Posts Tagged ‘The Ultimate Fighter’

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 11

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) had its lightweight semi-finals last night. Andre Winner fought Cameron Dollar and Ross Pearson fought Jason Dent.

The first bout, between Winner and Dollar, had the potential to be excruciating for Dollar as he had a rib injury. Henderson‘s game plan was for Dollar to punch his way in, take Winner down and finish him off. During training, though, Dollar’s side was so sore, that his training was impacted. Henderson suggested that both his lightweights were going to win and it would be White‘s biggest nightmare, that of US versus US, instead of US versus UK, in the lightweight final.

During training, Winner worked on stand-up only and said he wanted to keep the fight boxing. A segment of the show dwelt on Winner’s tendency to thumb suck, something I didn’t know adults did. He was funny about it, somewhat embarrassed, and the other guys laughed about it, but were surprisingly tolerant.

Winner came into the match with a 9-2-1 record and stated that he had to pay the bills, so treated every fight as though it were the last fight. Dollar’s record was 4-1 going in. He believed that God wouldn’t have given him the chance to do this if he couldn’t handle it.

Round one began with a flurry of punches from Dollar and a take down attempt. Winner threw a big shot to Dollar’s chin, and connected, and then applied some knees.

Dollar tried for another take down at the fence, and eventually got it, but Winner rolled onto the top and then the bottom, putting Dollar into a triangle choke (sankaku jime). Dollar tried to stand with Winner’s legs wrapped around him, but finally tapped out.

Winner’s comment to the camera was that the stand-up guy won by submission. Since Dollar’s ground skills are good, Winner should be proud.

Ross Pearson was called a bulldog by the announcer and the title is apt: he’s solid, thick-necked, and keeps coming forward. Even during training, when he popped out his shoulder, he had Bisping yank it back into place and went straight back to training. Pearson said he was going to hit Dent with everything he had, hoping for a knock out.

Jason Dent’s previous matches were boring and his attitude in the house was very negative (although I don’t blame him for hating it – no television, radios, computers, phones, newspapers, and living in a confined space with fifteen other people who are not your friends OR family. Oh, and no contact with family or friends for the duration of the stay. There’s all the alcohol you could possibly drink, though.) Henderson said Dent had not yet shown what he was capable of.  Dent did say that he lost every match which had gone to decision, so he was looking for TKO.

Round 1 began with Dent’s kicking and Pearson’s striking. They ended at the fence in a clinch with Pearson’s kneeing Dent’s head, trying uppercuts, a big strike to the ribs (which caused Dent to buckle) and kicks. Pearson has a strong head kick which he used many times and, if they had not been blocked, would have resulted in a knock out.

Dent applied some heavy uppercuts, but Pearson’s tough. Pearson then answered with strikes to the body and face – many, many strikes which were unanswered by Dent.

Just before the end of the round, Dent connected a few times with head strikes.

Round 2: Dent tried some low leg kicks and strikes to the head. Pearson was very clever at the fence and timed his strikes to Dent such that they happened as Dent bounced off the fence, resulting in Dent’s getting hit each time he came off the fence.

Pearson managed a take down of his own, controlling Dent from guard, full, and half mount. After they stood up, Dent tried a take down with no success, so he did a butt flop. Pearson jumped on him and did some ground and pound here.

Round 3: Dent came out impressively with multiple strikes and kicks. Pearson replied with uppercuts and a rib/kidney shot to the same side which he hit the previous round. Pearson took Dent down at the fence and served elbows and heavy fists to Dent as Dent lay on the bottom.

Dent turned over and turtled and then went on his back again, with Pearson in his guard. Dent attempted armbars many times from the bottom, but was unsuccessful. Pearson controlled the match completely while on the ground.

Unanimous decision in Pearson’s favour.

Both fighters in the lightweight final are from the UK.

UFC‘s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) is on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. on Spike.


