UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch review
by Scott Newman(MMA)
Posted on July 27, 2011, 6:19 AM
UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch
-If youíre reading this on the Oratory then the reason itís taken so long between reviews is the mess that happened to the site, so Iíd like to give a thanks to Mike Maloney and Dave Spinosa for fixing things and a hearty FUCK YOU to Rajahís web guys. With that out of the way....
UKer Warburton had lost in a close fight to Spencer Fisher at UFC 120 in his debut, while Jewtuszko Ė donít fucking ask me how you pronounce that name! Ė had come over from the WEC with a bit of hype after stopping striker Anthony Njokuani. Iíd been very impressed with Warburtonís toughness and overall game in the Fisher fight though and took him to squeeze out a decision.
We begin and the crowd are insanely loud right away. Warburton pushes forward as Jewtuszko throws out a couple of kicks that donít really land. Left hook lands for Curt and backs Jewtuszko up, and the Brit follows with a takedown to guard. Very nice elbows from Warburton as Jewtuszko looks to squirm from the bottom. Curt looks to pass and he moves into half-guard, but Jewtuszko escapes back to full guard. Warburton steps right back to half-guard and the crowd go MENTAL, which is awesome. I love the Australian fans. Curt looks to set up for an arm triangle but Jewtuszko manages a hip escape to full guard. Good ground-and-pound from Warburton and heís really working the Pole over here. Round ends with Warburton on top. Basically the perfect round for him, 10-9 Warburton.
2nd round and Jewtuszko misses with a wild spinning backfist early on. Warburton looks to close the distance, landing a nice leg kick. Good knee from Jewtuszko and Warburton chases him across the cage but the Pole stays at a distance. Another spinning backfist misses for Jewtuszko. Warburton closes in and lands a left hook to set up the clinch, and he manages to trip the Pole down again. Jewtuszko gets full guard and rolls for a leglock, but Warburton manages to slip free and they come back up to standing. The great thing here is that the Aussie crowd pop hugely for the exchange whereas the Vegas crowd would be silent because these guys arenít name stars and theyíre in the first bout of the evening. Good leg kick from Curt, but he walks into a hard knee to the ribs. Both men land some solid strikes before Warburton trips him down again, right into half-guard. Warburton looks to pass that and lands some short elbows for good measure, but Jewtuszko works back to full guard. More ground-and-pound from Curt and the round ends. Closer round but Warburton took it with the late work, so I have it 20-18 for the Brit.
3rd round and Jewtuszko presses forward and glances with a spinning elbow, but he takes a left hook counter too. Jewtuszko really starts to push the action, landing with a decent left hand. Good leg kick from Warburton and he follows with a right hand that lands flush. Jewtuszko continues to push forward, but he hasnít really hurt Warburton yet despite landing some solid shots. Beautiful combo ending in an uppercut lands for the Pole. Curt shoots for the takedown though and spins into a rear waistlock as Jewtuszko defends. Curt drags him down, and works over into side mount. Warburton controls him and looks for an arm triangle, but Jewtuszko slips out and then gives his back. Curt controls him with an over/under and basically outmuscles him to keep top position, moving into guard. Seconds to go and it looks like Curtís going to end the round on top. Got to be 30-27 Warburton Iíd say.
Judges agree with me and itís a unanimous decision for Curt Warburton, 29-28 all round. Fight basically went how I suspected it would, with Warburton using his strong fundamentals to grind out a win over the flashier striker Jewtuszko. Solid fight if unspectacular.
After an atrocious Octagon debut that saw him submitted in a couple of minutes, this was likely Huntís last chance with Zuffa, but luckily for him not only was he booked to fight basically at home, but he was also booked against a guy in Tuchscherer who I figured was probably one of the least threatening guys in the division. I mean sure he can wrestle, but outside of that heíd shown nothing and also seemed to have a shoddy gas tank. My pick here was Hunt by knockout Ė hopefully!
Round One and they circle, and surprisingly Tuchscherer decides to exchange strikes and eats a couple of hard punches early on. Big shove sends Hunt across the cage but he stays on his feet. Nice right hand lands for Hunt. One-two drops Tuchscherer for a second but he gets right back up. Right hand and uppercut stun Tuchscherer as Hunt avoids a takedown, and the big New Zealander follows with a combination. Tuchscherer seems content to attempt to strike even though heís getting the worst of it. Takedown attempt finally comes, but Hunt manages to shrug it off and then lands an uppercut. Beautiful left hook into an uppercut from Hunt and Tuchscherer looks hurt. Tuchscherer looks like heís got a bad cut over his left eye. Another takedown is stuffed and the crowd are loving this. Ref calls a stoppage to check the cut and we get a SICK exchange:
Tuchscherer: ďThereís something hanging in my eye.Ē
Referee: ďYeah....itís your eyelid.Ē
Holy Christ. Doctor surprisingly decides to allow the fight to continue though and naturally the Aussie crowd EXPLODE. They restart and finally Tuchscherer shoots and manages to tackle Hunt to the ground. He lands in half-guard and works with some short ground-and-pound, then looks to set up for a kimura on the left arm of Hunt that was injured in his previous fight with Sean McCorkle. Jesus, thereís blood everywhere from Tuchschererís eye too. Hunt manages to defend the kimura though and the round ends there. 10-9 Hunt.
