantage. A shin catches Jabouin on the chin. A very strong Thai-clinch from Garza enables him to control Jabouin and land hard knees to the body. Garza shoves Jabouin off from his grip and lands a front leg round kick to the head, followed by a hopping side kick to the body. At 3:30, Jabouin drops Garza with a leg kick and repeats the same thing; twice Garza goes down by a leg kick. Garza grabs onto Jabouin, but is unable to land anything nor any takedowns. Jabouin fakes a jab and crushes Garza’s jaw with an uppercut which disengages his mouthpiece to the mat. Another uppercut lands and once again, Garza falls to the mat after getting hit with a leg kick. Both fighters clash shins on a leg kick attempt. Jabouin continues to land hand strikes. Both land hard leg kicks and continue to land more. Garza is hit hard with a straight right to winging left hook. As Garza shoots in, Jabouin just misses with a jumping turn back kick to the body. Garza punishes with a clinch to hard knee to the body and then to the head. From the clinch, Garza jumps into a flying triangle. Garza throws elbows and secures the triangle choke even deeper with a mounted triangle. With :30 left in round 1, Jabouin is forced to tap. Phenomenal fight!
John Makdessi def. Kyle Watson: In round 1, Watson stays busy early, but nothing lands. Makdessi is content to dance around. Makdessi lands a hop in side kick to the body, but remains mostly inactive. Watson isn’t very sound with his standup and throws lumbering punches and kicks. Watson shoots in for a standing double arm clinch/takedown and it is shrugged off. Nice inside leg kick landed by Watson followed shortly by a superman punch. Watson lands a step through turn back kick to the body and moments later lands a step up hook kick to the cheek. Another takedown is shrugged off by Makdessi. Although Makdessi came on late, at least Watson was pushing the action for the first 3:30 of the round. Hard to give round 1 to anyone so I have it at 10-10. In round 2, Watson eats a few defensive punches as he charges in for another clinch/takedown. Makdessi lands consecutive straight rights and retreats back while Watson lunges in to score a few counter punches as he back peddles. Watson dips his upper body down to feint and lands a hard back leg round kick. Makdessi misses with a spinning hook kick, but follows with a step up side kick to the body. Watson tries the same fake low to head high kick, but misses this time. Every time Watson lunges forward with punches, he is met with retreating counters from Makdessi for points. Makdessi lands a hard looping left hook. Nice fake with his front leg to land a stiff jab by Makdessi. For a kicker though, Makdessi has some of the softest leg kicks. Makdessi wins round 2. In round 3, Watson clinches and wrestles Makdessi against the cage. They break apart and land little for the next minute, despite the blood coming from Watson’s chin. At 3:35, Makdessi scores a KO with a step through spin back fist (upon slow motion review, the strike was actually a step through spin back hammerfist). Watson is on his back and shivering.
Jason MacDonald def. Ryan Jensen: Jensen comes out charging and MacDonald goes for a takedown. MacDonald gains the back but is spun around to full guard. MacDonald secures a triangle. Jensen slams MacDonald down, but it only tightens the choke. MacDonald wins at 3:23 in round 1 via tapout. Beautiful technique on the ground by MacDonald. High level of jiujitsu displayed in that transition on the ground to secure the triangle choke.
Ivan Menjivar def. Charlie Valencia: Although he fought GSP in 2002, Menjivar has the Canadian crowd behind him. In round 1, Menjivar lands a hard leg kick. Valencia hits with a spinning back kick and huge straight right. Both fighters clinch in the center of the cage. Menjivar lands elbows from the clinch. A very short range front hand elbow drops Valencia and Menjivar proceeds to ground and pound before the ref stops the fight at 1:30 in Round 1. Valencia’s nose is broken on the contact from the elbow.
Claude Patrick def. Daniel Roberts: In round 1, Roberts comes in aggressively. Patrick gets a takedown and is in half guard. Roberts grabs wrist and is setting up for a Kimura. Both south paw fighters stand at 3:40. Roberts is really awkward with his standup fighting. A clinch against the cage results in nothing but weak knees for either fighter. A left hook lands for Patrick and he advances to clinch before sweeping the legs out from under Roberts for a huge slam. In rubber guard on his back, Roberts defends an arm triangle which has little leverage from that position. Both stand and Patrick lands punches to the body and head to the retreating Roberts. Patrick wins round 1. In round 2, Patrick looks confident. Roberts lands consecutive inside leg kicks. Patrick gets tripped up and on his back gets the double butterfly guard. Both stand and get over/under clinch in the center of the cage. Patrick lands knees to the ribs and head, a 1-2, and leg kick. Roberts lands a superman and kick to the body. Patrick scores a double leg takedown and ends up with his head in a guillotine. Roberts abandons the choke and reverses his positioning to get side control. In half guard, and then in full guard, Roberts then takes the back of Patrick for a brief moment before both fighters stand. Roberts is exhausted. Patrick scores another late takedown. Patrick wins round 2. In round 3, Roberts throws punches like he stuck in molasses which are easy to block. Patrick scores a takedown after initiating a clinch. Patrick is in full mount against the cage. Roberts hip escapes from the bottom and gets butterfly guard. Both are back on their feet and Roberts tries a single leg takedown, but is way to tired to execute it. A few more takedown attempts from Roberts results in nothing. Patrick has good balance at this point, however is tripped up and attempts a guillotine off his back. The bell sounds. Patrick wins round 3. Official Judges Scorecard: 29-28 Patrick.
SPIKE TV TELECAST
Jake Ellenberger def. Sean Pierson: In round 1, there’s not much action for the first minute. Ellenberger throws a lazy left hook, but scores a powerful single leg takedown at 3:30. Pierson uses the fence to get back to his feet. In the center of the cage, Ellenberger lands a straight right. Both land punches in an exchange. Ellenberger scores a TKO with a front hand left hook off a counter which drops a frozen Pierson at 2:42. A few more follow up punches forces the ref to stop the fight.
Rory MacDonald def. Nate Diaz: The 21 year old Canadian, MacDonald is a well rounded and young prospect who faces his biggest challenge in Diaz. In round 1, Diaz paws with his strikes. MacDonald is not fazed and lands a leg kick. Both fighters have long and lean frames. MacDonald scores with a grazing back leg round kick and Diaz tries to grab it for a counter. Against the cage, MacDonald creates space by pushing off the clinch to attempt a rear handed uppercut to left hook. Diaz tries to fish his arms under for leverage. MacDonald drops for a double leg takedown and Diaz defends well, but offers his back. Both are on their feet and MacDonald lands a quick superman punch to jab. MacDonald’s back leg round kick to the head is blocked. A stalking Diaz is met with a leg kick and 1-2 head kick attempt. MacDonald lands a superman jab. After clinching, both fighters separate at 1:06. MacDonald stuffs a single leg takedown attempt and another is attempted by Diaz. MacDonald defends the takedowns well. MacDonald wins round 1. In between rounds, you can read Diaz’s lips as he says, “come on, bitch!” while taunting MacDonald, more out of frustration, rather than anything else. In round 2, MacDonald starts with a very quick leg kick to superman jab combo. After MacDonald gets double under hooks from the clinch, both fighters separate. A double leg takedown is stuffed by MacDonald. In the clinch at 4:05, Diaz lands a knee and foot stomps. MacDonald counters with a takedown from the clinch. MacDonald stands while Diaz is on his back. Diaz tries to stand and gets rocked before finally getting to his feet. Diaz ducks a straight right and clinches. From there, Diaz is thrown on his back with another takedown. As Diaz stands, he is hit by a right hook. Diaz lands a loud straight left flush on the chin. MacDonald counters with a straight right to uppercut. Very nice technique from MacDonald’s striking game. A single leg takedown is stuffed by Diaz. Both clinch and an advanced game of pummeling is taking place with neither fighter giving up a disadvantaged position. Diaz trips up MacDonald in the clinch, but MacDonald pops up quickly. MacDonald continues to strike well. In the clinch against the fence, Diaz lands strong knees to the leg. As they separate, MacDonald times a knee to flying knee. MacDonald finishes the round with a jab to leg kick combo. MacDonald wins round 2. In round 3, MacDonald is in good range to throw anything. Diaz attempts a single leg takedown off of a clinch, but slips to the mat. MacDonald gets his back as both are on their feet. MacDonald arches his back for a textbook suplex takedown. MacDonald holds onto Diaz and repeats the same suplex takedown. Beautiful technique! MacDonald punishes Diaz with ground and pound. Diaz moves his hips to gain butterfly guard and then to half guard. MacDonald is trying to pass and stands back up with Diaz still on his back. Diaz attempts to up kick, but nothing lands as MacDonald has good defense and lands punches from the top. MacDonald jumps to side control and lands more punches. Both fighters are on their feet for a brief moment, before MacDonald scores another suplex toss. The crowd goes nuts! Diaz attempts a single leg takedown and MacDonald sprawls. MacDonald lands an elbow from side control. Both stand in a clinch off the fence and Diaz continues to try to get MacDonald on the mat. MacDonald is the one to grab Diaz and take him down. MacDonald overpowers Diaz while standing over the floored fighter. MacDonald wins round 3 and dominates the fight in every facet. Official Judges Scorecard: 30-26, 30-27, 30-26.
