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UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on June 3, 2009, 3:05 PM

UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson

Dublin, Ireland

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Lightweight Fight: Dennis Siver vs Nate Mohr

Very surprised to see Siver return to UFC action actually, as heíd lost his previous two fights in the Octagon and was 1-3 there overall. Still, he had at least won a fight on a smaller show since the loss to Melvin Guillard, and I guess they wanted him around to book on the Germany card later in 2009. Opponent Mohr hadnít seen action for over a year after Manny Gamburyan shredded his knee up back in December 2007.

We get underway and this crowd are crazy hot already. Love the Irish. They press with some feeler strikes early and Mohr lands with a decent leg kick and a short right hand. BIG COMBO from Siver drops him hard though, and the German charges in swinging for the fences looking to finish! Mohr takes shot after shot but somehow survives, and he manages to grab Siver and take him down right into full mount! Siver tries to buck out but Mohr keeps the mount tightly, but doesnít really open up with big strikes, instead staying low to Siverís body and landing some short, chopping punches. Mohr postures up to land punches, but Siver bucks out to half-guard, and then manages to get full guard back. Ref stands them up quickly when little happens, and Siver catches him with another right hand. Good body kick return from Mohr, and he follows with a leg kick too. Good little trade sees both men land, but Siver appears to be packing more power. Another good leg kick lands for Mohr though. Leg kick by Mohr again but Siver catches the leg and almost lands a right haymaker, but Mohr dodges it. With seconds to go they trade some kicks, and then the buzzer sounds. Excellent first round!

Into the 2nd and they pick up where they left off, with Siver throwing a karate-style front leg kick. Siver is swinging heavy bombs here too, not landing anything yet though. Good leg kick and front kick from Siver, but Mohr answers with a heavy leg kick of his own. Siver tries a clinch but takes a big knee and Mohr looks to follow, but Siver recovers instantly and lands a strong right. Exchange slows down a little now but Mohr is finding a home for the leg kick and you can see the welt on Siverís thigh now. Good one-two into a body kick from Mohr. Siver lunges in but misses a big left hook, and Mohr comes back with the leg kick again. Nice left hook from Siver as they continue to exchange. Siver is constantly throwing the front kick out, but Mohr is dodging it quite well. Another chopping leg kick lands for Mohr. Siver continues to throw out kicks and they trade body kicks to end the round. Much better round for Mohr there and I have it even going into the third.

Third and final round...but as they begin Siver drops his mouthpiece and they delay it for a moment. Mohr gets underway with a leg kick but Siver checks it, and they begin to trade off again with Mohr trying a superman punch. Good left hook from Siver and he throws out some more kicks, but Mohr answers right away with the leg kick. Good body punch from Mohr. Leg kick and glancing high kick from Siver, but Mohr comes back with a far more effective leg kick of his own. Siver begins to push the action a little harder, landing a one-two of hooks as Mohr appears to be slowing up a little. Mohr goes for a takedown but Siver shrugs it off and they clinch, but break off quickly. They continue to exchange kicks, with Mohrís leg kicks seemingly more powerful. Good right hand from Mohr over the top, but Siver comes back with a pair of leg kicks, one inside, one outside. They trade wild punches briefly, and then suddenly Siver NAILS him with a BEAUTIFUL SPINNING BACK KICK TO THE BODY! Mohr immediately staggers away in pain, and Siver charges in with some strikes to finish things off!

Wow, not seen that finish since David Loiseau back in 2005. This wasnít quite as good as that kick, but it was close. I guess Siver made good of the extra opportunity Zuffa gave him, didnít he? Really exciting opener with a highlight reel ending, whatís not to love?

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Tomasz Drwal vs Ivan Serati

Like Mohr in the previous fight, Drwal hadnít seen action for well over a year (September 2007) although heíd been booked on various UFC cards and had pulled out with injury. Physically he looks in far better shape here than he did against Thiago Silva. Serati is another of those guys with a record that makes him look better than he actually is, as in his biggest fight he was put away quickly by Vitor Belfort. Heís carrying a LOT of muscle too, but isnít that cut up, looking more like a random meathead from the local gym than a pro fighter. He couldíve claimed to be the first Italian in UFC history, but alas, Alessio Sakara got there first.

They press to begin and Serati catches a low kick and goes for a single, but Drwal blocks and reverses and they come back up quickly. Serati clinches and they muscle for position into the fence, before breaking off with some wild punches that look powerful but donít really land. They clinch again and Drwal forces him towards the cage with a knee to the ribs, but Serati breaks off quickly. Drwal pushes forward as Serati throws some feints, but the Pole lands with a straight right hand. Takedown attempt by Serati, but Drwal easily avoids. Good left-right from Drwal and then he gets a trip takedown, and from there he lands some hard punches from the top. Serati tries to secure full guard, but Drwal stands up over him and drops some BRUTAL hammer fists for the TKO stoppage.

