Posts Tagged ‘fight of the night’

UFC 101- Declaration

Monday, August 10th, 2009

UFC 101 Declaration offered a variety of fights and fighters, some fights with surprising results, others not so much. 

Amir Sadollah, winner of an Ultimate Fighter season, but whom we never saw fight afterward, fought Johny Hendricks. Sadollah was seen doing interviews during the last The Ultimate Fighter season quite successfully: he’s personable and camera-friendly, but speaks way too quickly.

Perhaps not having fought for such a long time (for whatever reason) was the problem: his head kick was blocked by Hendricks, although he landed other leg kicks and punches. Hendricks connected with an upper cut at the fence and Sadollah went down at 32 seconds of round 1.

Hendricks may have broken his hand when he blocked the head kick; he cradled his left hand after the match and looked to be in agony. 

Josh Neer fought Kurt Pellegrino for the full three rounds. Their match started with a strong take down by Pellegrino to his being in half guard and applying elbows and punches to Neer. Neer fought from the bottom controlling Pellegrino’s wrist and arm, moving from butterfly guard to full guard. Round 2 had Pellegrino taking Neer down again and Neer’s elbowing from the bottom and trying juji gatame. Neer’s butterfly guards and full and half guards are so good that Pellegrino could not pass.

Round 3 had both men kicking and Pellegrino again taking Neer down. Neer held on to Pellegrino’s wrists, elbowed from the bottom, and tried numerous triangles, all of which were suppressed by Pellegrino.

Unanimous decision in Pellegrino’s favour, however he passed Neer’s guard only once.

The fight between the Georges (Sotiropoulos and Roop) was fast and showed BJJ techniques from start to finish. Roop is a very tall fighter and Sotiropoulos is a more solid, compact man. Sotiropoulos took Roop down several times, moving from guard to side mount to north/south to the other side, whatever he wanted to do. He moved very quickly, perhaps too fast – he didn’t give himself any time to do a submission. Roop did manage to escape from a grapevine, even with the hooks in.

Round 2 had both fighters punching after a take down by Sotiropoulos. Sotiropoulos was sitting in full mount and then side control. He submitted Roop with a Kimura very quickly.

The Shane Nelson match against Aaron Riley went the distance. It was an example of the problems with having fighters who are basically different weights fighting each other. Nelson is perhaps a natural 155 whereas Riley is far heavier, having fought at 170 in the past. Riley dominated Nelson standing and on the ground. He was very aggressive, rushing Nelson and putting him in the clinch, then applying knees and elbows. On the ground, Riley used his weight difference to hold Nelson down and then ground and pound him.

In the third round, Nelson had Riley in his guard, with ankles crossed, but he should have tried to sidle out. Although overwhelmed by Riley, Nelson fought hard throughout the fifteen minutes. Unanimous decision in Riley’s favour.

Kendall Grove‘s match against Roberto Almeida went the distance as well. Grove is six inches taller and has a five inch reach advantage over Almeida. In this match, though, the smaller man was the aggressor: Almeida took Grove down at least six times. Grove attempted a guillotine, a juji gatame and had a body triangle on Almeida but Almeida controlled the fight. When standing, Grove applied some knees, but Almeida’s take downs kept on coming. Unanimous decision in Almeida’s favour.

Anderson Silva‘s fight against Forrest Griffin had lots of media coverage beforehand. Silva’s last two fights were weird and boring, with his showboating and not actually fighting very much. I thought that Griffin would put himself on the line and actually fight as he had against Bonnar and others: he seemed to love the fight. This match was almost on par with Silva’s other recent matches: his opponent was hesitant, feeling Silva out, and Silva started showboating, trying to goad his opponent. His hands were down, he stalked Griffin, who walked backward. Silva switched stances caught Griffin’s kick, punched Griffin a couple of times. Silva connected solidly a couple of times and Griffin went down, but got up immediately.

Silva had his hands down, bobbing and weaving; Griffin could not connect with anything, but continued to walk forward and Silva backward. Silva then threw a little right shot to Griffin’s jaw and the fight was over. Knock out in the first round. Knockout of the Night.

