The first bout hit with injury on this card, Salter was initially slated to fight Nick Catone here, but ended up faced with veteran MacDonald when Catone pulled out with a back injury. MacDonald had reeled off three wins in a row following his last UFC run and I expected him to continue that run by taking out the inexperienced Salter in this one.
First round begins and Salter steps in early with a nice uppercut. Into the clinch and they muscle for position, but MacDonald uses a whizzer to defend the takedown and stays on his feet. They muscle along the cage before MacDonald breaks off. Leg kick from MacDonald. Into the clinch again and Salter looks for the takedown once more, muscling MacDonald to the fence again. Crowd begin to get restless and Dan Miragliotta calls a clean break. Good high kick from MacDonald and Salter answers with a takedown...but on the way down MacDonald’s leg gets caught under him and he taps out, looking like he’s in a ton of pain. Ugh. And to make matters worse Salter behaves like a PRICK, celebrating like he’s won the Olympic gold medal despite doing nothing for the win as it was a freak accident.
Replay shows a clear, horrific leg break. Awful stuff, nothing more to be said. I hope Salter takes a vicious beating next time out though because it’s real shitty to celebrate something like that. Hopefully MacDonald makes a swift recovery.
Longtime KOTC veteran Guymon had made his UFC debut in January, less than a year after a failed suicide attempt (!) but had lost to Rory MacDonald, and to be honest I couldn’t see him winning this one either as despite a nasty loss last time out, Yoshida to me was still one of the more underrated fighters at 170lbs.
Fight gets underway and Guymon closes the distance with a flurry of punches, but Yoshida quickly forces him into the fence. Yoshida looks for double underhooks, but he botches a trip and Guymon ends up on top in half-guard. Yoshida goes for an arm-in guillotine, but it doesn’t look tight and Guymon punches the legs before passing into side mount. Guymon pops his head free as Yoshida gets back to full guard, and he lands a solid elbow before Yoshida scrambles to his feet. Standing guillotine from Guymon now and he defends a single leg, letting go of the guillotine in the process. They exchange some knees in the clinch before the referee breaks them. Combo misses for the Joker but he lands with a body kick. Good right hand lands for Guymon and puts Yoshida on the back foot, but the Japanese fighter fires back with a high kick. Into the clinch and Joker gets a takedown, and lands some HEAVY elbows and hammer fists from the top, ending the round with an exclamation point. Guymon pretty much stole the round with the last thirty seconds or so. 10-9 Joker.
Second round and Joker backs him up with some punches before Yoshida answers with a kick and a flurry. Takedown from Joker and he passes instantly into side mount, although Yoshida is seated against the cage. Full mount now for Joker and he lands some solid shots as Yoshida tries to use the cage to sweep. Joker avoids but Yoshida manages to get to his feet n the clinch. Yoshida pulls guard to try a guillotine, but Joker pops out into the guard and lands punches to the body. Reversal from Yoshida and he gets to his feet and looks for a double leg, but Guymon blocks it and then transitions to take the back! No hooks in though and Yoshida hits a roll into half-guard. Joker passes to mount though and this time takes the back with both hooks. It looks like he’s got the rear naked choke sunk...but Yoshida manages to wriggle free and escapes into Joker’s guard! Nice. Guymon rolls for an armbar from the bottom, but Yoshida avoids it and works to pass the guard. Full mount from Yoshida, but Guymon scrambles back to guard. Into side mount now for the Japanese star but he doesn’t do much from the position and Guymon actually attempts a D’Arce from the bottom. Yoshida manages to avoid that, and then looks to take the back, but Joker blocks the attempt and eats a couple of elbows as the round ends. Great round from a grappling perspective. Hard to score too as it was all Guymon early, but Yoshida took over late on. I’ll go 10-10.
Third round begins and Guymon lands a pair of hard body kicks right away. Good right hand from Guymon puts Yoshida firmly on the back foot, and he’s swinging for the fences now looking to finish. Yoshida survives though but Joker continues to press, landing a nice right hand again. Good combo from Guymon, but Yoshida dives for a double leg and gets him down. Joker scrambles into half-guard nicely and then moves into full guard, before attempting to roll for a leglock. Yoshida shows some good skill to reverse and take the back, but Guymon then turns into him and lands some elbows. Yoshida tries for the takedown again, but Guymon uses a front headlock to force him to the ground in top position. Full mount from Joker and then Yoshida gives his back again. Joker’s got both hooks this time and he lands some heavy elbows to the side of the head as Yoshida defends the choke. Guymon turns back into mount before Yoshida hip escapes to half-guard. Reversal attempt from Yoshida, but he ends up with his head trapped against the cage, and Guymon hits some BRUTAL back elbows to the face with the Japanese fighter stuck! Never seen that before. Yoshida looks in trouble now and continues to take some shots, before Guymon moves away from the fence and gets into half-guard. More elbows to the head and body from Joker as he finishes the round in style. I’ve got that 10-9 for Guymon giving him the win 30-28.