Total squash for Drwal as Serati looked uncomfortable in all areas really and once he got hit hard it was all over. This was much more like the fighter Iíd heard about when UFC first signed Drwal in 2007 and hopefully he can stay healthy now and get some more fights under his belt.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Eric Schafer vs Antonio Mendes

Striker vs. grappler clash here with Schafer looking to follow up on his win over Houston Alexander, and Mendes looking to bounce back from a 2008 debut loss to Thiago Silva. Taking into account how porous Mendes had looked on the ground against Silva, I was taking Schafer to win this by early sub.

Round One opens up and they circle. Leg kick from Mendes but Schafer quickly closes the distance and forces him into the cage, and then pulls guard. Awesome sweep from Schafer puts Mendes on his back in half-guard, taking a leaf out of Demian Maiaís book, and Schafer wastes no time in passing to full mount. Mendes manages to get back to half-guard, but Schafer lands some hard punches from the top and then mounts again. Mendes looks in deep trouble now and Schafer postures up with some heavy punches and elbows, but Mendes again wriggles to half-guard. Schaferís having none of that and works to the mount again, and this time he lands some serious punches until referee Dan Miragliotta decides heís seen enough and stops it.

Another squash. Mendes looked lost on his back and if youíre not good on the ground you do not want a guy like Eric Schafer on top of you, as heís a legit BJJ black belt who knows how to finish fights. Here he went with the strikes rather than a submission but it didnít matter as the result was still the same. Awesome technique in pulling guard and then getting the sweep, too, so much smarter than struggling all day for a double leg if youíre that good on the ground anyway. Schafer looked excellent here and continues to improve with every fight pretty much.

Welterweight Fight: Martin Kampmann vs Alexandre Barros

This was Kampmannís first foray into the Welterweight division after his loss to Nate Marquardt basically convinced him to drop from 185lbs to 170lbs. Funny how getting the crap kicked out of you does that. Anyhow itís clear right from the off that this is a better weight for him as he basically looks the same as he did at 185lbs except heís not facing physical monsters like Nate the Great. Barros is a real veteran, having his first fight in 1999, and he actually has a loss to Matt Hughes on his record from 2000! He was riding a nine-fight winning streak coming into this one, and he also sports the head of a large Heavyweight. Luckily for Kampmann though his body is firmly in the WW range!

First round gets underway and they circle before the first kick Barros throws lands horribly low, making a sickening noise as it hits Kampmannís cup. Kampmann collapses in serious pain, and for a while it looks like we might have another Sakara-Faircloth situation on our hands. Kampmann takes his time and manages to recover though, and they restart with Kampmann pressing forward and landing a left high kick. Nice right body kick from Kampmann and he lands a short flurry into the clinch, but Barros ducks for a takedown. Kampmann secures a guillotine and tries to finish it standing, jumping up ala David Terrell against Evan Tanner, but Barros slams him down. Heís still caught in the guillotine but he does a good job of working free, and then they come back up to their feet in a clinch. They exchange some knees to the body before Barros gets a takedown to half-guard. Ref stands them after a while of inactivity and they exchange strikes with Kampmann knocking him down with a right hand on the buzzer.

Replay actually shows the right hand didnít land and Barros fell down due to a slip. Second round begins and Barros opens with the inside leg kick. They clinch and Barros looks for a takedown, but Kampmann stuffs it and ends up getting on top as Barros drops for a trip. Barros goes for a kneebar but Kampmann easily avoids that and winds up on top in guard. Nice left hand by Kampmann and he passes into half-guard. Barros tries to sweep but Kampmann is having none of that and he uses a guillotine to pass to full mount. Barros gives his back for a moment and then rolls to mount, and Kampmann opens up with some punches and elbows. Kampmann busts out the GSP slams to break Barrosís grip, and then Barros gives his back and Kampmann flattens him out. Series of heavy punches land from back mount and the ref stops it there.

Post-fight Kampmann admits the low blow slowed him down a bit and he also gassed himself trying the guillotine, which makes a lot of sense. Still, this was an impressive enough win for him at his first attempt at 170lbs (compare this to say, Mike Swickís WW debut for example) and I can definitely see him developing into a bonafide contender at the weight in the near future. Another exciting talent to add to whatís already a stacked division.

