UFC: Fight Night 19 review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on January 1, 2010, 10:17 AM
UFC: Fight Night 19
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Kenny Florian. They discuss the impact of the Ultimate Fighter – this show was the lead-in to TUF 10 – which segues them into discussing the main event of Nate Diaz, TUF 5 winner, against Melvin Guillard of TUF 2 fame. On a side note I really like Florian on commentary and he could definitely have a career on that side of the game once he finishes fighting.
Solid mid-card Middleweight fight to open then, as both men are usually pretty entertaining but aren’t exactly at the front of the queue for a title shot any time soon. Video package pre-fight even admits that, which is unusual given Zuffa usually try to push any televised fight as featuring “possible title contenders”. Quarry had last been seen picking up a good win over Jason MacDonald at UFC 97, while Credeur had been on an impressive little run since his TUF stint, beating Cale Yarbrough, Nate Loughran and Nick Catone to bring his UFC record to 3-0. Honestly you could toss a coin to pick a winner as it was a close fight on paper.
First round begins and both men press the action, throwing out some combos and feeler strikes. Good right hook from Quarry clips Credeur on the side of the head but it doesn’t have much effect. Couple of kicks to the body land glancingly for Credeur. Credeur begins to work some jabs as it looks like Quarry’s setting up a counter, but he hasn’t really landed yet. Overhand right misses for Quarry and Credeur lands a nice right hook counter. Combo from Credeur, answered by a left hand from Quarry that lands pretty flush. Goldberg mentions that Quarry’s only UFC losses are to Rich Franklin and Demian Maia, which, when you consider he’s had eight fights there, is pretty damn impressive. Suddenly a crisp combo from Credeur folds Quarry and he drops to his knees, and Credeur follows with some big punches over the top and then takes the back and spins right into a rear naked choke! Whoa. Quarry manages to wriggle out of the choke though, and scrambles to escape the mount, popping back up to his feet. Looks like his nose is busted up but that was a great escape. Seconds to go in the round now and it looks like Quarry’s recovered, but he takes another flurry right before the buzzer that really bloodies the nose. 10-9 for Credeur.
Replay between rounds shows it was the Serra-GSP punch to the back of the neck that dropped Quarry. And then we get an odd situation where Credeur’s cornermen have dropped ice in the cage, and the ref has to do a quick scrub before they can restart.
Second round and Quarry lands with a leg kick, but he’s leaving himself wide open for the counter and Credeur fires back with another nice combination. Good flurry from Credeur puts Quarry in trouble...but he counters with a BIG RIGHT HOOK that drops Credeur! Credeur pops back up, but gets decked again and suddenly *he’s* in trouble as Quarry drops some BOMBS inside the guard! Crowd are going insane now. Quarry works into half-guard momentarily, but Credeur’s clearly still with it as he manages to hip escape back to a full butterfly guard. Action slows a little as Credeur manages to stave off Quarry’s assault from the top, showing a solid defensive guard. Quarry keeps trying the ground-and-pound, landing some decent if not really damaging shots, and he avoids an attempt at an armbar too. We’ve got less than a minute to go now and it looks like Quarry’s going to ride out the round by punching in the guard. 10-9 for Nate Quarry there and this is going to be decided in the third.
Final round and Credeur comes out throwing a one-two to begin. BIG FLURRY from Credeur has Quarry covering up along the fence ala the first Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddell fight, but again Quarry counters with the BIG RIGHT HAND and Credeur goes down! Quarry drops into the guard again and pounds away, but again he can’t finish him off. Credeur’s chin and recovery powers are pretty damn good. They work back up to their feet and Credeur is still a little wobbly, but he begins to SWING and now both men are just throwing down with reckless abandon. Both guys land flush, but it looks like Credeur’s getting the worse end of it and his chin is right up in the air now as he’s clearly stunned badly. No idea how he’s still standing. Quarry lands again and Credeur drops to his back looking to pull guard, and surprisingly Nate obliges and drops down into the guard where he avoids an armbar. Few good punches from Quarry, but Credeur rolls for a heel hook. Nate manages to avoid it and works into side mount for a moment before Credeur rolls back into guard. About a minute to go now and Quarry is still in the guard, pretty much a copy of the end of the second round. Quarry looks tired now and the action slows, causing referee Herb Dean to stand them up with seconds to go. And sure enough Credeur throws a wild head kick in an attempt to finish, and then we get another wild trade to end the fight. Whew.