June 11, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 10

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Despite Dana White’s suggestion of having teammate versus teammate for the semi-finals, in order to have the actual finals with US versus UK, the semi-final match ups had opposing teams fighting.

Frank Lester will fight in the last fight to give him as much time as possible to heal from his latest bout; however, he will fight the man who beat him in his first match, James Wilks. You’ll remember that Wilks kneed Lester in the mouth, resulting in not a few teeth, real and fake, being left in Lester’s mouth guard.

The first semi-final match was between Damarques Johnson and Nick Osipczak. Johnson began with a solid left/right combo to Osipczak’s head, while Osipczak threw a lower leg kick.

Johnson acquired a take down, while in the clinch, doing a sasae tsurikomi ashi (sweeping drawing ankle throw). Standing quickly afterward, the men traded punches with a nice left jab from Johnson. Osipczak tried a soto makikomi, which ended in a take down and Johnson in Osipczak’s guard, then half guard. Johnson applied some ground and pound, while Osipczak elbowed the side of Johnson’s head.

Standing again, they began the best part of the match: With 30 seconds to go, Osipczak rocked Johnson with an uppercut and then immediately followed through with multiple strikes around the octagon. Unbelievably, Johnson managed to come to and fought back, throwing solid shots of his own. He’s certainly tough; I thought he was out on his feet.

Round two had Johnson coming in mouth-breathing and looking done in, but still managing to throw a knee to Osipczak’s chin.

Osipczak tried a take down, which ended badly with Johnson taking his back and then having side mount. Johnson applied elbows, moving from side to half guard and then side again. Johnson tried a Kimura, but gave up and used elbows again.

While in full mount, Johnson wrapped one leg around Osipczak’s waist and did some more ground and pound.  Osipczak turned a bit to the side to protect his face, but exposed the back of his head to Johnson and ended up getting punched several times. Osipczak managed to hang on until the bell.
Each time Osipczak was mounted, he tried for juji gatame with good hip movement and leg placement, but never had the arm.
Round three had both fighters looking fatigued and moving much slower, but still trading punches. Johnson attempted a flying knee. He then took Osipczak down, with no resistance.

From half guard with Osipczak on the bottom, Johnson did shoulder strikes and elbows and moved to full mount. Osipczak surprisingly managed a reversal and was on top. His strikes were not enough to win the round, though.

Johnson is off to the finals with a unanimous decision. Osipczak had just endured his first defeat.

Post-fight scenes showed Johnson with ice on his left leg and talking about having bitten off a piece of his tongue. He was more interested in getting healthy than thinking about the final.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

June 4, 2009

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 – Episode 9

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Episode 9 of TUF9 completed the preliminary rounds. We finally had Dave Faulkner‘s match, but not with Jason Pierce (Dana White told Pierce that he wasn’t fighting in the previous episode). His opponent was Frank Lester who had been beaten in an earlier matchup. Lester’s talk with White about how much he wanted to fight was the deciding factor in his being chosen. White said that Lester was what a real fighter is – he doesn’t care about stitches, black eyes, a nose that hurts or missing teeth.

Lester had been beaten badly before – bruises on his face and his nose was most likely cracked. His teeth had been forcibly removed as well. When he tried to place his mouthguard in before practice, he found that his teeth were still in it.

Henderson‘s game plan for Lester was to go after Faulkner ”nice and easy” and then to do a takedown.

Bisping felt that Faulkner could “blow Lester out of the octagon”. Faulkner’s main problem was still the gag reflex when his mouthguard was in, so he went to a hypnotherapist to get over it. He was to feel safe and protected when the mouthguard was in place. Who knows if it worked; they had only one session.

Part of the episode revolved around confrontations between Henderson and Bisping and then Bisping and Damarques Johnson.

Henderson wanted to switch training times with the UK group so that he no longer had to get up early, something the US team had done for four weeks. Bisping had a fit and tried to use the next fight to decide. Henderson refused. The next morning Bisping and Co. were all training very early, having been told they had to change times.