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Ben Henderson def. Mark Bocek: In round 1, Henderson lands a leg kick and Bocek comes back with a straight right. In the clinch, Henderson hits with a knee and gains double under hooks. Bocek fishes out. At 3:30, the ref separates the two prematurely. Bocek knees Henderson. Henderson lands a body kick and Bocek comes back with another big straight right. In the clinch, Henderson elbows before they separate. A 1-2 to superman to leg kick combo from Henderson scores with power. Henderson shows good defense. Bocek shoots in for a single leg takedown, but it is stuffed. The 15 jiujitsu veteran, Bocek holds onto the leg and kicks out the other to off balance his opponent. From his back, Henderson lands a few elbows. Despite the takedown and relatively close round, I give round 1 to Henderson. In round 2, Henderson lands a straight left. Bocek holds onto a single leg takedown, but this time is unable to complete it. Bocek continues to grab Henderson and picks him up for a slam. Henderson uses a guillotine to leverage himself back up to his feet. In the clinch, Henderson scores knees to the leg and head. Again, the referee breaks apart the two fighters prematurely. A 1-2 from Henderson scores and he stuffs a single leg takedown attempt. Henderson scores a takedown with a leg sweep. Henderson punches from a standing position before Bocek eventually gets back to his feet. Henderson lands a knee to the body. Bocek attempts a leg lock. Both fighters clinch where Henderson is active with knees. Bocek brings Henderson to the gound with a front headlock attempt. A great escape by Henderson to avoid being submitted. Bocek goes for the anaconda choke. Henderson lands knees, elbows, and hand combinations. Bocek is bloody. Henderson wins round 2. In round 3, Henderson lands a 1-2 and leg kick. Bocek completes a takedown and is on top. Henderson attempts a guillotine, but lets it go. Henderson gains top position and lands big rights to the body. Bocek wraps his leg for a knee bar and Henderson narrowly escapes the dangerous lock. Both fighters stand and eventually clinch. Henderson lands knees and elbows. Under a minute remaining, Bocek scores a double leg takedown. In half guard, Bocek attempts a headlock. Both fighters stand and Bocek gets hit with a knee and 1-2. Round 3 goes to Bocek. I have the fight 29-28 for Henderson. Official Judges Scorecard: 30-27 Henderson.
Vladimir Matyushenko def. Jason Brilz: In round 1, Matyushenko starts with a lumbering combo, which is surprising because he normally has good hands. A heavy jab nearly misses from Matyushenko, but an uppercut to left hook combo lands and drops Brilz. 3 hammer fists from ground and pound ends the fight at 4:40. The fight lasts only 20 seconds. Brilz is heard saying, “what happened?” on is back. Brilz is respectful to Matyushenko in defeat when he finally regains his senses.
Lyoto Machida def. Randy Couture: Again, Steven Seagal walks to the cage with a marquee fighter. Will there be a similar ending to when Anderson Silva defeated Vitor Belfort via hopping front kick TKO? The crowd goes nuts for Couture’s entrance with chants of, “Randy! Randy! Randy!” In round 1, Couture circles around, but Machida misses with the first straight left. Couture lunges in and misses with a straight right. Machida counters with a defensive right hook. Couture catches Machida with a looping left hook. The knowledgeable crowd does not boo during the lack of action early in the fight after 2:00. Couture slips a straight left from Machida and is active with his head movement. Both tussle in the center of the cage but mostly miss with their strikes. Couture is struggling to find range but lands a body shot. Machida flies in with a straight left. Machida slips a straight right from the pressing Couture. Machida fakes a leg sweep and lands a straight left, but it only glances. Couture continues to miss as he lunges forward with punches. As Couture changes levels, he eats a big clinching knee from Machida to the chin. Machida does well to ward off the clinches of Couture. A half-takedown attempt by Couture is stuffed and Machida slips out of the hands of Couture. Machida, again flies in with a clinching knee and lands it to the body. Both shake hands after the round. Machida wins round 1. In between rounds, Couture is heard saying, “slippery,” and I’m assuming he’s not referring to the mat, rather the elusive style of his opponent. In round 2, Machida throws a counter punch and follows it with lunging punches, and many land. Couture falls to the mat; maybe a slip. Machida jumps on Couture, but both fighters stand back up. Machida lands a lunging rear handed uppercut to the retreating Couture. Couture is clearly having trouble with distancing at this point and has yet to find his range in the fight. At 4:00, Machida throws a short hopping front kick to the chin and knocks Couture to the mat. No ground and pound is necessary and the referee jumps in immediately. The announcers feel it was a fake left kick to flying kick to the face. I disagree and it technically was a short hopping front kick. Steven Seagal influence AGAIN??? Couture does not argue the stoppage and on his feet, waves to the crowd. Both fighters share an emotional moment together with a warm embrace and Couture says, “nice shot!” The crowd screams in passion, “Randy! Randy! Randy!” I have never been emotional watching a fight before, although this was as touching as it gets. “…It’s an honor for me and a dream to fight this guy. He’s a hero. This is a man! Thank you very much!” says Machida in his post fight interview. At age 47, Couture proclaims after this fight that this will be his final fight in the cage.
Jose Aldo def. Mark Hominick: Going into this fight, I tweeted that Hominick stands the best chance to pull of an upset over the champion, Aldo. While Aldo remains my favorite fighter (Jon Jones, Gilbert Melendez, Anderson Silva, and Wanderlei Silva/Kazushi Sakuraba round out the current list), Hominick is so comfortable in the pocket and strikes as well as any fighter out there with balance, accuracy, and power. In round 1, Aldo starts with a lead uppercut to straight right hand. Hominick stays in the pocket and gets blasted by a leg kick. Aldo lands a rear handed uppercut. Hominick bounces around and again gets kicked in the leg. Aldo moves his head and avoids getting hit and lunges in for dig to the body followed by a leg kick. This kick almost knocks Hominick to the mat. Both exchange with strikes and continue to actively move their heads. Hominick grabs Aldo’s kick and trips him to the mat briefly. After getting hit by another thumping leg kick, Hominick grazes with a left hook to straight right. Again, Aldo lands a dig to leg kick combo. Aldo shoots in for an easy double leg takedown. A rare glimpse of Aldo in guard on the mat. Hominick secures the right hand off his back and locks an arm bar with both his legs up. Aldo presses down and pops his head out of danger. Aldo pushes Hominick against the cage while still in guard, but Hominick does a good job of avoiding danger from elbows and short strikes. An elbow opens up a cut under the eye of Hominick. Aldo remains active, but no damage is done and the ref stands up both fighters with :30 remaining. Hominick scores his first significant punch, but gets taken down to end the round. Aldo wins round 1. In round 2, both fighters stay in range for striking and Hominick seems to be landing more to start the round. A beautiful head hook to body dig by Hominick lands. Aldo lands an uppercut to hook combo. Both fighters are teeing off. Hominick stuffs a takedown easily. Again with another takedown defense. Hominick lands his best punch so far with a straight right. Both fighters show good head movement and blocking of punches in this exchange. Hominick lands a few punches before getting taken down with a double leg shoot. On the mat and in guard, Hominick defends against any damage for a minute and the ref stands them up. Aldo takes Hominick down again for the points. There is speculation that Aldo may be tired at this point due to a rough weight cut. The round ends on the mat and is met with scattered boos from the crowd. Round 2 goes to Aldo. In round 3, Hominick lands a few leg kicks and jabs. Despite possible fatigue, Aldo shows expert head movement against most of the punches. Aldo lunges in for a slow takedown and it is stuffed. Hominick lands a straight right. Aldo lands a straight right and thumps with another hard leg kick. A left hook-straight right combo scores for Aldo. Hominick keeps hitting with his jab. Just as quick as his jab is a straight right from Hominick. Hominick lands a body hook to jab. Both fighters are scoring with strikes and equally demonstrating timely head movement. Hominick gets up quickly after being taken down by a single leg. Hominick is in range for multiple strikes landed. Surprisingly, Hominick looks to get wobbly after absorbing short right and drops to one knee before shooting in for a futile single leg takedown attempt. On his back, Hominick tries to avoid hammerstrikes from Aldo. This moment might have won the round for Aldo. Aldo is in guard and is inactive; only throwing lumbering punches. Aldo wins round 3. In round 4, Hominick continues to land punches from his lead hand. Thundering leg kick from Aldo rocks Hominick. Aldo pops Hominick’s head with a straight right and follows it with a soccer style kick to the body which glances the groin. Hominick doesn’t stop, yet Aldo apologizes just in case. Both pause for a second to shake hands…I love this sport. Aldo lands a left hook to straight right to leg kick and goes for a takedown, but nothing there. In a rare moment, both clinch briefly for a few seconds. A glancing knee to the groin of Hominick stops the action briefly, but clearly there was no illegal intention on Aldo’s part. Hominck strikes, but is caught with consecutive leg kicks. A leg kick by Hominick is checked brutally by Aldo. Aldo presses forward and it looks like Hominick is FINALLY showing affects from absorbing so many leg kicks. A dig to leg kick is thrown by Aldo. Hominick has shaken off what I perceived as having damaged legs and is moving around again with confidence and landing jabs. Aldo floor Hominick with a straight right. In guard, Aldo looks reenergized and throws many elbows. The crowd reacts to the close up of the golf ball sized knot above Hominick’s eye. “That looks like he has an extra head” says the announcer. Hominick does a brilliant job of avoiding excessive damage, although the ref and doctors stop the fight. After evaluation, the fight continues. Hominick does not back away from staying in the pocket and continuing to trade shots with Aldo. Aldo scores a takedown with 0:18 left. Aldo wins round 4. In round 5, the doctor begins by checking the hematoma, but allows the fight to continue. Hominick lands a straight right and eats a leg kick. Aldo slips a punch and lands a short left hook. Aldo hurts Hominick with a winging rear handed uppercut, but Hominick recomposes for a double leg takedown. In half guard, Hominick is landing multiple punches from the top and the crowd approves. Hominick is bleeding profusely from a cut under his eye. Again, Hominick lands more heavy punches against the wiggly Aldo who tries to control his opponent’s hips with his leg movement and wrist control. More punches continue to rain down from the top. Aldo is content to lay on his back and eat punches to the head and body from both hands. Aldo doesn’t answer at all. The crowd continues to roar. The fight ends on the mat. Both fighters embrace with respect and admiration as Hominick helps Aldo up. Both fighters engage in a push up contest and a bow. Hominick wins round 3. Phenomenal fight and in my opinion deserves, “fight of the night” bonuses. I have it 49-46 Aldo. Official Judges Scorecard: 50-43, 48-46, 49-46 Aldo. I have no Idea what the first judge saw. I can see the second judge’s score with Hominick winning round 5 and possibly round 3.