There has to be someone out there who can fight this guy. I understand this fight was awarded Fight of the Night. Not in my book. It was a good fight, but the fight was too one-sided.

The main event of the night was fairly boring: B. J. Penn versus Kenny Florian. Florian was the aggressor in this match rushing Penn and squashing him against the fence while attempting a take down. This happened many times. Florian ground his shoulder into Penn’s side or his stomach, pushed him into the fence and did body shots to Penn’s side. As they broke the clinch Florian would finish with an elbow just before the break.

Penn moved forward following Florian throughout the match and would have a flurry of activity just before the buzzer. At other times, Penn connected with shots when Florian made a mistake or missed his attempt. Penn did not attempt take downs nor was he the aggressor during the first three rounds.

Round 4 had Florian attempting a take down again, but Penn went after him this time, succeeding with his own take down. After some ground and pound, Florian rolled and Penn ended up with Florian’s back, putting the hooks in and had a rear naked choke (hadaka jime) from the grapevine. Penn by submission. Submission of the Night (although Sotiropoulos’s Kimura was on par).

As for Fight of the Night, I think I’ll go with Shane Nelson versus Aaron Riley. Although Riley dominated, Nelson never gave up and fought his way through the entire match.

ayjay

August 10 2009 

UFC 98 Evans vs Machida

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

UFC 98 Evans vs Machida had knockouts and tap outs galore.

Sean Sherk fought Frank Edgar for Fight of the Night. Edgar had excellent stamina, moved constantly, attacked with combinations, threw high kicks, feinted punches, and avoided most of Sherk’s punches. Round 1 went to Edgar. Sherk was flat-footed and just followed Edgar around the octagon. Edgar had a five inch reach advantage on Sherk and it was very obvious: Sherk had a hard time connecting. Edgar moved in to attack and then sidled out of the way.

Round 2 had Sherk connecting more, but mostly one-off punches. Edgar had more combos and, again, moved constantly. It was very much a boxing match with few kicks and few takedowns.

Round 3 began by a take down from Sherk in response to punches from Edgar. Edgar got to his feet and had Sherk frustrated again as he missed lots of his strikes. Sherk attempted a take down and ended up with Edgar pulling guard and applying a guillotine right at the bell.

Unanimous decision in Edgar’s favour. Fight of the Night. 

The match between Chael Sonnen and Dan Miller covered loads of ground techniques as Miller spent every opportunity trying submissions. I assume this was because Sonnen loses by submission; however, since Miller was on the bottom when on the ground and the submissions weren’t working, Miller was pummelled for three rounds. Sonnen got out of a very tight guillotine at the beginning of the first round, took Miller down heavily in round 2, applied big punches and elbows, took Miller down again in round 3, and just controlled the match. Miller tried guillotine chokes and other submissions, but Sonnen was victorious. Unanimous decision in Sonnen’s favour.

Drew McFedries came out against Xavier Foupa-Pokam with a knockout at 37 seconds of round 1. Both these men are known for their knockout power and McFedries proved it here. Xavier was out on his feet from the third punch and then another ten or eleven connected before the referee stopped the match. Xavier followed McFedries around the octagon, literally hanging on to his leg, but he was out of it. TKO referee stoppage.

Kryzsztof Soszynski fought against Andre Gusmao in a preliminary bout. Gusmao used some inside leg kicks, one of which caused Soszynski to drop to one knee. Soszynski, in turn, used combos and, for a guy who loves arm bars, threw a straight punch and flattened Gusmao. Knockout.

The co-main event between the Matts – Hughes versus Serra  – came up next. There was non-stop mention of their hate for each other, et cetera, ad nauseum. Hughes wanted to shut Serra up and Serra wanted to do the same. I guess this makes for good television. They didn’t touch gloves and came out aggressively, such that Serra inadvertently headbutted Hughes (or Hughes munched his chin into Serra’s head) and had Hughes on the run for several minutes. Even at the break, Hughes asked his corner if he’d been knocked down. Despite the headbutt, Hughes controlled the round with a strong takedown and choke attempt from grapevine.

Round 2 had Serra connecting with strong punches, but a takedown by Hughes, with his ending in Serra’s guard, had Hughes pounding Serra and controlling him for most of the round. Serra was on the bottom waiting for the right moment or technique and was dominated.

