Category Archives: MMA

The Spider and The Prodigy wilt in the Abu Dhabi heat

What the hell happened on Saturday?  No, seriously, what the hell is going on around here?  For the first time ever the UFC took its circus act to hot and humid Abu Dhabi for UFC 112, and it was by far the weirdest night of fights I have ever seen.  If you’ll indulge me, here’s my retrospective live blog of the evening’s events:

6:50: Just ordered the card on my trusty Comcast receiver, but the picture is blank, which is odd considering they usually broadcast the Countdown program hyping the matchups.  Oh well, I need to sauce the wings anyways, my friend Danny is on it.

6:55 : Still no picture, we tried resetting the receiver, and now we’re screwed because it’s taking forever to reset.  No need to panic just yet.

6:58: Most of the programming schedule is uploaded, but the UFC card is still missing from the scheduled programming.  My friend Matt shows up, and we’re starting to stress just a tad.

7:03: Still no luck.  So we’ll miss Joe Rogan and his psychedelic drug charged commentary.

7:10: Buffalo wings have to be one of the greatest snack while watching a sporting event.  You know what would go even better with the wings?  The fights!

7:25: Now we’re starting to become despondent about the situation.  Seriously, we have a situation on our hands.  Matt and Danny are both trying to get in touch with Comcast to find out what the hell is going on.

7:35: Matt is on hold with Comcast.

7:45: Matt is still on hold with Comcast.

7:53: Josh and Danny lost all interest now in the fights and are talking fantasy baseball.  I kind of want to punch Josh in the gut for not caring, but he’s a friend, so he gets a pass.

7:57: Matt finally gets ahold of a Comcast rep, and our worst fears are confirmed, all of California apparently is blacked out of the UFC event.  We decide to just drink beer, and I’m trying my hardest to not cry into mine.

8:03: Tonight was supposed to be awesome, and so far it’s been the worst Saturday night ever.  But at least my beloved Chelsea made it into the FA Cup final.  “Blue is the color…”  I feel blue.

8:20: Someone heard our prayers, we have picture!  I can’t recall the last time I felt such an overwhelming sense of elation.  I chugged a beer in celebration.

8:25:  So apparently Comcast won’t charge me for the fights because of the partial blackout, and we didn’t miss any of the main cards, so things went from terrible to looking pretty good.  Just another reminder that life is full of twists, and it’s important to enjoy the ride.

8:29: First fight of the night(for us) is the historic matchup of two MMA legends, former welterweight champ Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie, son of Robson Gracie, grandson of Carlos Gracie, nephew of Carlos Gracie, Jr., and grandnephew of the late Helio Gracie, the patriarch of the Gracie family and founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and in many regards a religious figure for an entire legion of fight disciples.  And yes, every Gracie I just mentioned is a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.  Hughes fought and demolished Renzo’s cousin Royce Gracie, son of Helio, at UFC 60 back in 2006.  This is an emotionally charged grudge match between two fight families, which always makes a fight more intriguing.

8:31: The staredown was very respectful, so there isn’t animosity between the two, but rather mutual admiration I suppose.  Touch of gloves, and they engage.  One would expect a grappling fest between these two world class practitioners, but so far in the first round it’s been a stand up battle.  A little unexpected, but it’s early, and they’re probably just feeling each other out.  Both are throwing pawing jabs, Hughes lands a few low kicks, and not much else.  That was a draw of a round.

8:37: They pick up where they left off, which means both are throwing a lot of ineffective strikes.  Hughes is finding a home for his leg kicks, and Gracie is trying to land power punches to the body.  How is it we have yet to see a takedown attempt from Hughes, or Gracie trying to pull guard somehow?  The crowd also seems confused, as there is a mixture of cheers and boos.  Another uneventful round, I give it to Hughes for being more active, but not because he’s been more effective.

8:43: Final round, and both fighters are still intent on keeping it on the feet.  Gracie looks like he’s starting to gas, which isn’t surprising considering he’s 44.  Gracie is revered in the MMA community for his contributions as an instructor, and something tells me that after he watches his performance tonight he’ll decide to focus on teaching, and that it’s time to hang up the gloves.  Gracie falls to the floor from another leg kick, and he comically asks Hughes to help him up, and Hughes obliges.  Hughes finally decides to push the pace, and starts to unload, and Gracie drops to the floor, and the ref steps in and calls off the fight.  Hughes helps Gracie stand up, and we might have just witnessed the last fight of a legend.