Georges St. Pierre def. Jake Shields: First off, as a fan of the SF Bay Area and Strikeforce, I enjoyed seeing Nick and Nate Diaz with El Nino following Shields in the entourage. I predicted that GSP would get his first non-decision victory since 2008 over the one dimensional, Shields. In round 1, Shields starts with an inside leg kick to lead head kick. Both are throwing strikes and landing nothing. Shields catches a kick from GSP and holds on. With GSP against the cage, Shields lets go of the leg. Shields postures with throwing knees and GSP spins him around before both continue in the center of the cage. Both continue to land little. The pro-GSP crowd reacts to a badly missed spinning hook kick from GSP. Another spinning kick misses from GSP. GSP misses with another spinning kick and misses with a superman jab. Shields continues to throw jabs and lands little, but shows good blocking ability against any of GSP’s attacks. GSP misses with a back leg side kick; a technique the announcer called a, “front leg side kick” which would be fine to throw in a fight if it really was off the front leg. Shields gets pummeled off balance by a stiff jab from GSP. GSP lands a superman jab and this time it was powerful. Shields tries to catch a leg again. Shields continues to to pump the jab from the pocket but lands nothing. GSP wins round 1. In round 2, both continue to miss many strikes at the center of the cage. Shields lands his biggest punch yet with a straight right. This is becoming an ugly boxing match with off balance punches and little landed. GSP is resorting to looping right hands and the last one finally lands. Shields blocks another looping straight right. A spinning back kick lands flush to Shield’s body. In the clinch, nothing from both fighters as they separate quickly. A spinning back kick is caught briefly by Shields. Another round of posturing and little action from both fighters. Round 2 goes to GSP. In round 3, Shields presses early and doesn’t land anything. Back in the center of the cage, GSP wildly throws looping punches which are blocked easily by Shields. GSP lands a looping right hand and is met with a double leg takedown attempt which doesn’t surprise him. Great change of levels by GSP to nullify the takedown attack. After missed punches, both fighters clinch and GSP shrugs Shields off with brute strength. A single leg attempt by Shields is warded off. GSP lands a hard leg kick. Again, GSP looks wild with his swing and misses with the “straight” right hand. GSP telegraphs a missed turn back kick. Shields lands a leg kick and GSP explodes through for a powerful double leg takedown with 0:15 left. GSP wins round 3. In round 4, Shields robotically throws combinations which don’t land and GSP counters with a double leg takedown. With Shields on his back, GSP lets him up. Still little more than jabs land from both fighters. Shields presses tentatively, possibly looking for a takedown. At 2:40, GSP drops Shields with a front leg round kick. GSP doesn’t jump in for the finish and Shields holds onto his front leg, before both fighters continue fighting in the center of the cage. Again, another moment not capitalized by the champion’s lack of aggression in this fight. Shields wakes up a little bit after a small taunt to wake up the crowd. Still though, nothing is landed with significance. GSP’s face is bloody. GSP lands a looping right hand. Both land jabs to end the round. Round 4 goes to GSP. In round 5, Shields looks game and encourages the crowd to make noise. Shields continues to press. GSP lands a superman jab. Shields is in range for a takedown, but doesn’t attempt any thus far in the round. GSP lands a looping right hand. It’s funny how with little action in a fight, the announcers tend to hype up the previous stats and accomplishments of the fighters. With 2:00 remaining in the round and fight, NOTHING happened in this championship fight. The crowd actually starts to boo. More posturing and no damage done in the entire round 5 by both fighters, but especially by GSP. Round 5 goes to GSP by 1 jab. Official Judges Scorecard: 50-45, 48-47, 48-47. This fight sucked! GSP always apologizes for not giving the fans what they wanted after his fights. The guy has so much talent and athleticism, yet lacks the leave-it-all-in-the-cage instincts. I am truly disappointed yet again by a fighter I once regarded as the best in the world pound for pound. This main event fight does not diminish an otherwise great card. Great job, UFC!
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Edson Barboza def. Anthony Njokuani: Hands down this might be the most skilled standup fight I have seen from TWO fighters in the cage. Both fighters are adept at throwing a myriad of techniques at any height and from any combo. Plus, the velocity and power of the punches and kicks shows refined technique. Put it short, there needs to be a rematch and then a trilogy, regardless of the outcome; and just for the audience’s entertainment, extend the fight to 5 rounds. I had seen a few fights from Njokuani in the WEC and had heard that Barboza possibly had more variety to his standup, but never did I expect such sustained skilled action. In round 1, both show super acceleration when throwing leg kicks, but only Njokuani lands. Both throw believable feints. Njokuani does a double feint followed by jabs. A big back leg round kick crushes Njoukani’s ribs followed by a straight right. Njokuani fall from the right, but gets up quickly. Barboza lands a front leg step round kick to the body. Njokuani is the taller fighter and tries to land a 1-2 over the top. A huge right cross lands and Njokuani stumbles, but remains on his feet, but he also eats a back leg round kick to the head. Njokuani comes back with a right handed cross. The best leg kick of the round is scored by Barboza. Both fighters are striking and moving beautifully. Njokuani keeps switching his stance to attempt different angles with his punches and kicks, but it seems to be throwing his rhythm off as he is less in range when doing so. Barboza misses with a straight right as Njokuani bobs his head perfectly and transitions into a counter straight right. Another body kick from Barboza who is finding his range. Both fighters stay in the center of the cage during the exchanges. Njokuani keeps rubbing his eye and even ask the referee for a TO at one point which was denied. Clearly losing the round, Njokuani tries to hype himself up, but is fruitless in his pressing. A hard check of Njokuani’s kick makes me cringe at the force behind the block. Barboza wins round 1. In round 2, the first 1:00 involves a lot of missed and blocked strikes. Both fighters showed the ability to easily add kicks to punching combos at any height. Barboza lands a nice turn side kick to the chin. Njokuani catches a lazy leg kick and throws Barboza down to the mat and follows with standing ground and pound. After absorbing some damage, Barboza gets back to his feet. Both land leg kicks thrown at hyper speed. Njokuani is having a very confident and successful round. Both land grazing back leg round kicks to the head. Njokuani lands a beautiful back leg fake front kick to round kick and follows with a spinning elbow. With 2:00 remaining, both clinch where Barboza misses with an elbow. Njokuani is in a good rhythm and has not switched his stance unnecessarily as he did in round 1. Barboza misses with a spin hook kick after breaking the clinch. A perfect double leg takedown surprises Njokuani, but it is a little too late to score further points for Barboza. Njokuani wins round 2. In round 3, Barboza begins with a front kick to the head which misses. Njokuani is pressing slightly and lands a leg kick, then superman punch to leg kick. Njokuani throws another leg kick which is checked by Barboza who counters with a hard straight right. Njokuani switches his stance frequently as he did so ineffectively in round 1. Barboza capitalizes with a left hook to straight right, then 2 consecutive straight rights land flush. With 2:00 remaining, Njokuani is landing punches to the head and body. Barboza is also mixing it up nicely at this point. Just as I was thinking that a takedown would seal the close round, Barboza attempts a double leg takedown. Njokuani lands a knee during the shoot. Still a close round, Barboza puts an exclamation point on the scoring with a spin hook kick smacking Njokuani’s chin just as the final bell rings. Barboza wins round 3. Official judges score: 29-28. Highly skilled standup fighting for 3 action packed rounds from both fighters. Njokuani is respectful in the loss. I want a rematch.
