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UFC On Versus: Vera vs. Jones review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on June 11, 2010, 5:06 AM

UFC On Versus: Vera vs. Jones

Broomfield, Colorado

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. They discuss the UFC airing on Versus for the first time (it’s the same production as any UFC show though so it doesn’t really matter!) and then talk about the main event of Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera, mentioning that it’s odd that Vera’s not considered the up-and-comer any more.

Middleweight Fight: Alessio Sakara vs James Irvin

Odd choice for an opening match, especially as the undercard had Clay Guida fighting. I guess it only got moved here because Anthony Johnson dropped from his fight with John Howard with injury, and they basically were hoping for a quick KO (as both guys have some power but little in the way of iron chins), but let’s be fair – neither guy is going to contend for the 185lbs title any time soon. I was hoping for a quick, probably sloppy fight that would see Irvin win by KO. On an added note, I have *no* idea how Irvin made 185lbs here as he was always shredded at 205lbs!

Fight begins and Sakara connects with a right hand instantly, but doesn’t follow it up. Leg kick from the Italian but he slips to the ground and has to pop up before Irvin rushes him. Spinning backfist misses for Sakara. Little in the way of action thus far. One-two into a leg kick from Sakara. Couple of one-twos land for Sakara but not really cleanly. Low kick from Irvin lands. Left to the body from Sakara. Left hook to the jaw follows but doesn’t land flush. Sakara is easily getting the better of these exchanges. Left hook lands heavily and this time Irvin staggers back holding his eye and hits the deck. Announcers think he’s taken a finger to the eye, but the replay shows that it was a punch as opposed to a poke. Doctor comes in to check things out and Irvin’s panicking, claiming he got hit right in the eye and can’t open it. Uber-slow motion replay confirms it was a punch and so after some deliberation the ref throws the fight out and declares a TKO win for Alessio Sakara.

Man, that might be the crappiest, most anticlimactic end to a UFC fight ever. I mean, the fight hadn’t even got started really when the shot landed and I think Irvin just screwed up by thinking he could call time if he took a shot in the eye, but obviously if you’re punched there you can’t randomly take a break. Irvin has some of the strangest finishes in UFC history but this one tops the lot. Let it be known that the first UFC fight on Versus SUCKED. On a positive note though, referee Josh Rosenthal did a very good job.

-Shane Carwin joins Joe Rogan to discuss his upcoming fight with Frank Mir for the Interim HW Title. Before this they show a little box with Carwin facts and his average fight time is 1:07. That’s ridiculous. Obviously now he’s smashed Mir he’s in line to fight Brock Lesnar, and that’s a fight I cannot wait for.

Heavyweight Fight: Cheick Kongo vs Paul Buentello

This was an interesting fight, although I was expecting something fun-but-sloppy like most of Buentello’s outings. On paper this seemed like a horrible match for him as the last time he’d been badly beaten had been against Alistair Overeem, whose clinch-and-knee tactics in that fight sum Kongo up to a tee. I expected Kongo to finish the Headhunter early, possibly by body shots in the same way Overeem had three years prior.

Round One begins and Buentello dances around looking to strike, but Kongo quickly closes the distance and forces him into the fence. Kongo begins to work for the takedown and drags Paul down despite a desperation fence grab. Buentello tries to work to his feet, but Kongo pulls his legs from under him and works into half-guard. Again Buentello tries to get up, and this time Kongo gets a warning for grabbing the shorts. Kongo brings him down again though and we’re back to the same situation, with Buentello trying to stand and Kongo trying to keep him down. Good knee to the midsection lands for Kongo with Buentello in a squatted position. Finally Buentello escapes and we’re back on the feet, but then referee Herb Dean calls time as something’s wrong with Buentello’s hand. Herb is saying it’s something wrong with the glove, but it looks like he might’ve dislocated his finger or something. Doctor appears to do something, maybe pop it back in, and then Buentello decides to restart. Weird stuff. Kongo tries to throw strikes from the outside, then closes the distance, lands a combo and drops for a double leg, getting Buentello down again in half-guard. Good knee to the body from Kongo. Action slows down as Paul works into a squatted position again and then the ref brings them back up. Kongo comes forward, catching Buentello with a right hand that puts him down, and he pounces and lands some shots on the buzzer. 10-9 Cheick Kongo but it wasn’t the best round.