Judges give it to Mike Guymon, 30-27 all around, and post-fight he’s in tears, possibly the most emotional celebration I’ve ever seen in the UFC in fact. If that doesn’t move you then you’re not human, period. Insane that the guy could go from attempting suicide less than a year before this and now he’s in the UFC beating a top twenty ranked guy like Yoshiyuki Yoshida. You have to admire that. Really good grappling-based fight, too.
Beltran had surprised everyone with his win over Rolles Gracie in February, and he was initially faced with another big challenge in the form of unbeaten newcomer Chad Corvin, but after the Quebec Athletic Commission sidelined the debutant for reasons unknown, ‘Thrashing Machine’ Hague stepped in, guaranteeing what would most likely be a sloppy slugfest.
We get underway and Beltran moves around on the outside before they exchange and Hague muscles him into the fence. Beltran pushes him off quickly though and circles out again. Single leg attempt from Hague but Beltran shows some solid takedown defense to remain standing. Good punches inside for Joey and he breaks off again. Combination has Hague leaning back and he looks almost worried about getting hit. Well, getting KOd by Todd Duffee in seven seconds will do that to you I guess. Good flurry lands for Beltran. Hague forces him into the fence again to attempt a takedown, but Beltran again manages to avoid it. Good job from Joey. Combination follows and puts Hague on the defensive again. Good sprawl from Beltran to avoid a takedown and he breaks with a knee. Another flurry lands for the Mexecutioner. Hague sporting a bloody nose now. Beautiful combination from Beltran lands flush and sends Hague on the run. Solid leg kick from Hague but he eats another combo. He manages to force Beltran into the cage again, but still can’t take him down. Good left hook from Hague. Another pair of hooks land for Joey though and Hague looks to be in trouble here. Hague tries to fire back, but Beltran ends with another strong combo. 10-9 Beltran easily.
Second round and Beltran comes out firing jabs, landing a combo early that causes Hague to wince. Big one-two from Hague wobbles the Mexecutioner though and we get a WILD TRADE that pops the crowd! Nice. Beltran comes back with a flurry of his own, but then settles into moving around on the outside to keep his distance. Big shots from Hague force Beltran into the cage and they trade wildly again, throwing down like two big drunks outside a bar. This is sloppy as hell but its fun too. Hague looks EXHAUSTED now, taking in enough oxygen to deprive the front row. Left hand lands for Beltran. Beltran begins to back him up with the punches again, similar to the first round. Hague fires back again though and these dudes are swinging for the fences. Wild hooks land somehow for Hague and put Beltran on the retreat. Another trade ends the round. Close round to score but I’d lean towards Hague meaning this is anyone’s fight, assuming neither guy passes out from exhaustion in their corner between rounds.
Third and final round and they trade jabs right away. Hague pushes forward, but Beltran looks a little fresher in his movement. Takedown attempt from Hague and this time he’s successful, but he shows some poor base and Beltran sneaks out and escapes to his feet. Good combination from Beltran lands again and Hague’s defense looks poor, leaning his head straight back. Couple of decent leg kicks land for the Mexecutioner too. BIG leg kick from Hague spins Beltran right round, like a record baby, and he follows with a BIG SLAM! Beltran lands in full guard as Hague rears up and tries to drop some bombs. He tries to move to side mount, but Beltran escapes to his feet and lands with a combo! Hague is running on empty here and Beltran lands a couple of leg kicks and a big uppercut. Somehow Hague fires back with a big combo, despite looking on the verge of an asthma attack, but he’s too exhausted to follow up. Credit to both guys though as they’re still swinging. Takedown follows for Hague and he tries to hop into side mount, but can’t quite manage it. He does pass to full mount though, but looks too tired to muster any real offense. One minute to go and he finally opens up with a big flurry, but Beltran defends enough to avoid a stoppage and manages to reverse to top position! Elbows land for Beltran, cutting Hague open on the forehead, and Beltran then decides to bring the fight back to the feet where both men swing wildly to end it! Close fight to score, not sure how I’d go to be honest.
Judges score it 30-27, 30-26 and 29-28, unanimous decision for Joey Beltran. Well, that fight won’t be winning any awards for technique but you have to give it to those guys, they came out and fucking FOUGHT, even when they were gassed. What more can you ask for from fighters who, if we’re fair, aren’t exactly top ten in the world material? All this needed was Hague tumbling down in Brad Imes fashion and it would’ve been a guilty classic in my eyes.