8:48: So I think my deep fryer affectionately named Wall-E has fried his last wing.  I’ve had him for over five years, and he’s brought a lot of joy to many people during his life.  I’ll probably buy another fryer sometime soon, but Wall-E will always hold a special place in my heart.  I’ll never forget him, but there comes a point where you have to say goodbye. Goodbye friend, and godspeed.  Maybe I’ll see you in another lifetime as a baking pan.

8:49: Time for the co-main event, “The Prodigy” and lightweight champ BJ Penn, vs. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar.  Props to Edgar for staying true to his Jersey roots with his nickname selection.  BJ walks into the arena to his trademark Hawaiian-themed entrance music, if you haven’t heard it before here’s a clip:

8:52: Matt mentions that BJ didn’t do his usual Hawaiian arm raise at the weigh ins, and he looks somewhat subdued during his walk in.  Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come, but it’s been a frustrating night so far, so I’m not sure what to expect.  BJ is a favorite of both Matt and I, and while he’s had a checkered history of disappointing performances, he seems to have reached a new phase in his career where he’s focused on establishing his legacy as the greatest lightweight champion and pound for pound fighter in MMA history.  BJ may not be the most athletic, strongest, or intimidating fighter, but he is undeniably one of the most naturally gifted.

8:55: Fight is underway, and Edgar comes out with his trademark constant lateral movement and in and out presence in the pocket.  BJ comes out in his usual neutral engagement stance, where he’s neither backing up or stalking his opponent, but where he simply stands in the center of the octagon and looks to throw jabs and power counterpunches.  Edgar is throwing a buffet of straight shots and leg kicks, and he looks relaxed and loose in the cage with the Prodigy.  Close round, but everyone agrees that BJ took it.

9:01: 2nd round, and like the Hughes/Grace fight, both fighters pick up where they left off, and it’s a stand up battle yet again.  The difference here is both Penn and Edgar possess high level standup skills, which means we’re not watching a battle of futility, but rather a highly tactical engagement.  Edgar is definitely more active, and towards the end of the round he manages to throw Penn to the mat, but the champ gets up almost instantly.  Another close round, Edgar definitely looks like he came to fight for the title, but I don’t think he’s done enough so far.

9:07: 3rd round, and it’s more of the same.  I’m starting to get a little concerned that BJ hasn’t been able to engage and inflict any significant damage, and Edgar is so wily that I imagine it would be difficult to try to take him down.  I honestly don’t know who’s winning the fight so far, it’s a toss up, but you have to give some deference to champ, no?

9:13: We are now in championship round territory, and again it’s more of the same, with Edgar circling effectively both left and right and constantly peppering Penn with strikes.  Matt just speculated as to when BJ arrived in Abu Dhabi and whether he’s jet lagged from the time zone difference, and I responded by saying I was sure that BJ came early.  Ha.

Fourth round is more of the same, and my consternation over BJ possibly losing this fight grows with every second.  I’ve got a consternation, and at this point the only prescription is more beer.

9:19: Fifth and final round, and BJ comes out throwing, but Edgar ducks under his punches and knocks him on his back.  BJ quick gets back to his feet, but he’s visibly slower at this point, and Edgar looks as fresh as he did in the first round.  The clock is ticking, but neither are exactly looking for a big knockout finisher.  The bells rings, the fight is over, and Edgar raises his arms to indicate he felt he won the fight.  I don’t agree with him, but it was an extremely close fight, and my bias towards BJ is at work here.  Edgar was certainly the more active fighter, but to win the belt, you have the beat the champ, and he didn’t do enough in my opinion.

9:22: Edgar is the new lightweight champion!  Fuck!  Edgar won a unanimous decision, which was somewhat surprising, but not as shocking as one judge giving Edgar every round.  Edgar was certainly game, and he thoroughly frustrated BJ, but it seemed like BJ didn’t take Edgar that seriously, or perhaps he just couldn’t light his inner fire tonight for whatever reason.  The truth is I like Edgar, but the fact that he previously lost to Gray Maynard, who is still undefeated but hasn’t challenged for the title yet, looms in my mind.  How can Edgar be the champ if he couldn’t defeat another contender in his weight class?

