Gono was another import from PRIDE and a surprising one at that – he’d had some level of success there but wasn’t one of the top guys and wasn’t the first name you’d think of that Zuffa would want to bring in. Still, he’s a solid enough fighter and what can you say about the dude’s entrance? If only he’d make the main card so people could see it! His opponent here, McCrory, had made a successful UFC debut in submitting Pete Spratt, but at just 21 years old the experienced Gono was quite the step up. Massive reach advantage for Tamdan though who at 6’4” is a tall 170lbs. Funny moment pre-fight as Bruce Buffer totally mispronounces referee Dan Miragliotta’s name and the big guy himself cracks up.
Round 1 begins and McCrory comes out aggressively, throwing long strikes with reckless abandon, and has Gono on the retreat right away. Tamdan gets the plum clinch and lands a knee, but Gono manages to slow things up. McCrory breaks free though and stuns Gono with a series of straight punches, but Gono manages to survive and gets a clinch. Elbow breaks off for Tamdan. Good leg kick from Gono but Tamdan flurries again and the Japanese Sensation has to back up again. Leg kick from McCrory, but this time Gono catches it and counters with a stiff right hand. McCrory lands a nice body kick, and they clinch where Tamdan hits him with a knee to the midsection. Combo off the break from McCrory stuns Gono again. Gono recovers quickly though and backs away, where he lands a leg kick. They exchange a few leg kicks before McCrory grabs a plum clinch and lands some knees inside again. Gono counters with a bodylock though, and gets a nice takedown to guard. McCrory closes his guard so Gono lifts him up and gets a mini slam. Tamdan looks to get his legs up for a sub, but Gono’s having none of it and stands to pass to side mount. He can’t do much from there though and Tamdan ends the round by reclaiming guard.
2nd round, and Gono catches a kick, but Tamdan avoids being tripped down. Good low kick from Gono but Tamdan charges forward off it, doesn’t land anything though. Low kick lands low from Gono, but the ref refuses to give McCrory time and restarts them immediately. Couldn’t quite tell if it was a low shot or not to be fair. Straight left by McCrory stuns him, but Gono backs away and avoids the following flurry. Gono begins to fire off with some low kicks and then lands a front kick to the body. Left hook and leg kick put McCrory down, and Gono follows him down looking to finish. McCrory locks up an armbar though, but Gono does well to slip out and get to side mount. McCrory looks to regain guard but Gono spins off and manages to keep side mount. Full mount from Gono and McCrory looks in trouble. He turns off for an armbar, and McCrory turns the other way, and the arm twists at a SICK angle before McCrory verbally submits. Very nasty looking submission and McCrory’s arm looks jacked at the end.
Fun opener there as Gono weathered an early storm and showed his experience by taking over as the fight went on. It looked like he took a bit of time to get used to McCrory’s massive reach advantage but when he became comfortable it was all him. I guess he’s used to weathering storms though when you look back at some of his PRIDE fights. Very underrated, Gono is.
Caudillo, coming off a loss to Nate Mohr in June, was pretty much a bone thrown to Aurelio after he’d suffered a disappointing debut loss at the hands of Clay Guida. Not a knock on Caudillo or anything, but when one guy has tapped out Takanori Gomi and the other’s biggest win is Dennis Davis or something you know it’s a bit of a mismatch on paper.
They get underway and Aurelio instantly goes for a takedown, but Caudillo blocks and they muscle for position with Aurelio still looking to bring him to the ground. Caudillo does a very good job of defending though, stuffing the takedown and using the fence well to keep himself vertical. They exchange some knees inside before the ref breaks them up. Good right hook from Caudillo, but Aurelio answers with a stiff jab. Aurelio shoots again, Caudillo sprawls, but Aurelio gets a nice armdrag takedown! Caudillo pops right up though before Marcus can keep him down. Aurelio begins to work the jab, keeping Caudillo at distance, before he shoots in again and this time gets a double leg and brings Caudillo down. Marcus lands directly in side mount and immediately he works away with elbows to the head. Caudillo squirms from the bottom but eats some big punches and elbows as he can’t seem to get out at all. Aurelio just BOMBS away with the punches and hammer fists now and Caudillo can’t seem to do anything but flail and attempt to block. Shot after shot after shot lands and then the ref steps in and calls the TKO.