This to me was the most interesting prelim fight, as both men had shown a lot of skill in their previous UFC outings and Hendricks in my opinion is one of the best up-and-comers in the sport period. Grant though had shown dangerous skills both standing (vs. Kevin Burns) and on the ground (vs. Ryo Chonan) and so this was a major test for Hendricks at this stage in his career. Such a pity, by the way, that Grant shaved his mountain man beard off for this one as he could’ve rivalled Hendricks in those stakes! Actually, nobody could rival Johny’s beard I don’t think.
Round One and they circle before Hendricks throws a right hand, countered with a high kick from Grant. Knee from TJ but Hendricks forces him into the cage and gets the takedown. Grant looks to work into full guard while Hendricks looks to pass, but the Canadian reverses to his feet and they exchange from close range for a moment. One-two lands for Hendricks. Grant comes back with a stiff right hand and a body kick. Crowd begin a loud chant for TJ as he closes in and lands a solid knee from the plum clinch. Striking exchange continues with both men landing some decent shots, before Grant lands a brutal groin kick that drops Johny to the ground. Nasty stuff. Ref calls time and allows Hendricks to recover, and they restart with a pretty wild trade, both men landing but TJ getting slightly the better of it with some knees. Hendricks looks for the takedown, but Grant manages to block it and muscles off. Exchange continues and for a wrestler and a BJJ guy these guys are doing some nice work standing. Three right hands land for Grant and back Hendricks up, but he clinches to recover. Grant getting the better of the exchanges now, but he surprisingly shoots for a takedown which Hendricks stuffs. Hendricks looks for one of his own, finding more success and putting TJ on his back in half-guard. Grant kicks him away though and springs back to his feet, where he comes forward with some more strikes including a beautiful knee to the body to finish out the round. Close round but I’d give it to TJ Grant I think, 10-9.
2nd round and TJ pushes forward, but eats a left hand and a leg kick early. Combination from Grant lands but Hendricks keeps firing back. Into the clinch and TJ looks for some knees, but Hendricks catches the leg and slams him down. Hendricks avoids a triangle attempt and moves into side mount, but Grant escapes back to full guard. Good right hand from Hendricks from the top. Grant looks for a butterfly sweep, and then manages to get to his feet, pushing forward with another knee. Exchange continues with Hendricks landing some good uppercuts from close range. Grant continues to push forward with combos though. Into the clinch and Johny muscles him into the fence, but Grant breaks off. Big combo lands for TJ and looks to have Hendricks in trouble, but Johny quickly hits a double leg and dumps TJ on his back. Grant gets full guard and locks it up as Hendricks chops at the body, then avoids an attempted oma plata. Grant stays active from his back and avoids any damage, so Hendricks stands up and allows him to his feet. Both men still swinging and landing some decent shots. Hendricks looks for the takedown again, but Grant blocks and lands a pair of right hands. Grant continues to push forward, and they trade on the buzzer. Really close round to score. I’d probably go 10-10 in fact I think.
Third and final round of what could still be either man’s fight. They trade leg kicks to open with Hendricks landing some nice ones, but Grant lands another one square to the groin that folds Johny up. Ref calls time and this time he takes a point from Grant. Hendricks recovers and they restart, trading kicks again before Grant misses a flying knee and eats some punches for his troubles. BIG Matt Hughes-style slam from Hendricks follows, but Grant manages to tie him up in full guard again. Hendricks passes into half-guard, but only for a moment as TJ slides back to full guard. Hendricks decides to stand back up and Grant joins him, coming forward with punches, but Hendricks is beginning to outwork him standing now and he lands some good shots. They continue to trade off in the clinch, before Hendricks drops and goes for another takedown, using a double leg to put TJ on his back again. He passes to half-guard, but Grant uses the fence to pivot off into full guard. He works back up to his feet, but Hendricks drops and gets a single leg almost into full mount. Good punches and elbows land from the top for Hendricks as Grant moves back to guard, and then he decides to let him back up. Grant lunges in with a combo, but Hendricks fires back again and then follows with another takedown. Into half-guard for Johny and he tries to pass, but TJ does a good job from his back again to avoid. Couple of elbows land for Hendricks from the top and he finishes the round with a flurry of really good shots. Round goes to Hendricks and with the point deduction it’s 10-8, so I have him winning the fight 29-28.