9:28: Time for the co-main event, featuring middleweight champ and World’s Most Dangerous Man Anderson “Spider” Silva vs. Demian Maia.  I’m not quite sure what to expect from Spider tonight, except for a victory barring a freak flying scissor heel hook.  Spider absolutely put on a show in his last fight against Forrest Griffin, but the last time he fought a jit-jitsu specialist was Thales Leities, and in that fight Spider looked unwilling to engage or put himself in harms way, despite his clear dominance on the feet.  Did I just jinx this fight?

9:31: Spider just went through his humility routine before the fight, bowing to all four sides of the audience, and then bowing to Maia.  Spider is a true martial artist, and his respect for the fight game is unparalleled, but some of this also seems to be a little bit mental warfare before the fight even starts.

9:33: Here we go!  Spider comes out with his trademark Ali-like footwork, and Maia looks unsure of how to engage.  About two minutes in, Spider starts kneeling, he’s taunting Maia at this point.  Spider lands some front kicks, and even throws in a spinning back kick, and Maia looks like he’s just seen a ghost.  Spider lands a flying left knee to Maia, sending him to the mat.  Spider taunt his opponent some more, and the round ends.

9:39: Start of the second round, and yet again it’s more of the same.  Maia tries to engage to no avail, Spider throws some strikes and then taunts his opponent.  He even starts trash talking to Maia, beckoning him to try to hit him.  Umm, Mr. Spider, he’s been trying, the problem is you’re a freak of nature and he simply can’t.  Spider has done this in the past, but he’s taking it to a whole new level.

9:45: Third round, and I’ll say it again, more of the same, nothing more needs to be said.

9:51: Fourth round, ditto.  The taunting has somewhat subsided, but the crowd is getting really restless now.  They even start chanting welterweight champ’s Georges St. Pierre’s initials to the tune of “GSP! GSP!,” voicing their preference for the Canadian over the Brazilian.  The talk of a super megafight between Spider and GSP have gone on for what seems like years now, and if Spider needs a real opponent to actually show up to fight, then that’s exactly what Prez Dana White needs to do.

9:57: Final round, and Maia’s left eye is now fully shut.  You would think Spider would capitalize and finish Maia, but unsurprisingly he doesn’t.  In fact, towards the end of the round, referee Dan Miragliotta actually warned Spider for stalling.  Whatever, the fight is over, Spider won, and none of us are exactly sure what we just saw.  Dana White even failed to place the belt around Spider’s waist as the decision was announced, which was a clear act of disapproval.  I don’t blame him, Spider is the greatest of all time, so why does he feel the need to embarrass his opponent and himself?  I get that he wants to make it clear to everyone that he is the best, but score, don’t spike.  He apologized to the audience in the post fight interview, but it’s too little too late at this point.  I’m exhausted, and it’s time to head out to our friend Sal’s big 3-0 party, and after what we just witnessed, who knows what’s in store for the rest of tonight?

(Sidebar: Sal’s party was great, everyone drank beer and ate tons of potato chips, vanilla wafers, and peanut M&Ms.  Happy!  Tonight was a great success!)

MP

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A Weekend in Paradise(almost)

Chelsea/Aston Villa, UFC 111, and the Australian Grand Prix all rolled into one weekend?  Sounds like a formula for great success, or quite possibly disaster, if you ask me.  And for all you NCAA hoops fans, I’m sorry, I lost all interest when my beloved Bruins were not worthy of an invitation to the Big Dance, not to mention even a measly NIT bid.  My how things feel eerily similar, or even worse, to the Lavin era(shudder).  But i digress…

I would just like to say that a bike ride is the greatest way to start a day, period.  It was 70 degrees today in SF, with clear skies and little to no wind, which qualifies as a great day weather wise for the city(Not to start a firestorm, but that’s pretty much every day in certain parts of L.A.  And for all you bay area locals, don’t waste your breath hating on L.A.  It’s lame, and we don’t care).  But no, really, thanks to my friend AZ, I rode today on a group ride which included the esteemed Professor Roger Park from Hastings.  I really wanted to challenge him to a heads up game of texas hold ’em, but I decided I’ll save it for next time.  Watch your chips, Professor, because the day when the student is ready, the master will appear.