Caudillo put in a good showing early but once the fight hit the mat Aurelio pretty much tooled him as was expected. Nice ending though as Aurelio really turned up the violence rather than going for a submission. One-sided but a watchable little beating.
Reinhardt normally fights at 135lbs and has a decent record there, so I honestly have no idea why Zuffa bought him in to fight Lauzon when they could’ve put him in the WEC Bantamweight division where he belongs. This was shortly after Lauzon’s TUF appearance and he’d been training with his coach on the show, BJ Penn, to prepare for this fight. Sure enough Reinhardt is TINY.
Reinhardt comes out swinging WILDLY, but Lauzon gets a clinch and nails him with a couple of knees. Lauzon bulls him into the fence, and they go into a weird position, kneeling in the clinch. Lauzon trips him down though into half-guard and quickly passes to side mount, into north/south. Reinhardt tries to roll, but Lauzon spins right onto his back and locks up the rear naked choke INSTANTLY, and Reinhardt decides to flip him off for some reason before tapping out.
Total squash but what do you expect when you’ve got a large 155lbs guy against a natural 135lber?
Alves was originally set to fight Ryo Chonan here but Chonan got bumped up the card for reasons we’ll get into later, and Lytle was brought in to fight ATT’s ‘Pitbull’. This was right at the start of Alves’ rise up the card actually, as he’d kicked the hell out of top ten-fifteen contender Kuniyoshi Hironaka in September and suddenly looked like a major threat at Welterweight. This was the first fight too I would say where the size of Alves was evident; guy is just a monster at 170lbs.
Lytle opens with a missed overhand right, but follows with a glancing right and a body kick. Right hand glances off Alves and then Lytle tries it again, but gets caught with a right coming in and looks stunned momentarily. Right away we see a cut over Lytle’s left eye caused by the shot. Lytle comes forward with a WILD combo though and causes Alves to back up and grab a clinch. Lytle swings away in the clinch, chopping at the body, but they break off soon after. Leg kick and jab land for Thiago, Lytle answers with a right to the body, but gets dropped by a left hook and a leg kick! Alves gets on top to take advantage but Lytle recovers quickly and closes guard. Alves stands, and Lytle lands a right hand and a body kick. More pressure from Lytle as he lands a left hand and a right to the body. BIG right and left body kick from Lytle hurts Thiago and he backs up, but counters with a nice right hand. Lytle continues to work combos ending with body shots, as Alves seems to be working out how to counter. Big leg kick lands from Alves though. Inside leg kick from Thiago and Lytle clinches and forces him back. They break quickly though and Thiago lands another hard leg kick, but slips down. Lytle lets him up though and keeps flurrying, but Alves clinches to slow him down. Break and Alves misses a high kick. They continue the exchange to end the round. Great opening period.
2nd round of what has been a great, even fight thus far. They open by exchanging punches and then leg kicks, and Thiago’s lands with a lot more force. Lytle tries another flurry, but this time Thiago counters with a right and a knee into the clinch. Alves breaks and then counters a Lytle flurry with a VICIOUS leg kick, just turning his hip into it. Best kicks in the game today. Lytle keeps coming forward though and lands a right into the clinch. Thiago breaks quickly and BOOM, another hard leg kick lands. Front kick from Lytle but Alves counters with a right to the body, and then lands another leg kick as Lytle comes forward. They exchange into another clinch, but Thiago breaks again. Exchange continues and another leg kick lands for Thiago. They clinch again and muscle along the fence, but again it’s a swift break. Huge leg kick from Alves and Lytle’s visibly hurt by them now even though he continues to push forward and swing. Body kick lands for Lytle, but a pair of leg kicks really hurt him, the second basically buckling the leg. Credit to him though Lytle keeps swinging away with the punches, but doesn’t land as well as in the first and they end up clinched again. Break, and they exchange into another clinch but break quickly again. Another leg kick lands from Alves and he follows up with a one-two as well. Alves slips down on another low kick but pops right back up. Exchange continues and Alves lands a thudding leg kick to end the round.