Luiz Cane def. Eliot Marshall: In round 1, Marshall starts with an obvious takedown attempt. Cane looks comfortable in his fighting stance and is clearly the more skilled stand up fighter between the two opponents. Marshall lands a lumbering straight right and misses with a back leg round kick to the head. Cane lands an inside leg kick to straight left from the southpaw. Another single leg takedown attempt from Marshall does nothing. Cane has very quick and heavy hands. Marshall’s lunging straight right crosses miss. Cane stays in the pocket and lands a 1-2, a big straight left, and again is in range for a 1-2. In an attempt to avoid more damage, Marshall lunges forward to attempt to jam Cane, but gets caught and dropped by an uppercut. Marshall is on his back on the mat. Cane follows by putting his knee on Marshall and starts to tee off with punches for :20 before the ref finally stops the fight at 2:47 in round 1. Just my opinion, but it’d be hard to see Marshall compete in the UFC again with that kind of performance.
Erik Koch def Raphael Assuncao: In round 1, Assuncao begins with a questionably placed inside leg kick, but apologizes for hitting Koch in the groin. Koch shows no reaction to the mistake. A left legged, back leg round kick lands from the southpaw Koch. Koch throws another head kick but misses and Assuncao counters with a straight right. Looks like throwing kicks to the head will not be a problem for the much taller, Koch. At 3:38, both fighters are still feeling each other out. Another head kick is thrown by Koch, but is blocked by Assuncao. Assuncao is struggling with the reach differential and is landing very little with his strikes. Koch lands a back leg round kick to the body and avoids any danger from Assuncao by moving just out of reach every time a strike is thrown. Assuncao lunges in for a left hook to straight right and is countered with a right hook from Koch. Assuncao drops to the mat. Before Koch can jump on top to inflict further damage, the ref stops the fight at 2:28 in round 1. Assuncao is unconscious on his back, but it looks like the bouncing of his head on the mat might have added to the damage.
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Brendan Schaub def. Mirko Cro Cop: During the introductions, the pro Cro Cop crowd boos Schaub. In round 1, it’s clear that Schaub is circling to his left to avoid the thunderous back leg round kick from the southpaw Cro Cop. Schaub lands a jab and misses with an explosive head high kick. Schaub is showing improvement in his standup. Cro Cop remains calm. For 1:00, both fighters remain in a clinch against the cage. Schaub is warned for striking in the back of the head. Cro Cop lunges in for a straight left which is met with a double-leg takedown from Cro Cop. In guard, Schaub keeps his hip down on the mat while walking outward to break guard into almost half guard. Schaub stands up and is met with an up-kick from Cro Cop off his back. Schaub avoids the rest of the kicks and jumps back into guard at 2:24. Schaub is clearly comfortable keeping the fight on the ground and tries to posture up against the grabbing from Cro Cop behind the neck. Schaub lands a few right hooks, but Cro Cop is very adept at blocking strikes and avoiding danger off his back. Cro Cop reverses his position on the ground and both fighters stand back up. An elbow grazes off Schaub’s face to end the round. Round 1 goes to Schaub. In round 2, Schaub throws big punches and misses badly. Cro Cop gets a huge reaction from the crowd after he lands a head high back leg round kick with his left leg; one of the signature moves of MMA. At 4:30, Schaub handles the kick and drops for a double-leg takedown. Cro Cop is on his back and defends well against ground and pound from Schaub. Cro Cop creates space with an up-kick to the body, then connects with another up-kick to the face, but the second one is illegal as Schaub’s knee was still grounded. A warning is issued by the ref. Both stand and land knees in the clinch. Many knees are thrown and over-and-under positioning is switched frequently by both fighters. Schaub’s nose is bloody. Again the ref gets involved and deducts Schaub -1 point for a punch in the back of the head. Cro Cop lands elbows to end the round. Cro Cop wins the round. In round 3, Cro Cop lands an inside leg kick to the groin. The ref calls a timeout. Cro Cop misses with a lead straight left, and after getting in brief clinch, another lead left from Cro Cop separates the two. Cro Cop misses with another straight left, and Cro Cop capitalizes with a double-leg takedown. While in guard, Cro Cop kicks Schaub off to stand back up. Schaub immediately reacts with another takedown. Cro Cop is on his back again at 4:00. at 3:10, Schaub passes to half guard. Both stand and Cro Cop is fighting with more urgency while missing with a big straight left. Schaub shoots for a double-leg takedown and Cro Cop sprawls into a guillotine choke attempt. At 1:17, as Cro Cop lunges in, Schaub throws a pushing right cross to help Cro Cop fall to the ground. Cro Cop lands awkwardly on the mat and his head bounces. It is not clear whether the punch and/or his head hitting the mat caused Cro Cop to be dazed. The ref stops the fight at 1:17 in round 3. A nice embrace follows the stoppage. Schaub yells to a battered Cro Cop, “you’re the reason I got started, Mirko.”
Nate Marquardt def. Dan Miller: It’s important to note that Yoshihiro Akiyama was originally scheduled to fight Marquardt, but was replaced by Miller following the natural disaster which devastated Japan. Miller took the fight on 1 week notice. In round 1, Marquardt misses with a straight right which leads to a clinch. Miller wrestles Marquardt to the ground, but Marquardt shifts into top position. Miller is in danger of getting choked out from a front choke position, but turns his head to avoid a quick loss. Both stand to a clinch and Miller lands a knee. Miller attempts a single-leg takedown and holds onto it while Marquardt hops 10x on one leg. Finally Marquardt runs out of room and trips to the mat. Miller is grabbing onto both legs to try to pull Marquardt off the cage. Marquardt wall-crawls to his feet and slams Miller down. Marquardt pops his head out of Miller’s guillotine attempt. Marquardt shows veteran defense to avoid getting into Miller’s full guard. Miller is on his back and attempts the rubber guard and is very active with looking for openings on the ground with jiu jitsu in mind. Both have earned black belts in BJJ and are proving in this fight to be complete fighters on the ground and while standing. Ref stands the fighters at 1:04. Marquardt lands a big right cross and scores a double-leg takedown. Miller straps on a guillotine choke, but the bell sounds. Great action from both fighters in round 1, but I award it to Marquardt. In round 2, you can hear the corner yelling, “2-3-2” to Marquardt, who obliges by scoring a straight right, hook, straight right and follows it with a head kick, to inside leg kick. Miller throws a jab, but lands a strong straight right. Miller blocks a punch and counters immediately with a jab; very advanced technique exhibited here by the fighter most known for his wrestling. After getting hit to the body with a Jab, Miller tries to counter with a big uppercut, which misses. Marquardt scores a stiff straight right and head kick. I can’t tell because of the camera angle whether a jumping knee lands from Marquardt, but Miller grabs for a double-leg takedown. Marquardt uses a whizzer to help him stand back up at 2:39. Miller scores a knee to body and Marquardt lands a knee to the head from the clinch. Marquardt starts scoring more at this point with his strikes, landing a 1-2 and countering with his straight right on consecutive exchanges. Marquardt scores a double-leg takedown and is in side control. Miller attempts a full guard guillotine , but again, Marquardt pops his head out. Marquardt finishes the round with multiple elbows from the top and ground and pound. Marquardt takes round 2. In round 3, Miller leads with an uppercut and follows with a straight left. Another straight left from Miller lands. In the clinch, Shalorus is kneed in the groin and the ref stops the fight for a second. Miller scores a huge uppercut at 3:00. Shalorus bends over from the impact. Miller follows with a knee to the face and drops Shalorus onto his stomach. Ground and pound ends the fight at 2:46 in round 3. Shalorus is bleeding quite a bit.