Round Two and Tuchschererís eye looks a mess. Hunt pushes forward with a left hook to begin, then lands a glancing overhand right. Takedown attempt from Tuchscherer is stuffed and Hunt lands with a left. Takedown attempt from Tuchscherer but Hunt does a tremendous job to shrug it off. Big uppercut lands for Hunt but Tuchscherer sticks his tongue out. Tuchscherer keeps pushing forward, but he eats a left hook and ends up literally diving at a leg. Hunt avoids it, bouncing off the cage in the process. Left hook into a BIG UPPERCUT drops Tuchscherer face-first, and Hunt doesnít even follow up, just WALKING AWAY LIKE A BADASS. Word! Ref comes in to help Tuchscherer and he canít even get to his feet.
Replay shows the uppercut landed perfectly on the jaw, beautiful shot. Amazingly this was Huntís first MMA win since a 2006 PRIDE win over Tsuyoshi Kosaka! He looked really good here actually, easily outstriking Tuchscherer and stuffing his takedowns, although whether the fight wouldíve been different had Tuchscherer been shooting right away I donít know. Who cares, though? Great highlight reel knockout for Mark Hunt and I enjoyed it immensely.
The first Chinese fighter in Zuffaís history, Zhang seemed to be in line for a bit of a push after a successful WEC debut, but then he was upset by Danny Downes and ended up dropping to 145lbs for this fight. On paper this was a gimme for him as Reinhardt is not only a natural 135lber, but heís also got a very deceiving record as most of his 20 wins are against total tomato cans and heíd never looked that impressive to me before.
We begin and Reinhardt comes out swinging, but gets tagged by an uppercut from Zhang. Big swings from both men and Reinhardt shoots, but Zhang clamps on a guillotine and puts Reinhardt out cold in a couple of seconds.
Vicious stuff from the Mongolian Wolf. I mean sure, I didnít rate Reinhardt that highly but to put a guy away that quickly with a guillotine is super-impressive however you look at it. I look forward to seeing him in his next fight.
Perosh hadnít fought since his last UFC appearance in February 2010 in the previous Australia show, but I guess Zuffa were giving him another chance at his more natural 205lbs after he took the fight with Cro Cop on like zero notice. His opponent Blackledge was a British guy fighting out of the Wolfslair camp, but despite a couple of solid wins Iíve never been that enamoured with him and figured this was a fight that Perosh finally had a chance of winning in.
Round One begins and Perosh looks in far better shape at 205lbs than he did at Heavyweight. They circle to begin and exchange a couple of strikes, and then Perosh shoots from the outside. Blackledge sprawls to avoid it and comes back up, throwing a high kick, but he slips to his back and Perosh goes for the takedown again. Good reversal from Blackledge and he escapes to his feet. Good right hand from Perosh and he shoots for the takedown, and this time he drags the Brit down. Good punches from Perosh from the top and he works to pass the guard, but almost gets caught in a triangle. Perosh shrugs that off though and passes into half-guard. Full mount for Perosh and the crowd EXPLODE. Blackledge rolls and gives his back....and Perosh slaps on the rear naked choke for his first UFC win! Word!
Perosh finally showed his black belt-level jiu-jitsu there and pulled out a very nice finish. Great to see him finally pick up a win in the UFC too after he showed such heart taking the Cro Cop fight at such short notice. Fun stuff.
This one definitely got my interest as Ring in my opinion was the best fighter on TUF 11 and probably wouldíve won that show had he not blown out his knee (well, he did beat the eventual winner Court McGee anyway!) while Fukuda had always been exciting in his DREAM and Elite XC fights. I was taking Ring to win though as like I said, Iím a big fan.
First round begins and Ring opens with a leg kick. They circle and exchange some shots before Fukuda shoots and manages to get Ring down. Ring squirms from the bottom to attempt to get full guard, and gets there, looking for an armbar. Triangle attempt from Ring but Fukuda does well to defend it. Ring escapes to his feet and pulls free of a front facelock. Ring pushes forward with a couple more leg kicks, as Fukuda looks to answer with counter punches. Good left hand from Fukuda and he pushes forward, but takes a solid knee from Ring. Takedown attempt from Fukuda but Ring stuffs it this time and connects with a knee. They continue to exchange some strikes before Fukuda shoots and gets a takedown to half-guard as the round ends. Close round; I think Ring got the better of the striking though and did more in the ground portion with his submission attempt, so Iíd go with him 10-9.
