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