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.
August 10 2009