2nd round and Fukuda pushes the action as they exchange strikes. Good left hands land for both men. This is a close one. Good jab lands for Ring. Fukuda shoots for the takedown, but Ring stuffs it and lands to the body on the way out. Nice takedown from Fukuda though and he lands on top in butterfly guard. Ring immediately pushes him off, but gives his back for a second before escaping to his feet. Good knee from the clinch from Fukuda, but Ring answers with one of his own. Good combo from Fukuda on the way forward. Another takedown attempt from Fukuda but Ring stuffs it. Fukuda stays in the clinch though and lands a few knees. They break off and continue to exchange with both landing decent, if not major shots. Good right hook from Fukuda. Very nice combo lands from Fukuda and he follows with a couple of uppercuts from close range. Seconds to go in the round and Ring ends with a leg kick. Another close round but it goes to Riki Fukuda that time as I thought he got the better of the stand-up as well as the only takedown.
Third and final round and Fukuda gets the better of an early exchange on the feet, landing with a nice left hand. Nice takedown from Fukuda and he lands right in half-guard. Ring works back into full guard as Fukuda works at the body with some punches. Reversal from Ring and he tries a takedown of his own, but Fukuda avoids it and weíre back to the feet. Nice uppercuts from Fukuda in the clinch. They break off and Fukuda shoots again and gets a takedown to half-guard. Ring again reverses and tries the takedown of his own, but Fukuda stuffs it nicely and looks to secure a guillotine. He uses that to drag Ring down and gets on top in half-guard, forcing Ring up against the cage. Crowd begin to randomly boo, but I donít see why. Fukuda continues to work from top position and this fight is quickly slipping away from Ring. One minute to go and Ring looks to get a kimura from half-guard, but referee Leon Roberts calls a surprising stand-up. Seconds remaining and little happens as the buzzer sounds. I have this 29-28 for Riki Fukuda.
Judges have it 29-28, 29-28, 29-28....for Nick Ring! Crowd boo the hell out of that decision and quite rightfully so. Unbelievable fuck-up from the judges. I mean sure, you could say like I did that Ring took the first round, but the second and third were CLEARLY Fukudaís and I just donít see the argument for Ring taking either. Just, wow. What can you say? I wonder what these judges are watching sometimes. Fight was solid but the crap decision really puts a bad taste in your mouth.
Another interesting fight on paper, the giant Swede Gustafsson had looked awesome in destroying Cyrille Diabate at UFC 120, while Te Huna had looked really good in his Octagon debut a year earlier too. Despite his size and power, I was worried for Te Huna after such a long layoff and ended up taking Gustafsson to win.
Fight begins and Te Huna quickly closes the distance and clinches. He tries a throw and hits it nicely, landing on top in Gustafssonís guard. Quick guard pass follows and Te Huna gets into side mount. He tries to set up the mounted crucifix, landing some solid punches in the process, but Gustafsson gets a knee in and moves back to half-guard. He manages to work back to full guard, but Te Huna postures up and lands a couple of clubbing shots. Gustafsson manages to explode out to his feet as Te Huna stands, but the big Maori gets back on him and looks for the takedown again. Gustafsson blocks it well and looks for a standing guillotine, but canít get it. Two minutes remaining in the round and Gustafsson gets a trip takedown of his own to side mount. Te Huna looks like heís tired actually. He manages to roll though as Gustafsson attempts a sloppy kimura, and escapes to his feet, before shooting again. Gustafsson works to defend once more and Te Huna drops down to attempt a reversal, but he gives his back instead and Gustafsson slaps both hooks in and locks up the rear naked choke! Te Huna manages to gut it out and gets his neck free, but as he turns to mount Gustafsson opens up with some VICIOUS shots, then gets the choke properly sunk and Te Huna taps. And the Australian crowd subsequently go ABSOLUTELY SILENT. Real odd.
Good little fight as Te Huna came out with a really torrid pace, but seemed to gas himself out about halfway through the round and once he did, Gustafsson just took over. I suspected the long layoff might affect Te Huna and I guess I was right. Hopefully he gets another fight soon so the same thing doesnít happen again. Good win for Gustafsson though who shows more and more potential with every fight. Should be interesting to see who heís matched with next.
Man, talk about fireworks on paper. These guys are two of the best strikers in the world at 155lbs and never have boring fights, so massive kudos to Joe Silva for putting a fight like this together. My pick? Pearson, as heís slightly bigger, and I think Fisher really needs to drop to 145lbs to get his career back on track at this point.