Urijah Faber def. Eddie Wineland: Both fighters are former WEC champs and are evenly matched. In round 1, both miss with punches and tussle in the center of the cage to a clinch. Wineland tries for a sweep. Faber drops down to grab, slips, and gets punched in the face in the process. Faber misses with his punches, but scores a double-leg takedown. Wineland reverses it and stands back up. In the clinch, Faber tries to hip toss or torque for a takedown, but Wineland stops the attempts with great balance each time. Wineland tries to sweep Faber’s legs and instead, spins to Faber’s back to slam him onto the mat. At 2:35, both are back in the center of the cage and neither is committing to get into appropriate striking range. Wineland jabs and Faber counters with a left hook. Faber misses with many punches. A single-leg attempt is stuffed by Wineland. Both fighters clinch. Faber attempts a hip toss and Wineland reverses it. Faber is on the mat. Wineland lets Faber stand back up. A leg kick miss is countered by Wineland with the best punch of the round. Faber is coming on stronger at the end of the round. Round 1 goes to Wineland. In round 2, Faber is in range but most of his punches and kicks are blocked. Wineland is missing a lot with his strikes too. For the first minute, both fighters show their skill in defensive distancing. Faber avoids a leg kick beautifully. Faber goes for a single-leg takedown unsuccessfully, but holds on for a kicking sweep for the takedown. Faber attacks from Wineland’s guard, but Wineland avoids danger from the multiple elbows being thrown. Faber finally lands the fifth elbow attempt. Faber picks up Wineland from guard and slams him back onto the mat. Faber continues his aggression with smothering attacks, but Wineland continues to defend well. A couple of punches and elbows land from up top, but Faber is doing little damage. Faber does not try to pass to advance postion at any point. In my opinion, the majority of the action on the ground for 3:30 was ineffective and if Faber didn’t have a reputation for strong ground and pound, most refs would have stood the 2 fighters up at some point in the 3 minutes and 3o seconds. The round ends just after Faber lands a big elbow. Faber wins round 2. In round 3, both fighters begin tentatively for the first minute. At this point, it’s safe to say that each fighter respects the other’s stand up ability, therefore are fighting less aggressively from stand up. Faber shoots for a single-leg takedown which is stuffed. Faber continues to try to toss Wineland but to no avail. Both clinch. In a scramble, Wineland lands a short right hook. Another single-leg attempt is attempted by Faber at 3:15 which is stuffed. Wineland has double under-hooks, but is unable to do anything with it against the cage. At 2:40, both fighters separate. Faber feints a takedown and Wineland bites hard. Faber crushes Wineland with a rear handed uppercut after the fake and follows with a straight right. Faber paws with his jabs. At 2:05, Faber is glancing with his punches, but at least is more active. Wineland lands a left hook. At 1:30, Wineland sprawls to a single-leg takedown attempt. Both clinch and Faber drops levels for a takedown. For the remainder of the fight, Faber tries more elbows and punches from the top in Wineland’s guard, but most is blocked and little damage is done. Both embrace each other on the mat and help one another up. Faber wins round 3. Judges official scorecard: 29-28 Faber.
Jon Jones def. Mauricio Rua: When Jones suffered his first loss to Matt Hamill in Dec. 2009, I predicted he would be the next, “big thing” in MMA. Jones lost that fight due to illegal downward elbows, accepted the loss with humility, and had a look in his eye that he would never lose again. Even the best fighters and reigning champions suffer losses in MMA, but I’d bet that it’d be at least a few years before anyone will catch up to Jones. My prediction before this fight. In round 1, both fighters touch gloves and reset, just before Jones attacks with a jumping knee from distance. A head kick is blocked by the 205 lb. Champion, Rua. Both fighters clinch, but separate shortly. Jones misses with a turn back kick. At 4:34 from clinch, Jones takes Rua down. Rua advances to full guard after being in half guard. Rua attempts an armbar/triangle choke. Jones is still in half guard, but his length allows him to be on the side of Rua. Elbows are not landing at this point. Rua puts his arm under a leg of Jones to sweep, but Jones is much too strong to allow this. Jones lands a few elbows. Jones has very sharp elbows despite the surrounding muscle. Rua tries to kick Jones off, but is smothered. “U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.” chant is strong by the crowd. At 1:30, Rua stands and gets kneed twice, a left hook, straight right, left hook, and front kick. Rua finally advances off the cage at 1:15 and is clearly tired and hurt. From clinch, Jones lands a knee and glances with a left hook. Another knee is landed. Jones throws a side kick to Rua’s knee; a technique I don’t understand why we don’t see more of in MMA. Rua lands a 1-2 and is met with a spinning elbow attempt. Rua is exhausted and slumps to the mat for a desperate leg lock attempt. Jones jumps onto top position and head butt’s Rua’s stomach (is this legal?). Jones finishes the round with a hammer fist to elbow attempt. Jones wins round 1. In round 2, a leg kick is checked by Rua, but Jones lands a front kick to the face. With his back on the cage, Rua gets blasted with a spinning elbow to jab. Jones hits with a Superman jab. Rua recovers from the damage and begins to press. At 3:45, “U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.” chant again is heard, but this time it appears to be a single person in the crowd. Both fighters clinch, then separate. Rua grazes with a 1-2. Jones lands a dig to the body. Rua scores his own punch to the body. Jones displays more athleticism with a straight right to Superman elbow, followed by a grazing front kick, leg kick, and a miss with a Superman straight right. At 2:45, Rua throws a lingering leg kick and Jones catches it before slamming Rua down onto the mat. Rua is on his back and gets punched by a standing Jones. Rua tries to extend his legs to nudge Jones off of him, but Jones is hard to push off. Jones bloodies Rua’s face with a short elbow. At the end of the round, Jones spins off of top position and attempts a last minute leg lock. Nothing there, so Jones smacks Rua in the face with a hammer strike just for good measure. Jones wins round 2. In round 3, both fighters miss with strikes. Jones is off balance for a second and Rua takes his back. Rua changes levels to try to drag Jones to the mat, but Jones doesn’t budge. Rua grabs Jones’ leg for a lock, but there is no attack. Jones is forced down and goes for a Kimura attempt, repositions himself and jumps on Rua, forcing Rua to his back. Elbows are thrown from Jones. From half guard, Jones tries to pin an arm under his knee, but eventually is in full guard. From there, Jones goes off in brutal fashion. 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, elbow, followed by a left hook, big elbow, and another big elbow from Jones. Rua covers by rolling over to his knees and protects himself. Jones stands and knees Rua in the midsection. At 2:30, Rua stands but is clearly shaken. Jones lands a dig to knee to the body which ends the fight at 2:23 in round 3. Jones wins the title in dominant fashion and in the 17 years of UFC is the youngest champion ever.
Wow, the national weather service just interrupted television programing to announce the possibility of tornados and to announce that they have already witnessed funnel cloud activity. This is rare and exciting. Crazy!!!!!!
This free event on Versus channel was one of the best UFC cards in recent memory. All of the televised fights showcased energetic output and skilled technique. The main event equalled its top billing and even the announcers couldn’t have faked their sincere enthusiasm for the action taking place in the cage.
Brian Bowles def. Damacio Page: This is a rematch from 2008 at WEC 35, where Bowles defeated Page with a guillotine choke in round 1, while many feel that Page led in the fight up until he left his neck exposed. In round 1, Page misses on big haymakers, but a looping round kick lands flush as both the viewers at home and the surrounding crowd could hear the impact. A jumping knee grazes Bowles, but Bowles counters with straight rights and hooks to the body and head. Page continues his aggressiveness and is sloppy, but effective in connecting. Page attempts a jumping back leg side kick to which does nothing. Page misses again with a haymaker, follows with a brutal leg kick, and pays for it when Bowles lands a perfect right hand counter. Page has no problem landing hard leg kicks, while Bowles remains in range to land right hands and hook punches at will. 3:00 remain in round 1, and already the action has been nonstop. Page clumsily grasps a loose Thai-clinch, but lands a knee to the head. Bowles continues to show his power in what appears to be his favorite combo, straight right to left hook. Bowles changes levels with this combo effectively to both the head and body. At about 2:00 remaining in round 1, both fighters exchange with little regard in the middle of the cage until Page slips. Bowles in top of guard starts reigning ground and pound. Page attempts an arm bar from the bottom. While standing and with Page still on his back on the mat, Bowles traps an exposed neck and cranks a guillotine choke to end the fight at 1:30 in Round 1. Page does not tap out and is rendered unconscious on the mat before the ref steps in.