Welterweight Fight: John Hathaway vs Tom Egan

This was originally scheduled to be the opening fight but they bumped it up the card a bit after local Dublin fighter Egan got a massive reaction at the weigh-ins. Heís only 20 too, making him the second-youngest fighter in UFC history I believe (behind Dan Lauzon). Opponent Hathaway fights out of the London Shootfighters gym (Lee Murray, Mostapha Al-Turk, et al) and was carrying an impressive record of 9-0. Heís also the prettiest guy in UFC history in my opinion, looking like heís stepped right off the set of Hollyoaks or something.

Crowd are just ridiculously hot for this fight. Unbelievable to see a crowd so amped for a 20 year old kid. Touch of gloves to start and Hathaway lands a couple of leg kicks before shooting for the takedown. He drives Egan into the fence and gets a nice slam to side mount, before getting a knee to the belly and then landing elbows. Egan squirms from his back and works to his feet, but Hathaway quickly uses a single to drag him down again. Hathaway takes the back with an over/under, but Egan spins to guard and kicks him away. Hathaway looks for the takedown right away again, and gets a leg trip to full guard this time. Big punches over the top from Hathaway and he gets into half-guard, landing elbows. Egan squirms back to full guard but takes some big elbows before managing to explode to his feet. Big knee to the body from Hathaway and they muscle for position before Hathaway drops for the takedown again, dragging Egan down with a single leg. Egan tries to roll for a kimura but gives his back in the process, and they end up coming back to their feet with Hathaway grabbing a rear waistlock. Hathaway looks for a suplex and then drags Egan down to guard again, and he stacks up and looks to pass the guard. Big ďole, oleĒ chant from the crowd, but Egan is taking some serious shots here. Hathaway passes to half-guard, and then he takes the back with both hooks. Egan tries to roll out, but Hathaway opens up with some vicious elbows for the TKO.

Very one-sided fight and this was a great debut for Hathaway, as he showed particularly excellent wrestling considering heís a British fighter. Whether that was due to Egan having no wrestling game whatsoever I donít really know, but I guess weíll find out when Hathaway ends up being matched with some US fighters. Still, for a 21 year old he showed a ton of potential and I definitely see him as one of the more exciting up-and-comers the UFC have found in the UK in the past few years. Exciting little fight too as they went at a relentless pace from the off.

Welterweight Fight: Marcus Davis vs Chris Lytle

This fight was set up after both men won at Octoberís UFC 89 and challenged one another, and I guess Joe Silva liked the idea and put the fight together. All the talk coming in was that neither guy really cared that much about winning and they were just out to put on a stand-up war and win the Fight of the Night bonus, which raised another issue online (are Zuffa outright trying to promote stand-up over the ground game?) that I didnít really agree with. Regardless of that, I was taking Davis to win this one as I felt his stand-up was a little more refined and Lytle seemed to be slowing down a little recently.

First round begins and they circle before Lytle comes wading in with a pair of big right hands that stun Davis! Davis recovers quickly and backs out though and they circle off. Brief clinch and both men land shots to the body before breaking again. Both men throw some kicks with Davis landing well to the body, and then Lytle bulls ahead swinging but walks into two nice counterpunches from Marcus. Same thing happens again as Davis catches Lytle with a left coming in, and follows with a body kick for good measure. Nice left hook from Davis and they trade momentarily before Davis goes back into counter mode. Striking exchange continues with both men landing body kicks, although Davis catches Lytleís leg and throws him to the ground. The crowd are singing like a football match at this point although I canít catch exactly what theyíre chanting. Another body kick lands for Davis. Good left hook from Lytle wobbles Marcus but he has a solid chin and recovers fast. Right hand from Davis causes Lytle to slip to the mat, but he pops up quickly. Good knee to the body from Davis. Hard leg kick to answer from Lytle and they trade briefly. Body kick lands for Lytle now but Davis ends the round with a combo. Good first round if not as explosive as youíd have hoped.

Second round and Lytleís body is horribly red from the kicks already. He comes forward early as Davis circles off, and then Lytle wades in with a HEAVY COMBO, literally swinging bolos at Davis, who ends up outright running away. Lytle keeps coming forward, but a VICIOUS kick to the body puts him down! Davis waves him back up and then lands the body kick again and follows it up with a pair of nasty jumping knees to the midsection too. Davis is sporting a small cut on his head as they exchange punches in tight, but then Davis backs off. Davis is in counter mode here and the work to the body is paying dividends. Lytle keeps pushing forward though. Good elbow inside from Davis and he lands another body kick. Lytle is swinging wide and Davisís counters are landing pretty well here. Good right hand from Lytle, but Davis answers with a counter right that lands well too. Big uppercut from Lytle misses and Davis catches him with a straight right. Lytle continues to swing, snapping Davisís head back with a right hand, and they trade momentarily before Davis lands a left hand cleanly. Big knee to the body from Davis. Good uppercut from Lytle bloodies Davisís nose and he forces him into the cage, but they break quickly. Leg kick from Lytle. Round ends with an exchange of punches. Not sure who Iíd give this to really, Iím leaning to Davis though.