The next altercation involved Bisping’s spraying water from his bottle in Johnson’s face as he walked by. Bisping thought, in error, that Johnson had said a “racist” remark about him during the coaches’ tennis challenge. In fact, it had been Cameron Dollar‘s comment and it wasn’t much of a remark to begin with (“whiter than a band-aid” to describe Bisping’s legs). Johnson was livid and had to walk it off. Bisping apologized but Johnson wasn’t having any of it.

Round 1 between Faulkner and Lester started with Lester’s keeping his distance. I’m sure he didn’t want to get hit in the face with all his injuries. He tried a head kick and Faulkner tried a take down and some flying fists. While in the clinch in the center of the octagon, both guys applied knees. Bisping was yelling for Faulkner to have his “hands tight” and left hand higher while Henderson shouted “jabs” to Lester a few dozen times. The fighters were often in the clinch at the fence, stalemated, doing very little. Henderson was constantly yelling “circle” to have Lester get away from the fence.

Faulkner managed one take down, but Lester used the fence to help him get up. He tried big looping strikes which did not connect.

Round 1 to Faulkner.

At the beginning of round 2, Faulkner spit out his mouthguard and walked backward with hands down. He was gassed. Lester did a head kick and went into the clinch. Faulkner applied some body shots and elbows while in the clinch.

Lester used strong combos while in the center, very heavy strikes, and then dragged Faulkner to the fence by the back of the neck. Faulkner was flat-footed and looked exhausted.

Although Lester had far more energy in this round that Faulkner, once again we had Henderson telling him to “circle” to get away from the fence while in the clinch. Both guys used knees here.

Round 2 went to Lester, but not so much that Lester won as that Faulkner lost. He actually walked away at one point, arms at his side and then bent forward from the waist to take a breath at about the four minute mark.

White announced that there would be the Sudden Victory round, but Faulkner refused to continue. Faulkner said that he enjoyed the match, no longer had anything to prove and no longer felt stressed. It actually sounded as though he was quitting MMA, as he talked about professional wrestling or horror movies.

Bisping, on the other hand, had his stress levels through the roof afterward, stomping out, kicking a door.

The semi-finals are next with four guys from each team competing.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10:00 EST. 

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 1

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 2

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 3

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 4

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 5

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 6

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 7

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 8


May 27, 2009

UFC The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 US vs UK- Episode 7

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 revolved around the coaches’ challenge, a tennis tournament, watching the training of Dave Faulkner (UK) and Jason Pierce (US) and the fight between Richie Whitson and Ross Pearson. So much of the hour dwelt on the training of Faulkner and Pierce that I assumed they were fighting in this episode.

Faulkner and Pierce have become buddies during their time on the show which could be a problem. Bisping said he felt that Faulkner could win against anyone in the house as did Faulkner himself.  During training, Bisping told Faulkner that even though the guys were friends, when they get into the octagon, Pierce was going to try to kill him. Bisping’s training sessions were hard exercises –  among them, silkworm, in which you worm your way along the mats on your side, pulling your arms and legs up toward your head and down toward your feet in order to move, and a dragging exercise, in which you pull your partner along the mats. Interestingly, these are exercises which we did with regularity at our old judo club years ago. They involve your moving yourself and others and are hard work.

Strangely, both these guys are injured in this episode: Pierce broke blood vessels in his foot during his preliminary elimination match, resulting in his not being able to kick with that leg. Henderson worried about Pierce’s “sore ankle against an ankle lock guy”. In the other camp, Bisping had the guys pounding a tractor tire with a sledgehammer, resulting in Faulkner’s whacking his own leg with the hammer, creating a giant, infected lump on his calf.

When learning that the US team was going to have a sparring session, Pierce started complaining. The sparring coach gave a pep talk to everyone, but Pierce walked out. The sparring coach said Pierce was a negative guy and pain in the neck. (He is one of the main complainers in the one-on-one sessions in front of the camera.)