Round 3 had submission attempts by Serra after another take down by Hughes. Serra trapped Hughes’s arm for an oma plata which didn’t quite work and then tried it on the other arm. He then tried a triangle. Standing again, Serra did a take down. Ground and pound followed as well as an attempt at a kimura. Ridiculously, after all the trash talking, they hugged after the match. Unanimous decision in Hughes’s favour.

The other co-main event was next with Rashad Evans against Lyoto Machida. In our boathold we had four people, three of whom picked Machida to win. I’m for the underdog, so I went for Evans. I find Machida’s fighting style, although extremely technical and effective, to be mostly boring. He moves in for the quick attack and then out again, standing with his upper body leaning away from his opponent. It makes him a far more elusive target, but doesn’t make for a fun fight. (To be fair, I do prefer ground techniques, none of which we saw here; I’m also not technically inclined, so the art of finding the right instant to go in is beyond me.) Evans and Machida spent a good deal of the match tapping gloves; in fact, the first two minutes of the first round was just that. This was so boring that, despite writing notes during the match, I had a difficult time keeping the eyes open. Machida was first to connect with a head kick causing Evans to wobble. Later in the round, Machida’s strike took Evans to the ground and Machida jumped on him.

Round 2 had the men at the fence with Machida using combos and Evans countering. Machida then punched Evans multiple times, such that Evans crumpled with his head flopping to the side. Machida is now the UFC light heavyweight champion. The guys on the boat called this the Knockout of the Night, although Soszynski’s was pretty good. The tapping of the gloves and non-connecting for long stretches makes this NOT the fight of the night.

Another preliminary match was between Brock Larson and Mike Pyle. This match contained the Technique of the Night with Larson doing a lovely kata gatame (arm triangle choke) on Pyle, not something one often sees in the UFC.

Canadian Tim Hague, a heavyweight at 265, but spry on his feet, won his match with Pat Barry. He got Barry in a guillotine and rolled over, staying attached, and ending with Barry on the bottom, legs trapped, neck in guillotine. Tap out. Spry indeed.

UFC 98 Evans vs Machida had a good range of techniques and knockouts, a variety of styles and other than the tapping of the gloves in the Evans/Machida fight (reminiscent of Wladimir  Klischko, I think), a good night.

ayjay

May 24, 2009

P.S. Right now, Machida is considered the most effective fighter in the UFC, not having lost any round and not having been taken down by anyone. My gut feeling is that, as with learning how to counter the Gracies, people will learn how to fight Machida’s style. We’ll see people taking karate or some other kicking martial art and having their coaches work out ways to counter Machida’s karate. ayjay, May 25, 2009

UFC 96 Jackson vs Jardine

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Living on a sailboat has its disadvantages: in winter, we’re frozen in most of the time. That means the boat doesn’t move and we have satellite reception. In the last four days, though, we’ve had very warm weather and, as of yesterday, no ice. My main concern was, would I have paid for UFC 96 Jackson versus Jardine, invited friends over, etc., just to have the wind pick up to move the boat and lose the signal? In the hour before the fights, the signal was sporadic. We could only hope that the wind wouldn’t pick up.

First off, Joe Rogan was wearing orange! What’s with that?! I’ve only ever seen him wear brown or, once, black, I think. It threw us all off.

The first fight was between Gray Maynard and Jim Miller, both undefeated in the octagon. Maynard is an all-American wrestler and Miller, a BJJ brown belt, known for his submissions. The fight started with Maynard possibly breaking Miller’s nose and Miller mouth-breathing throughout. They traded punches and Miller attempted takedowns. Just at the bell, Miller walked into a shot, resulting in a huge mouse below the left eye.

Round two had Miller doing lots of leg kicks and Maynard punching only. Miller managed a takedown, but Maynard got up immediately, to continue punching. Miller was bleeding profusely, muttering, frustrated that he couldn’t take Maynard down.

Round three was the same as before, Miller with kicks, Maynard with punches. Then Maynard did something inexplicable: he took Miller down. Why do this when he was winning the standing game? Miller came close to accomplishing a kneebar. Then he was in half-guard, but Maynard kept punching Miller’s face, which was looking raw meat-like. The match finished standing with the guys trading punches again.