Third round and the crowd are still very hot for this fight even if it hasnít been as good as the fighters tried to claim itíd be. Exchange strikes to begin the round and neither man really gets the better of it, although Davis lands with the body kick again. Lytleís slowed up a little now, not swinging quite as wildly, and Davisís counters are beginning to pay off. They exchange leg kicks and Lytle clips him with a right hand, but Davis keeps moving and lands with the bodyshot. Lytle is the clear aggressor, but heís struggling to land his shots now as Davis seems to have calmed down a lot and is dodging the punches and countering. Body kick and jumping knee to the body from Davis. Open trade of punches favours Lytle though and he lands a hard punch to the body and a nasty right hand that gets Marcus on his bike again. One minute to go now and Lytle is walking him down, wading in with winging punches, but Davis isnít drawn into the brawl and he lands with the body kick and some more counterpunches. Good left hand by Lytle but he takes a big knee to the body, and they exchange openly to end the fight. Big pop from the crowd for the ending.

Iíve got Davis taking this 29-28 I think, giving him rounds two and three, although it was very close. Judges have it as a split decision, 29-28 Davis, 29-28 Lytle and 29-28 for Marcus Davis to get the nod. Told you it was close! I think when it came down to it though the work to the body from Davis was the most effective form of offense in the fight, and he never really got hurt badly by Lytleís crazy punches. Not the Fight of the Year that both men had promised, but this was still a lot of fun considering it was completely stand-up. And credit where itís due, Davis has come on a tremendous amount since his time on TUF, so much that heís a completely different fighter these days.

Middleweight Fight: Denis Kang vs Alan Belcher

The signing of Denis Kang by Zuffa in November immediately had me excited, and although I would rather have seen him get in the Octagon right away when PRIDE crashed (rather than lose the two fights in DREAM) I still thought he could throw his hat into the circle of contenders to the Middleweight title quite quickly. Opponent Belcher had picked up a much-needed win over Ed Herman in his last fight, but I figured if Kang came in on form then ĎThe Talentí would probably be easy pickings for the Canadian-Korean.

They get started and Kang comes out quickly with a combo as Belcher surprisingly hangs his hands pretty low. Nice combo from Kang coming forward as he lands a right hand and then a left, before getting a double leg to guard. Nice pass to half-guard from Kang and he cradles the head, possibly looking to set up for a DíArce. He passes and Belcher rolls into a front facelock, before Kang turns him into side control. Belcher scrambles well to guard, but takes a couple of shots as he does so. Kang looks to posture up, but Belcher does well to kick him away and stand. Nice left to the body and right hook from Kang. Another combo lands for Kang and he counters a low kick with a takedown to guard. Belcher looks to kick him away again but Kang remains on top, and then he passes and goes from a DíArce into an anaconda choke attempt. Kang rolls for it, but Belcher pops free and ends up underneath Kang in side mount. Kang goes for a kimura now, but Belcher has half-guard and Kang canít finish it. He does get to side mount though where he lands some short elbows and knees to the body. Buzzer sounds and that round was all Denis Kang, easy 10-9 for him.

Into the 2nd and they circle into a clinch after both men land right hands. Belcher forces him into the cage and knees to the legs, but Kang reverses position. They break off and Belcher lands a body kick. Nice left hand and straight right coming forward from Kang. Kang shoots for a takedown and gets it, popping out of a guillotine on the way down. He lands in Belcherís guard and Belcher immediately ties him up. Kang tries to pass, but Belcher goes for a half-guard sweep from the bottom. Kangís having none of that and blocks it, and then looks like heís setting up for the DíArce choke again. Kang works free of the half-guard and gets to side mount, but Belcher keeps the slightest grip on the leg to stop him from completely getting the position. Kang decides to stand, and then drops back into the guard and avoids a triangle. Referee brings them back standing and Belcher lands a hard body kick. Belcher is pressing forward more now, landing a low kick too. Belcher continues to push forward and they trade punches before Kang shoots on a double leg again, but this time Belcher catches him in a guillotine on the way down, locks it up and pulls guard....and Kang taps out!