Igor Pokrajac def. Todd Brown: Brown looks to be the looser fighter in standup compared to Pokrajac. Brown remains calm while defending. Pokrajac lands jabs at will with his length. A solid lead left hook to straight right lands from Pokrajac. With his height, Pokrajac is throwing straight rights over the top of Brown’s boxing guard. Brown goes for an upright standing tackle and gets over-under hooks while Pokrajac has his back against the cage. Pokrajac works to get double under hooks. Brown lands a few knees to the inside leg of Pokrajac. Both separate off the cage and engage back in the center as Brown lands a big right hand which leaves Pokrajac retreating. Brown attempts a half hearted shoot, but barely changes levels. Both clinch against the cage for the second time and again, Brown is active with throwing knees. Pokrajac lands a jab, right, back leg round kick to the head. At first take, it looks like the kick grazes, but on further review, the impact seems much harder. Pokrajac cleanly lands a big right hand and the second one floors Brown. Both stand back up. With his back against the cage, brown eats a heavy knee to his chin and crumbles to the mat. With 10 seconds remaining in round 1, Brown appears to be saved by the bell. However, the doctor stops the fight just before the start of round 2 as Brown continues to lay on the mat, clearly still hurt from the knee.
Chris Weidman def. Alessio Sakara: On 2 weeks notice, the highly touted and young wrestler, Weidman took on a seasoned vet in Sakara. Weidman needs to improve in standup and is out classed by the pro Sakara in that regard. In round 1, Sakara throws a perfect hand to leg kick combo which he repeatedly does throughout the round with effectiveness. A phantom shot which I couldn’t even see in replays, cuts Sakara over his right eye. I’m serious, Weidman hasn’t landed anything yet and Sakara is already bleeding. Sakara lands the hands to leg kick combo again. Weidman throws a nice head high round kick to gain a clinch against the cage, before missing with an elbow. Sakara reverses off the cage and both fighters resume in the center. A hard straight right is landed by Weidman, who looks comfortable with his punches when in range. When Weidman is forced to press, he looks awkward in bridging the gap. Sakara strikes again with the same combo of head punches to leg kick. A double leg takedown is stuffed by Sakara. Sakara is striking to the head and to the body with accuracy and thump. Another shot by Weidman is stuffed to end the round. Chants of “U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.” by the crowd is ignorant and unnecessary. Round 1 goes to Sakara. In round 2, Weidman finishes off a single leg takedown and Sakara is in guard on his back. An elbow is landed by Weidman who then stands to land more punches from the top. Sakara is bleeding heavily from the elbow. Weidman passes to side-control and spins to north-south position. Another big elbow is landed from Weidman who is actively punching from side-control. Weidman tries to trap an arm for a crucifix but Sakara takes advantage and tries to hip escapes out of danger. Weidman shows good control over Sakara’s hips. Now in half-guard, Sakara beautifully reverses out from the bottom and is now on top of Weidman. Sakara stands up and immediately punishes Weidman with a jab, straight right to leg kick. In the clinch, the powerful Weidman tosses Sakara to the mat. Both are back on their feet and the ref stops the action with 1:13 remaining in round 2 to assess the bleeding of Sakara. The proud Sakara wipes his bloody face on the referee’s shirt, before the doctor can check the cut. The crowd approves of the gesture which. After clearance from the doc to continue the fight, Sakara swings for the fences and looks wild. Both are in the center of the cage and beautiful exchanges ensue just before the end of the round. Sakara lands a jab, straight right, dig to the body and repeats that. Weidman throws a textbook jab, straight right, hook punch to leg kick. Weidman wins round 2. In round 3, Sakara starts out effectively punching to the body and head, specifically landing uppercut style hook punches to the ribs. Both are in the pocket and exchanging in range. Weidman scores a double-leg takedown and advances to side-control. Both are active on the mat. Sakara tries to hip escape, but Weidman again shows good control of his opponent when on the ground. Prematurely and maybe due to restlessness from the crowd, the ref stands both fighters up with 2:00 remaining. Weidman gets Sakara on his back with a double-leg take down. More scrambling and moving of his hips while on his back, but Sakara is unable to break free from Weidman’s side-control. Sakara avoids damage of ground and pound from Weidman. Dumb chants from the crowd again, “U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.” With 0:28 remaining, Sakara manages to escape and get back on his feet. Weidman finishes the fight with another takedown. Round 3 goes to Weidman. I have no idea what all 3 judges were thinking in awarding round 1 to Weidman, with the official score being 30-27 to Weidman.
Mark Munoz def. C.B. Dollaway: In round 1, Dollaway shows great technique and power in his leg kicks. Both tangle and end up on the ground. Munoz attempts a guillotine choke and Dollaway pries his head away from danger. Dollaway on top in Munoz’s guard. Both roll around until Dollaway confidently allows Munoz to get back on his feet. In the center of the cage, both swing wildly. Munoz connects with a perfectly timed rear handed uppercut to left hook. This drops Dollaway and Munoz ends the fight with hammerfists from top control. Ref stops the fight at 4:05 in round 1.
Thiago Tavares def. Shane Roller: In round 1, Roller lands a stiff jab to begin the fight and comes out aggressively. Tavares does a good job of staying away from danger. Roller misses with many of his combos early in the round. Tavares misses wildly with his punches. Joe Rogan seems to think Tavares is relaxed on his feet and Roller is awkward with his striking, and I totally disagree with that analysis. To me, Roller looks confident and calm, while Tavares may be relaxed, but misses wildly with big haymakers from out of range. Roller keeps his distance away from danger and shows prowess in blocking. Both fighters are heavy handed when they connect. Roller lands a few punches before grazing Tavares’ chin with a back leg front kick. This sends Tavares to retreat despite not being in danger or suffering any damage from the attack. Tavares stuns Roller with a beautiful combo of a lead hook, straight right, hook, to back leg round kick to the head. Roller fends off most of the damage, but is fighting going backwards until he meets the cage. Both are missing on most of their strikes, but there are many attempts with 2:00 remaining in round 1. The defense is solid from both fighters and each stays out of range of danger for the most part. Tavares lands a leg kick and Roller starts to tighten up at the end of the round with desperation in his attacks and takedown attempts. Tavares wins round 1. In round 2, both fighters show skilled stand up, but again, little scores. Tavares scores a takedown, but can’t keep the wrestler down as Roller gets back to his feet. Out of nowhere, Roller lands a perfect lead hook to a 1-2 for the TKO. The ref calls the fight at 1:28 in round 2.
Diego Sanchez def. Martin Kampmann: Anyone who follows UFC made note of the significant body change of Sanchez, who was once known for having legendary endurance in the cage based on intense training methods. While Sanchez did not regress in physical endurance during the entire fight, he certainly looked fat. It’s weird to see a big belly on Sanchez, and the shaved head looked unfamiliar as well. In round 1, Kampmann lands a slowly thrown 1-2. Sanchez tries to clinch then lands a jab to right hook. After a few jabs landed from Kampmann, both are still feeling each other out. Sanchez attempts a lumbering single leg takedown and even picks up Kampmann off the mat, but it is stuffed. Kampmann immediately makes Sanchez pay with a knee to face. At 3:18, Kampmann drops Sanchez, but Sanchez holds on for an attempted single-leg takedown which is stuffed. While doing so, Sanchez absorbs a knee from the clinch and a 1-2. Another 1-2 is landed by Kampmann, followed by a straight right. A single-leg takedown is stopped by a sprawling Kampmann. Kampmann finds his range with slowly thrown punches, but with very clean technique. Another double-leg takedown is attempted by Sanchez, but again is prevented by Kampmann. Sanchez keeps pressing to end the round, but is landing very little. Round 1 goes to Kampmann as Sanchez is left with a bloody face. In round 2, Sanchez comes out to fight and has blood remaining on his face, chest, and stomach…nice job cleaning up your boy, cornermen! Sanchez attempts a single-leg takedown and Kampmann spins out of danger. A lunging jab to double-leg takedown attempt is stuffed by Kampmann. Sanchez lands a lead hook followed by a counter jab by Kampmann. Sanchez remains aggressive by landing multiple left hooks. Both connect with straight rights. At this point, Kampmann is missing a lot with his strikes. Sanchez lands a jab and shoots for a double-leg takedown, resulting in nothing. Again, another double-leg takedown is stuffed. For the first 3:00 of the round, Sanchez landed more punches, although uglier in technique and attempted 4 takedowns. At 2:00, Kampmann lands harder shots, but Sanchez lands more in this exchange. Kampmann is not hurt and is very composed defensively while Sanchez remains wild. Kampmann is cut, but it is unclear if the damage was done by a punch or head butt as Sanchez leads with his head a lot before striking. Kampmann lands a big straight right. A double-leg takedown is stuffed by Kampmann. Both land punches in an exchange in the center of the cage. Sanchez is landing punches through wild aggressiveness. A final double-leg takedown by Sanchez is stuffed. Both fighters finish the round with an exciting exchange. Sanchez wins round 2. In round 3, the crowd is clearly still excited from the action packed two previous rounds and gives a standing ovation to begin the round. Sanchez lands a lead hook and is countered by a jab from Kampmann. Kampmann stuffs a takedown and lands a big straight right. After stuffing the takedown, Kampmann makes Sanchez pay with a landed knee to his jaw. Kampmann looks a little winded and his punches slow down. Kampmann lands a big straight right to counter an attempted hook punch. A double-leg takedown by Sanchez is stuffed. Kampmann lands a jab straight right and Sanchez follows with a smothering straight right. A double-leg takedown is finally scored by Sanchez who passes to side control. Both stand up shortly afterwards. Kampmann lands 2 consecutive straight rights, but there is little power. Sanchez throws many punches and lands only a few, but is clearly pressing forward. A dig by Sanchez is countered by a knee from Kampmann. At 1:00 remaining, Kampmann breaks his hand while landing a straight right. Round 3 goes to Sanchez. Both fighters hug after the final bell. There is no surface of Sanchez’s face which isn’t covered by blood from the 6 spread out open wounds. The judges award the fight to Sanchez 29-28. Kampmann is clearly disappointed in the post fight interview.