Round One begins and Herb Dean gets a ludicrous pop. Gotta love the Aussies. Fisher pushes forward early and they exchange strikes right away, with Pearson landing the best early shot with a stiff right hand. Fisher continues to push the action and both men land some nice shots before Spencer catches a leg kick and gets a takedown. Pearson goes for an armbar right away, but Fisher swings his way out and they come back up to their feet where Pearson looks for a takedown. Fisher avoids it and they break off. Couple of decent leg kicks land for the Brit. Fisher continues to push forward and theyíre basically going strike-for-strike. Good knee from Spencer as he blocks a takedown. The exchange continues right until the end of the round. Basically a completely even round so Iíd go 10-10 I think.
Round Two and Fisher keeps the pressure on Pearson early, really pushing forward and landing a couple of early shots. Good body kick answers for Pearson. Heavy leg kick follows off a counter. Nice straight left from Fisher, answered by a leg kick from Ross. Another left hand from Fisher clips the Brit. Couple of jabs and a body kick from Ross. Straight right hand follows. Combo lands for Pearson and he avoids a superman punch and an axe kick. Left hand connects for Fisher though. Combination lands for Ross but Fisher fires back with a right. Pearson clinches and gets the back standing with a rear waistlock, but Spencer turns into him with an elbow. They break off and Pearson lands with a pair of heavy right hands. Body kick from Ross and he follows with a combo. Nice knee and a right hand put Fisher on the retreat and Ross follows with another right. Left into a right hand from Pearson and he lands to the body as well. Pearson seems to have his timing down suddenly as heís clocking Fisher with the right every time he gets close. Round ends there. I think Pearson stole it with the late work too, so 10-9 Pearson and 20-19 going into the third.
Round Three and realistically this could still go either way. Fisher again presses the action, but eats a right hand right off the bat. Leg kick from Pearson and then he looks for the takedown and forces Spencer into the cage. Single leg gets Fisher on his back, and he lands in half-guard. Fisher immediately posts up the fence back to his feet and breaks off. Striking exchange continues as it ws in the earlier rounds. Lunging left hook lands for Ross. Takedown attempt from Pearson but Spencer sprawls and avoids, grabbing a front facelock for good measure. They come back up though and Ross lands with a combination. Really good combo lands for Pearson, one-two into a leg kick. Right hand follows. Left snaps Fisherís head back. Ross is really beginning to take over now. Big body kick lands for the Brit. More combos from Pearson and he lands with a knee. One minute to go and Fisher really needs to do something big. Takedown from Pearson off a kick and he lands in guard. Fisher immediately looks for an armbar, but Pearson avoids. Fisher kicks him away and stands, but eats a combo and Ross follows with a takedown. He lands in half-guard and looks to pass, then decides to pepper him with shots. Seconds remaining on the clock and Ross remains in top position. Pearsonís round so Iíd have it 30-28 for the Brit.
Judges have it 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Ross Pearson. Close fight but Pearson just slightly outworked Fisher in the last two rounds, landing more combinations and also pulling out the takedowns in the third. He never came close to finishing Spencer, but then I didnít really expect a finish from either man if Iím honest. Fight wasnít quite as exciting as Iíd hoped going in, but then thatís often the case with high-calibre strikers as they donít tend to trade and brawl like cruder guys do.
Personally I wouldíve had this battle of TUF alumni on the undercard, but I guess the UFC wanted an Aussie on the main card and so Noke got the spot. Camozzi had shown himself to be a tough customer in his October fight with Dongi Yang, but I thought Noke had a higher skill level in general so I took the Crocodile Hunterís ex-bodyguard to win by submission.
First round begins and they circle and exchange a couple of leg kicks. Body kick lands for Camozzi but Noke responds with a solid knee into the clinch. Trip from Noke and he lands in full mount! Noke lands with a couple of shots as Camozzi tries to buck, and as Camozzi rolls the Aussie steps off and spins to take the back. Nice. Body triangle from Noke and he slaps on the rear naked choke to force the tapout. Cue the crowd going mental.
Man, that could not have gone better for Kyle Noke really. Camozzi landed like, one combination and then got taken down and tapped out in quick fashion. Really smooth ground work from him. How far he can go in the Middleweight division Iím not too sure, but heís certainly fun to watch and is a good addition to the roster there.
Lytle was initially pegged to fight Carlos Condit in what wouldíve been a genuine war here, but the Natural Born Killer injured his knee and so UFC debutant Aussie-based Ebersole stepped in on very short notice. Despite a pretty wild record (46-14-1!) Ebersole had never really beaten an elite-level guy and so this seemed like a good match for Lytle on paper.