Damn. Did not expect that finish at all! Kang was basically controlling the entire fight until he made the simple mistake of leaving his head out for the guillotine, and Belcher capitalized and closed it off. Huge win for Belcher when you consider the hype around Kangís debut, and for me personally I was gutted as Iím a big fan of Kangís. Belcher has always shown flashes of brilliance, so whether this might be the beginning of a run towards the top of the division for him, we shall see. For Kang though, this was a disappointing debut and another one on the list of PRIDE veterans who havenít succeeded right away in the Octagon. Hopefully heíll bounce back though as heís a tremendously talented fighter. Fight was very good for the most part.

Middleweight Fight: Rousimar ĎToquinhoí Palhares vs Jeremy Horn

On paper this looked like one of the more one-sided fights in recent memory, as everything coming in pointed to Horn being totally shot as a top-level fighter while Toquinho had looked fantastic against Ivan Salaverry and more than held his own in a fight with Dan Henderson. I like Toquinho a lot and was taking him to win this one fast by submission.

We begin and both men look tentative as Horn keeps a low stance, looking to avoid the takedown. Palhares quickly closes the distance though and trips him to the ground. Horn gets butterfly guard and looks for a sweep, but Toquinho flips him over and instantly spins to take the back. He gets one hook in and begins to pound at the head, looking to open him up to get the second hook, but Horn manages to roll to half-guard. Toquinho pops free into side mount and then begins to pound the head again as Horn gives the back and then rolls again to half-guard. Horn manages to work back to full guard, but he takes a couple of elbows and then Palhares drops back for a leglock but Horn manages to avoid. Horn goes for a triangle from the bottom, but Toquinho shrugs it off and takes the back. Good job of scrambling by Horn and he makes it back to his feet. Palhares quickly trips him back down to half-guard though and almost mounts, before spinning over to take the back with one hook again. Toquinho ends up standing over Horn with Jeremy turtled up, and from there he lands some really heavy shots to the side of the head. Horn manages to roll and then goes for a leglock of his own, but Palhares easily slips free and gets back into top position. Toquinho goes for a kneebar from the top, but Horn defends it well, only for Toquinho to stay on top and land more punches until the round ends. Easy round to score, 10-9 for Palhares.

2nd round and Toquinho lands a short left hand and then just scoops Jeremy up and slams him down. Amazing strength from the Brazilian. Horn gets half-guard and then manages a sweep, but Palhares ends up with an over/under from the side, with Horn turtled. He lands punches from there and looks to take the back again, landing some heavy, clubbing blows, and as Jeremy tries to stand Palhares pulls him back down and gets on top again. Horn manages to reverse though and gets an ankle pick into a single leg takedown, ending up on top, and suddenly he steps to full mount! Horn looks to lock up an arm triangle from the mount, which would be unbelievable, but Toquinho manages to pop free and then uses sheer power to reverse out and explode to his feet. Spinning back kick misses for Toquinho as Horn looks to use the jab now. Horn presses with strikes and then avoids a takedown with a sprawl, landing a decent right hand on the way out too. Good left hook by Horn, but he misses a high kick and Toquinho tackles him to the ground. Horn gets full guard and goes for a triangle, but Palhares stacks him up and gets out. Into half-guard for Toquinho now and he controls Horn to end the round. Horn actually fought really well in that round, although Iíd probably still give it to Palhares.

Third and final round, and both men are looking tired. Horn comes out looking to strike, but Palhares ducks a shot and gets a rear waistlock, before delivering a HUGE GERMAN SUPLEX to dump Horn onto the ground. Horn immediately scrambles to half-guard, and tries to reverse his way into a single leg, but Toquinho quickly stops that and takes an over/under control from the back. They end up coming back to standing and Horn tries to sprawl out, but Palhares manages to get him on his back again in full guard. Fight slows down tremendously now as Palhares looks tired, but when Horn goes for a triangle the Brazilian uses it to pass over and take the back with an over/under again. Horn manages to stand momentarily, but then drops down to the turtle to avoid another suplex. Toquinho lands some punches from behind and then drops for another takedown as Horn gets to his feet, and again he manages a takedown to guard. Short elbows land for Toquinho but the fight slows down enough for the ref to stand them back up. Horn pushes forward and looks to strike, going for broke with a head kick, but Toquinho blocks it and ends up getting the takedown to half-guard. Horn squirms well from his back though and the fight ends in Jeremyís full guard.

