I hope everyone got to see UFC 94 – St-Pierre versus Penn 2 last night: we saw probably the best UFC night that I can remember. Wow, there are some talented guys out there. This time around, no one seemed injured or lethargic and no one backtracked in order to avoid connection. The fights were evenly matched, too.
Nate Diaz versus Clay Guida- Here we had a brown belt BJJ guy (Diaz) with an eight inch reach advantage against a champion wrestler who loves takedowns.
Guida was amazing in round 1: He controlled the stand-up, managed a te guruma (hand wheel) to take Diaz down and applied a neck crush (Full Nelson) which looked deadly.
Round 2 had Diaz finding his reach and connecting, but Guida still dominated, holding Diaz around the torso. Guida attempted another te guruma. Diaz took Guida down with harai goshi a couple of times, but Guida did not let go of his hold.
Round 3 had Diaz doing a little showboating (annoying) and he connected with far more punches, did another harai goshi for a takedown, but Guida stayed attached. Guida, himself, managed a couple of takedowns.
For a little guy, Guida is tough, persistent and talented. Guida, by split decision.
In the Karo Parisyan versus Dong Hyun Kim fight, we had two top judokas competing. We expected to see lots of throws and perhaps some submission attempts. Parisyan did attempt an armbar which he seemed to have on for a long time, but Kim managed to get out, even with the armbar on. Parisyan also threw Kim with an harai goshi in the second round and got side control. There were lots of kicks and punches, mostly by Kim. One punch came to Parisyan’s face while Kim was on his back – very strong and impressive.
Kim had lots of techniques which were surprising from a judoka, but then we heard that he is a top MMA guy in Korea. He was lots of fun to watch.
In round three, Parisyan had Kim in his guard and kicked Kim in the face, causing him to lose a point.
Parisyan won the match by split decision, but Kim was great, and the winner, in my humble opinion.
Stephan Bonnar versus Jon Jones: Jones is a twenty-one year old, with only his third night of professional fights, against Bonnar, who is 31 and very experienced. Most of Jones’s fights had ended by knock-out, so I was unsure of his cardio should this go the full three rounds. In round one, Jones kicked, used knees, took Bonnar down with sasae tsurikomi ashi, did a frightening suplex, a spinning back elbow, knocking Bonnar down, and a knee to the chin. Whew.
Round 2 had Jones doing a spinning back kick, ending in his being in Bonnar’s half-guard, but still in control. There were some great throws.
Round 3 had Bonnar applying some nice punches. Jones ended up in Bonnar’s guard again, but applied some knees to Bonnar’s body. As expected round 3 was slower on both guys’ parts, with neither winning the round.
Jones by unanimous decision. This guy has potential and was thrilling to watch early on in the fight.
The co-fight of the night starred Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva, both undefeated at 13-0. Machida’s fighting style is different from most: he is a karate guy, stands quite tall, slightly angling his upper torso backward. He tends to walk backward and when the time is right, comes in for the quick punch or kick. His opponents end up following him around the ring. Unlike a fight we saw last year in which the back peddler was avoiding contact completely, Machida really does go after the other guy, but in his own fashion. Silva is a striker and ground and pound guy, with nine of his thirteen fights ending in the first round. This should prove to be fun.
Silva, as expected, followed Machida around the octagon. Machida would step in and kick, back up, step in and punch, back up, and more of the same. He was in control and Silva accomplished virtually nothing. At the end of the round, Machida took Silva down with a nice sweep. While Silva was on his back, Machida jumped forward into the guard and threw a punch at Silva’s head. Silva’s head had nowhere to go. He was out. KO of the night at 4:59 of the round.
The other co-fight of the night was Georges St-Pierre versus B. J. Penn. GSP is famous for his takedowns, managing 75% of his attempts and Penn is known for landing 61% of his lead jabs, as well as being incredibly flexible. GSP is a karate guy, with BJJ and wrestling thrown into the mix; Penn is a world champion jiu jitsu guy. I have been looking forward to this fight.
Dave and Mike thought GSP would win by KO in round 1 and Malcolm suggested round four. I have no luck with this sort of thing, so didn’t guess.
Round one had the guys in the clinch up against the fence with knees applied by both. GSP tried take downs, but Penn avoided them nicely. GSP dominated the round.
Round two started with both men punching and connecting. GSP took Penn down and while in his guard, applied elbows, two big punches while in the half-guard and then got side control. He then struck knees to the body and punches to the head. Penn suffered a cut under the left eye.
Round three had GSP’s striking, Penn’s nose bleeding, GSP’s taking Penn down, moving from half guard to full guard, basically going wherever he wanted and doing whatever he wanted. He threw elbows and punches. Penn tried to get up and then tried to take GSP down, but really, GSP controlled everything.
Round four was more of the same: GSP did not let up, punched and elbowed Penn so many times. I want to count them just to see how many were applied. It was astounding. Since Penn moved his head and then moved his legs, the referee didn’t stop the fight, but someone should have. Penn’s corner should have thrown in the towel. During the break, the doctor came to look at Penn and asked if he knew where he was. Penn’s brother said the fight was over.
Joe Rogan blamed part of the decimation of B. J. Penn on his fighting outside his comfortable and natural weight, that he is a natural 155-er and shouldn’t be fighting at welterweight; however, Penn has fought everywhere from lightweight to heavyweight before and tends to go to whatever weight class he wants to win in. He wanted the belt and he wanted to vanquish his previous loss against St-Pierre. No one forced him to do anything.
Georges St-Pierre looked fantastic in this fight, in excellent shape physically, and in complete and utter control. UFC 94 – S-Pierre versus Penn 2 was certainly worth the money. Fight of the Night.
February 1, 2009