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UFC: Fight Night 12 review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on March 1, 2009, 2:16 PM

UFC: Fight Night 12

Las Vegas, Nevada

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. They discuss Mike Swick moving to 170lbs, and Rogan feels itís a more natural weight class for him. They put Josh Burkman over as a tough opponent for him though, saying itís no gimme. We run down the card, and then itís time to begin.

Lightweight Fight: Nate Diaz vs Alvin Robinson

After dispatching of Junior Assuncao with relative ease at the previous UFN, this was another step up the ladder for TUF V winner Diaz, who was faced with the man coming off a largely one-sided beatdown of Jorge Gurgel, in the larger Alvin ĎKidí Robinson. I figured Diaz would have the advantage standing, but might have trouble with Robinsonís takedowns and top control, although the submission advantage was likely Diazís too.

They get underway and clinch quickly, and Diaz gets a slam to Robinsonís guard. Didnít expect that! Robinson looks to rotate his hips but Diaz sticks to him and lands some elbows, before working to pass the guard. Robinson sits up against the fence and tries to lock up a guillotine, and they come back to standing where Diaz slams him again, but ends up stuck in the guillotine this time. Nate works the body and does a good job of popping his head out, then passes to side mount. Robinson rolls to reverse, but ends up stuck on the bottom still and takes some punches. Diaz passes to side mount again and avoids a reversal as Robinson uses his legs to shove off the cage. Nate tries to step over and mount, but Robinson reverses him over, only to get caught in an oma plata, and Diaz sits up into it, using it to sweep. He tries to mount again, but once more Robinson bucks and rolls him over, this time ending up in Diazís guard. Robinson tries to open up with some punches from the top, but Diaz stays active with his hips from the bottom, and then catches Robinson with a beautiful triangle choke from the bottom for the tapout.

Triangle came from nowhere really; Diaz has some serious skills on the mat. Really entertaining fight too with some nice slams, reversals, and submission attempts on the ground. Nate continues to grow as a fighter and I canít think of one fight heís had yet that hasnít been insanely entertaining. He might be more entertaining than Nick even!

Lightweight Fight: Thiago Tavares vs Michihiro Omigawa

Tavares had lost in a close fight to Tyson Griffin last time out at UFC 76 and was looking for some redemption here, and Joe Silva certainly threw him a bone in the form of the much smaller Omigawa, who hardly had the strongest record either. This was, I suspected, a likely squash for the Brazilian. Omigawa is sporting quite the mullet here.

Omigawa presses with punches to begin the 1st, but Tavares gets a single leg and takes him down to guard. Omigawa tries to scramble to his feet, but Tavares picks him up and delivers a big slam back down. Loose guard from Omigawa as Tavares works to pass. The judoka escapes to his feet, but gives his back and Tavares hops on and pulls him down, getting both hooks in. Omigawa rolls, but canít shake Thiago, and the Brazilian stays on his back and looks for the choke. Omigawa stands with Tavares on his back, but canít shake him off for love or money and Tavares pulls him back down. The Japanese fighter stands again, and this time Tavares does slip off, but instantly gets back on Omigawa with a single leg. He uses it to take the back with a rear waistlock again, and then suplexes him down and gets the hooks in. Omigawa does a good job though to avoid an armbar and turn into Thiagoís guard. With little time remaining Omigawa lands a good right, but canít pass the guard and so he stands and kicks the legs to end the round.

Round 2 and Omigawa does a good job of avoiding a takedown. Tavares tries it again and forces him back into the cage, this time getting Omigawa down in half-guard. They end up standing though and Omigawa misses a spinning backfist by like six feet. No strikes land and Tavares shoots in for a single again, but Omigawa defends. Thiago gives up on it and backs off. Few kicks land for Tavares, but his big punches miss and Omigawa avoids another takedown. Crowd begin to boo as the fight slows down, and then Tavares gets a single leg to guard. 30 seconds remaining and Omigawa kicks off and stands, and they exchange some ineffective shots to end the round. Really poor round.

Third and final round and Omigawa pushes forward, but Thiago shoots for a takedown. He manages to push Omigawa into the fence, but struggles to get him down again as Omigawa defends. Thiago gets him down finally, but canít seem to do much from the top, as Omigawa keeps full guard. God this fight is dull. Few punches and hammer fists land from Thiago, but Omigawa reverses him and ends up on top in Tavaresí guard. Omigawa canít do much damage from the top, so he stands to try to drop some shots and eats some upkicks for his effort. Thiago sits up and Omigawa grabs the head for a guillotine attempt, but canít get it and slooowly gets rolled over. Big right from Tavares into Omigawaís guard, but they scramble and Omigawa gets a takedown of his own. He works the body in half-guard but Tavares gets back to full guard and little happens from there too. Ref stands them with seconds remaining, but they take FOREVER to get up and the buzzer sounds.