Iíve got this as 30-27 for Toquinho, but that was a much closer fight than Iíd expected going in. Judges all agree and itís a unanimous decision for Rousimar Palhares. Toquinho was in control from pretty much start to finish, but I guess Jeremy Horn showed heís not entirely shot at least as he put up a hell of a fight, avoided being finished and despite getting caught in some sticky spots, he was able to survive and even got full mount on Toquinho in the 2nd, which is an achievement in itself. Toquinho is such a powerful guy though Ė heís reminiscent of Paulo Filho in his dominant PRIDE days Ė and if he continues to develop his all-around game heíll be a title contender sooner rather than later. Fight slowed down in the third round as both men got tired, but the first two were excellent stuff.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Mauricio ĎShoguní Rua vs Mark Coleman

Alright, so I admit, I was pumped when I saw that UFC were putting this fight together as Colemanís return bout. I mean, sure, Coleman vs. Lesnar mightíve had some sort of significance (old wrestling monster vs. new, bigger wrestling monster) but it wouldíve been a clear-cut squash for Brock. Here, not only did we get the renewal of the rivalry caused by the freak accident in their first fight that saw Shogunís elbow dislocate, but Shogun had looked so out-of-shape against Forrest Griffin that if he came in under similar circumstances, it wouldnít have been a stretch to see Coleman win. Plus, whatís not to love when the countdown show is filled with clips of Colemanís crazy roid rage after the first fight with Rua? As for a pick, I was hoping that Shogun would come in physically fit and healthy and channel his old PRIDE self to pull out the victory and avenge the freakish earlier loss.

Big staredown pre-fight. These guys clearly donít like each other even though they do touch gloves. Shogun avoids eye contact with him though. Big crowd pop to begin things and Coleman bulls forward, takes a leg kick and goes for the takedown. He gets Shogun down in guard and Rua immediately rolls for something, but takes some punches and rolls to guard. Coleman looks to land some shots but Shogun rolls and gets to his feet. Shogun looks for a kimura to avoid the takedown but Coleman gets him down anyway and avoids it, so Shogun rolls to guard and looks for a triangle instead. Coleman postures out so Shogun goes for a kneebar, but Coleman escapes in a scramble and they stand. Big right hand from Shogun as they break off, and he lands a knee before Coleman tackles him to the ground. Coleman stands over him now and the crowd chant his name. He goes down into the guard with a right hand, but Shogun throws his legs up for a submission. Coleman stands free again, but Shogun uses a leglock attempt to pop back up and then goes for a takedown of his own! Tremendous amount of effort from Shogun puts Coleman on his back and the Brazilian instantly passes to side mount. Couple of elbows land for Shogun but mainly he just holds Coleman down. Knee to the belly from Shogun but Coleman scrambles to his feet, where he eats a big body kick from Rua. They trade punches and then Shogun lands a hard leg kick, and now Coleman is taking some seriously deep breaths. Another leg kick lands and this time Coleman answers with a left hook. Left hand from Shogun follows and he lands the leg kick again. Coleman is gassed now and he eats a pair of big knees before managing a takedown. Shogun reverses and goes for the back, but Coleman slips free and ends up on top. Rua gets to his feet and escapes another takedown attempt. Massive right hook drops the exhausted Coleman to all fours and it looks like the refís going to stop it, but he lets it go and Coleman takes some punches while basically crawling for an ankle pick. Shogun avoids the takedown though and ends the round with some punches and knees. Easily Shogunís round and Coleman is exhausted and in big trouble.

Second round now and Coleman is likely a sitting duck. Shogun closes in and a pair of nasty leg kicks buckle the Hammer, followed by a kick to the body. Coleman fires back with a left straight, but takes another body shot and then he shoots in. Takedown from Coleman and he pins Rua into the fence, but Shogun quickly scrambles and escapes to his feet. Clinch from Shogun and he knees the body before dropping for a takedown, but Coleman blocks and gets a front facelock. Shogun breaks free and grabs the plum, landing knees to the body and head, then he breaks with a short elbow. Coleman actually begins to land with some left jabs, but his hands are by his waist and a left hand lands for Shogun that rocks the legend. Clinch from Shogun and he lands some knees, but when they break off Rua looks tired too. Good body kick and overhand right land for the Brazilian though. They trade in the clinch before Coleman catches a knee and gets the takedown. Shogun gets his feet on the hips and kicks him away, but as he stands a right hand from Coleman knocks him off balance. These guys are GASSED now. Combo stuns Coleman but he manages to get the takedown, literally tumbling to the ground, and now Shogun turns and locks up an oma plata. Shogun is sucking in wind like crazy now too while Coleman looks basically comatose. Somehow Shogun canít finish it off though and the round ends with the oma plata sunk in. 10-9 Shogun again but with both guys spent this could still be anyoneís fight.