Judges have it as a majority decision, 29-27, 29-27 and 28-28, giving Johny Hendricks the win. Crowd boo wildly but I think it was the right decision. Really good fight, back-and-forth stuff throughout, and both men came away looking good I thought. Hendricks though continues to rise up the division and I definitely think he’ll be looking at the top ten either at the end of this year or early in 2011. Definitely a blue-chip prospect.
On paper there weren’t many fights easier to predict than this one, Davis being one of the best strikers in the 170lbs division and Goulet sporting one of the weakest chins out there, no offense meant. I figured Goulet would try to trade with the Irish Hand Grenade and pay for it with an early KO loss.
First round begins and they circle around with Goulet missing a high kick. Decent head kick lands for Goulet and he gets a takedown, but Marcus instantly reverses and scrambles to his feet. Body kick lands for Goulet but Davis counters and clips him with a short punch that wobbles his legs badly. Clinch attempt by Goulet but Marcus blocks the takedown and breaks off. Goulet circles out and then closes into the clinch, but this time Davis secures a guillotine and drops to full guard. Choke looks tight with no arm in, but Goulet guts it out and manages to break free to a massive crowd pop. Goulet on top now and he looks to move to a dominant position, but Davis posts up on the fence and gets to his feet. Goulet looks for the takedown again though and gets it, dropping into side mount with Davis seated against the fence. Davis works his way back up again and holds the guillotine, but his arms look too tired to try for the squeeze again and they break off. Body kick from Davis is caught and Goulet gets the takedown to guard. Good job from Goulet to avoid being kicked off and remain on top, and then he lands a couple of solid punches from the position. Nice roll from Davis brings him back to his feet, but Goulet quickly secures another takedown. Good punches again from Goulet and then he attempts to drop for a leglock, but Davis pulls out as the round ends. Good opening round. 10-9 Goulet I’d say although the choke attempt made it close.
Second round and Davis comes out with a low stance. He scores with a left hand and then a right hook that drop Goulet, but the Canadian manages to secure guard to remain in the fight. Big right hand from Davis lands from the top, and he passes to half-guard, but Goulet manages to reverse up to his feet. Davis breaks off and Goulet steps in, but walks into a right hand and a short left hook that causes him to DROP FACE FIRST!~! and the ref stops it there.
Fun little fight actually; Goulet did well, but in the end his chin betrayed him again as literally the first clean shot that Davis landed put him out. Good win for Davis though to stop himself going on a three-fight skid.
Lawlor’s original opponent had been fellow TUF alumni Tim Credeur, but when Credeur pulled out with injury the ever-dependable Joe Doerksen stepped up to the plate, making this his fourth UFC fight on short notice. With that in mind – as well as Lawlor’s ever-improving skills – I thought this was the Filthy Mauler’s fight to lose. In typical Lawlor fashion too, he decided to dress as Dan Severn for the weigh-in, so he’s sporting a HUGE moustache for this fight.
Fight gets started and Doerksen lands with a kick to the body. Combo from Lawlor has Doerksen lunging for the clinch, but Lawlor breaks and both men begin to swing for the fences. Good combo from Lawlor, answered with some knees by Doerksen. They continue to exchange punches and Lawlor definitely seems to be getting the better of it. Good body kick from Doerksen. They exchange again and this time a big left hook puts Doerksen down, and Lawlor pounces, looking for the finish! Good job from Doerksen to survive and he gets back to his feet, but he looks wobbly and Lawlor nails him with some more punches before Doerksen suddenly fires right back! Big punches have Doerksen wobbling all over the place though, and Doerksen ends up covering up along the fence. It looks like Doerksen’s going out, but somehow he remains on his feet and delivers some knees from the plum clinch. Man, this is becoming a WAR. Lawlor continues to swing, but he looks tired now and Doerksen begins to fire back again. Striking exchange continues and now both men are markedly slower. Good combination from Doerksen and Lawlor looks bloody. Right hand puts Doerksen down for a second, but a follow-up punch sees Lawlor stumble to the ground. Single leg attempt from Lawlor but Doerksen works to defend it, and the round ends there. Hell of a round.
2nd round and Doerksen opens with a head kick, answered by a right hand from Lawlor. They continue to trade strikes and now Doerksen wobbles Lawlor with a right. Trade continues and in a reversal of fortune Doerksen looks to be getting the better of it now. Single leg attempt from Lawlor as he catches a kick, but he botches it badly and on the way down, Doerksen snakes around and takes the back, before securing a rear naked choke out of nowhere for the tapout!
Tremendous win for Joe Doerksen, especially when you consider that he took the fight on short notice, but if we’re honest Lawlor snatched defeat from the jaws of victory here simply due to conditioning, as he was exhausted after a wild first round and couldn’t get going in the second. Looks like he needs to work on that side of things as this is the second fight in a row that cardio has cost him. Really good fight, though! Total brawl from start to finish with neither man giving an inch.