The coaches’ challenge was a tennis tournament with the serving area being the entire opposite side since neither guy knew how to play tennis. Both coaches were terrible; however, Henderson won 6 to 2, earning 10K in cash for himself and $1500 for each team member. It was an ugly game on both parts.

After spending most of the hour on Faulkner and Pierce, we found that they were not fighting in this episode. Richie Whitson was going to fight against Ross Pearson. Whitson is a muay thai scrapper from Alaska who trains at Henderson’s club and knows all of the coaches well. Pearson is what Bisping called a “pitbull” who needs to “relax on the horsepower” a bit.

During the training session with Bisping, we saw Bisping throw Pearson with a beautiful hip throw and show him new moves to add to his abilities. Usually the coaches watch and critique, so it was exciting to see Bisping display his skills.

Round 1 between the lightweights started at eight minutes to eleven, so the match was going to be short. Whitson had Pearson in the clinch at the fence and attempted an elbow. Pearson managed to elude him and kneed Whitson in the face. Both guys tried really high kicks, neither of which landed. At one point Whitson was on his knees and Pearson stood up and punched Whitson, resulting in a point being taken away.

The rest of the round had Pearson taking Whitson down perhaps four times. Although they traded punches, the take downs were the deciding factor: Pearson got on Whitson’s back and achieved a straight arm bar (juji gatame) after a turnover. Tapout.

The Ultimate Fighter series certainly shows sides of people you wouldn’t ordinarily see. These guys can beat the pulp out of you and yet weep uncontrollably about missing family and wanting to go home (Dollar). Whitson had impetigo on his face several days before the match and Pierce (I think it was Pierce) went berserk spraying antiseptic everywhere, as though that would help. (Impetigo is a bacterial infection which is contagious and treated with antibiotics.)

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 1

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 2

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

  Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9


May 14, 2009

UFC TUF9 US vs UK – Episode 6

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Episode 6 of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) eliminated a lightweight fighter and a welterweight.  Cameron Dollar was chosen to fight against Martin Stapleton for the lightweight fight.

Dollar’s background is in wrestling and his stand up is severely lacking, causing Henderson to be frustrated with Dollar’s stand up work. Dollar admitted that it wasn’t his forte and that he was really only keen on learning the grappling techniques. He also talked about his being very nervous before any fight and looked uncomfortable everywhere, including in the house. He looked afraid of Stapleton, even as Stapleton walked through the room. Henderson’s game plan for Dollar was to punch his way in and take Stapleton down.

Stapleton is a BJJ guy who is/was (?) in the Royal Marines. Bisping talked about him as being the best wrestler in the UK team, a good boxer, with excellent cardio, etc. Both Bisping’s and Stapleton’s attitudes assumed Stapleton to be the stronger fighter.

Round 1 had Stapleton attempting take downs until Dollar did his own with a nice harai goshi, by the fence. He eventually ended up on Stapleton’s back and with the fence on one side, got Stapleton in a grapevine and did a strong rear naked choke (hadaka jime).

Even though Dollar is an annoying, egomaniacal kid, he proved that his ground skills are good: he can take someone down, apply a solid choke and make him tap out.

During the break between fights, Bisping apologized to Amasinger for missing his fight. It seems he had severe jetlag and finally overslept. I know that sounds feeble, but I can appreciate the problem, having had it myself.

Fight number two was between Frank Lester and James Wilks. Lester came across throughout the episode as a nutbar: he cursed and swore his way through every conversation and ranted about Wilks, his disdain for him, and wanting to beat him, non-stop. Wilks has lived in California for some years while training and this seems to be the thorn in Lester’s side. Unfortunately, Lester’s attitude made him come across as immature and irrational. It’s just a fight - for television – not the end of the world.

Bisping thought Wilks could beat Lester in all areas of the game; Henderson spoke of Lester’s speed of punches.