Between rounds the doctor stops things due to Lytle’s cut, which DISGUSTS Lytle’s corner, the crowd, and Joe Rogan, and Alves hasn’t even realized at this point. Decision seems bizarre as Lytle’s cut isn’t even that bad, just looks like a regular cut over the eyebrow to me. Post-fight Alves says he wishes the fight could’ve gone on, but you have to follow the doctor’s orders, and he’d love to fight Lytle again. Really entertaining fight until the shitty ending, as Lytle took the first with his aggression and flurries, but Alves took the second with his vicious leg kicks. I think Thiago probably would’ve had the advantage in the third round due to the kicks, but who knows really? Hell of a fight until the anticlimactic ending.
Edgar was still unbeaten here and looked like a hot prospect after beating Tyson Griffin and Mark Bocek in his previous Octagon appearances. Fisher meanwhile had beaten Sam Stout last time out and generally looked like a guy that might not break into the title picture any time soon, but could probably be counted on to put on an exciting fight with just about anyone. Naturally hopes were high for this fight, but personally I worried Edgar would just be able to take Spencer down and control him pretty much at will.
Round 1 begins and we get a big “FRANKIE” chant right away, well, he is from New Jersey. Edgar pushes forward and takes a couple of jabs from Fisher early, but then he shoots in and gets a nice double leg to half-guard. Edgar looks like he’s going for a D’Arce or a guillotine but Spencer easily avoids and gets full guard. Frankie stands to try a pass, and lands a couple of elbows, but Fisher uses the fence to stand. They exchange in the pocket before Frankie trips him down to the guard again. Fisher keeps a tight guard and they exchange some small punches in the guard, with Edgar not really attempting to pass guard. Finally he passes to half-guard, but it’s only for a moment as Fisher quickly gets full guard back. Crowd are very hot for this because it’s Frankie Edgar in New Jersey, but this is pretty dull to be fair. Couple of nice hammer fists land and then Fisher tries the Frank Mir shoulderlock (!), but they come back to standing and Fisher slips on a kick and ends up in guard again. With about 45 seconds remaining Edgar stands for a nice flurry downwards, but Fisher manages to keep him in half-guard. Some nice elbows land and the round ends in Spencer’s half-guard. Easy round to score there, 10-9 Edgar.
Fisher looks to strike to begin the 2nd, but Edgar quickly shoots and takes him down to guard. Into half-guard quickly this time but Spencer sneaks his leg back through as Edgar tries to posture up for some elbows. Fisher kicks him off, but Edgar drops a nice right hand into side control. Spencer rolls and Edgar grabs a front facelock, but they come back to standing. Fisher swings, but Frankie ducks and shoots. This time Spencer sprawls to avoid, but Edgar keeps pushing and trips him to guard. Frankie works the body and passes to side mount, but Fisher quickly scrambles back to guard. Good punches and hammer fists from the top for Edgar, and he manages to pass to half-guard again, where he lands some solid punches and elbows. Fisher has a cut over his left eye now as Edgar continues to work from the top. Fisher manages to scramble back to full guard, and then grabs a front facelock as Fisher tries an upkick. They scramble and again Fisher ends up on his back in guard. He stands to drop some punches, but still can’t really pass the guard for an extended period. This is the same old story throughout as Fisher has no answer for Edgar’s wrestling, but is too good on the mat to take much damage. Just as I say that Edgar passes and gets Fisher’s back, but again Spencer manages to roll and gets back to butterfly guard as the round closes. 10-9 for Edgar again.
