UFC On Versus: Jones vs. Matyushenko review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on November 8, 2010, 6:01 AM
UFC On Versus: Jones vs. Matyushenko
San Diego, California
-Interestingly enough this card would’ve seen the UFC visit another new state – Utah – as it was scheduled for Salt Lake City, but bad ticket sales ended up forcing them to move to San Diego. Various theories abounded about the cause of the bad sales but personally I liked the one that said people in Utah are mainly Mormon and didn’t feel comfortable with watching a live UFC show on a Sunday.
Gomi was originally matched with Joe Stevenson for his second UFC fight, but when Joe Daddy pulled out with injury, Tyson Griffin – only about a month removed from a loss to Evan Dunham – stepped in. Not a bad replacement for Gomi actually when you consider Griffin and Stevenson are pretty similar fighters. Still hoping for the return of the old PRIDE Gomi, I picked the Fireball Kid based on the fact that he’s always fought well against wrestleboxers (Ishida, Kawajiri, etc..).
We get underway and both men come out winging punches, with Tyson landing an overhand right and Gomi landing a pair of shots to the body. Griffin continues to press forward with combos, but Gomi again lands a right to the body. Combo into a leg kick from Griffin but Gomi CRUSHES HIM WITH A HUGE RIGHT HOOK and Tyson GOES DOWN FACE-FIRST! Gomi follows up with some more shots and Tyson is GONE!~!
HOLY SHIT. Post-fight Gomi even climbs the fence and stands on the edge like he used to do in the ring in PRIDE, word! Nobody had EVER dealt with Tyson Griffin like that – he’d always shown a solid chin – and to see him go down in that fashion just goes to show how hard Gomi hits. I mean Jesus Christ – he threw that punch from below his waist, Hermes Franca style. This looked like Demon Mode Gomi from his PRIDE days, the first time we’d seen him since his 2006 win over Mitsuhiro Ishida really, and incredibly if he keeps fighting like this then he isn’t too far from a title shot, and hey, I actually think he matches well with Frankie Edgar! Red-hot beginning to the show and probably a star-making performance from Gomi in the US.
Both of these men were on solid runs at 170lbs, with Ellenberger coming off a win over Mike Pyle and Howard making it 4-0 in the UFC with his win over Daniel Roberts, and so both were looking to throw their hat into the ring of potential title contenders. My pick was Ellenberger based on his stronger wrestling game and ludicrous punching power.
Round One begins and Ellenberger comes out swinging, but eats a left hook that puts him on the retreat. Howard comes forward, but Ellenberger grabs the clinch and forces him into the cage. Good knees to the body from Ellenberger and he tries to drag Howard down, but Doomsday avoids nicely and remains standing. Crowd begin to get restless as they exchange inside the clinch, with Ellenberger continuing to land with sharp knees. Referee Herb Dean calls a break and Howard comes out swinging, but Ellenberger grabs the clinch again and this time takes him down to guard. Howard looks to tie him up as Ellenberger looks to drop some elbows. Couple of short elbows land for Jake but Howard does a solid defensive job from the bottom. He can’t seem to get out from underneath, though. Herb Dean calls a stand-up with a minute to go and Howard lands a good leg kick. Pair of good jabs from Ellenberger are answered with a leg kick from Howard, and he follows by lunging with a left hook, but Jake clinches and takes him down to half-guard. This time he lands some elbows and punches, ending the round in top position. 10-9 Ellenberger.
Round Two and Howard lands with a head kick that stuns Ellenberger and forces him to lunge for the clinch. Howard shrugs it off and lands a right hook that wobbles him, but Ellenberger shoots a nice double leg and puts him on his back. Guillotine attempt from Howard is easily avoided as is a triangle choke, and Jake passes into half-guard. Nice short elbows from Ellenberger before Howard slips back to full guard. Howard looks to tie him up again, but some more solid elbows land for Jake and he throws in some hammer fists too. Scramble from Howard but he gives his back in the process and ends up spinning back to guard. Two minutes to go and Jake postures up to deliver a hard right hand. Looks like Howard’s left eye is badly swollen. Nice reversal from Howard allows him to his feet and he gives up on a single leg and lands some punches that have Ellenberger rocked. Big knee and a left hook hurt Ellenberger again and Howard swings wildly, but Jake ducks under and hits a double leg to guard. One minute to go and Ellenberger grinds away from the guard and Howard’s eye is beginning to look grotesque. Looks like a possible broken orbital bone to me. Round ends with Ellenberger on top. Better round for Howard but it still goes to Ellenberger, 10-9.
