UFC 108 had somewhat negative comments beforehand due to its headliners. I suppose people wanted really big names for the first UFC in the new year. In reality, most of the fights were first-rate, fast and explosive.
Cole Miller‘s bout against Dan Lauzon resulted in the Submission of the Night. While still in the first round, after some striking, Lauzon used a big left hook to knock Miller down. He eventually climbed on Miller’s back and after some back and forth jockeying for position, Miller had an inverted triangle choke (sankaku jime) and a Kimura (ude garami). Tap out.
A comment about the fight between Mike Pyle and Jake Ellenberger: We have always maintained that you do not want to be on the bottom when doing ground work. The superior position is the top. Even in BJJ, the aim of the guy on the bottom is to get to the top (you get points for sweeping, not for holding someone in your guard). Pyle has a multitude of skills and attempted many techniques when he was on the bottom (except for trying to get out). Joe Rogan kept going on about how skilled Pyle was from the bottom but despite that, Ellenberger eventually pounded Pyle quite solidly near the end of round 1. At the beginning of round 2, Ellenberger blasted a big right, then a knee and Pyle went down. TKO referee stoppage. Being on the bottom should hopefully be a temporary situation and should not be the “go to” position if you want to win a match.
Martin Kampmann‘s bout against Jacob Volkmann had another beautiful submission. Still in the first round, Volkmann was on his knees and Kampmann on his feet in front of Volkmann. Kampmann then reached down under Volkmann’s chin and did a front guillotine just leaning over his back, no legs or anything. Nice.
The match between Jim Miller and Dwayne Ludwig produced a solid Juji Gatame when Miller’s right knocked Ludwig to the ground. Miller went from side to full mount in a couple of seconds and when Ludwig tried to get out, grabbed Ludwig’s arm and straightened his legs, extending Ludwig’s body. Ludwig was on his feet, but Miller lifted his hips to further control Ludwig’s arm and we had tap out.
The fight between Dustin Hazelett and Paul Daley produced probably the first right breakfall which was not used to get out of any hold. Hazelett started the bout with the breakfall, perhaps to throw Daley off. It had nothing to do with the match and didn’t help him avoid Daley’s left hook which took him to the ground. Daley then jumped on Hazelett and landed a few more shots. TKO referee stoppage. Knock Out of the Night.
My comment: Daley came in not having made weight: he was two pounds over. Perhaps he shouldn’t be awarded a bonus for Knock Out of the Night.
Joe Lauzon‘s match against Sam Stout went to decision. Lauzon controlled Stout for the first two minutes, taking him down repeatedly. After that, Stout stuffed most take down attempts. The fight was almost all stand up, with Stout showing great combinations of strikes and elbows, and ending with a kick.
Since his take downs were no longer working, Lauzon pulled guard (which I hate) a couple of times, but Stout got up immediately. Near the end of the third round, Lauzon succeeded with a take down and attempted a front guillotine, but he lost the mount and the choke failed.
Lauzon had never gone the distance before and was exhausted, but continued to move forward and tried to attack. Stout still had loads of energy and was bouncing around, ending the fight with multiple strikes. Unanimous decision in Stout’s favour. Fight of the Night.
One comment: Sam Stout listened to his corner and followed the instructions immediately. Fantastic.
Much was made of Gilbert Yvel‘s coming to the UFC for his fight against Junior Dos Santos. He had been at PRIDE, and other organizations, and had a record of 36 wins in 52 starts as a professional. In recent years he has had controversies over poor behaviours in the ring, resulting in his having problems obtaining fighting licenses.
Both these men are BJJ purple belts and win most fights by knock out.
Round 1 had Dos Santos using many combinations and Yvel countering. Dos Santos then countered a strike by Yvel, dropped him, and after he jumped on him for further strikes, the referee intervened. Yvel protested the stoppage, but actually asked the ref if he’d been out.
The guys from PRIDE sure have problems in the UFC. By the way, Dos Santos came in with a “James Thompson ear”, so I was grateful that he was able to end the match so quickly. I certainly didn’t want to see another exploding ear.
Rashad Evans‘ bout against Thiago Silva was to be interesting. They each had had only one loss going in, and to the same man – Lyoto Machida. Both are black belt BJJ guys (Evans just received his earlier in the day), but Silva is a striker and Evans is a college wrestling champion.
From the beginning, Evans controlled where the match was to be. He would take Silva down time and time again. By the middle of the first round, Silva was huffing.
Round 2 had Evans rushing at Silva with strikes and clinching at the fence. Silva applied some knees, but Evans was in control. The audience was booing for some reason. Perhaps they didn’t like the clinches at the fence, but this fight was far more energetic than Randy Couture’s last match, which deserved all the boos.
Round 3 had Silva with hands down taunting Evans to change his game plan. He actually managed to slug Evans a couple of times and Evans backed up, legs wobbling. Unfortunately, Silva was gassed himself and let Evans recover instead of going after him further. Unanimous decision in Evans’ favour, to lots of boos.
I don’t understand why the audience boos during matches in which the competitors are working hard and displaying skill and technique. It may be crowd mentality: if one starts, they all follow suit.
As for this UFC, most of the fights were very good, some even more so (Stout versus Lauzon).
January 4, 2010