Third and final round and Spencer needs a KO or a sub to win this one. He opens with a turning kick, but Edgar tackles him right away to guard. Edgar passes to side mount and lands a nice series of elbows as Spencer turns to half-guard. Spencer gives his back this time and Edgar gets both hooks in, but Fisher looks calm and rolls free. They come back to their feet and Edgar easily avoids a trip attempt. Fisher looks to strike, but Edgar goes for the takedown again and gets him down with shocking ease. Into Spencer’s closed guard again and he pins him into the fence, landing some more punches and elbows. Rogan quite rightly points out that this could be a twenty round fight and we’d probably see another seventeen rounds of the same thing. They come back to standing though and Spencer breaks with a knee. Right hand lands for Edgar and he shoots again, this time transitioning to a waistlock. Fisher desperately tries to avoid the takedown, but it’s to no avail as Frankie trips him down once more. 90 seconds to go and it’s just more of the same. Spencer tries a triangle but Edgar uses it to take the back again, and drags him to the ground landing more shots. Fisher rolls to guard, and Edgar grinds from the top and then passes to side mount to land some more blows to end the fight.
Easy 30-27’s all around for Frankie Edgar, just a total shutout due to Fisher’s total inability to stop the takedown. Fight was fought at a fast pace with a very hot crowd, but it didn’t really reach the heights of the other great Lightweight fights of 2007 as it was SO repetitive, with Edgar taking Fisher down but Fisher doing a good job of defending from the bottom, albeit never able to get into any scrambles or escape.
Ah, don’t even get me started on this one. Herman’s original opponent was, yes, none other than one of my favourites, David ‘Soul Assassin’ Terrell. This would’ve been Terrell’s return after more than a year away with injury, and I even had a countdown going and everything to his return here. So about two weeks out he ended up pulling out with an ankle injury, and Joe Doerksen stepped in. I like Doerksen but they could’ve named Rickson Gracie himself as Terrell’s replacement and I would’ve been disappointed. Sigh. I still have faith in a Terrell return at *some point* damnit. Anyway, I believe Herman-Doerksen was a rematch of a fight Doerksen had won before both men broke into the UFC.
Exchange of strikes early and Doerksen gets the better of it and then goes for a takedown. Herman blocks a takedown attempt with a whizzer, and they end up in the clinch on the fence. Takedown from Herman to Doerksen’s guard, but Doerksen keeps him tight. Herman works to half-guard, and lands a couple of shots, but Doerksen works to his feet and they clinch again. Ref breaks them and Herman presses with some wild hooks, and they trade off with Herman landing a knee and a right hook. Herman defends a takedown very well, and forces Doerksen onto his back, cutting him with an elbow. Doerksen looks bloody as Herman goes into his guard and pins him into the cage, dropping some elbows. Doerksen works a reversal and tries a single leg, but Herman blocks and ends up on top, where he passes to full mount. Doerksen baits him by giving his back though, and then uses it to reclaim full guard. Herman works him over with some elbows from the guard, keeping top position to take the round. Replays show it was actually a grazing jab that opened Doerksen’s cut, not an elbow as I first thought.
2nd round and Herman comes out swinging, but doesn’t land anything. Doerksen slips on a leg kick but pops right back up. Takedown by Herman to Doerksen’s guard. He passes to half-guard and drops some more elbows, before Doerksen gets his leg back through to full guard. Herman passes to half-guard again but Doerksen again sneaks a butterfly hook in again. Referee brings them back to standing. They exchange some punches before Herman gets a clinch and tries the takedown again, but this time Doerksen blocks and Herman really screws up, falling down and Doerksen transitions and takes his back! Doerksen looks like he’s going for an armbar from the back, as Herman desperately tries to shake him off. Doerksen pulls him back and begins to work for the choke, but Herman turns and does a great job of reversing, taking Doerksen’s back! Doerksen transitions to a kneebar though, but can’t lock it up and Herman escapes and gets an over/under from the back. Few punches land for Herman and he tries to take the back again, before landing some nasty knees to the body with Doerksen in the turtle position. Doerksen rolls to guard, but Herman gets to half-guard to drop some elbows. Herman gets vicious, but ends up too sloppy and Doerksen locks in a triangle from nowhere! Herman looks in DEEP trouble but the buzzer sounds right as it looks finished! Awesome round right there with some tremendous transitions.
