UFC: Fight Night 11 review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on February 3, 2009, 2:35 PM
UFC: Fight Night 11
Las Vegas, Nevada
-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. They talk about the upcoming TUF 6 series with Team Hughes vs. Team Serra and the rivalry between the coaches, and then go on to discuss Kenny Florian’s rise through the ranks following his appearance on the original TUF series, and the official UFC debut of TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz. Unfortunately we get a sound problem as they do so, as the announcing is muted for some reason. Very weird and very annoying too.
This was a rematch of the controversial fight from the original UFN card that saw Quarry beat Sell on a TKO when referee Cecil Peoples stepped in horrendously early. Sell had since lost his next two fights in the Octagon (against Scott Smith and Thales Leites), while Quarry hadn’t seen action for almost two years, coming off serious spinal surgery after his loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 56. Really random how this fight would suddenly crop up on a UFN card in a way, as there hadn’t really been rumors of Quarry’s return or anything leading up to it.
The announcing is STILL gone as this fight begins, which stinks really. How the hell did Spike manage to let that happen for such a long time on a show? Even odder, well, possibly *the* oddest moment I can ever recall in UFC history, right before the fight begins we cut away to a muted Joe Rogan, rambling into his mic about, well, who knows, while playing around with what looks like some sort of child’s toy and a miniature cinder block. The HELL?
Round One gets started and Quarry comes out with a body kick, but immediately gets clocked by a right hand from Sell. Quarry answers with a right of his own and they get down to it right away, just throwing punches at one another with little in the way of defense. Into a clinch and Drago looks for the takedown, but Quarry blocks and so they exchange knees inside. The lack of commentary makes this like a fight on TUF, particularly with Matt Serra’s voice yelling “BREATHE DRAGO!” from the outside. Sell gets a takedown by the fence, but Quarry uses the cage to work back to his feet in the clinch. Ref breaks them up and Nate comes forward and lands a flush right hand, following with a front kick. Left hand from Quarry follows as they continue to exchange like a pair of robots really. Quarry’s nose gets bloodied off a combo from Sell, but he grabs a plum clinch and tries a knee as Sell bulls him into the cage. In fact both guys have bloody noses now. They muscle for position and exchange some knees, with Serra instructing Sell to use foot stomps. Quarry does well to block a single leg and they end up clinched again. Break off, and Quarry actually tries a sloppy flying knee that doesn’t really land. Trading continues until the round ends, with Sell getting the better shots in, rocking Quarry a couple of times.
2nd round and FINALLY we have commentary back. Never thought I’d miss the voice of Goldberg that much but hey, there you go. Just isn’t UFC without the guy. More trading to open with Sell landing the better punches, and Quarry coming back with some kicks to the body and legs. Sell presses the action, landing a body shot, and then he catches Quarry with a HUGE RIGHT that sends Nate crashing to the canvas! Quarry pops up into the clinch immediately though, and seems alright somehow. He looks to fire back, but soon eats another big right that snaps his head back. Exchange continues and now Quarry stuns him, so Sell shoots in and gets a takedown. He locks up a guillotine from the top position with Quarry basically seated against the cage, and then lets go and lands a knee as Quarry stands. They break the clinch and continue to trade off, with Sell landing a nice superman punch. This is a total brawl now as both guys are just throwing down with reckless abandon. More trading ends the round, with Quarry continually using the leg kick to hurt Sell.
Third and final round now. Quarry pushes forward with the kicks again, but eats a double jab for his troubles. Body kick lands for Quarry and they just trade off again, neither guy backing up at all. Big right and left bodyshot from Sell land flush, but Quarry answers with a BRUTAL RIGHT that puts Sell down! Referee stands back as to not repeat the controversy of the first fight...so Quarry smashes him with another right and knocks Sell into next week.
Post-fight Quarry tells Rogan they should get an apartment together, so Rogan’s like,
“you must have been hit hard dude.” Riiight. And suddenly the mystery of the miniature cinder block is explained, as Rogan tells us the object is what Quarry had inserted into his spine to fix it up. Holy Christ.
Yeah, so some fights are technical masterpieces, and some are just dirty brawls, and well, this was the latter. Pretty close to resembling a bar fight at points in fact, but it was fun for what it was. Quarry’s TRIUMPHANT RETURN!~! was pretty cool too.
This was Diaz’s first fight after winning TUF 5, and he was presented with BJJ-based fighter Assuncao, who had lost to Kurt Pellegrino back at UFC 64 in his Octagon debut, but had come back with a win over David Lee at UFC 70. Not the biggest “name” test for Diaz in his first post-TUF fight then, but Assuncao was still seen by most fans as a decent opponent for Nick’s little brother.