Hell of a brawl and I think Nate Quarry has to take it based on the second and third rounds. How Credeur got through the third I’m not sure. Judges have it 29-28, 29-27 and 29-28 for Quarry. Too sloppy to be considered a FOTYC or anything, but damn, you cannot fault either man for heart or effort and that was a pretty insane slugfest in the end. Say what you will about Credeur but the guy puts on a wild fight pretty much every time out. Great opener.
Fresh off a razor-close decision loss to Martin Kampmann (I actually had Condit winning the fight) in a bonafide FOTYC, former WEC champion Condit was originally set to face gatekeeper extraordinaire Chris Lytle here, but ‘Lights Out’ picked up a training injury and so UFC newcomer Jake Ellenberger – a Midwest fighter with an impressive record of 21-4 – stepped in to take the fight. Despite Ellenberger’s good record, he was giving up a substantial amount of reach to the Natural Born Killer, and being a big fan of Condit’s I didn’t see the newcomer being able to defeat him in this one.
We get underway and Ellenberger pushes forward right away, countering a body kick with a BIG RIGHT that drops Condit early! Condit quickly gets full guard and looks to control him as Ellenberger pins him into the fence. Condit does a really good job defensively from his back, preventing damage as Ellenberger tries to pound him. Good job from Condit to escape to his feet, but he takes a heavy left hand as he stands and looks to clinch. Knee from Condit and he breaks, and they circle off before Ellenberger counters a kick and lands the big right again! Another heavy one lands and Condit looks to be in serious trouble, folding up into the foetal position! Somehow Condit rolls and scrambles, avoiding being stopped, but Ellenberger gets an over/under from the side and locks up a D’Arce! Jake looks to lock it up, and whoa, looks like he just landed an illegal knee to the head that referee Leon Roberts missed. Suddenly though Condit pops free of the choke, explodes to his feet and lands two BIG KNEES from the plum clinch! A wild right hook from Ellenberger drops him face-first though and now Ellenberger POUNDS at the head with hammerfists, desperately trying to finish! Condit somehow survives though, and comes back with a takedown and gets full mount! Holy crap what a fight.
Punches from Condit but he slips on an armbar attempt and Jake reverses, then gets a guillotine as they stand and pulls guard. Condit manages to roll out of it though and ends up on his back in guard. Good elbows from Condit from his back now, as Ellenberger looks a little tired, but then they stand up and now Jake comes forward with a big left high kick and a right hand! Condit’s chin is INSANE. Finally they slow down a little and circle off, and now Condit gets on the offensive with a body shot before looking for a takedown to end the round. That was one of the best rounds I can remember seeing recently. 10-9 Ellenberger.
Round Two begins and Ellenberger is still swinging for the fences. Condit begins to press the action a little more though before Ellenberger hits a nice double leg to guard. Condit looks like the more active fighter on the ground though, working some nice elbows from his back while using his legs to control Jake. Exchange on the ground continues and Condit’s guard is excellent, just doing a tremendous job from his back of avoiding damage as well as landing shots of his own. Condit looks to be setting up for a kimura from his back, and it looks pretty deep as he uses it to sweep over, ending up in full mount! Elbows from Condit from the mount and now Ellenberger looks in trouble, giving his back momentarily before managing to slip free to half-guard. Condit works to mount again though and lands with some more elbows before attempting the Genki Sudo spinning rear naked choke, and he slips on that and winds up on his back in guard again. They exchange elbows from the guard before standing with seconds remaining, and the round ends with Condit just missing a flying knee. Well, Ellenberger was on top for a lot of the round, but I think Condit did more work from his back and he also got the mount and a close submission, so it’s 10-9 for Carlos Condit.