So my beloved Blues, still recovering from the disappointment of being knocked out in the Champions League, are now focused on winning the Premier League title and the FA Cup.  Chelsea stood a measly single point behind 1st place Man U before today’s match against Aston Villa, and nothing changed at the end of the day.  In what was arguably the team’s strongest performance of the season, the Blues slaughtered the Villans 7-1 at the Bridge.  Frank Lampard, who went MIA against Inter, scored four goals, two on open play and two on penalty kicks.  Perhaps today’s match was a turning point for the team, and it certainly bodes well when we face Aston in the FA Cup semifinal in two weeks time.  Chelsea has dealt with their fair share of injuries this season, and the recent loss of Ricardo Carvalho to an ankle injury is just another drop in the bucket.  But the core of the team, despite all the drama on and off the pitch, is resolved to salvage what’s left of this season.  Next week’s informal derby match against Man U could possibly determine the fate of both teams, I know I’ll be watching, and more than likely with a Guinness, or a few, in hand.

For the evening’s main event, the UFC made to trip to Newark, NJ of all places in their Quest.  It’s not exactly the most glamorous destination, but if you could somehow convince UFC Prez Dana White and the state athletic commissions to introduce an amateur audience member fight card to their production, this would be the perfect place for its debut.  Just another reason why I should be the Commissioner Overlord of all sports.  Did I mention that I’ve been drinking bourbon and beer today since three in the afternoon?

First fight of the night is the undercard matchup of Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown.  Almeida is an odd fellow: He’s as a Brazilian-American born in New York and now resides in the small town of Bordenton, New Jersey.  Isn’t half the appeal of being Brazilian the fact that you get to lay on the beach all day surrounded by tanned, beautiful women?  If you ask me, Almeida got screwed out of the chance to live life like a carioca.  Instead he fights for a living and lives in Jersey.  Tough break.

I have always liked Matt Brown’s style, I think he has a cool name, but it turns out I was wrong in my assumptions of Mr. Brown.  Judging from the entrance music he played in the past, I always assumed he was a southern redneck, but it turns out he’s a midwest redneck from Ohio.  It’s remarkable how life always manages to surprise you when you least expect it.

The fight starts, and apparently Almeida has taken a chapter out of the early Matt Hamill days, and is utilizing the vaunted “Bear” offense.  The Bear offense is a comprehensive fight strategy where you pretty much just swarm your opponent, not necessarily inflicting damage, but rather overwhelming him with your enormous non-human mammalian strength.  Almeida is employing this strategy with great effectiveness.  To state that the first round wasn’t action packed is like saying Brock Lesnar is an actual redneck.  If you’re not sure what I mean by that, check out this clip of him when he’s “relaxing” at home.

Considering he’s the heavyweight champion of the world, he can spit and shoot clay pigeons alone all he wants.  I’m not a fan of Lesnar, but this clip makes him almost likable, and that he doesn’t hate everybody.

Second round, and Almeida is continuing with his wall n’ stall tactics.  Almeida catches a kick from Brown, and takes him down.  Almeida eventually takes Brown’s back, and mercifully puts Brown and the audience out of its misery by rear naked choking him at the 3:30 mark of Round 2.  I need another drink after watching that.

Next up is Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham.  Apparently Markham came in seven pounds over the 170 lb weight limit.  My guess is win or lose, Markham is gone after this fight.  Dana usually doesn’t have much patience for fighters who don’t make weight, or much else for that matter.   Last time a fighter didn’t make weight, like Gabe Ruediger did on the TUF 5, Dana gave his legendary “Do You Want To Be A Fucking Fighter” speech.  Here’s the original version in all its glory.

I love how he makes it so simple.

Joe Rogan is raving about the Diaz brothers’ exceptional cardio, citing their participation in triathlons as part of their training, cuz everyone knows that swimming, biking, and running is an essential part of making sure you don’t tire from hitting someone in the face.  I guess the endurance training came in handy, as Diaz stopped Markham in the first round from a barrage of strikes.  Markham is definitely gone, and Diaz is probably going to celebrate his win by either picking a fight with some juicehead in the stands or playing Skate or Die on his old school NES.

Dan Hardy just gave an interview in the locker room wearing the red contact lenses he wore at the weigh ins.