Third round and man, Doerksen’s face is a MESS, his left eye practically closed shut now. They press with some punches to begin, before trading off and BOOM, Herman cracks him with a big left hook for the KO, adding a couple of shots for good measure. And that’s a nasty KO too as Doerksen looks stiff on the mat, good lord.
Started slow but that turned into one hell of a fight eventually, with some incredible ground work in the second before Herman shut things down with a truly sickening knockout in the third round. Still would’ve preferred to see my boy Terrell, but this was a very good fight in the end.
As I mentioned earlier, Chonan was bumped up the card from fighting Thiago Alves to facing Karo, after Karo’s fellow judoka, Cuban Hector Lombard, was forced off the card with Visa issues. I actually would’ve preferred to see Lombard here as he was a guy I enjoyed in PRIDE and the clash of judo vs. judo would’ve been intriguing. Still, Chonan was a solid opponent for Karo anyway, even if it was sort of disappointing to see him at Welterweight – I realize it’s a more natural weight for him but I would’ve liked to see Anderson Silva get his chance at revenge over the guy. Surprising to see Chonan not even looking big at WW really, just goes to show how undersized some of the Japanese guys were in PRIDE.
Chonan comes out looking to strike early, but a big left hook puts him down and Karo follows him into the guard. Quick pass to half-guard by Karo and he lands a couple of punches. Karo tries to pass and controls Chonan, who does a good job of working back to full guard. Good elbow from Karo lands, but this is a pretty slow pace to be fair. Ref brings them up, and Chonan comes forward with a combo but takes a left. They clinch and the crowd buzz, probably thinking judo throw, but instead Karo channels Matt Hughes and gets a big slam to guard. Some nice elbows from the top land, as Chonan is stuffed into the fence now. Big right from Karo but Chonan kicks him off, only for Karo to come right back forward to the clinch. They break off and Karo trips him down after catching a kick, and drops a right into Ryo’s guard. Karo works some punches but surprisingly lets Chonan up and they clinch again. Chonan tries a takedown, but Karo blocks to finish the round off.
Second round, and while it’s on my mind I must point out that Chonan’s hair is ill here, dyed bright red with a random black stripe. They exchange a couple of punches into the clinch to begin, and Chonan avoids a takedown. Both men look willing to strike now, but Karo clinches up again and this time Chonan pushes him into the fence. They break off and Chonan catches him with a hard right and follows with a high kick, but Karo eats it up and grabs the leg, getting a takedown to guard. Chonan quickly pops up though into the clinch, and lands a knee to the gut. They break off and exchange some jabs from distance, before Chonan lands a knee in a brief clinch. Chonan throws a low kick but Karo grabs the leg and trips him to guard. Couple of elbows land but Chonan gets a reversal as Karo postures up and goes for a single leg. Chonan avoids Karo’s trademark rolling kimura, and they end up clinched along the fence again before Karo drops for a takedown and puts Chonan on his back in half-guard. Karo keeps top position and grinds away to end the round.
Third and final round now, and Karo opens with a low kick that inadvertently catches the groin. They call time but restart quickly and Karo goes for the takedown, but Chonan defends well. Ref breaks the clinch and they exchange some strikes with Chonan landing a pair of rights, but they end up clinched again and Karo instantly has control. Good trip takedown follows to half-guard and Parisyan opens up with some nice elbows. Mount from Karo and he tries to pound away, but Chonan rolls and reverses over into Karo’s guard. Karo quickly scrambles though and escapes to his feet. Chonan swings a right hand that misses, but lands a knee to the gut. Clinch again but Chonan breaks with a knee and then misses a spinning backfist. Crowd begin to boo now as they exchange punches with neither really landing. Karo narrowly misses a spinning backfist now, but it’s not enough to light the fight up at all. Karo goes for a takedown and Chonan stuffs it into a clinch again, but Karo breaks with a strong elbow. Crowd are really bored as Chonan wades in with a right, but Karo clinches and puts him against the fence. They break off and Karo lands a glancing right hook to end the fight.