Third and final round and Condit pushes forward, landing a solid head kick, but Ellenberger shrugs it off and gets a takedown to guard. Again Condit begins to work from his back with punches and elbows, but a big elbow from Ellenberger appears to have Carlos cut. They stand back up and Ellenberger lands a good kick to the body, but a counter right sends him backwards and now Condit comes forward and hits a single leg. He lands in a guillotine from Ellenberger and it looks quite tight, but Condit slips into half-guard and then frees his head, and begins to go to work with elbows from the top. Unsurprisingly Ellenberger looks exhausted now, and Condit works to pass the half-guard before looking to set up a possible D’Arce. Good elbows from Condit and he prevents Jake from escaping to his feet, pinning him into the cage with punches. Ellenberger attempts to get a single leg, but gives his back and now Condit gets both hooks in and really begins to pound away. 90 seconds to go and Condit is in firm control now. Good job from Ellenberger to spin free out of an armbar though, and he gets into top position again. Condit kicks him away this time and they stand with a minute to go, and Condit stuffs a single leg and lands some elbows to the head, then spins out and takes the back with an over/under. Both hooks are in for Condit and he punches at the head before flattening Jake out! Unbelievable stuff as the buzzer sounds before Condit can finish. Well, I’ve got this 29-28 for Carlos Condit but it’s close.
We’re going to the judges, and it’s a split decision. 29-28 Condit...29-28 Ellenberger...and 29-28 for Carlos Condit. Right man won I think but wow, what a fight. I did see some fans online claiming Ellenberger should’ve gotten a 10-8 in the first round for the amount of times he had Condit close to being finished, which would’ve given him a win or draw, but really it wasn’t a truly one-sided round as Condit got a mount, which doesn’t translate as a 10-8 to me. Regardless, on a rewatch – and I’ve rewatched all the big fights this year now – this is the Fight of the Year to me, just edging out Sanchez-Guida, Thomson-Melendez, and Condit’s earlier fight with Martin Kampmann. Those fights were all great, and the first round of Sanchez-Guida was better, but I think this topped them all for the sheer drama of Condit being able to come back from such a beating in the first round to completely dominating by the end of the third. It actually had me yelling at the TV set, and that never happens! Never expected Ellenberger to put up such a fight, but the guy clearly belongs in the UFC and I can’t wait to see him fight again. As for Condit, he’s had three FOTYCs in his last three fights (vs. Ellenberger, Kampmann and Miura), how can you say a bad word about that?
-We segue into an interview with Rich Franklin, who starts by saying the UFC just don’t give him a break, as he’s now fighting Vitor Belfort after facing Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson in his last two. Tongue in cheek of course. They mention the odd situation where they announced Franklin-Henderson as the main for UFC 103 before Belfort came in from Affliction, and looking back that’s even stranger now when you consider Henderson wasn’t actually under contract at that point. Franklin puts over Matt Hume and says he’s trained hard for the fight, just your usual Rich Franklin interview really. Well, except for that time where he looked hung over right before the first time Anderson Silva butchered him.
In one of the more interesting cases in UFC in recent memory, Huerta had been pushed as a possible star from the moment he debuted in the organization, and it wasn’t without good reason. Not only did he have cover-model looks, but he regularly put on the most exciting fight on any card he was involved on, had a crazy backstory that made him one of the most sympathetic characters in MMA, and he could also speak perfect Spanish, making him marketable to the Latino crowd. Huerta reeled off five wins on the bounce in the UFC – so far, so good – but then things got a little heated around the summer of 2008. In the build to his fight with Kenny Florian – the toughest of his career and a fight that could possibly put him in line for a title shot – Roger seemed pre-occupied, complaining about all the PR work the UFC had him doing, demanding a pay raise despite not truly being a PPV draw or anything at that point, and generally seemed disillusioned with MMA on a whole. After losing in a disappointing showing to Florian, Huerta announced that once he’d finished his UFC contract – one fight left on the deal – he’d be quitting fighting to go into acting full time after gaining a role in the new Tekken movie.
Naturally – we’ve seen this before with guys like Andrei Arlovski, remember? – Zuffa immediately stopped pushing Huerta as a star and didn’t book him on any upcoming cards. He became the forgotten man of the UFC and it wasn’t until this card – well over a year after the Florian fight – that he was finally announced as fighting. Of course, he’d also been matched with a guy who, on paper, was the worst possible fight for him in Gray Maynard – the powerful wrestler with the ever-developing boxing game. So this was expected to be Huerta’s final fight. Naturally as a big fan of his I was pulling for him to win this one somehow, but in all honesty I didn’t expect it to happen as Maynard appeared to have the advantage in all areas, and I have to say, I don’t blame Zuffa for booking a fight like this as why would they want Huerta to win on his way out?