Apparently the Devil heard the UFC is in town for the weekend and decided to swing by.  Either that or a really bad case of pinkeye, maybe he got it from Vinny when he ran into him at Bamboo friday night at the Shore.

I think Rousimar Palhares just permanently crippled Tomasz Drwal’s left leg.  He cranked on that heel hook submission for a solid five seconds after Drwal tapped, the referee might as well have used the Jaws of Life to break the hold.  Good thing for Obamacare!

Jim Miller just walked into the arena to the Sopranos’ theme song for his fight against Mark Bocek.  I admit I am somewhat unintrigued by this matchup, although I acknowledge the strong pedigree of both their fight resumes.  The fight ends up being a back and forth three round affair, and Miller ekes out a decision win.  I’m not sure if Miller had any home field advantage, but the decision could have gone either way.  Oh well, Jersey Goatee 1, Red Hair 0.

Next up is Jon “The Grinder” Fitch vs. Ben Saunders.  FYI, the Grinder isn’t Fitch’s official nickname, but it might as well be, and any educated MMA fan knows exactly what I’m talking about.  The guy just grinds on his opponents in a fight.  To make a long and boring fight short, Fitch went the distance and grinded out a hard fought unanimous decision win against Saunders.  Now someone get that man some ground chuck.

Here come the big boys!  Heavyweight contenders Frank Mir and Shane Carwin face off for the unfulfilling title of “interim” heavyweight champion, as reigning and undisupted heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar watches from his seat in the stands.  Talk about awkward.  The UFC just listed on their graphic that Carwin is 6’5″, which he is clearly not.  Judging from the staredowns at the weigh ins, it was clear that Carwin is slightly shorter than Frank Mir, who is listed at 6’3″.

Which one of these big boys looks taller to you?  Mir is on the left, Carwin on the right.  Not that it really matters, but the clear discrepancy was something everyone noticed.

Interesting start to the fight, as Carwin decides to grab Mir and push him up against the cage in the clinch.  Mir looks completely unfazed, considering he’s been in the Octagon with some of the most physically imposing and intimidating fighters in the game.  You could draw a lot of comparisons between Carwin and Lesnar, they both have wrestling and football backgrounds, they both have freakish strength and knockout power, and they both wear XXXXL gloves.  BOOM!  Carwin just unleashed a flurry of uppercuts that rocked Mir, and he then proceeded to swarm Mir with a barrage of punches on the ground, and then the pizza delivery guy rang the doorbell…

Needless to say, Carwin destroyed Mir and won the fight, rendering him unconscious by the time the referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in.  Carwin is now 11-0 and has never been in a fight that’s gone past the first round, which is insane, he’s the young Mike Tyson of MMA heavyweights.  After Carwin’s post fight interview, Lesnar entered the ring, and had some choice words for Carwin’s interim title moniker, calling it “make believe.”  It’s evident that the two have a mutual respect for each other, but they might as well have had a peeing contest in the cage to determine who’s the dominant bull.

Time for the main event of the evening!  Welterweight champion and super athletic martial artist Georges St. Pierre is facing off against British punk brawler Dan Hardy.  Hardy has a history of being an irritant, but his mind games are no match for GSP’s world class skills.  I expect Rush to absolutely tear through Hardy, but at the same time Hardy is dangerous on his feet, but GSP will undoubtedly be fully prepared to handle The Outlaw.

I could spend several hundred words describing the fight, but I could also do it easily in twenty.  For five rounds, St. Pierre dictated the action of every minute of every round, and spent the majority of the fight on top of Hardy on the ground.  St. Pierre could and should have won the fight in the first round, when he had Hardy in a fully extended armbar that Hardy somehow inexplicably managed to get out of.  It was probably the most gutsiest submission escape I’ve ever seen, and after that point it was obvious this wasn’t going to be a short affair.  St. Pierre nearly finished Hardy again in the fourth round, this time with a kimura on Hardy’s left arm.  Hardy escaped yet again, but it was clear he had nothing to offer as a threat to GSP in the fight.  At the end of the fight, Hardy looked humbled, but not defeated.  And despite his utter domination of Hardy, GSP acknowledged in the post fight interview that he was impressed by Hardy’s performance and not so much with his own.  Nonetheless, GSP proved yet again just how much better he is than his competition, and with all respect to Matt Hughes, with every win he continues to cement his legacy as the greatest welterweight champion in UFC history, and MMA by extension.  Now if the UFC somehow finalized a super megafight between St. Pierre and middleweight champion Spider Silva, we would have our elusive answer to the question of who is the best pound for pound fighter in the world.  But as of today, fight fans can only dream of the day those two meeting face to face in the cage.