They begin and Diaz comes forward right away, but takes a pair of pretty nasty leg kicks from Junior. They clinch up and Diaz pushes him into the fence. Assuncao gets a bodylock and they muscle for position, before Assuncao manages to turn it around and gets a rear waistlock as Diaz looks to be locking up an arm. Diaz tries the Karo Parisyan leg sweep-into-kimura trick, but can’t lock it up and Junior manages to get his back from the position. Diaz pivots though and ends up standing, looking for a single leg. Assuncao gets a takedown as Diaz locks up a kimura and gets half-guard, but Junior does a very good job to block it, going to side control and then rolling to take Nate’s back. Diaz hooks his leg though, and uses it to turn Assuncao over and stand in a rear waistlock. Niiice. They end up in the clinch, and then Diaz breaks off and stuns him with a combo, sending him falling down face-first! Diaz quickly uses the opportunity to lock up a guillotine variant, and rolls through with it, locking it in for the tapout!
Really good fight, with some excellent technical groundwork throughout. You have to appreciate skill like that even if you’re not into the ground game. Assuncao was game but Diaz looked like the slightly better grappler from the start, and ended up catching him in a beautiful submission. The more I see of Nate, the more the guy impresses me really, just a seriously skilled guy in every department.
-Joe Rogan conducts a satellite interview with Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin (Griffin in Vegas, Liddell in Anaheim) to talk about their respective fights coming up at UFC 76. Liddell tells us he’s not underestimating Keith Jardine in any way, and promises an exciting fight. Forrest meanwhile says that he’s planning on spoiling Shogun’s entrance into the UFC, and thinks his experience in the cage will help him. Someone should *really* have reminded this pair that Shogun had already fought in a cage a couple of times though – in fact Forrest was in the same IFC tournament that Shogun was in, too!
This was actually rumoured to be Leben’s last stand in the UFC, as he was coming off back-to-back losses, and was supposedly at the end of his contract with Zuffa, while Martin was coming off two big wins over Jorge Rivera and Ivan Salaverry, and had looked like a possible contender at 185lbs. In fact many fans saw this as Martin’s shot for stardom if he could put the more famous Leben away here. Leben had been training with a new camp in Hawaii building up to this though, and appears to be in much better shape physically than I can remember seeing him before. Pretty mean staredown from the two as well.
Leben begins the first by moving around, landing a trio of inside leg kicks before Martin catches him with a right hand. Clinch from Martin and he gets a big tripping takedown to guard. Leben keeps a nice tight guard, and looks to be setting up for an armbar as Martin doesn’t really do much from the top. They stand back up, and exchange some shots with Leben eating a couple of lefts. Leben gets a plum clinch and delivers a series of knees, but Martin takes them and pushes into the fence. They break off, and exchange into another clinch, where Martin looks to muscle him down to the ground. Leben defends well though, and works some shots inside. Martin lifts him up for a slam, but Leben grabs the fence to avoid it and gets docked a point by Herb Dean. Martin still manages to drop him down, but then lets him up shortly after. Leben land some good shots inside as Martin swings for the fences with his right hand, and then gets a bodylock again up to the fence. Leben works him over with some foot stomps, and breaks off to end the round. Probably Leben’s round, but the point loss makes it a 9-9 round.
2nd begins with Leben landing some knees to the body, and they clinch up and muscle along the fence. Martin drops down for a takedown, but again Leben defends well. Good bodyshot lands inside for Leben and he breaks off again. Leben lands a good inside leg kick as Martin tries to swing, and now Martin looks very fatigued, breathing heavily as they clinch again. Leben lands some knees to the legs and foot stomps, and then breaks with a heavy left hook. Another good leg kick lands for Leben, but Martin hits him with a left hook to the body and muscles him into the fence again. Leben switches and forces Martin into the cage, and they exchange some knees and break. Martin stalks forward, but takes some more leg kicks and a flurry, and then a knee to the gut as he grabs for a takedown. Martin manages to trip him down to half-guard, but Leben works a butterfly to get full guard back, and controls Martin’s posture from the bottom. Leben uses the cage to push away, and then surprisingly locks up a triangle! It looks locked in, but Leben’s leg is over the foot rather than the ankle, and he can’t quite synch it in despite pulling down on Martin’s head. With ten seconds to go Martin manages to hold on and survive. Another good round for Leben there.