Fight gets underway and Ebersole opens with a seriously weird-looking cartwheel kick variant that obviously doesnít land cleanly. Flurry of right hands have Ebersole covering up though and a body kick follows. Ebersole comes back with....a shove to the chest. This guy is weird as fuck. Lytle stalks forward throwing punches, and Ebersole goes for a takedown but gets stuffed. Nice body shot from Lytle. Leg kick from Ebersole is countered by the right hand. Big right to the body lands for the UFC veteran. Single leg from Ebersole and he gets it, but Lytle goes for an arm-in guillotine. Ebersole manages to flip over to avoid, and ends up pinning Lytle into the fence. Lytle keeps trying the guillotine though and he flips Ebersole over and ends up in top position, where Ebersole now grabs his neck. Lytle ends up in side mount and the action slows down with both guys holding the otherís neck. Finally Ebersole spins and Lytle locks up another guillotine and pulls guard, but Ebersole looks calm and gets his head free. Lytle works back to his feet and they end up clinched by the fence. Takedown from Ebersole and Lytle goes for the guillotine again, but loses it and Ebersole stands. Lytle comes up with him and Ebersole grabs a rear waistlock, but Lytle rolls for a kneebar and Ebersole is forced to defend that, which he does, coming out in top position. Couple of shoulder strikes from Ebersole and he follows with an elbow, then stands and jogs to his corner before the buzzer actually sounds. Ha. Probably Lytleís round though, 10-9. He is sporting a cut under his left eye though.
Into the 2nd and Ebersole opens with a body kick. Lytle fires back with a combo and Ebersole throws out some strange feints. Spinning back kick glances off Lytleís chest. Good body shot from Lytle. Big right hands from Lytle but Ebersole covers up to avoid. Uppercut from Lytle but Ebersole taunts him and claims it hit his elbow. Both men swing with some more strikes before Lytle sprawls to avoid the takedown. Wild punches from Lytle back Ebersole up but they donít land. Good leg kick from Ebersole. Pair of right hands open up a flurry for Lytle. Two minutes to go in the round. Takedown attempt from Ebersole and Lytle scrambles back to avoid, but eats a HUGE KNEE that drops him! Lytle looks in trouble and clings to a leg as Ebersole lands some shots and then looks for a DíArce variant, but he canít quite lock it up. Lytle ends up in a seated position by the cage before standing, but Ebersole drags him back down and lands some more shots from behind. Lytle is in trouble here. He stands back up, but Ebersole grabs the plum clinch and lands a right hand from there that stuns Lytle. Big slam follows, but Lytle grabs a guillotine. Ebersole slips his head right out and begins to drop elbows and shoulder strikes, ending the round in a strong position. Big round for Brian Ebersole, 10-9.
Third round and Ebersole opens with the odd cartwheel kick again. Lytle manages to avoid it once more and comes forward swinging wildly, but Ebersole manages to block the brunt of it and shoots. Lytle sprawls and then looks for a kimura as Ebersole keeps coming and forces him down, but he canít get it and he ends up against the cage. Guillotine attempt from Lytle but Ebersole gets free and works into a rear waistlock as they stand. Ebersole takes him down again but Lytle again grabs the guillotine. Lytle sweeps into top position but Ebersole reverses. Lytle reverses that and it looks like the choke is tight for a second, but somehow Ebersole sneaks his head free and gets on top again. Lot of blood coming from Lytleís face. Ebersole postures up for some ground-and-pound and then looks for the DíArce, but Lytle escapes to his feet. Takedown attempt again from Ebersole and he gets it, but Lytle pops back up. Knee to the body from Ebersole and he breaks with an uppercut. Back into the clinch though and they exchange from close quarters. Referee calls a break to replace Ebersoleís mouthpiece, and they exchange strikes with Lytle looking very tired. Takedown attempt from Ebersole and he drags him down, then gets the back as they stand. Kneebar attempt again from Lytle but Ebersole escapes and gets on top. Couple of good shots from Ebersole and he avoids another leglock attempt to end the round with some strikes. Iíd have this 29-28 Ebersole, incredibly.
Judges all agree with me and itís a unanimous decision for Brian Ebersole. Well, I guess that eliminates Lytle from the hat of potential contenders. Ebersole basically outworked him in the second and third rounds and behind his weirdness the guy can quite obviously fight. Pretty fun stuff actually if a bit sloppy in places.
After reeling off a crazy seven wins on the bounce in the UFC I actually wouldíve put Sotiropoulos into a title eliminator, but obviously the Maynard-Edgar draw and the issue of Anthony Pettis and his WEC title meant the 155lbs picture was a real logjam, and so George was put against a guy on another hot streak Ė German kickboxer Siver Ė here. Despite a great stand-up game Dennisís ground game has always been lacking and so I figured heíd be an easy submission win for Sotiropoulos.