Really intriguing one here, as Belcher had looked fantastic in his last three fights, most recently beating Wilson Gouveia, while Cote was coming off over a year on the shelf following the knee injury suffered in his title challenge against Anderson Silva. I expected this to be a striking match and while Cote packs more raw power, I thought Belcher would be able to use his more refined arsenal to piss the Canadian crowd off with a victory.
1st round begins and the crowd are white-hot for Cote already. Belcher immediately looks to fire off some kicks, but his hands look low to me. Good body kick from Belcher and he follows with another. Cote lunges in to counter, but takes a kick to the groin and referee Mario Yamasaki calls time, causing the crowd to boo Belcher wildly. Hey, I’m sure he didn’t mean it. Fight restarts and Cote pushes forward with a flurry. Belcher continues to throw powerful kicks, then follows with a good left hand. Good combination from Cote but Belcher covers up and deflects some of it. Nice exchange of punches from both men. Body kick again from Belcher. Crowd singing loudly for Cote. Belcher is almost telegraphing the body kick now but he is landing. Quick clinch but they break fast. Takedown from Cote and he lands some punches to the head and body from inside Belcher’s guard. Belcher looks for a butterfly sweep, but Cote defends and passes to half-guard. Cote looks for a far-side kimura ala Matt Hughes, and it looks pretty solid, but he can’t get out of the half-guard to finish it and Belcher manages to escape and reverse into top position in half-guard. Belcher looks to set up an arm triangle and passes to side mount, but he’s on the wrong side to finish it and lets go. Nice elbow from Belcher bounces Cote’s head off the mat. Reversal from Cote and he looks for a takedown, but Belcher scrambles and gets back on top in half-guard to end the round. Great round. 10-9 Belcher.
Second round and Cote counters an early kick with a right hand before Mario Yamasaki steps in to remind Belcher he needs to put his mouthpiece in. How do you forget something like that? They restart and another body kick lands for Belcher. Good left hook from Cote puts him on the back foot though. Combo lands for Cote as he begins to push the action a little more. Big flurry from Cote and Belcher looks in trouble for a moment, but he fires back with a good kick and a right hand. Into the clinch now and Belcher muscles him into the fence. Knees from Belcher inside the clinch but Cote comes back with some punches and breaks with a pair of rights. They trade with both men landing, and then Belcher hits a hard knee to the body before Cote tackles him to the ground. Belcher looks to post up the fence to get to his feet, but Cote drops for the takedown again. This time though Belcher underhooks the body and DROPS HIM WITH A MOTHERFUCKING PEDIGREE!~! Holy SHIT. Cote looks in trouble having face-planted right into the mat, and Belcher quickly spins onto the back and LOCKS UP THE CHOKE!~! Crowd are horrified but COTE TAPS.
Man, I forgot what a great fight that was. Awesome action throughout and both men got their fair share of offense in, but Belcher looked slightly more ‘on’ from the beginning and ended up getting the victory. Post-fight they discuss whether the Pedigree was illegal, but the rules state that you can’t spike a guy onto the top of his head, and technically Belcher face-planted him so it was fine. Huge win for Belcher and I really, really hope he can recover from the shitty eye injury he’s suffering with now as this win put him on the cusp of the top ten and I think he would’ve beaten Demian Maia to put himself well within range of a title shot had he been able to take that fight.
Alright, so there’s not many fighters I’d root for Kimbo Slice over, but Mitrione is one of them – I don’t think I’ve been so annoyed by a guy on TUF since probably Marlon Sims on TUF 5 – and I actually figured Kimbo had a good chance here, as well, Mitrione hadn’t really shown much skill outside of punching power in his TUF run. Pre-fight sees Mitrione leaping around the cage like a fucking retard. UGH.
Fight gets started and Mitrione is still fucking grinning. Damn do I hate this guy. High kick misses for Meathead. Right hand lands for Kimbo and pops the crowd, and he follows by countering a kick with a BIG SLAM! They scramble as they hit the deck and Mitrione looks to secure mount, but Kimbo slams him again only to wind up in a triangle! Kimbo looks in trouble but the submission doesn’t look quite synched in and Kimbo manages to slip free. Mitrione tries it again, but this time Kimbo escapes into side mount. Not much happening from the position as Mitrione regains half-guard. Reversal from Mitrione and he gets to his feet in the clinch, holding a front headlock before Kimbo gets him down again. Full guard this time from Mitrione. Mitrione goes for the triangle again, but he can’t get it locked up properly and Kimbo slides out and then lets him up to his feet. Kimbo looks gassed. They exchange some sloppy strikes and Mitrione hits him with a leg kick. Big knee and a leg kick lands for Mitrione and Kimbo looks exhausted. Kick to the knee puts Kimbo down and he dives for a leg as Mitrione looks for an anaconda choke. He rolls through, but can’t quite lock it up right and the round ends to save Kimbo. Both men had their moments there but I think Mitrione stole the round late on.