Crowd give a big pop to Huerta in his ring introduction, clearly not forgetting how big a star he was just a short while ago. Big pop for Maynard too, this is a great crowd.
Round One gets underway and Huerta takes the center of the Octagon, looking surprisingly calm considering his past fights. Maynard presses into the clinch, but Huerta manages to muscle him off as the crowd chant for El Matador. Maynard pushes forward with some punches, but Huerta does a good job of countering until Gray lands a hard right hand that Roger shrugs off. Exchange of punches and Maynard catches him off balance with a right that causes Huerta to back up. Huerta quickly starts coming forward again though, throwing some kicks. Good right lands for Gray but Huerta eats it right up and keeps coming forward. Huerta begins to throw some heavy blows, and lands a good flurry that forces Maynard to cover up! Maynard gets firmly on the retreat as Huerta pushes forward and throws some more combos, shaking his head as Gray counters with a right that lands. Ah, how I missed Roger Huerta! Stiff jab lands for Maynard but he still looks slightly flustered, and then he shoots in for a double leg but Huerta shows some excellent defense by stuffing it, even when Gray drives him into the cage. Huerta gets back to his feet and lands another flurry, and the round ends there. Very, very surprising round that I’d score for Roger Huerta.
Round Two begins with Huerta switching stances a couple of times and throwing strikes from the outside. This patient version of Huerta is looking great. Wild trade follows though, but neither man really lands clean. Hard left hook lands for Maynard as he backs up to avoid a flurry. Couple of decent low kicks from Huerta, but a counter left from Maynard knocks him off balance a bit. Low kick from Huerta lands but Gray counters with a good right that wobbles Roger. Flurry from Huerta answers, but Gray’s movement is looking much better in this round and he counters with a jab and a body shot. STIFF JAB from Maynard drops Huerta for a split second, but he pops back up instantly. Huerta begins to push forward with a good leg kick and a combo, but Maynard’s footwork is excellent and he isn’t being caught like in the first round now. Good one-two lands for Gray. This isn’t as wild as the previous fights, but it’s a great fight nonetheless. Striking exchange continues and the round ends with a trade. Better round for Maynard there, 10-9.
Into Round Three and Huerta looks determined. He pushes forward, but an overhand left lands for Gray as Roger steps in and it slows El Matador down a little. Huerta comes forward with another flurry, but Maynard manages to avoid the brunt of it, only taking a knee to the body cleanly. Roger really pushes forward now but a double leg from Maynard plants him on the ground. Roger gives his back to attempt an escape, but Gray keeps him down and looks to pull him away from the fence to stop him wall-walking to his feet. Now Huerta looks for a double leg in the scramble, but Maynard stuffs that and works into a rear waistlock before dumping Huerta as soon as he stands. Good punches from Maynard as he traps the arm for a moment, but Huerta scrambles back to butterfly guard. Roger gives his back again and then rolls, but now Gray gets on top in half-guard and locks up a kimura! He’s got his legs wrapped around the upper body too and Roger’s arm is at a SICK ANGLE, and I have NO IDEA how it’s not breaking! Crowd go CRAZY as somehow Huerta fights through it and winds up on top! You CANNOT submit this guy. Maynard manages to turn into him though and then works to put Huerta on his back once again. Roger manages to work to his feet off another scramble, proving incredibly hard to keep down, and the round ends with them exchanging on the fence. Maynard’s round so I have it 29-28 for him.
And it’s another split decision, with the judges going 29-28 Huerta, 30-27 Maynard and 30-27 for Gray Maynard to take the victory. Certainly didn’t come as easily as some people might’ve expected though, as Huerta fought an excellent fight and had Gray in some trouble in the first round. The second round saw a bit of a turnaround though as Maynard’s footwork and striking looked better, and he largely dominated the third round on the ground. At this point while he’s not the most exciting fighter (not that this fight wasn’t great) he’s definitely one of the biggest threats in the 155lbs division and I’d give him a good chance of beating anyone not named BJ Penn. As for Huerta, this proved that he still has the talent to hang in there with the best in the world, and whether he re-signs with the UFC or heads to Strike Force, I’ll definitely follow him as he’s such an exciting guy to watch. I just hope he doesn’t go to Bellator!
