The Ultimate Fighting Challenge 103 UFC 103 – Franklin versus Belfort was last Saturday night. In order to generate revenue, or interest people in more PPV, some of the preliminary fights were broadcast on Spike from 9 to 10 p.m. The first thirty seconds or so of the first fight consisted of some of the funniest television we’ve watched in a while (excluding The Big Bang Theory). The fight was between Drew McFedries and Tomasz Drwal, middleweights. As they began the match, the beginning few seconds of audio and video looped for the next 30 or so seconds. Granted, we missed the actual fighting, but it was funny nonetheless.
What we did see were low leg kicks by Drwal and a take down by Drwal with his landing on top. McFedries stood up with Drwal on his back. Drwal applied knees to McFedries hamstrings and head. Both fighters were striking heavily and McFedries looked exhausted afterward.
Just before the buzzer, Drwal achieved another take down and had one hook in, while on McFedries’ back.
Round 2 had Drwal’s strikes connecting. He then took McFedries down again, moving from side mount, to the back. He then applied a rear naked choke (hadaka jime) for tapout.
Efrain Escudero, winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 8, was up next against Cole Miller. The announcers talked about Escudero’s problems making weight and that his health might be a concern. Also Escudero has been seriously injured and has not been fighting since last December.
Although Miller is four inches taller than Escudero and has a two inch reach advantage and tried to use both to his advantage, Escudero was in control from the beginning. Escudero caught Miller’s leg after an attempted kick, threw a couple of punches and let Miller up.
Escudero then took Miller down with a big slam and let him up again. He threw a series of punches, all of which hit their target, left, right, another big right and Miller went down. Two other strikes while Miller was on the ground and the referee stopped the match.
Welterweights Rick Story and Brian Foster were up next. This match had lots of action from both men, with strong, fast striking, and action on the ground. Story took Foster down early on, picking him up and throwing him. While on the ground, Story used his elbows for ground and pound. He moved from side control to half guard while Foster never ceased moving on the bottom, even throwing elbows from below.
When standing again, Story took Foster down again. As Foster rose to his feet, Story landed some punches. Foster threw an upper cut. Story’s nose seemed to have been broken at some point in this exchange.
Round 2 had Foster attempting a head kick. Story took Foster down and was in guard and then half guard. While Foster had Story’s leg trapped, Story accomplished a solid kata gatame (arm triangle), even without having his legs free, which turned into a choke, causing Foster to tap out. Really amazing technique. Fight of the Night. Submission of the Night.
Southpaws Jim Miller and Steve Lopez, both lightweights, were next to fight. Round one went to Miller: he connected with strikes and leg kicks, attempted a take down, which Lopez avoided by sprawling, and then tried a front hadaka jime. Miller tried various other techniques when in Lopez’s guard, including wrapping Lopez’s own arm around Lopez’s neck, not a technique you see often, but very effective at trapping your opponent’s arm and aiding in a choke if you’ve got it right.
Round 2 had Lopez fighting far better, looking more confident and relaxed until he threw out his left shoulder, a horrible sight. Referee stoppage by verbal submission.
As for the main card, the fights were varied, but mostly standing. Josh Koscheck demolished Frank Trigg in the first round by a looping right, a shot to the chin and multiple strikes when he was on the floor. TKO referee stoppage in round 1.
Tyson Griffin threw many leg kicks and strikes in his match against Hermes Franca. As the match went on, Griffin would come in for a quick strike and/or kick and then go out again such that Franca could not tag him. A couple of times Franca tried to grab Griffin’s leg in order to have him close enough to strike.
Round 2 had Franca coming in strongly and both men were trading strikes and leg kicks. Franca then grabbed Griffin’s leg and held on, trying to strike. Griffin approached Franca at angles and threw jabs, leg kicks and upper cuts. One strike to Franca’s chin caused him to hit the ground. Griffin followed up with multiples strikes. TKO in Griffin’s favour.
Martin Kampmann fought Paul Daley in a short match that had Daley in control most of the time. Daley used lots of combinations, with the most deadly being his left hooks, which were solid and heavy. Kampmann managed to grab Daley and push him to the fence at one point. He then applied knees until Daley escaped.
Daley then rocked Kampmann with another left hook, which he immediately followed up with multiple strikes. TKO referee stoppage.
The match between Mirko Cro Cop versus Junior Dos Santos was a co-main event. Cro Cop is a kickboxer with devastating kicks, but his record in the octagon is mediocre. During this bout, he threw very few kicks, probably no more than five, and threw few punches. Although the men injured one another with cuts above the eyes and Dos Santos with a mouse below the left eye, Dos Santos seemed to be picking Cro Cop apart, connecting with fast strikes. Cro Cop would grab Dos Santos around the neck and push him away, probably to set him up for kicks, but they didn’t come. A take down attempt early in the match by Cro Cop failed with his landing on the bottom and both men getting up right away.
Round three had Cro Cop as the aggressor, but Dos Santos in control. Dos Santos toppled Cro Cop with huge knees to the body and head (eleven in all). One shot went to Cro Cop’s left eye and Cro Cop tapped verbally.
Mike Goldberg made a comment during this bout concerning Dos Santos which I have to reiterate: “The young, hungry competitor, eight and one overall…” Our reaction was: “The young, hungry competitor ate and won overall…”
The remaining co-main event was between Rich Franklin and Vitor Belfort. Franklin was in the center of the octagon and Belfort circled. Franklin tried a leg kick, but Belfort caught it. He then attempted a left hook and leg kick. His straight rights were not connecting. Belfort kept watching and following Franklin, waiting for the right moment. Belfort eventually threw a big looping left punch and dropped Franklin. He immediately followed up with several shots to the head of Franklin. Knock Out of the Night.
September 21, 2009
p.s. As an aside, I’m grateful that Franklin’s sleazy commercial is no longer being shown (the one in which his “student” rolls her eyes at him).