Horrendous fight. Tavares takes the win by unanimous decision but after a decent first round it went downhill fast as Tavares had far more trouble with Omigawa than I think anyone was expecting.

-Joe Rogan interviews Sylvester Stallone and immediately talks about how Sly inspired him to drink raw eggs as a kid. They talk about the new Rambo movie and how itís a DEADLY SERIOUS MOVIE about the genocide in Burma. Riiiiight. Stallone says it took him 20 years to resurrect Rambo because heís a slooow thinker and ďthe mood of the country has changedĒ. Apparently the people donít want complicated CGI now, they want men tearing each otherís hearts out for A REASON. This interview is fucking DOPE. And to top it all off thereís a FIGHT IN THE AUDIENCE and Stallone thanks his mom for it! Brilliant. At least Stallone has the decency to point out that thereís a big difference between playing a fighter in a film and actually being a fighter.

Middleweight Fight: Patrick Cote vs Drew McFedries

After picking up his biggest career victory at UFC 74 over Kendall Grove, Canadian Cote was faced with fellow slugger Drew McFedries in what promised to be an all-out stand-up brawl here. Both men had shown brutal knockout power in their previous fights and the general consensus was that it was merely a question of who would land the first bomb.

They begin and trade a few leg kicks, with McFedries landing a couple of very heavy ones. They clinch briefly but quickly break off. Right hand lands from Cote as they back up. Nice leg kick from Cote and a good combo follows. Leg kick from McFedries and he blocks a high kick attempt. McFedries cracks him with a BIG left hook in an exchange, but eats a VICIOUS UPPERCUT coming forward that folds him! Another uppercut drops him down and Cote quickly finishes him off with a series of punches!

Pretty much exactly as advertised, except it was McFedries who landed the first bomb, but Cote had an iron enough chin to simply absorb it, while McFedries was just folded by the first big punch Cote caught him with. Decent little slugfest, nothing spectacular, although admittedly this was a good win for Cote.

Post-fight Cote thanks McFedries for taking the fight, as heíd recently lost his mother and also had to fight off a nasty staph infection in late 2007. Heís THE PREDATOR though and when he hurts you itís over. Ranting and raving in French finishes the interview.

Lightweight Fight: Kurt Pellegrino vs Alberto Crane

They decide to show a prelim from earlier in the night now (though on a side note, why they didnít choose Cole Miller vs. Jeremy Stephens, which was around the same length and a low-end FOTYC to boot still confuses me) with two grappling-based fighters going at it in Pellegrino and Crane. Crane probably had the pure submission advantage, but I thought itíd be mostly outweighed by Pellegrinoís wrestling and top control, and Iíd have given the striking edge to ĎBatmaní too.

Round one gets started and right away Crane DECKS HIM WITH A LEFT HIGH KICK! Pellegrino crumples and Crane pounces, locking up a guillotine, but Kurt quickly works to pull his head free. Crane gets his legs up and turns for an oma plata right away, but Kurt manages to work free into the guard and then stands. Lot of blood coming from Pellegrinoís mouth. Pellegrino lands some good counterpunches though as Crane comes forward, and then Crane avoids a takedown and comes back to standing. Couple of kicks by Crane do no damage, and Kurt answers with a bodyshot. Nice left hook by Kurt and he looks to work the jab. Nice combo by Kurt lands. Pellegrino begins to wave him in, telling him to come on, and then tosses Crane to his back as Alberto tries a takedown. Crane immediately goes into spider mode on his back, so Kurt stands back up and Crane follows him. Big overhand right from Pellegrino stuns him, and some more punches before Kurt gets a slam. He moves into half-guard, but Crane raises his legs for a sub attempt as the buzzer sounds. Good round.

Second round begins and Crane presses forward and goes for a single leg, but canít get Pellegrino down fully, and Kurt remains on one knee, where he elbows to the body. Crane keeps trying for the takedown and then takes the back, but slips off and Pellegrino lands some big punches from the top. Kurt stands and lands a beautiful right hand, and Crane rolls to his stomach and stops defending, and so Herb Dean calls the stoppage there. Replay shows the last punch caught Crane right in the eye socket. Nice.

Post-fight they reveal that Pellegrinoís teeth were knocked through his bottom lip by the first kick, ugh, that has to suck. They actually show a hole in his lip, which is disgusting. Pellegrino canít even remember the kick, saying he figured he got caught with a punch. Good fight in the end actually, albeit not as good as Stephens-Miller!

-Joe Rogan is joined by two dudes from Vince Vaughnís Wild West Comedy Show or something like that. But who cares, really? Itís not Stallone damnit.