2nd round begins and Kongo opens with some kicks, including a nasty one to the outside leg. Combo backs Buentello up and they trade, before the Frenchman drops and gets a takedown to half-guard. This time some good shots land, but Buentello turns his back and Kongo gets a warning for hitting the back of the head. Buentello tries to work back to his feet, but Kongo keeps him down again. Odd warning this time as Kongo uses some downward elbows to the butt. Big knees land for Kongo but one lands to the head illegally and Herb calls time to let him recover. No point deduction though. They restart and Kongo pushes forward swinging before dropping with another single leg. Buentello tries to get up and eats some punches on the way before the Frenchman gets him back down. BIG KNEES TO THE BODY follow as Paul turtles up, but then he manages to stand but eats a punch before being taken back down. Little happens from there as Buentello manages to work to his feet from on his knees, and this time Kongo forces him into the cage and lands some knees. Buentello uses the shady tactic of dropping a hand in time with the knees to make them illegal, but Herb, god bless him, is having none of that and steps in to call time, telling Buentello he was “playing the game” so it’s no point deduction for Kongo. Nice. Glancing right hand lands for Buentello but Kongo closes the distance and opens up with a nasty combo that has Buentello covering up. Suddenly he fires back, so Kongo simply takes him down again and begins the beating once more. Buentello is doing little outside of turtling up now. Ref calls the restart and Kongo closes the distance with a right, then presses Buentello into the cage and lands some knees to the legs. Round ends there. 10-9 for Kongo on my scorecard.

Third and final round and Kongo closes the distance with another combo, drops for a takedown and gets it. Buentello turtles up again and Kongo ends up controlling him from the side, where he lands some elbows to the legs. Few more elbows...and Buentello taps? Huh. Is this the Weird Finish Show or something? Never seen a guy tap to elbows to the legs before. I guess Buentello had taken a beating leading up to that anyway though.

Fight went exactly how I’d expected as Buentello is the definition of a one-dimensional striker and Kongo (or his trainers) were smart enough to use a simple gameplan of takedowns and knees and elbows from the clinch and on the ground. Not a bad fight or anything but it got a bit tiresome due to well, Buentello being unable to do ANYTHING. This would unsurprisingly be his last fight in the UFC Octagon.

-Joe Rogan conducts a satellite interview with GSP about the Dan Hardy fight, and GSP as always claims it’ll be the toughest fight of his career. These interviews crack me up as GSP says pretty much the same thing going into every fight (“this is my toughest fight, but I’m in the best shape, I’ve prepared the best, etc”) but I still love him.

Heavyweight Fight: Junior Dos Santos vs Gabriel Gonzaga

This one had originally been set for UFC 108 before Gonzaga dropped out with injury, and let’s be honest – it’s a pretty great fight on paper. Most people were taking Dos Santos here as he’d been on a sick run since joining the UFC, finishing all four of his fights with strikes, but personally I felt Gonzaga was being underestimated a little – sure, he has a tendency to fold mentally sometimes, but talent-wise he’s still one of the most dangerous fighters in the division and he was far more proven on the ground than Dos Santos. I ended up taking Junior, but a win for Napao wouldn’t have surprised me.

First round begins and they circle before Gonzaga looks for one of his nasty leg kicks, doesn’t land cleanly though. Dos Santos moves around nicely from the outside, landing a right to the body, but Napao comes back with a leg kick and then shoots and gets JDS down. Scramble and Dos Santos gets to his feet with Gonzaga trying to grab a rear waistlock, but Junior slips free. Another leg kick lands for Napao. Dos Santos begins to use the left jab, and then follows it with a straight right hand. Head kick of DOOM narrowly misses for Napao. Dos Santos replies with one of his own that misses. Good jab to the body from Dos Santos. Napao throws a couple of leg kicks, but Dos Santos looks for the counter and he’s coming closer every time now. Head kick misses again for Napao and he throws another leg kick...but this time he eats a HUGE LEFT HOOK COUNTER that drops him hard! JDS pounces, passes over the guard, and a series of BRUTAL PUNCHES finish things.

Damn. The hope here was that Gonzaga would test Dos Santos’s ground game, but outside of the one takedown he never came close. About three minutes into the fight Dos Santos was looking to counter the leg kicks with a big shot, and sure enough once he landed, it was all over. This guy has scary power in his hands and the speed and explosiveness to make it count. The same questions still surround his ground game but hey, if he keeps knocking guys out like he’s done to every opponent he’s faced thus far then who cares? This was ANOTHER highlight reel finish for him and he might be the most exciting guy to watch at Heavyweight right now. Maybe. Who would ever have thought Heavyweight would become such an exciting division?