After an unsuccessful start to 2009 with losses to Clay Guida and Joe Stevenson, I guess Zuffa wanted to rebuild Diaz and so he was thrown a stylistically good fight in Guillard, who was coming off a surprising win over Gleison Tibau in June. I mean sure Melvin is athletic as hell and hits like a mach truck, but his ground game is still severely lacking even after years of apparently improving it, and Diaz is a whiz on the mat and is hardly a bad fighter standing either. My feeling was that if Melvin could somehow keep this on his feet then he would have a chance, but that was highly unlikely and the most likely result was Diaz by some sort of submission.
We begin and Melvin comes out of the gate and DECKS HIM WITH A RIGHT! Diaz scrambles to get guard as Guillard looks to follow up, but then he smartly decides to let Diaz back up to his feet. Diaz begins to push forward with some strikes, but Melvin shows some great head movement to avoid them and they clinch. Guillard breaks off and they exchange before Melvin misses an overhand right, allowing Diaz to clinch and double leg him down. Guillard quickly scrambles to get his back to the fence though and stands up, and from there he delivers a beautiful hip throw to drop Diaz onto his back in guard! Again though Melvin plays the smart game and stands right back up. They begin to talk trash at one another and then push into the clinch, where Diaz takes him down again. Like before Melvin looks to get his back to the fence to escape to his feet, but this time Diaz mounts on the legs to prevent him from doing so. Nice explosion allows Melvin to escape to his feet though and he separates. Diaz looks cut badly over the right eye, but he swings some punches as he comes forward, with Melvin using good head movement to stay out of range. Diaz clinches, and then breaks with an elbow, but he takes a right hand coming off the cage and the two fighters taunt each other again. Diaz comes forward looking to close the distance, but Melvin’s movement here is tremendous and he’s avoiding basically everything Nate is throwing. Seconds remaining and Guillard lands with a beautiful body kick. Diaz keeps throwing his combos, but Melvin uses sick head movement to avoid ala Anderson Silva, and ends the round with a throw. Great round for Melvin Guillard.
Second round gets started and again Melvin uses head movement to avoid Diaz’s combinations. Good counter from Melvin and he follows with the body kick again. Elbow from Melvin breaks a brief clinch and he goes back to avoiding Diaz’s strikes, but Nate manages to clinch and forces Melvin into the cage, where he works him over with knees to the body. Good throw from Guillard drops Diaz into guard, but when he tries to set up a leglock Melvin stands free. Combo from Diaz but Melvin ducks under and goes for a rear waistlock, but Diaz immediately grabs his arm for the Sakuraba turning kimura. They break off and Melvin lands with a nice combination, but Diaz keeps coming forward. Left hand from Diaz sends Melvin wobbling backwards...but it looks like he’s playing possum as he comes leaping forward with a right and then hits a double leg....but on the way down Diaz gets a TIGHT GUILLOTINE locked in and squeezes it for the tapout!
Damn. That was perhaps the best I’ve seen Melvin fight since his win against Gabe Ruediger in 2006, and yet he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by leaving his head out there for one second. I mean, standing, his head movement was looking amazing to avoid basically everything Diaz threw, he was lighting him up with punches and he was able to get up every time he got taken down. You just can’t mess around with a guy like Nate Diaz on the ground though, and in the end Melvin just wasn’t able to damage him enough standing to get him out of there before he was caught in the submission. Hugely exciting fight overall, which is pretty much what you expect every time Nate Diaz steps into the cage. Guy is just an animal.
-And the show ends with Diaz celebrating as we segue into TUF 10.
Unbelievable show. As far as four straight fights go, they don’t get much better than this one. I mean, Maynard-Huerta as worst fight of the night? Come on. We got what I’d consider the Fight of the Year in Condit-Ellenberger, an insane brawl in Credeur-Quarry, a very energetic main event in Diaz-Guillard and Maynard-Huerta was a great fight in its own right, back-and-forth with some great work standing and on the ground. As with a lot of free shows my one criticism would be that they didn’t manage to show any prelims (Buchholz-Stephens was especially good) but really that’s due to timing as opposed to quality of the fights, and with fights of this quality how can you complain? Probably the best MMA show of 2009, just edging out UFC 102.
Best Fight: Condit-Ellenberger
Worst Fight: Maynard-Huerta
Overall Rating: ****3/4
Strike Force: Fedor vs. Rogers and Evolution
King of the Cage: Various shows