Round One and the crowd are LOUD already for Sotiropoulos. Low kick misses early for Siver as the ďGeorgieĒ chants start up. They circle and George drops for a low single, but Siver avoids it. Good one-two from Sotiropoulos. Kick is caught by George and he looks for the takedown, but Siver shows some impressive takedown defense hopping on one leg and manages to escape. Good leg kick from Siver and he lands with a right hand too. Double leg from Sotiropoulos but Siver stuffs it. Leg kick from Siver is countered by a right hand from George. Two minutes to go in the round and Siver misses a wild wheel kick. Punching trade follows and Siver clips him, putting him on slightly wobbly legs for a second. Another trade follows and Siver DROPS him with a hard left hook! George looks in trouble but Siver lets him back up. Wild flurry from Siver and he puts George back down with another left, then pounces looking to finish, swinging some heavy bombs over the top. George tries to get hold of him, then dives for an ankle, but Siver backs out and they stand. George is wobbling badly now. More combinations hurt George and he fails on a wild takedown attempt. Seconds to go though and it looks like George is going to survive the round. Spinning back kick narrowly misses for the German and the round ends. Great round for Dennis Siver.
2nd round and George comes out pressing the action, landing a decent left hook. Siver slips off balance during an exchange but he seems okay. Sotiropoulos really starts firing out the jab, but he still isnít really landing on the German. Big right hook over the top lands for Siver. This is a much more even round though. Takedown attempt from Sotiropoulos, but Siver shrugs him off again. Siverís takedown defense is massively improved, although to be fair George isnít a world-class wrestler or anything like that. Low single is avoided by Siver. Wild swings just miss for Siver. Nice left kick from Siver. Sotiropoulos continues to press forward and throws some solid punches, landing a couple of nice combos. Single leg is stuffed again by Siver though. Good combo from Siver but George is pressing the action here. Nice trade sees both men landing. Seconds to go and George has Siver on his back foot. Iíd give that round to Sotiropoulos, but technically Siver could still be ahead if you gave him the first round 10-8.
Third and final round and George looks like the fresher fighter. Nice low kick-high kick combo from Siver though. Takedown is stuffed again by the German. Beautiful leg kick from Siver. Combo lands for George and he just about avoids the counter. Leg kick is caught by George but he still canít get Siver down. Left hand lands for the Aussie though. Couple of jabs land for Sotiropoulos but he still canít get Siver to the ground. Another takedown is stuffed by Siver. Big combination lands for Siver, to the body and head. Striking exchange continues and Siver catches him with the spinning back kick, but it didnít seem to land cleanly as George seems fine. This is a pretty even round though to be fair. Seconds to go and they continue to trade punches. Spinning back kick lands for Siver and the round ends there. Well, Iíd go Siver 10-9 in that round and give him the fight 29-27, but the third was very close so you could conceivably go 28-28 for a draw too, or even 29-28 Sotiropoulos if you only gave Siver a 10-9 in the first.
Judges give it to Siver, 29-28, 30-28 and 30-27. Well, canít accuse them of any hometown judging bias, thatís for sure. Crowd are SILENT at that announcement, really strange to hear it (or not to hear it). Good fight but personally I donít think this moved Siver up the ladder as much as it bumped George down, as while Siverís obviously improved a lot I donít quite rate him as highly as the likes of Melvin Guillard, Clay Guida or Jim Miller, and I did have Sotiropoulos on that level until seeing this. After this fight itís pretty clear he needs a lot of work on his wrestling game if he wants to step up to that level. He did show a LOT of heart though to come back from that first round to almost win. Sad result for the Aussies but it is what it is.
What sounded like a pretty simple fight for Bisping (heís better in all areas than Rivera if weíre honest) turned into one of the hottest of 2011 when Rivera decided to antagonise Bisping by making some dodgy Youtube videos insulting his family, his country, his fighting style Ė basically everything about him. Bisping was FUMING coming in and vowed revenge, and even the weigh-in almost turned into a brawl, making this a total must-see.
No touch of gloves here, duh. They begin and Rivera looks to land the right hand, but Bisping avoids it and both men actually look quite tentative, neither wanting to make the first wrong move. Takedown from Bisping and he lands on top in half-guard. Rivera looks to escape to his feet, but Bisping lands with a right on the way out. Another solid right lands for Bisping. Right hand lands for Rivera and Bisping drops for a single leg, but Rivera avoids it. Leg kick from Bisping. Nice trip takedown from the Brit into guard. Couple of elbows land for Bisping and he lands some punches from above as Rivera tries to kick him away. Rivera gets onto his knees....but Bisping NAILS him with a knee to the head. Referee Marc Goddard immediately calls time for the illegal blow, but Rivera looks like he might be done. Looked like it mightíve been intentional too. Ref takes a point from Bisping and Iím guessing he just had the red mist over him and didnít think about what he was doing. Well, in a proper MMA fight without that ridiculous rule itíd be legal, so fuck it. Doctors check Rivera over and he decides to continue. Well, I guess after all the trash-talk he could hardly take a DQ win. Two minutes to go and they restart and Rivera looks to swing, then clinches, but Bisping shrugs him off. They exchange some shots and Rivera blocks a takedown. Solid jab from Bisping keeps Rivera on his back foot, and then he gets a double leg to guard. Couple of good shots over the top from Bisping and he lands with a combo as Rivera stands. Seconds remaining in the round and Bisping continues to push the action. Bispingís round but itís 9-9 because of the point deduction.