Welterweight Fight: John Howard vs Daniel Roberts

As I mentioned earlier, Howard was originally set to face Anthony Johnson in the opener, but injury struck and so Johnson was replaced by largely unknown Daniel ‘Ninja’ Roberts on late notice. This must’ve confused Joe Rogan horribly, as he CONSTANTLY called Howard ‘Roberts’ in his UFC debut for no good reason at all. Tremendous.

Opening round and Roberts comes out fast, pressing the action, but Howard lands with a nice leg kick and a right hand. Roberts responds with a takedown and gets Howard down with his first attempt. Howard gets a butterfly guard and uses it to explode to his feet, but Roberts grabs a standing kimura and drops and rolls into it. He winds up on top in the butterfly guard again and then opens up with some decent punches. Howard looks to roll for a leglock, but he’s taking a lot of punches from Roberts here. Howard scrambles, but leaves his head open and Roberts uses a front headlock to control him, only for Howard to explode to his feet and drop the newcomer with a BIG SLAM. Roberts immediately slaps on the rubber guard and turns into an oma plata, but Howard pulls out, and then from above he drops a trio of BRUTAL LEFT HANDS THAT KILL ROBERTS DEAD!~!

INSANELY brutal knockout. One of the most vicious I can ever recall seeing in the UFC. Roberts was out from the first shot and the two following punches were just for good measure, and the poor guy ended up stiff as a corpse with his eyes wide open. SICK. Howard is now 4-0 in the Octagon and probably needs a step up in competition to someone in or around the top ten, methinks. Super exciting fight with a nasty finish.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Brandon Vera vs Jon Jones

Another great fight on paper, this one saw Jones coming in as the big favourite after he’d pretty much destroyed Matt Hamill in December, odd disqualification aside. Vera meanwhile had been robbed of a win over Randy Couture by the judges back in November, and had then been robbed of a fight with Lil’ Nog due to an injury to the Brazilian. Personally it surprised me that Jones was such a big favourite, as Vera technically is a better striker standing and after seeing Randy struggle so much to take him down, I couldn’t see how Jones would fare any better. My upset pick here was Brandon Vera.

Fight begins and Jones quickly clinches, ignores a knee and trips Vera down to guard. Vera ties him up and looks calm, before Jones postures up and allows him to push off and get to his feet. Vera tries a leg kick but Jones blocks it, then grabs a clinch and delivers a knee. Takedown attempt from Jones and Vera tries to fight it off, but gets slammed to guard. Vera ties him up again, but takes a big left hand from Jones. Looks like Vera’s trying to isolate the right arm. Jones postures up, but takes an upkick to the face which is illegal, and Herb Dean calls time, taking a point from Vera too. Replay shows it was the correct call as Jones had one knee down. That’s one rule I’d change actually – why shouldn’t you be able to kick the head from your back? They restart in the same position and Jones postures up, but eats another upkick, this time to the neck. Jones drops back into the guard and covers the mouth, then delivers a VICIOUS LEFT ELBOW that hurts Vera badly! Jones breaks free of the guard and Vera’s obviously in AGONY as he turtles up and takes some more shots for the stoppage. Good LORD.

Replay shows the elbow connecting with sickening force and you actually see Vera’s face contort in pain. Looked like it connected directly with the eye socket and if I recall correctly, he actually ended up with more than one facial fracture from the shot. That might be the nastiest elbow strike I’ve ever seen in the UFC. Jones is clearly the real deal as he just destroyed Vera like nobody else had ever been able to do, not even huge guys like Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum. Insane that he’s only 22 and will probably develop into a far better fighter in a few years. People are talking about him as a future champion and I don’t think I can disagree with that. Looks like UFC are building him right too as he has Vladimir Matyushenko next rather than being thrown in with a top five guy or something. This guy might be the best prospect in all of MMA right now.

-Highlight reel rolls there and the show closes up.

Final Thoughts....

For a free TV card this was pretty decent, as having three sick finishes like Gonzaga-Dos Santos, Howard-Roberts and Jones-Vera in just five fights is always good. On the flip side, Kongo-Buentello got really repetitive and Sakara-Irvin was a waste of everyone’s time. Still, nothing outright stunk and while the lack of a truly great fight means it’s nowhere near as good a show as say, Fight Night 19, it’s still worth a look.

Best Fight: Howard-Roberts
Worst Fight: Sakara-Irvin

Overall Rating: ***1/4

Coming Soon....

UFC: 111-114, Fight Night 21
King of the Cage: Various shows

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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