Judges give it unanimously to Karo Parisyan which isn’t surprising as Chonan really didn’t do a thing outside of the right hand and high kick in the 2nd. Disappointing fight though as Karo didn’t really fight an aggressive fight (no judo throws!) and I think he could’ve finished Chonan here had he come in anywhere close to being in great shape. He didn’t though so what we got was a dull, tentative fight from start to finish with the odd decent moment.
Bit of an odd semi-main here, as Silva was bumped right from the preliminaries into co-headlining the card, and faced with a guy who Zuffa were trying to push as the potential next big thing in Houston Alexander. Houston had knocked out Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara in his first two fights in devastating fashion, and despite there being so many questions surrounding the guy, (did he have a ground game? What was his cardio like?) he had clearly caught on with the crowds as a big star. Silva hadn’t looked that great despite his reputation coming in from Brazil, so I think they were probably trying to set Houston up for another big finish. MASSIVE pop for Houston here showing how well the hype job on the guy had gone.
Houston stalks forward right away and surprisingly clinches. Crowd seem surprised by this as they exchange a couple of knees before the ref breaks them. Silva circles off and keeps his distance, landing a low kick, before Houston blocks a front kick and they throw punches that miss into another clinch. Houston actually grabs him and puts him down with a choke slam (!) but Silva reverses right away and dumps Houston onto his back with a single leg. Silva lands in side mount and Houston holds onto a guillotine to no avail. Thiago easily works free and then takes full mount with ease. Houston immediately looks in trouble as Silva controls him from the mount with little difficulty. Silva raises up and begins to land some punches and elbows, including a dope double hammer-fist. Houston tries to hold on desperately, but despite the crowd chanting his name he looks lost from his back and Silva breaks his grip and lands some BOMBS, knocking Houston silly.
If you listen carefully there you can hear a whoosh noise, and that’d be Houston’s hype evaporating into thin air. Pretty sad in a way to see the guy utterly exposed like that, especially as he comes off as a genuinely good guy and could’ve probably become a megastar, but hey, if you have no ground game you’re just not going to make it far in the UFC today. In the end there were more questions surrounding Silva than Alexander in the end, which is sort of ironic in a way. He fought well and did his job, but against a guy with zero ground game, you know?
Well, no offense to either guy as I think they’re both tremendous fighters, but let’s be fair, this was the weakest UFC main event I can recall in a long time, arguably the weakest of the Zuffa era in fact. Not that either man is a bad fighter, as I say, but at this stage neither had proven themselves as elite-level and despite Zuffa marketing it as TUF Champion vs. TUF Champion, it just wasn’t a PPV level main event. Conspiracy theorists would tell you the idea behind it was to test the waters with a weaker PPV main event to see how many fans were buying purely on the UFC brand name, but I don’t buy into that – I think it was more a case of them being out of options due to the Sean Sherk steroid debacle and Tito Ortiz not being healthy enough to rematch with Evans. In terms of the fight itself, Evans was coming in as the clear favourite based mainly on his superlative wrestling skills, and Bisping’s smaller size and lack of a strong wrestling background.
Crowd are quite firmly behind Rashad here, I’m guessing due to the backlash against Bisping following the controversial decision against Hamill.
Round 1 begins and Rashad catches him with a hard right early and immediately looks for a takedown. Bisping does well to defend it and they end up clinched against the fence. Rashad drops levels to try it again, and this time manages to pull Bisping to the ground. Bisping uses the fence to get back to his feet right away, as the crowd begin a “USA” chant. Rashad breaks with a quick combo and then looks for the takedown again, but Bisping manages to stuff it once more. Referee separates them and Rashad swings a heavy combo and closes the distance again, and the crowd become restless as they clinch up and muscle for position. Bisping lands a knee to separate, but takes a right hand as he backs up. High kick from Bisping but Rashad uses the opportunity to take him down to guard. Rashad lands a good right from the top and passes to side mount, as Bisping squirms from his back looking to reclaim guard. Scramble from Bisping and he explodes to his feet, but Rashad gets on him right away and forces him into the fence again. They exchange inside and Rashad lands an elbow, and then gets another takedown. Bisping quickly gets half-guard, but can’t get a sweep as Rashad controls him well. Bisping gets to full guard to end the round.
