First off, I’m glad this was free. Doesn’t it seem as though we’re paying for fights every other week? PPV is expensive.
Now, as for this UFC, it was unusual in the number of knock-outs. After some nights in which everything is referee stoppage, or so it seems, we have this night in which most fights were short and to the point.
As for the individual fights: Koscheck versus Paulo Thiago. Joe Rogan just got finished criticizing Thiago’s propensity for dropping his hands when he clocked Koscheck with a right upper cut and a left to Koscheck’s temple. Koscheck was out on his feet after the first punch. He was angry at the referee’s stopping the action, but he sure looked loopy and out of it. So Thiago, the jiu jitsu six-time champion, won by punches while standing. Knock out of the night.
Demian Maia, a lefty, did a beautiful left-sided sasae tsurikomi ashi on Chael Sonnen to take him to the ground and then submitted Sonnen with a strong sankaku jime. I missed a comment he made at the end, something to the effect that you can still win without hurting the other guy. I prefer the fights without the blood spilling everywhere as well. Technique of the night.
The heavyweights, Junior Dos Santos and Stefan Struve (6’11″ with a 7″ reach advantage) had a very fast match with Dos Santos knocking out the twenty-one year old at the 54 second mark of round one. Although Struve has a huge win record (20-2), he looked a bit nervous and he’s very young. He really had no opportunity to do anything against Dos Santos, who was very aggressive and in-his-face from the bell. One thing of note, Struve was so tall that his shoulders came to the upper bar of the cage.
The match between Nate Marquardt and Wilson Gouveia went to the third round, with rounds one and two going to Marquardt, who was the aggressor. In round one, Marquardt had nice kicks and punches to the body of Gouveia and managed to get out of a tight guillotine. Round two had Marquardt in Gouveia’s guard. Marquardt had some solid shoulder punches and elbows. He let Gouveia get up, but Gouveia had hands down and was wobbling. I thought it was finished until Gouveia threw a couple of punches right before the bell. Round Three had Gouveia looking pooped, hands down, plodding along, until Marquardt struck him with a flying knee which connected below the left eye, leaving a huge gash. Then Marquardt attacked with all manner of kicks and punches, most of which did not connect, but Gouveia was out of it. TKO. Fight of the night.
Since the fights were so short, Spike broadcast a fight from the undercard (at least I believe that’s the case, since we learned nothing about them), that of Terry Etim and Brian Cobb, lightweights. While standing, Etim was solid with punches and kicks. Then he did something inexplicable: he pulled guard and then lay there, holding Cobb’s left arm, while Cobb punched his ribs. The referee brought them to standing. This happened twice in the match. Why pull guard if you are successful at stand-up and then not do anything, forcing the ref to have you stand again? Weird. The match ended in round two with Etim kicking Cobb to the head, causing Cobb to drop. Etim then followed up with a punch to the head, which bounced off the floor.
The next lightweights were Evan Dunham versus Per Eklund, with Dunham in control from the start. He counter-punched Eklund, dropping him, and then followed up with multiple punches to the head. Referee stoppage TKO. Dunham did a wee bit of showboating, quite unnecessary.
The heavyweights, Neil Grove and Mike Ciesnolevicz, had both guys trying heel hooks very early on, with the much larger Grove looking as though he would win. Ciesnolevicz turned the tables on Grove and succeeded with his own heel hook, actually causing what looked like a knee dislocation. Yeow. TKO round one.
The welterweights came up next with Dan Hardy, he of the Mohawk, a tae kwon do guy, against Rory Markham, who was a Golden Gloves boxer. Both guys are known for their knock-outs. The fight lasted less than one round with Hardy counter-punching Markham, to drop him, and then applying two punches to the floored Markham. Knock-out.
The main card had Diego Danchez against Joe Stevenson. Joe Rogan worried about Sanchez’s stamina and strength since he had dropped from 190 to 155 to go lightweight, losing fat and muscle. As of last night, he was at 172. He certainly looked smaller than Stevenson, who is quite muscular, and actually looked like a different person: his face has altered due to the weight loss.
So here we have Sanchez, a BJJ purple belt and state wrestling champ, against Stevenson, a BJJ black belt and judo black belt. Stevenson punched throughout the fight, not even attempting a kick, never mind a takedown. Sanchez returned punches and threw some kicks. Round two had Sanchez throwing a flying knee and ending on Stevenson’s back. Stevenson stood back up, basically holding Sanchez upside down. Back to stand-up. The rest of the round was punches by both.
Round three was the same as the previous rounds, stand-up and trading punches, with Sanchez being the aggressor and showing more variety.
Sanchez won by unanimous decision. This wasn’t a very interesting fight, due to Stevenson’s only punching. I know the UFC has it as Fight of the Night, but it was mostly boring. It’s not a boxing match; if I’d wanted to watch boxing… Sanchez definitely won, though.
February 22, 2009