Miller’s one tough guy, considering his injuries, but the unanimous decision went to Maynard, who controlled the fight.

Next came Matt Hamill against Mark Munoz, both wrestlers. Hamill has certainly changed since he was in The Ultimate Fighter. There was no groundwork here. He traded punches with Munoz, stuffed Munoz’s takedown attempt, did a little dirty boxing. Munoz had his hands down a lot. Out of the blue, Hamill kicked to Munoz’s head, connecting from the shin to the tips of his toes. Munoz dropped immediately, hitting his head on his own knee and then against the fence. The guy was out for a long time. Knockout of the night. 

Next came the welterweights, Pete Sell and Matt Brown. Sell is one of Matt Serra‘s guys, a BJJ black belt. Brown has about an even number of submissions and knock-outs. The fight started with a kick and two punches from Brown, such that Sell hit the mats and the referee went to stop the fight. This was the strangest part of the evening, because the referee changed his mind and let them continue. For the next minute or so, Brown clobbered Sell from one area of the octagon to the other, waving his hands around, imploring the referee to stop the fight. When the referee finally stopped it, we were all relieved. I think Sell really was out of it from the beginning and the ref’s instincts were right. Brown didn’t give Sell any time to come to his senses, so it was just a prolonging of the agony. Then again, some fighters complain loudly when fights are stopped early, so it’s all subjective.

Kendall Grove and Jason Day, from the undercard, came next. Day had nice techniques and Rogan mentioned that he looked much better than his previous match, but Grove got him to the ground and that was it: ground and pound and the match was over.

The heavyweights were on with Gabriel Gonzaga and Steve Carwin. Gonzaga is best known for dropping Mirko Cro Cop with a huge kick. Carwin came into the fight undefeated at 10-0, with none of his fights going a full round. My concern there was whether he had the stamina to go three rounds. I shouldn’t have worried about it, because Carwin made a name for himself last night: Gonzaga had him in full mount, but Carwin managed to stand up (Gonzaga was 257 lbs.). Gonzaga then threw a punch, which connected, but Carwin counter-punched, just a short right punch, no hips, and Gonzaga went down. Knock out.

The undercard again: Tamdan McCrory versus Ryan Madigan, welterweights. McCrory had control on the ground, moving from one position to another, easily passing guard and going wherever he wanted. He planted lots of elbows and eventually went to double elbows, resulting in referee stoppage. Interestingly, we covered holding your opponent down using your chest and body placement just Friday night. All McCrory’s moves from side mount to full and in-between were exactly as we’d done the previous night.

The main event of the night, Quinton Jackson versus Keith Jardine came next. Both these guys are characters: Jackson stared at Jardine to psych him out and Jardine grinned into Jackson’s face. Pretty funny. They are both heavy hitters, with Jackson being exceptional at clinch takedowns and clinch strikes, and Jardine having high connects with leg kicks, and body shots (92%!). Jardine had some inside leg kicks and a nice uppercut. In the latter half of the first round, Jackson connected with some good punches and a couple of kicks.

Round two had both kicking again, and then Jackson dropped Jardine. Jardine managed to come to standing, but was taken down again. They were in a clinch at the fence, but the referee broke them apart. Jardine looked as though he were out of it for a while, but came back to apply lots of shots, such that Jackson was in trouble by the end of the round.

The final round had Jackson doing another takedown, but the men got up immediately. Jardine scored with solid leg kicks. Just before the bell, Jackson dropped Jardine, the last thing the judges saw in the match. Unanimous decision in Jackson’s favour. Fight of the night.

The remainder of the fights were from the undercard: Brandon Vera against Mike Patt and then Tim Boetsch versus Jason Brilz.

Vera vs. Patt: Brandon Vera was in control from the start, switching from left to right stances, connecting with virtually all his kicks and punches. Mike Patt took several minutes to accomplish anything, but he didn’t give up. Round two had Vera attacking Patt’s lead leg such that eventually the leg gave out and the referee stopped the match.