Third round and Howard’s eye is swollen shut pretty much. Surprised this is being allowed to continue in fact. Body kick from Ellenberger is caught and Howard answers with a flying knee and a left hook that put him on the retreat. Howard follows with a single leg attempt, but Ellenberger shrugs it off and lands a combo. Howard is swinging for the fences here. Stiff jab from Ellenberger hits the swollen eye. Leg kick from Howard and he continues to push forward, but Ellenberger hits a nice takedown to guard and continues to grind away from there. Elbows from Jake but Herb Dean decides to call a stand-up. When Howard stands though the eye is looking so swollen that Dean calls the doctor in, and he decides to stop the fight there, unsurprisingly.
Disappointing for John Howard but it was the right decision as it would’ve been dangerous for him to continue with that injury. Big win for Jake Ellenberger and even though Howard really went for it, it was Ellenberger who was able to execute his gameplan and do some serious damage from top position while only getting clipped a couple of times standing. I like Ellenberger a lot and think he has top ten potential if he continues to develop his overall game, which he appears to be doing, as his usually questionable cardio looked much improved in this fight.
This was a prelim taped earlier in the night. Brazilian prospect Oliveira was bringing in an impressive 12-0 record with a variety of finishes, although the opposition was questionable. Still, I figured he’d be able to win here as Elkins had only come into the UFC as a late replacement and had won his first fight via a fluke injury to Bang Ludwig.
First round begins and Elkins quickly pushes forward, catching a kick and delivering a BIG SLAM to the ground! As soon as they’ve hit the mat though Oliveira gets active and slaps on a triangle! Elkins looks in trouble as Oliveira tightens it up, and hooks the leg to stop Elkins from slamming out! Elkins falls to his side and Oliveira quickly locks up the triangle/armbar combination for the tapout.
That was impressive. I mean sure, Elkins isn’t an elite-level fighter but to hook on a submission that fast is impressive against any level of opposition. Beautiful technique from the young Brazilian. Post-fight he shows some charisma too, leaping around like a hyperactive kid before saying HELLO THANK YOU SAN DIEGO NO SPEAK ENGLISH! Awesome. This guy has a bright future methinks.
-Joe Rogan conducts a satellite interview with Chael Sonnen on his upcoming fight with Anderson Silva and surprisingly it’s not a really notable interview as Chael doesn’t come out with anything too outlandish.
Incredibly this was Okami’s first fight on a live UFC card since his 2008 win over the late Evan Tanner (!) as he’d suffered from injuries as well as an upset loss to Chael Sonnen since. Still, he’d looked better than ever in his March win over Lucio Linhares, battering the Brazilian standing, and the word was that a possible title eliminator would be on the cards if he could win here. Munoz meanwhile had erased the stench of his KO loss to Matt Hamill with three straight wins at 185lbs, and had looked impressive in stopping Kendall Grove last time out. I was interested to see how Okami would deal with the wrestling game and punching power of the Filipino, that’s for sure.
First round begins and Okami comes out with a low stance, but Munoz lands first with an overhand right. Okami continues to press forward and lands a glancing right hook. Little action thus far as Okami walks him down. Straight left lands for the Japanese fighter. Another one follows before Munoz misses a high kick. Left hand lands again for Okami. Takedown attempt from Munoz but Okami grabs a front facelock to avoid and brings the fight back up. Another takedown attempt follows for Munoz but Okami grabs a guillotine. Munoz works free and puts Okami on his back, but Okami reverses quickly back to his feet. Munoz drives him into the cage in the clinch, where he lands some knees to the legs. He tries to get another takedown, but Okami breaks with a right hand. Munoz presses forward now, but Okami stuffs another single leg to end the round. Close round but I’d go 10-9 Okami.
Second round and Okami opens with a right jab. Both men look looser now but Okami is the aggressor and he lands some straight punches. Body kick answers for Munoz. Combo from Okami and Munoz looks for a single leg, but Okami sprawls to avoid. Munoz keeps trying it, but Okami slips free back to his feet. Okami pushes forward with some more punches and then clinches and forces Munoz into the fence. They break and suddenly Munoz clips Okami with a left hand that drops the Japanese fighter! He pops back up immediately and looks for the takedown, and manages to get it, landing in side mount. Munoz quickly scrambles free though and comes in swinging, landing a couple of wild punches that have Okami on the run. He’s winging his shots though and has to be careful. Takedown attempt from Munoz, but Okami stuffs it again and leans on him, forcing him down and landing punches to the side of the head. They come back to their feet and Munoz continues to try the takedown, but he still can’t put Okami on his back and the round ends with Okami working back to his feet. Close round again but I’d give it to Munoz for the knockdown, so it’s even coming into the third.