Round Two and Mitrione opens up with a combo. Kimbo circles out and then clinches, but this time he can’t get Meathead down and Mitrione breaks with a knee. Mitrione begins to land shots at will, hitting Kimbo with some big leg kicks that cause him to limp. A couple more kicks have Kimbo stumbling to the ground and Mitrione considers the anaconda choke again before letting him up. Another leg kick hurts Kimbo badly and a combo lands flush to the chin. Takedown attempt again from Kimbo but Mitrione sprawls out and lands a knee to the body before taking top position. Big knees to the body land for Mitrione before he takes full mount, but he looks tired now too. Keylock attempt from Mitrione but he can’t get it in correctly. He manages to open up with a flurry though, and Dan Miragliotta stops it there.
Well, that was a fun if sloppy fight in the end. Mitrione looked hugely improved, but I don’t think he beats any of the mid-level guys in the UFC at Heavyweight even – Brendan Schaub or Stefan Struve for instance I think would dominate him – and it was more that Kimbo didn’t look good at all in this one. I think Kimbo’s got a good attitude, but at 36 and with shot knees already he just isn’t going to improve enough to hang in the UFC – I mean, if you can’t beat Matt Mitrione then who can you beat in the Octagon? So even though Zuffa could’ve popped a big TV rating with another fight, I think it’s understandable why they released him instead.
Honestly, this matchmaking annoyed me slightly going in, as I like to see fighters have some direction in a stacked division like 155lbs, and this seemed odd, as Stout was coming off the biggest win of his UFC career over Joe Lauzon while Stephens had lost to Lauzon in 2009. Good fight from an entertainment standpoint, but I would’ve liked to have seen Stout matched with someone higher up the ladder. Although I guess if Joe Silva doesn’t think either guy is getting near a title shot anytime soon then it’s cool.
We begin and they exchange some strikes before Stephens catches a leg kick and tackles him to the ground in full guard. Stout does a good job to escape back to his feet quickly and breaks off with a right. Good left hand from Stephens. Big overhand right wobbles Stout badly, but he shrugs it off and fires back with a pair of strong leg kicks. Good body punch from Stephens. Stout pushes forward and lands a left hook to the liver. Suddenly a big right drops Stout, but he pops back up and Stephens grabs a front facelock before allowing him to his feet. Stout looks recovered quickly though and lands a right hand-leg kick combo. Nice combo from Stout but Stephens answers with a spinning backfist that lands well. Wild trade follows with Stephens swinging heavily. This is a serious stand-up war. Left hook to the liver lands for Stout again. He’s putting combinations together now but Stephens is throwing with more power. Chopping leg kick lands for Stout. Body kick from Stephens and he avoids the counter to end the round. Close round but in terms of damage you’d have to go for Jeremy Stephens, 10-9.
Round Two and Stout looks to jab and kick, but he eats a counter from Stephens early on. Beautiful combo from Stout but he eats another counter right from Lil’ Heathen. Right hand drops Stout for a second but Stephens misses a flying knee, and they tumble to the ground where Stout attempts a kimura. Stephens defends it and escapes into the guard. Stephens lets him up and Stout pushes forward with more combos. Good right hand lands for Stephens in the pocket. Couple of strong kicks land for Stout. Left hook to the body lands again. Stout beginning to pick him apart with combinations now. Stiff jab from Stout. Takedown attempt from Stephens with about a minute to go, but Stout stuffs it and lands a couple more leg kicks. Good left hook from Stephens and he follows with a big right hand. Spinning backfist misses this time. Stout tries one of his own and misses too, and the round ends shortly thereafter. 10-9 Stout so we’re even going into the third.
Final round and Stout lands a kick to the groin right off the bat. Ref calls time but doesn’t take a point or anything, and they allow Stephens to recover before resuming. Good leg kick from Stephens off the restart. He follows with another good one to the body. Stout pushes forward into the clinch but they break quickly. Good combo from Stout. They continue to exchange and it’s largely even exchanges we’re getting too, although I’d give a very slight edge to Stout. Big knee lands for Stephens though and snaps Stout’s head back. Shot to the body has Stephens doubling over in pain, and Stout follows up with a combo that puts him down. Stephens manages to get full guard to recover, but Stout opens up with some elbows. Things slow down and they come back to their feet, and Stout fires off some jabs and looks for the kick to the body. Stephens continues to swing right back and lands a big right with a minute on the clock. Exchange continues with Stephens really swinging now. Takedown from Stephens with seconds remaining, but Stout pops right back up and the fight ends standing. 10-9 Stout so I have it 29-28 for him overall.