Third round begins and theyíre standing exchanging like two drunkards in a bar fight. Right to the body hurts Shogun and sends him backwards, but he comes back with a lunging left hook and then grabs the plum. Couple of knees land but Coleman answers with a left and goes for the takedown. Shogun tries to defend but Coleman manages to get him down, but he looks too exhausted to muster any real offense. Couple of decent elbows land for Coleman as he holds Shogun down in half-guard, but the Brazilian rolls for a kneebar and then goes for a heel hook. Shogun canít lock it up though and Coleman ends up grabbing a rear waistlock. Some hooks land to the side of the head, popping the crowd big time, and now somehow, Coleman looks like the fresher fighter! Shogun fights his way to his feet though, and Shogun knees him in the head as Colemanís on his knees. Ref calls the foul although the replay shows the knee hit the chest. They restart and Shogun closes in, but takes the right hand to the body again. Pair of overhand rights and a left hook stun Coleman although he still swings back. Finally a left-right-left and a big uppercut drop Coleman, and the ref mercifully stops it there.

Post-fight Coleman complains of an early stoppage, but thereís no way, Coleman was completely done and couldíve been badly hurt after he was dropped, even though Shogun was just as gassed as he was.

Rogan interviews Shogun and he comes out with some broken English that I can barely make out, although that could well be because heís gasping for air too. And following that Coleman cuts the most terrifying promo in UFC history, sounding more punch-drunk than Rocky Balboa, as he slurs his way through everything and then challenges Shogun for a third fight, saying he knows he can beat him. Insanity. Dude needs to retire for his own health.

This is a weird fight to review because on one hand, it was incredibly engaging, went back-and-forth, and the first round at least was fought at quite a torrid pace. On the other hand though it got tremendously sloppy later on, both men were completely gassed, and in the end it looked like two drunks trading outside a bar after hours. In the end it was like watching a car crash Ė itís horrible and nothing worth seeing, but you still canít take your eyes off it. Despite the win this was not a convincing fight for Shogun at all, and if he couldnít put away an exhausted Mark Coleman Ė whose hands were by his waist halfway through the first Ė youíve got to wonder if heíll ever return to his PRIDE form. Hard to believe that he was like the energizer bunny back then. As for Coleman, I do like him and find him hilarious as a character, but if he never fights again then Iíd be more than happy, if only so he doesnít end up like Rocky Balboa in a short time.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Rich Franklin vs Dan Henderson

Despite some odd circumstances surrounding it (the fight was to determine who would coach alongside Michael Bisping on TUF 9 Ė and go on to fight Bisping at 185lbs, and yet theyíre fighting at 205lbs?) this was basically a dream match for many fans, myself included, as these two had ruled over the UFC and PRIDE Middleweight divisions for the period of 2005-2006. It was one of those fights Ė like Sylvia-Nogueira and Silva-Liddell Ė that a lot of people had wondered about for a long time. Personally I found the fight very hard to pick Ė on one hand, Franklin is a far better striker technically, and with Hendersonís penchant for simply wading in with winging right hands, it wasnít a stretch to see Ace picking Hendo apart. But on the other hand, Hendersonís wrestling is on another level to Franklinís, he packs more one-shot KO power in his hands and the 205lbs weight seemed better suited to him. In the end I decided to take Franklin, for no real reason really, just a guess.

Staredown is interesting as Franklin appears quite a bit larger than Hendo despite Hendo being the guy to have fought more often at LHW. Touch of gloves to start and both men circle tentatively. Franklin lands the first blow, a good body kick. Big right hand from Henderson lands and Franklin retreats, and the former PRIDE champ follows with a high kick that causes him to slip to his back. Henderson uses it to get a takedown to half-guard though and tries to mount. Rich keeps half-guard but Hendo pins him down and really opens up with some clubbing blows, looking to overwhelm him. Franklin turns and eats some shots from the turtle position, and then Henderson opens up with some knees to the body too. Franklin works to his feet, and then escapes the takedown, but eats a right on the way out. Franklin presses forward now, but takes a good low kick from Hendo after a body kick is blocked. Body kick lands on a second attempt from Ace and he circles out to avoid Hendoís power strikes. Henderson tries to grab the head to land an uppercut but Franklin backs out. Superman punch narrowly misses for Franklin. Body kick lands again for Ace and he snaps Hendoís head back with a right-left combo. Big right lands again for Henderson though and Franklin gets back into retreat mode. High kick from Franklin is blocked but the body kick lands nicely again. Henderson tries to clinch but Franklin surprisingly goes for a takedown, only for Hendo to muscle free. Brief exchange ends the round. Probably Hendersonís round for the early flurry, but heís looking the more tired of the two.

Between rounds Rich is cut and the replay shows an accidental headbutt caused it.