For the first time in as long as I can remember living in Monterey it snowed! How sick is that! Shingo and I are headed to tahoe tomorrow and the snow level is down to 1000 feet. Nice!
The UFC annually tries to match the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl with a PPV card featuring premium bouts. This card was stacked with exciting fights on paper, and while some fights lacked action in the cage, the card overall did not disappoint. The UFC does a great job with promotions ever since Dana White rescued the limping organization back in 2001, and the multiple outlets for viewing this card exemplifies that. A free fight was streamed on Facebook.com, but you had to “like” the UFC page before viewing. Further, attractive undercard fights were telecast for free on Spike TV leading up the PPV telecast. Brilliant marketing!
Demetrious Johnson def. Norifumi Yamamoto (free on Facebook.com): This fight featured a Japanese legend, known for having explosive power and movement, who was making his celebrated UFC debut against a relatively unknown fighter, one who fared well in his short time in the WEC. In round 1, both fighters stay on the balls of their feet with bouncy footwork and seem capable of throwing punches and kicks from a very far distance as they fight in the center of the cage. Johnson shoots for a takedown and Kid Yamamoto stuffs it. More dancing in the center of the cage reveals that Johnson might be the quicker of the two. Another explosive takedown attempt by Johnson leaves Yamamoto on his back in half guard. Yamamoto uses an under hook to leverage himself back to his feet. Both continue to strike from a far distance and have little difficulty bridging the gap. After landing a counter left cross, Yamamoto is taken down again, Johnson tries to trap an arm with his legs, but Yamamoto is back to his feet after bucking Johnson off. Yamamoto gets rocked with a knee and nearly eats a follow up punch as he scrambles backwards. Confidence grows with Johnson as his third double leg takedown shocked everyone, including Yamamoto who had no reaction. Round 1 to Johnson. In round 2, Yamamoto completes a hip toss and as Johnson gets back to his feet, he falls again after retreating against a kick. Yamamoto is kicked in the groin and needs a few seconds to rest. Both fighters touch gloves to resume. Yamamoto looks very confused against the level changes and explosiveness of Johnson and gets taken down again. Yamamoto flips to get back up and lands a counter left cross as the two exchange strikes. Johnson changes levels so quickly and shoots in from way out as Yamamoto sprawls. Another takedown attempt by Johnson is successful this time. Both are back to their feet. In the center of the cage, all punches are thrown with power, even misses make a point. Johnson scores 2 more double leg takedowns, although Yamamoto does land one of his own and follows with what appeared to be an illegal knee to the head as Johnson was getting back to his feet. This action does not draw attention from the referee, but Yamamoto acknowledges the mistake and retreats. Johnson accepts the mistake and the two continue to fight until the bell sounds to end round 2. Round 2 goes to Johnson. In round 3, Johnson is still very aggressive with his footwork and while Yamamoto doesn’t give up, he is clearly confused and hoping for a classic come-from-behind TKO. Johnson shoots from way out to a frozen Yamamoto who lands in half guard. As Yamamoto gets to his feet, he eats a left hook. Johnson lands a big right hand and misses on a double leg, but gets back to his feet just as quickly as he drops down. Johnson is still bouncy and active. While Yamamoto remains aggressive, the level changes of Johnson keep him off balance. 3 more takedowns later, mixed in with impressive hand and feet combos, and Johnson finishes the fight as pure as MMA gets. Round 3 goes to Johnson. Official scorecard: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 for Johnson. That last score was puzzling as there is no way Kid Yamamoto won a single round from Johnson.
Chad Mendes def. Michihiro Omigawa (free first bout on Spike TV): Omigawa has crafty footwork, head and body movement. While both fighters are aggressive, Mendes tends to be a bit more wild with his punches at times and everything is thrown heavy handed. Out of range, Mendes shoots in, misses, regathers himself, and quickly goes in for another takedown attempt. Both are avoided by Omigawa. After a huge leg kick from Mendes, he goes for another double leg takedown, but Omigawa shows great base during his takedown defenses. Mendes lands some big jab-straigh rights and continues to counter punch well. At 1:50, finally Mendes completes a takedown and is met with an arm bar attempt and good ground defense from Omigawa, while on his back. Omigawa avoids significant damage while on his back and manages to stand back up with 30 seconds remaining in the round. Round 1 goes to Mendes. In round 2, while Omigawa lands a big left hook, Mendes reacts aggressively with a big straight right to left hook which drops Omigawa. Mendes jumps on Omigawa for active ground and pound. Omigawa continues to attempt submissions while on the ground with an omaplata and leg lock attempt. Great action and the crowd approves with applause as both fighters stand back up on their feet at 3:52. Mendes is now teeing off with his heavy hands and tries to surprise Omigawa with a double leg takedown attempt which is defended impressively. The crowd applauds again. Against the fence, Mendes throws a standing elbow. While both fighters continue to press in the center of the cage, Mendes lands a jumping knee against the stalking Omigawa. Another single legged takedown attempt by Mendes is stuffed. Mendes ducks under an attack and dips Omigawa to the mat with a double leg takedown. A clean elbow lands from the top by Mendes. Round 2 goes to Mendes. In round 3, Omigawa comes out of his corner with a huge glob of vaseline masking the large cut over his eye. While stalking, Omigawa defends a takedown attempt and tries to lock on a guillotine choke. While on top in Omigawa’s guard, Mendes starts palming the area where the cut is, but he also tries to pass. The strong guard of Omigawa keeps him out of danger. Back to their feet, Omigawa continues to stalk, knowing he is behind on the score cards. Both fighters are in range and both land clean punches. With 1:00 remaining, a takedown from Mendes steals the close round. I score the fight 30-27 for Mendes. Official judges score: 30-27.
Kyle Kingsbury def. Ricardo Romero: In round 1, Kingsbury presses in a mauling style from the outset to trap Romero against the fence. There, Kingsbury clinches and attacks with knees to the midsection and head. A left hook drops Romero and the ref steps in shortly after to spare any further damage. At 4:38 in round 1, the contest is stopped.
Donald Cerrone def. Paul Kelly: In round 1, Cerrone puts his left hand out to greet his opponent, and Kelly responds by faking a handshake, and coming over the top with a cheap-shot, straight right hand. Cerrone ducks down and dips Kelly with a hip toss. Kelly falls down and wrenches on the exposed neck of Cerrone. Cerrone is in very little danger as the grip loosens and he passes from half guard to side control to full mount. Cerrone is unable to inflict any damage from the top. Both fighters get back to their feet and Kelly lands a knee from the clinch. Kelly is very comfortable in his standup, while Cerrone looks out of sorts compared to prior recent performances, although not hurt. Kelly fakes a jumping knee and scores with a left hook punch, followed by what appears to be a few words out of his mouth directed toward Cerrone. Every attack from Cerrone gets countered by Kelly with heavier fists. A leg kick from Cerrone is countered by an uppercut, straight right, left hook combo. A head kick to elbow is missed by Cerrone, but he follows with a single leg takedown. Kelly attempts a guillotine. Cerrone finishes the round on top and lands a few punches and an elbow. Despite the poor sportsmanship from Kelly to start the fight, Cerrone extends his hand and helps Kelly back to his feet. Round 1 goes to Kelly. in round 2, both fighters start the round by touching gloves. Cerrone lands a leg kick. Kelly looks comfortable punching in range, throwing hard shots and willing to take a punch to deliver a harder one back. Cerrone throws the hardest strike of the fight, a leg kick from his rear side. At 2:50, Cerrone ducks, clinches and trips Kelly to the mat. Cerrone passes to half and a a high full guard. Kelly is unable to buck Cerrone off. Cerrone gets the back and locks in a body triangle before a loose rear naked choke. Cerrone breaks the body triangle to get better leverage on the choke, and expertly grabs his own wrist to synch in the choke even deeper, resulting in a tapout victory at 1:12 of round 2. Kelly claims in the post fight interview that he unintentionally gave a cheap shot to begin the fight.