We’re going to the judges and somehow they have it scored 29-28 Stephens, 29-28 Stout and 29-28 for Jeremy Stephens to take the split decision. Didn’t see that at all myself, but I guess it was a close fight and Stephens probably did a little more damage with his more powerful striking. Pretty fun fight for an all-stand-up war, but I wouldn’t have given them the Fight of the Night bonus that they got as I thought Cote-Belcher, Beltran-Hague and Doerksen-Lawlor were all better.
Big stakes here, as not only would the winner receive a title shot at Georges St-Pierre, but also a slot as the opposing coach on the next season of TUF. While logic would suggest that Koscheck would take the win using his wrestling – as takedown defense is probably Daley’s weakest area – coming in, due to an expected war of words between the two, Koscheck had promised to stand with Semtex instead. With Daley being arguably the best and hardest hitting striker in the world at 170lbs, I saw this as Koscheck likely playing with fire and getting himself burned, and took Daley to win by knockout. Announcers mention these guys are seemingly fighting for the spot of top heel at 170lbs and I won’t argue with that – Koscheck always comes off as a cocky prick while Daley absolutely turns the air blue with his language in the build-up video. Hilarious stuff.
Round One and of course we get no touch of gloves. Well, duh. Flying knee misses for Semtex right off the bat. Koscheck circles out and eats a couple of jabs before shooting on a single leg and dumping Daley to the mat. Daley quickly struggles back to his feet, but takes a BIG SLAM and this time Koscheck lands in side mount. Daley squirms from his back as Koscheck peppers him with some short punches, before botching a mount attempt and ending up in half-guard. Good job of control from Koscheck but he’s not doing much in the way of damage. Crowd begin to get restless pretty fast as Daley manages to move to full guard. Koscheck passes though, and then takes the back. One hook in for Koscheck and he looks to work the other one in, but Daley defends and tucks his chin to avoid the choke. Scramble from Daley and he gets free, but with Koscheck on his knees Semtex throws a knee strike that connects to the head, causing Koscheck to collapse in pain. Aw, shit. Referee Dan Miragliotta quickly calls time and appears to deduct a point from Daley, giving Koscheck time to recover...but a replay shows that the knee missed by a mile! Crowd boo wildly as Koscheck is exposed as a DIRTY FUCKING CHEAT. I mean, sure, Daley threw the knee with intent, but come the fuck on, Koscheck going down like that is an attempt to con the referee into taking a point, which is absolute bullshit. Personally, I’d disqualify him. Instead the fight continues but thankfully we get the word that no point has been taken. Left uppercut lands glancingly for Daley but Koscheck shoots on a single again and really drives forward, forcing Daley to defend as the round ends. 10-9 Koscheck, but he ought to be ashamed of that fakery.
2nd round and Daley pushes forward swinging, but Koscheck quickly shoots for a double leg and drives him across the cage. Daley does a solid job of defending for a second, but ends up dumped on his back anyway. Side mount for Koscheck. Crowd begin to chant for GSP as Daley hip escapes to half-guard, but takes a couple of shots from Koscheck including a knee to the body. Full mount for Koscheck, but it’s only for a second as Daley escapes back to half-guard. Full mount again but Daley pulls the same escape. Good right elbow from Koscheck. Koscheck works to pass again but still can’t get out of the half-guard. Good punches from the top though. Koscheck manages to turn to take the back with one hook, using the cage nicely, but he doesn’t have the second hook. Two hooks in this time and Semtex looks to be in trouble. Koscheck looks for the choke and lands some shots, but Daley continues to defend until the round ends. 10-9 Koscheck and this is a shut-out so far.
Round Three and Daley basically needs a knockout at this point. Daley pushes forward swinging, but he can’t land cleanly due to Koscheck’s movement. Kos drops for a takedown, eats a knee on the way, but still manages to drive him into the fence where he secures a single and dumps him again. Daley gets half-guard, but he takes some short punches before Koscheck passes to side mount and then full mount. Quick hip escape puts Daley back in half-guard, but it doesn’t look like he’s getting up here. Full mount again from Koscheck but he can’t really land any clean blows due to Daley’s constant squirming. Arm triangle looks wide open but Koscheck chooses not to attempt it and ends up back in half-guard. Solid right hand from Koscheck as he looks to pass the guard again. Seconds to go and Koscheck looks content to ride it out. Buzzer goes and they stand....but Daley chases him and lands a glancing left hook as Koscheck walks away! Crowd boo in horror as Koscheck tries to laugh it off while Dan Miragliotta yanks Daley away and goes apeshit at him, quite rightfully so. Ridiculous stuff from the Brit.