Round Two and Bisping pushes forward, but walks into a right hand that rocks him and drops him to a knee! He pops right back up as Rivera looks to bull-rush him, then goes for a takedown and manages to force Rivera into the fence. They break off and Bisping looks recovered now, landing a couple of punches of his own. Rivera looks a bit tired and Bisping NAILS him with a right hand and then opens up with a combo that has Rivera covering up. Rivera looks out of gas and eats some big knees and more punches, and he looks in trouble. Rivera starts to just cover up along the fence as Bisping continues to land, and another combo drops him, forcing the referee to step in.
Post-fight Bisping totally loses the plot, spitting at Riveraís corner before yelling at Rivera for talking shit about his family, telling him to ďgo home, loserĒ. Well, itís hardly sportsmanlike, but you canít blame the guy after Riveraís shitty videos. Personally I enjoyed this fight and well, if there werenít so many silly, xenophobic Bisping haters out there I think everyone wouldíve enjoyed it, as it was a foul-mouthed trash-talker getting his, but I guess Bisping is a big bad asshole so it doesnít count like that *rolls eyes*.
This fight was put together literally a couple of hours after Penn knocked out Matt Hughes in November, and at first it seemed slightly odd to me, but then again it did make sense in a way, as thereís no point in giving Penn anything but big-name fights these days, and outside of a title match with GSP which obviously wouldíve been ridiculous, they donít come any bigger at 170lbs than Fitch. A few people were complaining that Fitch didnít get a title shot after beating Thiago Alves, but personally I wasnít that bothered as GSP shitkicked him the first time and he hasnít really shown massive improvement since then and hasnít had a really exciting fight either. If he could beat Penn in impressive fashion though then a title shot would surely be next. I wasnít really sure who to take in this one, but figured if Fitch could weather the early storm then heíd have enough to wear BJ down to take a decision.
Announcers are discussing how Fitch has become a vegan and is supposedly leaner coming into this one, but he doesnít really look different to me and to be honest he was always a lean guy for 170lbs with a big frame as opposed to a stocky, muscular type like a Thiago Alves or Diego Sanchez. Heís in insane shape, though. Penn is of course his usual chubby self at 170lbs, although he doesnít look really out of shape as such.
Fight gets underway and Penn comes right out the gate and looks for the takedown, forcing Fitch into the cage. They end up clinched and exchange some knees while muscling for position, and finally Fitch reverses position and drops for a takedown. Penn blocks, naturally, but Fitch lands a combo and then drops for a really low double leg. Penn continues to defend though and Fitch canít get him down. Good combo from Penn on the way out and then he completes the double and dumps Fitch onto his back! Fitch turns but Penn quickly gets his back and slaps both hooks in. He looks to trap an arm with one of his legs, and then transitions to the body triangle. Fitch is in trouble. Penn loses the body triangle, but gets the hook back in and it looks like heís got the choke sunk! Crowd pop loudly but Fitch manages to wriggle his neck free. Fitch is surprisingly calm considering BJ PENN is on his back. He manages to turn over into Pennís guard and lands a couple of short elbows, but Penn kicks him away and explodes to his feet. Fitch goes for the takedown, keeping BJ firmly pressed into the fence, but Penn defends and lands some knees. They exchange a couple of punches and the round ends. Well, Penn got a takedown and ground control and Fitch didnít, so itís BJís round 10-9. Did not expect him to take Fitch down, thatís for sure.
Second round and Fitch catches Penn coming forward with a nice left high kick. Penn throws a wild knee ala the one he landed on Sean Sherk, but it misses and Fitch tackles him to the ground. Full guard for BJ and he looks to use the fence to work back up to his feet. Fitch lands some odd knees to the body from a kneeling position as I laugh at Joe Rogan and the ludicrous myth that people keep pushing that Fitch somehow ďisnít a naturally talented athleteĒ. First off if he had no natural talent thereís no fucking way heíd be at the top level of any sport (unless itís like, darts or fishing or something) and secondly look at his fucking body Ė you donít look like that, cut up to shreds, if youíre not a natural athlete. Tim Sylvia worked hard but *he* wasnít a natural athlete and so he never had that sort of body. So yeah, Iím sure Fitch works hard and is super dedicated and never misses training, but he IS a natural athlete to a certain extent, end of story. Back to the fight. Penn manages to work back up to his feet, and they wind up clinched as someone at cageside gets randomly bleeped out. Maybe it was Pennís cornerman calling Fitch a cocksucker? Fitch keeps going for the takedown, but again Penn defends it. Good elbow inside the clinch from BJ. More good shots from Penn but Fitch stays on him and continues to go for the takedown. Looks like the elbow mightíve cut him though. Penn reverses position and looks for a takedown of his own, and Fitch is bleeding all over the place now, blood pouring down BJís back. Good knee and uppercut from him to break though. Penn comes forward swinging and manages to get a takedown, then scrambles onto the back as Fitch tries to hit a switch. He looks for the choke, but Fitch defends it well and turns into the guard. This is a GREAT fight. Fitch postures up and lands some punches, feeding BJ a nice diet of short elbows and shots to the body. He even channels Chael Sonnen with the paintbrushing style of a punch into a backfist. Penn looks tired now and continues to take shots until he escapes to his feet as the round ends. Iíve got that one 10-9 Fitch as he was the aggressor and did more damage with his ground-and-pound despite Penn taking his back and cutting him.