Miguel Torres def. Antonio Banuelos (first bout on PPV): I was really excited for this fight as Torres recently went from pound for pound top fighter in the world, to losing 2 consecutive fights and relinquishing his bantamweight title, and most recently looking sharp and back to his old form against Charlie Valencia, since finally having a real coach in Greg Jackson. In round 1, Torres shows NO aggression and this continues for the duration of the fight. Banuelos has been a WEC veteran since 2002 and is clearly the much shorter fighter as is usually the case for opponents against Torres. Side note: Great new look for Banuelos with his punk rock hairdo and handlebar-ish mustache. Torres lands a few combos, leg kicks, and stiff jabs, and looks rather deliberate and robotic in his striking. Banuelos can’t find his range against the lengthy jabs of Torres. Banuelos attempts desperation techniques of a head high kick and a spin back kick; both miss. Crowd boos at the end of the round and is even louder this time than while booing during the middle of the round. Torres wins round 1. In round 2, Banuelos still struggles to find his range past the lengthy jabbing attack of Torres. The fight is stopped by the referee for 10 seconds to allow Banuelos to recover from an inadvertent groin kick. More stiff jabs from long range by Torres. A hopping round kick misses from Torres, but he continues to land jabs at will while dancing around the cage. Banuelos continues his fruitless pursuit of the dancing Torres and gets countered with most of his attack attempts. Banuelos’ face is now a bloody mess. Torres lands a head kick, but so far this fight is very boring. Torres wins round 2. In round 3, Banuelos knows he has nothing to lose, so he bull rushes with ineffective haymakers. At 3:30, the crowd boos again. Torres is now in range and lands a jab, hook, straight right and then more jabs. Jabs and a head kick land from Torres. At 0:15, both fighters tee off in the center of the cage…the most action of the entire fight. Torres wins 30-27, but we saw a more calculated Torres, who was very subdued with a boring style, much different from the once hyper-aggressive, stalking, dynamic fighter from before. Official scorecard: 30-27.
Jake Ellenberger def. Carlos Rocha: In round 1, surprisingly, Ellenberger follows his jab with a chest high tackle which is reversed by the highly decorated BJJ black belt, Rocha. Ellenberger scores a leg sweep from the clinch and gets into side control. Both fighters are back up on their feet. Rocha shoots in for a takedown and Rocha sprawls, but trips and ends up on his back. Rocha is very active on the groundand this is why I was surprised Ellenberger initiated the takdown earlier to encourage ground fighting; playing in Rocha’s backyard. Rocha goes from side control, north south, side control on the other half, and north south ground positions. Ellenberger spins out, but gives up his back. From there Rocha goes to mount, but is unsatisfied with his options so he continues to pass to side control, north south, and finally to half guard where Ellenberger attempts a guillotine choke. Both fighters are back to their feet. Rocha grazes with a spin back fist before trying for another takedown to a sprawling Ellenberger. Still on the ground, Rocha spins from an arm bar attempt to an americana. Ellenberger is saved by the bell and Rocha is dominant in round 1. In round 2, the action slows. Ellenberger lands a knee from the clinch. Rocha goes for a takedown and is stuffed. A spin hook kick misses by Rocha. Ellenberger misses with a jump knee and both fighters look fatigued during their stand up exchanges. At 0:18, Ellenberger steals the close round 2 with a takedown. In round 3, lands a leg kick and Rocha comes back with a short left hook. Rocha tries to take Ellenberger down, but is a bit slower with his explosiveness at this point in the fight. Ellenberger shoves Rocha to the ground a charges forward with a winging right. A spin hook kick badly misses from the fatiguing Rocha and his striking is getting more predictable. At 2:00, Ellenberger attempts a takedown, but they end in a clinch. Ellenberger finishes the fight with better exchanges with his hands and a scored takedown. Ellenberger wins round 3. My score: 29-28 Ellenberger. Official scorecard: 29-28, 29-28, 30-27. The last score by the judges is ridiculous as Rocha clearly dominated round 1 and was close to finishing the fight then.
Jon Jones def. Ryan Bader: Jones is known for never staring directly at the eyes of his opponent, but both fighters touch gloves to begin the round. In round 1, Bader misses with a thunderous left hook and gets taken down. Bader lets go of the guillotine attempt. Jones lands elbows to the body from side control and advances to north south. Jones head-butts Bader in the abs, something I have never seen before (pretty funny looking technique resulting in no damage, but I still don’t think it’s legal). From north south, Jones is very close to choking out Bader. Both get to their feet and trade punches in the center of the cage. A shot from Bader is stuffed, but Jones ends up in side control and throws some elbows from different angles. The best elbows in the sport come from Jones. From side control, Jones attempts a darce choke. Jones wins round 1. In round 2, Jones leads off with a stiff jab, then misses on a jump round kick and also missing on a superman elbow. Bader counters with a straight right and jab. Both start getting wild with striking and miss badly. Jones lands a superman jab, leg kick, and is stuffed with a takedown attempt. Bader has tippy-toe style footwork and looks awkward when dancing around. Bader shoots, but is stuffed. Jones lands a leg kick and straight right. Jones plays around with his stance and switches before both get tangled up and fall to the mat. Jones attempts a darce choke and switches to a variation of a guillotine. Tap out at 0:45 in round 2. Jones is clearly in the Jose Aldo category of being not only a complete fighter, but super dynamic with his striking and will be fighting for the title next against Shogun Rua. Although Rua got robbed in his first fight against Lyoto Machida, but then won the rematch convincingly, I expect Jones to come out on top of that fight with the better wrestling and brutal elbows from ground and pound.
Forrest Griffin def. Rich Franklin: I was not looking forward to this fight and it definitely disappointed in lack of skilled action and aggression. In round 1, Griffin looks physique is impressive and throws a head kick which glances off Franklin’s hands to start the fight. Franklin slips and Griffin is on top. Griffin passes to half guard, but Franklin gets full guard. Griffin is active in ground and pound but mostly misses. The fight is boring and the announcers are trying their best to fluff up the action and the reputations of both fighters in this co-main event. Franklin has good defense on the ground, but neither attempt any submissions, passes, or escapes. Griffin wins round 1. In round 2, Griffin scores a couple of leg kicks and short uppercut. Most of Franklin’s striking misses. Griffin catches Franklin’s leg and drags him down. Griffin takes the back and Franklin avoids the leg hooks. While Franklin tries to stand, Griffin holds on and drags him down again. Franklin stands up. Again, a very boring fight and the announcers continue to hype up the nonexistent action. Both fighters finish the round standing on their feet and landing occasional strikes. Griffin takes round 2. In round 3, Franklin tries for a takedown from the clinch and Griffin should shrugs him off. Franklin falls, but is back up quickly. Both fighters attempt head high kicks, but the action is slow. Side note: at this point, watching Malachi’s dog and Bob’s dog fight for a bone was literally more action packed. Griffin scores a takedown and attempts a darce choke. Franklin reverses his positioning on the mat. Both are scrambling and Griffin reverses his postion. Both finish the fight on their feet. Griffin wins round 3. My score Griffin 30-27. Official scorecard: 30-27 Griffin.
Anderson Silva def. Vitor Belfort: The announcer mention that Steven Seagal (yes! That guy.) had been working with Silva and was included as part of his entourage walking out to the cage. That’s silly! In round 1, the fighters don’t touch gloves as there was a dramatic buildup at the weigh ins when Belfort had claimed that Silva fronts and hides behind a mask, so Silva showed up wearing a Jabbawockeez white mask while getting a little too close to Belfort, adding to the friction. Up until about 3:30, not a single strike was thrown. Belfort lands a leg kick. At 2:15, Belfort catches a leg for a takedown. Both are back on their feet. Silva lands a knee and now both fighters are opening up. Out of nowhere, Silva stands in his aggressive fighting stance with his body leaning forward and throws a back leg front kick with his left leg and catches Belfort in the face. The ball of the foot connected perfectly to drop Belfort. 2 ground and pound punches later and the referee stops the fight at 0:35 in round 1. I have been involved in Tae Kwon Do for 25 years and I have never seen someone get dropped from a back leg front kick to the face. Steven Seagal? That technique is rarely thrown in MMA for many reasons, but mainly due to the potential for slipping and falling down for attempting such a risky kick. Silva retains his title as best fighter in the world pound for pound.