Round 1 had both guys doing sporadic jabs (Lester side-stepped his way in circles and Wilks followed) and Wilks applied a front kick. Bisping kept yelling at Wilks to get his left hand up and jab and he did neither. Wilks eventually got side mount and had a loose yoko shiho gatame, with Bisping shouting something to get him to close the gaps.

Here’s where this fight got weird. In Dollar’s match against Stapleton, when Dollar made contact on the ground, he stuck to Stapleton like glue and got his win:  in this match, Wilks would try one technique after another, leaving gaping holes between himself and Lester, so that Lester would manage the escape and run off. Wilks would then chase after the guy and try again. At the fence, Wilks kneed Lester in the face, managed another take down and did a little ground and pound until the bell.

During the break, Lester said that his teeth got knocked out. In fact, his artificial front teeth, whether crowns or partial plate, were knocked out and stuck in his mouthguard. His corner had to remove the teeth in order for him to put his mouthguard in. The referee told the corner to put the teeth on ice.

When the round started, Lester kept his distance from Wilks, either because he was hurt or tired, or both. Wilks took Lester down at the fence a couple of times and, after side and full mount, achieved a juji gatame.

One or more of Lester’s teeth were knocked out: we saw him spitting blood into a bucket and someone else said that a tooth had been spit up. He’s a tough guy, then, if that’s the case. Instead of going into round 2, he should really have gone to the hospital to have the teeth reinserted.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 TUF9 is on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Spike.

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 1

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 2

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9


May 7, 2009

UFC TUF9 US vs UK – Episode 5

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Last night’s episode of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US versus UK brought out some of the worst in a few fighters. As the Americans sat around (they are limited in entertainment – no books, no magazines, no newspapers, no radio, no television or phone), we were regaled by someone’s (Dollar’s?) bragging about his sexual exploits, causing at least one American to leave the room. The British team, in contrast, played sports (with Americans looking on from the balconies) and developed a camaraderie and team spirit.

After the first fight last week, which the Americans lost, one American fighter suggested that they be respectful toward the Brits. Cameron Dollar and Damarques Johnson disagreed with this concept, causing the first of many arguments among the Americans.

The first fight of this episode was to be between Santino Defranco and Andre Winner. Henderson said that Defranco was experienced and well-rounded and could take Winner apart if they stayed standing. Winner thought that he could lose only if there were a good submission. It’s refreshing to hear a fighter admit that he could lose.

Santino is the fellow who tried out for The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 only to find that he had two aneurysms and required immediate brain surgery. In his preliminary elimination bout, shown in Episode 2, he was dominated in round 1 only to return in round 2 to do a flying knee and then choke out his opponent. He had a 4 inch reach advantage on Winner and a record of 13-4.

Winner won his preliminary bout handily, and his stats were similar (9-2-1).

Round 1 had Winner starting with some strong outside leg kicks while Defranco tried a take down which Winner stuffed. Defranco did a couple of jabs, then a feint and another take down attempt.

Winner used a variety of punches (overhead right, double jab and right) and leg kicks, while Defranco succeeded at his next takedown; Winner ended up on top, however, inside Defranco’s rubber guard. Defranco kept trying an oma plata from the guard, but eventually Winner got out and went to side mount, his punches overwhelming Defranco. TKO referee stoppage.

The next fight was between Damarques Johnson (13-6) and Dean Amasinger (4-1). Bisping admitted that Johnson was the US team’s best fighter but Amasinger was skilled and fit and could win if he fought hard. He made a point of telling Amasinger that Johnson’s favourite technique is the triangle and to be aware of that.

Henderson thought that Johnson’s skills lay in his striking, ground and pound, and good armbars and triangles.

At the bell, Amasinger started with kicks, but got taken down immediately by Johnson, who tried an unsuccessful armbar. Amasinger was in Johnson’s guard, at one point picking Johnson up to slam him to the mat. All the while, though, Johnson worked toward getting the triangle choke, which eventually won him the match, giving the US team their first win.