Third and final round and Okami pushes forward with punches and avoids another takedown attempt. Nice combo lands flush for Okami and has Munoz covering up. Munoz swings back, but his punches don’t look as crisp as Okami’s. Another takedown attempt follows but Okami sprawls again and holds him in a front facelock before standing. Big combo from Okami ending with a right to the body, and then he looks for a takedown of his own. Munoz works to avoid and they wind up clinched. Munoz breaks off and just misses with a wild right. Takedown attempt from Munoz but again Okami avoids. Munoz pushes forward, but walks into a right hand that buckles his legs and puts him down! Munoz dives for a leg as Okami looks to follow up, but again Okami sprawls out and works back to his feet. Wild swings from Munoz but they miss. Munoz’s face looks busted up. Two minutes to go and Okami stalks forward and lands another combination. Good left from Okami and Munoz shoots, but he still can’t bring the Japanese fighter to the ground. Okami holds onto the front facelock again and then looks to switch to a possibly guillotine, but Munoz keeps driving forward for the takedown. Less than a minute to go and the crowd begin to boo as Okami blocks the takedown and lands short shots to the head, then some harder ones to the body. Fight finally ends with Okami standing back up and holding the front facelock. I’ve got this 29-28 for Yushin Okami.
Judges have it as a split decision, 29-28 Okami, 29-28 Munoz and 29-28 for Yushin Okami. Wow, don’t know how you’d score that for Munoz, but the right man won in the end so whatever. I thought Okami looked really good here even if the fight wasn’t the greatest, as he showed more aggression than he usually does and once again displayed much improved stand-up to go with his usually excellent grappling base. Definitely an intriguing opponent for Anderson Silva if he can get past Nate Marquardt next.
Alright, so after Jones crushed Brandon Vera in March this was hardly the fight people were clamouring to see for him next, but to be fair he’s still only 23 and is still relatively inexperienced, so there’s no harm in him facing guys who aren’t quite at the elite level right now. Matyushenko was seen as a somewhat tough test based on his experience and general toughness (one loss since 2003) but on paper his style did not mesh well with Jones at all – could anyone see him taking Jones down and grinding on him? Really? – and so I expected a fight similar to Bones’ fight with Vera here.
We get underway and Jones comes out almost crouching over he’s so low in his stance. They circle and throw out some feeler strikes before Jones lands with a leg kick. Spinning back kick lands to the body of the Janitor before Jones follows with a single leg to guard. It looks like Matyushenko’s setting up for an armbar, but Jones slips free. Vladdy looks like he might be prepping a sweep, but Jones postures out and traps the arms to drop some elbows. Matyushenko works into a solid half-guard, but Jones easily passes into side mount and from there he takes the Hughes crucifix and drops a series of VICIOUS ELBOWS for the stoppage.
Man, that was even quicker and easier than I’d imagined it to be. It doesn’t look like anyone outside of the very elite level guys is going to be able to deal with Jones, and to me I question whether some of the less athletic fighters in the upper echelon of the top ten (Rogerio Nogueira, Forrest Griffin to name two) could do anything with him either. Next up is apparently Ryan Bader and while I feel that’s actually a tough match for him as Bader’s displayed huge striking power and has arguably the best wrestling game in the division in the UFC, if he gets past Bader I can’t see him not taking the title eventually. Until he’s inevitably forced to move up to Heavyweight due to his body that is. Definitely one of the most exciting young fighters in the world, that’s for sure, and this was another awesome showing from him.
-Show ends with a plug for some show called the Daily Line.
Solid but unspectacular free TV show from the UFC. While none of the fights were truly great, none of them stunk and the two longer fights (Ellenberger-Howard and Munoz-Okami) contrasted nicely with the highlight reel victories for Gomi, Oliveira and Jones. Overall it’s a memorable show for me purely for the Gomi knockout, and it’s certainly worth a look if you haven’t seen it, but it won’t be up there with the best shows at the end of the year. Thumbs up, though.
Best Fight: Gomi-Griffin
Worst Fight: Okami-Munoz
Overall Rating: ***
UFC: 117-121, Fight Night 22
King of the Cage: Various shows