Welterweight Fight: Mike Swick vs Josh Burkman

This was Mike Swickís first foray down to 170lbs, after a largely successful run at 185lbs that saw him beat the likes of Joe Riggs and David Loiseau, before running into the incredibly strong Yushin Okami. Really I didnít understand Swickís decision to drop Ė it wasnít like he was the only guy to get outmuscled by Okami, and Swick already had two teammates in Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch at WW. Still, I guess itís his choice. Burkman had bounced back from a loss to Karo Parisyan with an unconvincing win over Forrest Petz in October, and had a major chance to rebuild his reputation by knocking off Swick in his Welterweight debut. Not the greatest main event they ever came up with though, I have to say. Even if Swickís entrance to Tupac rules.

Swick circles around and looks to keep distance to begin the first round, but Burkman quickly charges forward and forces Swick into the cage. They exchange some knees inside, and muscle for position, before breaking off. They circle again and then Burkman clips him with a right and shoves him to the fence again, looking for a takedown. Swick stuffs it and itís back to exchanging knees and foot stomps by the fence. Burkman manages to lift him up for a slam, but gets caught in a guillotine and they come back up to standing in the clinch. Ref breaks them and Swick stalks forward, but Burkman tries an odd backhand strike that glances off Swickís head. Left hook to the body from Burkman as Swick throws a pair of kicks that miss. Swick keeps coming forward, but eats a nice left hook from Burkman that makes him smile. BIZARRE 360 wheel kick from Burkman lands glancingly, and Swick answers with a flying knee to the body. Burkman grabs him though and bulls him right into the cage. Swick defends the takedown until the round ends. Burkmanís round surprisingly enough.

Round 2 begins with Burkman coming out throwing combos, and he catches Swick with a kick and a spinning backfist, but Swick clinches and forces him into the cage. Nothing happens though so the ref separates them. Left high kick from Swick looks to have stunned Burkman, but he doesnít really follow up and allows Burkman to swing his way into another clinch by the fence. This is becoming a pattern now, and not one that I like. Ref quickly breaks them up. Nice combo and then a leg kick from Swick, but he misses a spinning back kick. Swick lands a couple of nice kicks as Burkman looks to be slowing down now. Burkman pushes forward into another clinch, but he still canít take Swick down and itís another stalemate. Referee calls the separation again, but Burkman quickly bulls back to the same position. This is a seriously dull fight. Round ends in the clinch and youíve got to give it to Swick for the head kick, because the rest of it was basically non-eventful.

Third and final round of whatís been a close fight then, but not for the right reasons really. Burkman throws a high kick into a backfist attempt but misses, and then he charges right back in for the takedown, where, you guessed it, Swick defends and they end up in the DREADED CLINCH BY THE FENCE. Quick separation this time and they finally trade some bombs before Burkman closes the distance and tries the takedown again. Youíd think heíd try a different tactic by now, as they end up clinched again. They break off themselves this time, and itís Swick who pushes the action, landing a solid leg kick as Burkman definitely looks tired. Left hook from Burkman, but he walks into a knee to the gut from Swick. Combo lands for Swick and they wing some wild punches that miss, and then Burkman bulls him to the fence again but just canít get Swick down. Referee calls the break with a minute to go and Swick pushes the action but doesnít really land anything. Burkman shoots, but charges into a big knee, and still he canít take Swick down. Swick breaks away, and avoids a superman punch, and they clinch to end the fight.

Iíd probably give it to Swick for slightly more aggression, but in a fight that passive it could go either way easily. Judges score it 29-28, 29-28 and 29-29 giving Swick the majority decision. Crowd donít seem too happy with it but I think it was probably the right decision I guess, although neither man came off looking like a winner. Post-fight Swick says he still needs to work on the weight cutting, and admits he shouldíve been more aggressive and flurried more.

Total yawner of a main event then Ė it seemed like neither man felt totally comfortable from the start, Swick most likely from the weight cut, God knows why for Burkman, but it made for a passive fight that was fought mostly from inside an uneventful clinch position. Not like the worst fight of all time or anything, but this was the worst free TV main event UFC had put on since probably Marquardt-Salaverry, or at least Sylvia-Silva.

-And the show ends there.

Final Thoughts....

Iíll get it out of the way early; this was a really poor offering from the UFC, even for a free TV show. At the time people instantly blamed Ďoversaturationí as this was the second of three UFC shows over the same number of weeks. I still donít buy into that Ė Iíd have a UFC every week if I could Ė and I donít think you can even blame the weaker card either, as sometimes (like with UFN 10, for instance) the weakest card on paper can turn out to be awesome in terms of the action. More than anything here, I would say Zuffa just got unlucky. I guess at some point youíre bound to have some lacklustre fights, and here we got two hugely lacklustre ones, and the three that sandwiched around them, while fun, werenít enough to make up for those two. Thumbs way down, even with the Stallone interview.

Best Fight: Robinson-Diaz
Worst Fight: Swick-Burkman

Overall Rating: *3/4

Coming Soon....

UFC: 81-94, Fight Nights 13-17, and TUF VII and VIII Finales.
Pride: Shockwave 2005, Shockwave 2006, 32, and 33.
WEC: 30-38
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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