Oddities about this episode: Johnson, who curses with the grace of Dana White, praying out loud to God while in the octagon (anytime, on any scripted show, where actors pray out loud is weird and unbelievable; in this case, we have a fighter on a reality show who knows there’s a cameraman ten feet away filming everything); TUF’s version of “Where’s Waldo?” in “Where’s Bisping?”. Michael Bisping missed Amasinger’s fight – very bad form, unless you’re lying in a hospital bed with tubes in your nether regions, or there was an emergency of major proportions. Even still, you would still call or someone would call, n’est-ce pas?.

UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 (TUF9) US vs UK is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 1

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 2

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 3

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9


April 30, 2009

UFC 97 – Redemption

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

UFC 97  Redemption was in Montreal last night. I really enjoy having friends and our little family around to watch these events and this one was in Canada, so I was hoping for good things. I never guess as to who is going to win or by how much and in what round, etc., so I had no particular winners in mind, just wanted good matches and interesting techniques.

The first match was between Luiz Cane, a muay thai and jiu jitsu black belt guy, and Steve Cantwell, who is a kickboxer and jiu jitsu brown belt. Their skillsets are comparable and I always look for beautiful submissions, so with the jiu jitsu, that was a possibility. Cane is a lefty and connected with body shots and an uppercut. When in the clinch, he used combos and knees. Cantwell’s high kicks were either blocked or ineffective against Cane. He seemed to be unable to find his range for a while. As the first round continued, Cane fizzled out a bit and Cantwell got more shots in.

Round 2 had Cane giving Cantwell a shot right through the middle of his hands. Cantwell connected far more in this round, applying a strong right punch, head kicks and knee to the chin. Cane was hurt.

Round 3 had Cane stalking Cantwell, but they traded punches and kicks. Cane used lots of jabs and uppercuts and knees to the body. Cantwell was effective at head kicks and punches.

Cane won by unanimous decision. The jiu jitsu guys didn’t make it to the ground.

Cheick Kongo fought Antoni Hardonk in a heavyweight bout. Kongo is a freestyle fighter, whereas Hardonk is a kickboxer.

Round 1 started with Hardonk applying outside leg kicks; Kongo answered with inside leg kicks and punches. At the fence, he caught Hardonk’s leg and punched Hardonk in response. Kongo used jabs and uppercuts and, in another clinch, knees to Hardonk’s inner thighs. He managed a take down and while in Hardonk’s guard, applied elbows and hammerfists.

Round 2 Kongo again caught a kick and they ended up on the ground with Kongo’s punches bouncing Hardonk’s head off the mats, and then having Hardonk just hold on. Kongo used hammerfists to Hardonk’s ribs and face until the referee came in to stop the match. TKO - referee stoppage.

The next bout was between Krsysztof Soszynski and Brian Stann. These guys know each other very well, having trained together. Soszynski wins by mostly submissions and Stann tends to win from standing, knocking out his opponents. A sign of their friendship came as soon as Soszynski entered the octagon: he went over to Stann and bowed. Very nice.

Stann started the fight with strong inside leg kicks and, in the clinch, effective knees. As expected, Soszynski took Stann down as soon as he could and immediately had full mount. From there he went into side mount and worked on a Kimura until we had tap out. Stann seemed unable to cope on the ground. Perhaps he should work mostly on his ground techniques, since his stand up is so effective. Mark Hamill could only do ground work when he was in The Ultimate Fighter and now wins from standing. Soszynski – Technique of the Night.

Chuck Liddell came out against Mauricio Shogun Rua, both of whom win mostly with knockouts. Rua began with leg kicks, a (blocked) head kick, body kick and big right hand. His leg kicks were after Liddell’s lead leg. He then had a take down and tried a leg lock. Liddell stood up and went after Rua with punches and kicks of his own.