Into the 2nd and Franklin looks to stick and move, snapping out the right jab while avoiding Hendersonís power punches. Good left body kick again from Ace. Henderson wades in with a low kick and some punches, but Franklin gets on his bike again and gets out. Clinch and Franklin lands a knee inside, and they muscle for position before Franklin breaks off. Good job of avoiding the takedown there from Franklin. Good leg kick from Henderson, answered by a body kick from Franklin. They exchange strikes and neither man really seems to have the advantage I would say. Henderson clinches and forces him into the cage, and from there he manages to take Franklin down to guard. Things slow down as Franklin looks to work back to his feet, while Henderson tries to keep him down. Couple of elbows from Henderson open the cut a bit further and now Franklinís got trails of blood on his head. Franklin tries a half-guard sweep, but Hendo blocks it and continues to grind away. Franklin does a good job from his back though and doesnít take any tremendous damage. Round ends with Henderson dropping some good punches down into the guard. Close round to call as Franklin arguably got the better of the standing exchanges, but Henderson didnít really get hurt and he ended the round on top grinding away. Iíd go Henderson 10-9 but to score for Franklin could well be arguable too.

Third and final round, and this is still anyoneís fight really. Franklin comes out the more aggressive, landing a left hand followed by a body kick. Hendo goes for a takedown but Franklin avoids and lands a jab, but they clinch for a moment and thatís enough for Henderson to get Ace down on his back again. As before Franklin shows a good guard, and this time he manages to reverse out, ending up taking an over/under where he lands a couple of good shots. They come back up to their feet in the clinch and Henderson definitely looks tired now. Franklin breaks the clinch with a one-two and now heís definitely the aggressor, landing punches from the outside as well as the odd kick to the body. Franklin clinches now and muscles Henderson into the cage, where he lands a good knee to the body. They break and Rich lands a straight left followed by a combo and a body kick, and Hendo answers with a high kick that causes him to slip to the floor. He pops back up though and Franklin presses forward, but takes a bad accidental poke in the eye that actually causes him to cry out in pain. Ref calls time but tells Franklin he canít have five minutes as thatís only for groin strikes. WTF? Apparently he only gets two minutes. They restart and thereís only about 30 seconds to go anyway. Very little happens though, presumably because Rich canít see clearly, and a brief exchange ends the fight.

Third round goes to Franklin on my scorecards which means Iíve got Henderson winning 29-28. The second round was very close though so I could see Franklin taking this too. Who knows? Judges indeed have it as a split decision, 29-28 Henderson, 30-27 Franklin (?) and 29-28 for Henderson. Decision Dan indeed! Not sure how youíd get 30-27 Franklin, but at least the right man won in my book.

Post-fight Henderson says he felt he definitely won the first two rounds and lost the third, but is baffled by the 30-27 for Franklin. You and me both, Dan! He admits Franklin was a really tough guy and did a good job to come back from the early part of the first round, before saying heís looking forward to coaching TUF.

Fight was decent if unspectacular in the end. I think when it came down to it, this was one of those fights that was never going to match up to the expectations going in, and when you actually step back and think about it for a second, we probably got what was always likely to happen Ė a fight that went the distance, was very close to call, with Henderson doing damage on the ground but Franklin being better standing and in the later rounds Ė as opposed to say a Griffin-Bonnar type ďwarĒ. In that sense it was a good fight and an acceptable main event, just not a great one.

-And the highlight reel rolls there.

Final Thoughts....

UFC 93 is actually a hard show to weigh up in the end. The good first Ė thereís no bad fights on the card, the prelims are all fun and have pretty explosive finishes, Kang-Belcher was a solid fight and Davis-Lytle, Palhares-Horn and Franklin-Henderson were all decent enough. On the flip side though, the majority of the prelims were basically squashes which is why they had explosive finishes, Davis-Lytle and Franklin-Henderson werenít quite as spectacular as one mightíve hoped, and thereís no classic fight here. Basically it boils down to how you see Shogun-Coleman. Like the whole show, thereís two sides to the coin Ė one side says the fight was extremely exciting, swung back and forth, and was very memorable, but the other side looks at it as a sloppy mess of a fight between one guy years past his prime and another horribly out of shape cardio-wise. Iím sort of in the middle, but if Iím honest, deep down I enjoyed it. So itís a mild recommendation for UFC 93 from me.

Best Fight: Lytle-Davis
Worst Fight: Drwal-Serati

Overall Rating: ***1/2

Coming Soon....

UFC: 94-98, Fight Nights 17-18, and TUF VIII Finale.
Pride: Shockwave 2005, Shockwave 2006, 31, Bushido 10-13 and the Openweight Grand Prix.
WEC: 34-40.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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