Today was a good day by most standards, but the weekend is not over just yet.  Up next is the Australian GP, stay tuned, as the F1 circus takes its act to sunny Melbourne.  Rest up, or get your work done, cuz I predict a lazy Sunday, and it should be glorious.

MP

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The UFC on Versus – A New Chapter

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time! The UFC in their neverending quest to take over the combat sports genre(and eventually the world) decided to take their promotion to the Versus network.  The inaugural event on the sports oriented channel, despite not having the biggest names, was filled with young talent and some intriguing matchups. Headlining the card was Brandon “The Truth” Vera vs. Jon “Bones” Jones, with Gabriel Gonzaga and Junior Dos Santos filling the co-main card. The buildup around the Vera/Jones matchup was well warranted; Vera, at 32, is for all intents and purposes a UFC veteran, with eleven fights in the promotion. Vera has fought some of the biggest names in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions, with fights against UFC legend Randy Couture and former heavyweight champions Tim Sylvia and Frank Mir. Despite his impressive fight resume, some feel Vera hasn’t showcased his full potential, while others feel Vera has already plateaued as a fighter and at best will be a top tier gatekeeper. Whether you’re in the former or latter camps of thought, his classic standup kickboxing style is a perfect counterpoint to Jones’ ad-libbed freestyle of fighting. In just four fights Jones has already built a substantial fan following, showcasing a wide array of unconventional strikes and takedowns that have rarely if ever been seen in MMA. If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s a nice highlight reel of Jones in action.

The spinning back elbow at the 1:58 mark is one of Jones’ signature moves, I think the perfect name for it would be the Tornado. What makes Jones so dangerously dynamic is you’re never quite sure what he’s going to do next: his relatively short MMA career to this point means we haven’t seen his full arsenal of weapons, and at just 22, he’s still learning and growing into the fighter he’s destined to become. Jones is already for many a talismanic star in the MMA universe, and I fully expect him to contend for the LHW championship in the near future. That’s enough said about my man-crush on Jonny, time to get to the fights.

Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin

At the weigh-ins on Friday, the first thing I noticed, as did Joe Rogan and UFC president Dana White, was the drastic and quite honestly hideous transformation James Irvin underwent to make the 185 lb weight limit.  I’m not sure exactly how much weight he had to cut, but considering this is his first fight at middleweight after fighting primarily at 205 lb, I would guess he had to cut close to 30 lbs or more, and who knows how much of that was in the last week. If you didn’t see the physical state of Irvin on Friday, check out this picture of him.

He kinda reminds me of Skeletor.

Notice the resemblance? I wonder who would win in a fight between the two. But I digress…

Anytime a fighter has to cut a substantial amount of weight, it doesn’t bode well for him during a fight, at least in the cardiovascular endurance department.  Not surprisingly, Irvin looked hesitant to engage throughout the fight on Saturday.  He barely reacted to any of Sakara’s strikes, as he just stood in the pocket and absorbed them. Any questions concerning Irvin’s physical ability to go a full three rounds were moot, however, after Sakara landed a left hook that landed square on Irvin’s right eye, temporarily blinding him. Irvin immediately backpedaled in pain, thinking he was poked, but referee Josh Rosenthal correctly waved off the fight, giving Sakara the TKO win. Props to Rosenthal for making the right call; eye pokes are commonplace in MMA due to the fingerless gloves, and anytime a fighter gets poked he’s allowed time to recover. Irvin wasn’t poked, so any temporary stoppage would’ve been an unfair reprieve. Now someone get that man an ice pack and a cheeseburger and milkshake, stat.

Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello

My first thought about this matchup is why is Paul Buentello still in the UFC? He’s the MMA equivalent of a tomato can, I don’t think anyone honestly believes he is a current or future contender in the heavyweight division, but rather his main value is making possible contenders or promising young fighters look spectacularly strong in the ring.