Post-fight Koscheck decides not to attempt a babyface turn and abuses the crowd with taunts about how the Pittsburgh Penguins beat Montreal’s hockey team and goes on to say he’ll kick GSP’s ass next. Crowd naturally boo him out of the building.
Well, first off, not the most exciting fight, but hey, Daley couldn’t defend the takedown and couldn’t shake Koscheck off, so you can’t blame Koscheck for doing what he had to do to win. Plus, it wasn’t like he just lay there – he was constantly trying to improve position and attempted submissions in the first and second round. The less said about the fake injury the better, as the guy really ought to be ashamed of himself, but it is what it is – he picked up the win. As for Daley, obviously he was immediately released from his UFC contract due to the post-fight suckerpunch and quite rightfully so. I can’t believe he would be so stupid to throw away his UFC career like that, but there you go. I mean, I guess they could’ve kept him on, but when you have Marc Ratner trying to get MMA sanctioned in places like Ontario and New York where some morons still see the sport as human cockfighting, the last thing you need is a guy suckerpunching his opponent after the buzzer. Sad stuff overall really.
Well, a rematch was always inevitable after the controversial decision in the first match between these two, but to be fair, that fight was very close regardless of Shogun probably getting dicked by the judges, and so this was almost impossible to pick coming in. Would Shogun use the same gameplan that he’d done in the first fight? Would Machida be able to change his tactics to match that gameplan? Or would Shogun come out with a different style entirely? In all honesty I had no idea who was going to take this one. On a hilarious added note, whoever translates over Shogun’s voice in the pre-fight videos sounds exactly like Kermit the Frog.
First round and both men come out looking ready. Leg kick from Shogun right away but this time Lyoto checks a second one and counters with a right. Good leg kick from Shogun again. Lyoto circles out but eats a glancing left from the challenger. Left hand misses for Shogun and they clinch, where Machida trips him to the ground. He lands in half-guard and Shogun immediately looks for a sweep, using it to reverse back to his feet where he forces Machida into the cage. Knees to the legs from Shogun but Machida breaks off. Flurry from Shogun puts Machida on the back foot and it looks like the champion might be hurt. Leg kick from Shogun but Machida trips him down to half-guard again. Couple of solid elbows from Lyoto but Shogun reverses to his feet quickly. Good knee to the gut from the champion before Shogun muscles him into the cage. Knee from Lyoto to break. Lunging knee to the body lands flush for Lyoto, but as he steps in Shogun clips him with a wild overhand right and the CHAMP IS DOWN!~! Shogun wastes no time in dropping to mount, and FINISHES THE JOB WITH PUNCHES! LYOTO IS OUT!~!
Replay shows the punch that dropped Lyoto clipped the temple near the top of the head and killed his equilibrium, and before he could recover Shogun landed enough punches cleanly to knock him out cold. Awesome finish and a great performance from Shogun Rua as he left no doubt this time as to who was the true champion. His story of redemption is a really great one too as honestly, he looked like a broken shell of the most feared man in PRIDE when he fought Forrest Griffin and Mark Coleman, and to bounce back from those poor performances to reclaim his spot as the top 205lber in the world is really impressive. This was the Shogun we expected in the UFC in 2007 – just a couple of years late, that’s all! As for Lyoto, I expect he’ll bounce back, although he isn’t being given any easy fights to do so as his next opponent is Rampage Jackson! Not as epic as their first fight but this was a really climactic fight where the first one left so many unanswered questions.
-Highlight reel rolls there to end our night.
Really good show from the UFC overall, as out of eleven fights only one was bad – Koscheck-Daley – and outside of that everything else was excellent outside of MacDonald-Salter which was over before it really began. Doerksen-Lawlor was the best fight to me, but you could make a case for Hague-Beltran, Stephens-Stout or Belcher-Cote too, and when there’s four solid contenders for that award you know the show is a good one. Throw in the climactic ending to finally sort out the 205lbs title picture and it’s more than enough for two thumbs up. One of the best UFC shows of 2010.
Best Fight: Doerksen-Lawlor
Worst Fight: Koscheck-Daley
Overall Rating: ****1/4
Strike Force: Houston
King of the Cage: Various shows