Third and final round, and Martin immediately swings his way into a clinch with an uppercut. They exchange inside and Martin breaks off with a big left hook. Leben answers with a right hand and then grabs a plum clinch to deliver some knees. They break, and Martin pushes forward to the clinch again, landing a right hand. They break off and Martin hits him with another big right and a bodyshot. Knee from Leben answers back, but Martin continues to push forward. Martin gets a takedown to guard, where he lands some short punches to the body, with no attempt to pass the guard. They end up standing, and exchange some more punches and knees as things slow down and begin to look sloppy now, particularly on the part of Martin. Leben goes for a trip takedown, but Martin immediately hits a reversal and ends up on top in Leben’s guard. They exchange in the guard and then Leben pushes off and stands. Another exchange follows and Martin counters a kick by landing a BIG RIGHT HAND that sends Leben stumbling back towards the fence! Martin yells at him to bring it and Leben LUMBERS FORWARD LIKE A ZOMBIE AND NAILS HIM WITH A LEFT HOOK! Martin hits the deck and it is ALL OVER!~!
Awesome ending to the fight there as Martin thought he had Leben done for and got too overconfident, and once again Leben’s solid chin pulled him through as he just came forward swinging for the fences and caught Martin flush. Possibly Leben’s most impressive UFC performance in fact, as he refused (until the very end) to get caught up in a brawl with Martin and used leg kicks and movement to hurt his opponent, who played the role Leben normally plays, the dude just swinging for the fences, full power with every punch. Got sloppy at times but for the most part that was a really enjoyable fight.
Thomas was originally scheduled to fight Spencer Fisher in this main event, but Fisher got a nasty staph infection and was forced out, and so Kenny Florian – coming off two wins on the bounce – stepped in on short notice to take the fight. Thomas was coming off three impressive wins of his own, the latest one being an armbar submission win over Jeremy Stephens in May. Personally I was picking Thomas for the win, but then until recently (well, not even then to be fair) I always pick against Florian for some reason. Interestingly enough Thomas is sporting a small bubble-style afro here and Rogan tells us he’s grown his hair out to attempt to avoid getting cut by one of Florian’s elbows. Never seen that one before.
First round begins and Florian lands a leg kick and a body kick that Thomas deflects. Kenny avoids a combo and throws a couple more kicks, but neither guy is really landing anything here. Thomas catches him with a right hand and a left hook coming forward. Florian low kick catches him right in the groin and the ref calls time to let Din recover. Really brutal low blow from the replays. They restart, and Thomas blocks another couple of high kicks. Florian slips to his back on a high kick attempt and Din quickly pounces into the guard and drops some right hands. Florian remains composed though and controls Thomas from the bottom, and then kicks him away. Classic moment follows as someone in the crowd randomly yells “PUT HIM IN A BODY BAG!~!”, quoting the Karate Kid. Ooookay. They circle off and Florian appears to be retreating, so Thomas taunts him by running away. Oooh, personal. This INFURIATES Kenny who shoots in and tackles Thomas into the cage. Din elevates him with his legs and tries to stand, but Kenny keeps him down and lands a right hand. Din works to his feet but gets taken down to guard again, but once more he quickly kicks Kenny away and stands. Thomas shoots for a takedown, but Kenny avoids, and suddenly Thomas looks helpless, as Florian moves to the side and lands shot after shot to the head. Din turtles up, but doesn’t move really, and Kenny continues to land, as Rogan points out that he might be hurt somehow. Florian gets both hooks in, and from there he lands more punches before locking up a rear naked choke for the tapout.
Post-fight it gets revealed that Thomas blew out his knee going for the takedown, which explains why he didn’t move while Florian was laying into him with the punches. Really unfortunate ending as I don’t think Florian knew a thing about the knee injury either. Well, judging by the post-fight interview he didn’t as he talks about finishing another fight and how he might’ve forced Din to hit his head or something. He at least shows Thomas a ton of respect and says he hopes he’s not too badly hurt, though. To his credit Florian cuts a hell of a promo though. The classic line here is “If Joe Silva calls you up and offers you a fight, you better hope and pray that it’s not Kenny Florian”. Anticlimactic ending to the fight as it looked to be a solid, competitive bout until the knee injury.
-And we end with Florian and Team Sityodtong celebrating in the Octagon.
As far as free TV shows go this was a pretty strong one from the UFC. Audio issues nonwithstanding the opening fight was an entertaining enough brawl, and Leben-Martin, despite getting sloppy at times, was fun too and had an amazing ending. Diaz-Assuncao was a very good technical fight and really the only knocks on the show would be the unfortunate ending to the main event and the fact that they didn’t get time to show any prelims (particularly Alves-Hironaka, which was awesome). So it’s a definite recommendation for this one, even if it isn’t the greatest UFC show ever or anything.
Best Fight: Diaz-Assuncao
Worst Fight: Florian-Thomas
Overall Rating: ***1/2
UFC: 76-92, Fight Nights 12-16, and TUF VI and VII Finales.
Pride: Shockwave 2005, 32, and 33.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.