Touch of gloves, and they’re swinging away. Buentello looks bouncy on his feet, while Kongo looks like a stalking predator. Buentello doesn’t seemed intimidated, however, and is willing to trade punches, which is a formula for disaster for him. Ouch, apparently Buentello dislocated his pinkie finger, and referee Herb Dean, thinking it was an equipment “malfunction” of Buentello’s glove, allowed the ringside doctor to pop it back in place. I suppose it’s not exactly like what happened to Irvin, but any non-foul or cut related stoppage technically shouldn’t be allowed, but who am I to complain? Buentello is a gamer, but he’s simply outclassed by Kongo, who is taking his opponent down at will. It’s the third round, and Buentello just tapped the mat, as he was getting battered by Kongo’s knees and ground and pound. This could possibly be Buentello’s last fight in the UFC, if it is it’s too bad he couldn’t finish on a higher note.

Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

Yayuh! Time for a heavyweight matchup that has real championship implications. Gonzaga, despite his mediocre 3-3 record in his last six fights, is still widely considered a top 10 fighter in his division. Dos Santos, much like Jon Jones, is an up and coming fighter who has only impressed fight fans with his performances. Dos Santos may not be as big as Gonzaga, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed.

The two open up by gauging the distance of each other’s reach. Gonzaga throws a few high kicks for good measure, but nothing lands square. It’s clear that Dos Santos has the speed advantage, and that he’s waiting for the perfect moment to unleash his devastating counter right. Nevermind, make that a counter left hook! Dos Santos perfectly timed his punch as Gonzaga threw a high kick, dropping Gonzaga to the floor. Dos Santos calmly but quickly jumped on top of Gonzaga, finishing him off with some ground and pound to win by TKO in the first round. Dos Santos is clearly a contender in the heavyweight division, the question now is who’s next for him? There are rumors about a fight with fellow heavyweight phenom Cain Velasquez, which would be absolutely electric. But I don’t want to kill two birds with one stone in this instance. Velasquez has already earned his title shot, and Dos Santos could use a few more fights under his belt. Why not just have the two heavyweight winners from tonight face off? I would definitely take Dos Santos over Kongo…

Brandon Vera vs. Jon Jones

Time for the main event! Jon Jones is walking into Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind, not a bad choice, but overplayed at this point. Jones also just hit one of the security guard escorts in the back of the head and didn’t even realize what he did. He must be in the zone at this point. Brandon Vera walks into some Latin hip hop track that I’ve heard before, and he looks amped for the fight. Yessss…

It’s inevitable that UFC announcer Bruce Buffer is going to blow a vocal chord at some point. Granted he brings it every card, but he should take a cue from his older brother Michael and conserve his chops, the UFC isn’t going anywhere, and BB’s main concern should be career longevity.

The bell rings, and Jones immediately takes the center of the octagon. Both fighters have a base in Greco-Roman wrestling, but it’s evident that Jones is on another level, and he’s throwing Vera to the mat with ease. Vera was at one point in his career training to be on the Olympic wrestling team, and Jones was a junior college national champion. Jones clearly has the upper hand in grappling, and I’m convinced other than Georges St. Pierre, Jones is the best pure grappler in MMA. The fight hasn’t been the standup battle that many were hoping to see, but it certainly has been very tactical. Ooh, Vera just landed a solid upkick to Jones’ face while his knee was on the ground, which is a foul on Vera and a one point deduction. He does it again, but this time the kick hits Jones on the shoulder.

It’s all over! Jones lands a vicious roundhouse left elbow that lands flush on Vera’s right eye socket, and he immediately winces in pain. Jones starts pounding away after that, and the ref jumps in soon afterwards.  You could hear the elbow landing, it sounded like a baseball bat making solid contact with a ball. According to the post fight medical report, Jones broke Vera’s orbital bone in three places. Believe the hype, cuz Jon Jones is for real.

On a side note, I’ve been feeling a sense of ennui lately, both on my part and my readers, perhaps more than anything because of all my posts on F1 and the general lack of interest in the topic. F4D has no limits, and I could easily write about anything and everything, but what’s the point in that? My vision of the future is quite clear, but it’s true that if you don’t take a step back, you won’t be able to see the forest through the trees. In the end, the most important thing is building the connection between myself and the reader. Or in other words, are you not entertained?!

MP

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