Between rounds Pennís cornerman Troy Mandaloniz outright asks him if he wants this, which is a worrying sign.
Third and final round and Fitch cracks him with an overhand right as they start. He looks to follow with a single leg and completes it, despite Penn attempting a sprawl. Immediately itís elbow time as Fitch moves BJ towards the fence and begins to open up with ground-and-pound. This is the most aggressive Iíve seen Fitch in a while. Penn manages to push off the hips though and escapes to his feet. Fitch goes right back for the takedown though and drags him down again, then grabs a rear waistlock as they stand. Knees to the legs from Fitch and he forces BJ to the ground and gets on top in half-guard, almost mounted in fact. Penn works a butterfly guard in, but heís taking some shots from Fitch now. Fitch is just beating him up now, throwing shot after shot after shot. Damnit why wasnít Fitch as aggressive as this against his other recent opponents? Penn looks exhausted now as Fitch continues to pound him. This is becoming a real beatdown. Massive punches and elbows land for Fitch. He considers an arm triangle attempt for a second but then decides to go back to landing punches, which Iíd say is a smart decision. Seconds to go and Fitch continues to punish Penn with elbows and punches, ending the fight in firm control. Iíve got that one 10-8 for Fitch and that means itís his fight 29-27 overall. Penn looks like a completely broken man post-fight.
Judges score it 29-28 Fitch, 28-28 for a draw, and 28-28 to make it a majority draw overall. Crowd are pretty silent where Iím sure in the US theyíd be booing like crazy. Post-fight Fitch looks disappointed and says he felt he did enough to take the decision, but admits he didnít expect Penn to look for the takedown at all and did no defensive wrestling in his camp. Penn looks thoroughly dejected and freely admits that he didnít deserve the decision, saying he thought heíd lost the fight, and wasnít sure what he was going to do with his career if he lost this fight, but because he was given the draw heíd be up for a rematch. Honestly in my opinion, I think he was ready to announce his retirement right there had he lost the decision.
So many things to say about this one then. First off Ė great fight Ė not a FOTYC or anything, but certainly the most entertaining fight involving Jon Fitch in a long time. It was really interesting to see Penn come out looking for the takedown, and it was a smart gameplan too as Fitch hadnít trained for that, but in the end he just couldnít keep the pace up and once Fitch got on top he really put a beating on the former champ. The decision was a bit of an odd one but it wasnít a true robbery or anything, as you could conceivably give Penn the first two rounds 10-9 and then Fitch the third 10-8, and so under the ten-point system that is a draw even though Fitch clearly ďwonĒ the fight. After the ending too I do wonder if Pennís heart is truly in the game any more, and I guess weíll find that out when he fights Carlos Condit. As for Fitch, it was an impressive showing despite the result, but I just donít see that thereís money in another fight with GSP Ė sure, he did better against Penn than anyone at WW not named GSP has done before, but he still hasnít shown anything to suggest that a rematch with GSP would go any different to the first one, which was a one-sided beatdown. And as his personality just doesnít sell tickets or PPVs, Iíd rather see fresh guys fighting St-Pierre instead. But yeah, strong main to cap off the show.
-Highlight reel ends our night in Australia.
I thought this was a solid, if a little unspectacular show in the end. None of the fights were bad Ė I gave Zhang-Reinhardt the worst fight just because it only lasted a few seconds Ė but while there were some really good fights (Fitch-Penn, Sotiropoulos-Siver, Ebersole-Lytle) nothing stood out as truly memorable outside of Mark Huntís awesome knockout finish. Itís worth a look for a bunch of very good fights, but I wouldnít call UFC 127 a must-see or anything. Still, itís worth a thumbs up though.
Best Fight: Penn-Fitch
Worst Fight: Zhang-Reinhardt
Overall Rating: ****
UFC: 128-132, Fight Night 24, Versus 3 & 4
Strike Force: Overeem vs. Werdum
King of the Cage: Various shows