Liddell took Rua down for points and immediately stood up. Rua then used a big left hook, knocking Liddell out. He jumped on Liddell and dropped hammerfists until the referee stepped in. Knockout of the Night.

The lightweights came out next with Sam Stout and Matt Wiman. Lightweights are always fun to watch, so much energy and so quick. Wiman was very aggressive, immediately succeeding in a take down against Stout, who is a muay thai fighter and does not want to be on the ground. Stout managed to get up, but was treated to punches and kicks before applying some deadly leg kicks of his own. Wiman again had a take down. (Wiman moved his hair out of the way a lot; he should not be worried about his hair or being able to see. Get a haircut in advance. Sheesh.)

Round 2 had Wiman trying a flying knee, which Stout caught, resulting in a take down by Stout, followed by ground and pound. Stout was in control with leg kicks such that Wiman’s leg gave out, after which he walked quite flat-footed with the lead leg. Stout gave Wiman’s ribs an horrendous punch which, in slow motion, rippled up the ribcage. Awful. Wiman folded in half afterward.

Round 3 had Wiman aggressive again. When on the ground, he had Stout’s back and I thought that was it: he’d get his arm under Stout’s chin and it would be over. Stout isn’t a ground guy. Much to my surprise, Stout managed to flip himself over so that he was in Wiman’s guard, with Wiman on the bottom. Stout then did some ground and pound with hammerfists and elbows. Later Wiman attempted a take down again, but ended up in Stout’s guard, with Stout in control. Stout – unanimous decision. Fight of the Night.

Now I really try to be objective when I’m writing. For one thing, who am I to criticize people who do this for a living, training all the time? My interests lie in the techniques and skills involved in submitting/winning against someone else of the same calibre. In the main event of the night, headliners Anderson Silva and Thales Leites were fighting for Silva’s middleweight belt, so we were to have five rounds of hopefully excellent fighting from Silva (how many times can they say “pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world” in one evening?) and fantastic techniques from Leites (they had clips of previous fights where he did a beautiful harai goshi and some solid submissions).

Unfortunately this was one of the most boring fights I’ve seen (only a few others match this). To make it worse, it went the distance – five rounds of boring. One of the guys who was here counted strikes (punches, feeble or otherwise, and kicks) and came up with about 250 for the entire match. The first round had nothing happen for three and a half minutes. 

The only thing I could think was that Silva didn’t want to get caught on the ground with Leites because Leites is so good there. So Silva did the occasional punch or kick and then would back off. Lyoto Machida uses this technique as well, but he actually scores with it. Leites managed only one effective take down and then couldn’t do anything against Silva when he was there.

We had five rounds of the same thing: Leites attempting take downs, doing the BJJ Brazilian Butt Flop, actually throwing himself into them (we didn’t count those; I contemplated reviewing the fight to count them, as there were so many, but decided I didn’t want to be bored for yet another twenty-five minutes). Since Silva didn’t want to fight on the ground, he would just look at Leites, who was lying there, or kick his legs a bit, until the referee brought Leites to standing.

Did I say FIVE rounds of this? BBF and weird little strikes and the odd kick by Silva. Then to make matters even stranger, Silva started showboating, sticking his chest out, arms down. He punched Leites in the leg and then did a little soccer kick, left leg behind right, and actually managed to connect with Leites’s leg.  So we get it: Silva was/is better and he knows it. He DID NOT, however, DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. So the decision went to Silva, but it was an ugly fight, showboating, BBFs (dozens of BBFs), so few strikes and kicks. It was bad. The audience booed, gave choruses of “GSP, GSP, GSP” and what sounded like “Bulls**t”. If it had been quieter, I’m sure you’d have heard people snoring.