2nd round and Bisping comes forward right away, landing an inside leg kick, but Rashad clocks him with a right hand and then gets a BIG SLAM to guard. Bisping looks to stay active from his back as Rashad works to pass. Ref brings them up when things slow down, and Rashad looks tired now as they look to strike. Bisping lands a couple of combos but doesn’t really hurt Rashad, and Evans comes back by cracking the Brit with a hard one-two. Bisping blocks a takedown, and follows with a nice leg kick. Good jab from Bisping, but Rashad answers with a right. Left hook from Rashad but he’s breathing very heavily now. Bisping gets a plum clinch and lands a nice knee to the gut. Another knee lands and Rashad goes for the takedown, but Bisping blocks and breaks off with an uppercut. They exchange punches with Bisping getting the best shot in, a left hand, and then Bisping ends the round with a knee to the gut and a takedown! This is a closer fight than I think everyone was expecting.
Third and final round then, and Rashad opens with a left hook. Bisping pushes forward though, snapping Rashad’s head back with a combo, but Evans catches a leg kick and looks for a takedown. Bisping tries to avoid but can’t and Rashad puts him on his back in guard. Bisping pushes off and looks to walk up the cage to get back to his feet, and then manages to reverse the takedown and put Rashad on his back! Rashad stands, but gives his back and Bisping tries to get him down but fails and Rashad stands. Bisping goes for a single leg, but gives up on it and they end up clinched before breaking off. Left hook from Rashad as he appears to be setting up an overhand right. Good combo lands for Evans. Rashad shoots for a takedown and gets Bisping down against the cage again, sucking his legs out from under him. Bisping reverses and scrambles up, but Rashad immediately goes for another takedown that Bisping does well to stuff. Body kick from Bisping. Rashad answers with a right hand. He shoots in but Bisping sprawls and then looks like he’s about to knee the downed opponent but thinks better of it. Rashad pops back up and they clinch again, and Bisping pushes him away. They exchange inside and Bisping lands a knee to the gut. Rashad shoots and manages a takedown on the buzzer, with Bisping landing in the turtle position.
I have this 29-28 for Rashad, giving him the first and last round, but this is seriously close and you could make a case for Bisping too. Judges score it 29-28 Evans, 29-28 Bisping, and 29-28 for Rashad Evans, giving him the split decision. Told you it was close. I think Rashad probably underestimated Bisping somewhat and had more trouble taking him down than he was expecting, which was why he got tired, but Bisping just wasn’t able to do enough from an offensive standpoint to really warrant getting the decision. Still, definitely wasn’t a disappointing fight from Bisping as he showed much improved wrestling and fought a good fight, probably coming as close to beating Rashad as anyone else has thus far (outside of Tito Ortiz). Not a bad fight at all in the end, quite a good one in fact, but really it felt like a midcard fight rather than a main event.
-Usual highlight reel finishes things.
There are actually some good fights here – Alves-Lytle, Bisping-Evans, Doerksen-Herman, and McCrory-Gono – but the whole show feels like it’s missing something, and obviously that something – again, no disrespect to Bisping or Evans – is a true marquee main event, a title fight or even something between two top contenders to decide a title shot would’ve done. Instead it feels like the show ends after the midcard bouts, and add in a snoozer like Chonan-Parisyan and the sad exposing of Houston Alexander and you’ve got what is probably a toss-up with UFC 77 as the worst UFC PPV of 2007. This card, despite being probably a little more solid overall with more international flavour, doesn’t have anything as good as Grice-Black from that show and also has nothing to match the masterclass of Anderson Silva, so I’m afraid to say that UFC 78 takes the wooden spoon for 2007. Recommendation to avoid.
Best Fight: Herman-Doerksen
Worst Fight: Chonan-Parisyan
Overall Rating: **1/4
UFC: 79-94, 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.