When Tim Boetsch and Jason Brilz started fighting, the announcers talked at length about Boetsch and his jeet kune do and his strengths. Brilz was sort of an afterthought, that is, until he found his rhythm. Then the men traded punches, Brilz took Boetsch to the ground, knee on neck (we like that) and was in total control. When they stood up and were at the fence, Brilz still holding Boetsch, Brilz kneed the back of Boetsch’s legs. In the third round, Brilz took Boetsch down again, immediately went to side control, applied some knees to Boetsch’s side and then elbows and forearms to the head, and the full mount again. Unanimous decision in Brilz’s favour.

There were no cool submissions last night, but Miller sure tried. McCrory had lots of opportunities in his match against Madigan, but mostly just jumped from one position to another applying elbows – in control, yes, but where are those armbars or chokes? The main event was the fight of the night for a change (in my opinion) and the fighters put forth all they could. Our satellite signal held. We had a good time with friends and family watching UFC 96 Jackson versus Jardine. What more could you ask for?

ayjay

March 7, 2009

TUF 8 Finale

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

I truly hate the antics in the house, but once a week for dozens of weeks (well it seems like it), we get to see drunks and punks, hear arguments, watch bloated egos, and witness destruction, practical jokes and disgusting behaviours.  Then we get to hear Dana White curse every third word. This season we had the pleasure of watching Junie Browning mess up for at least three episodes and White didn’t evict him. His behaviour was far worse (quite unhinged and dangerous) than others who were evicted in past seasons and, yet, White kept him. He won one fight (not well and displaying poor cardio and mediocre ability against a guy who had even less technique) and lost the next fight, and here we find him at the finale. I had hoped we wouldn’t see him again. 

So, I wanted Browning to lose; however, he was against Kaplan (“I’ve never been knocked out; punch me, go ahead….No, I wasn’t out” – or words to that effect), another egomaniac, so I didn’t want either of them to win.  Between a rock and a hard place. Once again Kaplan left his face out there – a prime target. Browning was in control from the beginning of the match. He actually had technique and skill. Damn. A competent juji gatame by Browning in the second round.

Marshall’s semi-final match had him on his back for most of the time and he couldn’t get out. Since he’s a BJJ guy, that surprised me. Don’t they teach sweeps and escapes? This match against Bruchez (whom I don’t remember) had Marshall in solid control from the bell. Rear hadaka jime in the first round.

Mir expected Soszynski to be in the final, but Soszynski lost his semi. Last night, in his fight against Primm (once again, ?) Soszynski proved himself to be more than just strong; he showed us some of his many skills. His ude garami was excellent, reefing on the shoulder, leaving Primm in so much pain, that Primm lay on the mat for some time. Technique of the night. Canadian of the night.

In the Burns versus Johnson fight, a re-match, Johnson (wrestling) produced a huge kick to the head of Burns, a taekwondo and BJJ guy. WOW of the night- I said it before Joe Rogan. :)  The wrestling guy got the TKD guy with a kick.

The best fight of the night was between Nover and Escudero. Perhaps because of White’s comments about Nover, I overlooked Escudero.  Both guys were likeable on the show, were roommates, and training partners. They knew each other’s abilities well. In order to avoid Nover’s punches, Escudero controlled where the match was going, taking Nover down repeatedly. The match went to a decision, neither guy submitting the other, both showing all their skills, but it was Escudero all the way.

Johnson and both winners of the finale – Bader and Escudero – are wrestlers.  Do you suppose the wrestling clubs in North America will see an increase in membership?

ayjay

December 14, 2008

p.s. Follow-up: Officially the UFC gave Junie Browning the fight of the night.  I can’t do that.  Much as he seems to have improved from his previous fights during The Ultimte Fighter, I have no desire to reward, financially or otherwise, a guy who could easily have been jailed for assault, more than once, during the filming of the series. A jackass is still a jackass. 

If Dana White and the owners of the UFC want to project a cleaner image, appeal to the masses, they can’t showcase drunks, assaults, destruction of the house, and a new levels of grossness. Right now, they appeal to the 18 to 34 year-old males. Basically, that will continue until their approach changes. It has to start from Dana White right on down. ayjay Dec. 30, 2008