I understand that Silva did not want to lose his belt, but he’s a fighter, so why wasn’t he fighting? Leites followed Silva around the octagon for twenty-five minutes in hopes of connecting with him. Silva just backed away and then started showboating. If Silva is no longer interested in fighting, then he should quit. People will not want to pay for PPV or tickets to live events to see this again. And, Thales, please STOP doing the Brazilian Butt Flop! It’s embarrassing.

UFC 97 – Redemption was certainly interesting. Luckily the other fights actually had fighting, because the headliners were boring.


April 19, 2009

TUF 9 UK vs USA – Episode 2 – USA Candidates

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The Ultimate Fighter TUF Season 9, episode 2, aired last night. This was the episode in which the sixteen Americans were to fight for the eight available spots on the show.

There were problems from the start: one guy passed out while standing on the mats, having dropped eleven pounds in one day, I think, in order to make weight. Another guy was way over his weight and spent the next twenty-four hours trying to make weight and did not succeed, so he was out. Another guy had a contagious lesion and so he was gone. Instead of eight fights, we were to have six.

Dana White was ranting about the guys who either made weight at the last minute (causing the fainting spell) or were nowhere near their weight. He certainly has a point: they all knew when the fight was to be and what their weight was to be. They had had weeks (months?) to prepare.

One positive difference between the American fights and the British last week is that the fighters actually listened to instructions from their corners. Other than that, some of the fights seemed one-sided: Lowe versus DeFranco round 1 – Lowe in complete control, DeFranco doing nothing on the ground other than covering up; round 2 had DeFranco come out with a huge flying knee and ending the match seconds later with a rear-naked choke. Hayden versus Dollar was the same, with Hayden taking Dollar down and doing ground and pound in the first round, but round 2 had Dollar choking out Hayden with a rear-naked choke.

The fight between Damarques Johnson and Ray Elbe had some beautiful muay thai (flying back fists, elbows) by Elbe until he got taken down. On the bottom, Elbe had no concept of what to do, having his legs up in the air. He managed to roll over once and then was again on his back with ground and pound by Johnson. TKO Referee stoppage.

The first two fights were the best: Miller versus Knabjian, sparring partners and teammates, had round 1 going to Miller using mostly strikes with a few kicks. During the break, Knabjian’s corner told him to use his right hand, too. He came out at the bell punching hard, doing a takedown and trying a submission. When they were standing again, Miller again punched to the jaw many times and eventually Knabjian wasn’t defending. TKO referee stoppage.

The next fight was between Richie Whitson and Paul Bird. Whitson has lots of skills, employed nice leg kicks, took Bird down multiple times, used elbows on the ground, and won by rear-naked choke. He doesn’t look it, but he’s tough. Very nice fight.

Because they were two guys short, two new fighters were brought in at the end of the episode, one of those being Junie Browning‘s brother, Rob. The results of those fights will be shown next week.

So we have almost all the fighters for the series. Next week’s episode should have the Brits in Las Vegas with perhaps the first elimination fight in The Ultimate Fighter Season 9. Based on the fights last week, the Yanks will not be able to walk over the Brits. There are some talented fighters in the group.  The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 is on Spike on Wednesdays at 10 Eastern.

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 1

Click here to go to The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Episode 3

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 4

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 5

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 6

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 7

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 8

Click here to go to TUF9 Episode 9


April 9, 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?


March 7, 2009

Nover vs Roop – TUF8 Semi

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Dana White considers Phillipe Nover the best fighter he has seen since a young GSP. Since he looks at hundreds of fighters a year and probably thousands of fights, he might be right.  What I saw during this fight was a persistent and talented fighter, not afraid to get in there, look for something, in this case, an arm, and hold on until the technique worked.

Nover held on to Roop’s arm and eventually got him into a strong ude garami (aka oma plata),  behind Roop’s back.  The deciding factor was Nover’s grabbing Roop’s legs with his own in a figure of four, preventing him from rolling out, and cranking the shoulder lock.  Roop was doomed. 

Very nice technique and strong fight.


December 6, 2008