UFC 211 – #AndStill

UFC 211 was a great card. Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Stipe Miocic both retained their titles and came a step closer to entering the record books. Here’s a quick breakdown of the main card.

Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier
No contest at 4:12 of R2

This fight had Fight of The Night written all over it. Alvarez is clearly still smarting from the loss to McGregor, and Porier is simply on a tear of late. Both guys are known to bring it, and this fight could have easily been a headliner on it’s own. Both fighters got off to a great start, with Poirier getting the better of the exchanges. Alvarez showed his trademark toughness and kept attacking despite being tagged on several occasions. Then, he illegally kneed Poirier in the head. Three times. Herb Dean stopped the fight and it was ruled a No Contest due to unintentional strikes to the head. Really unfortunate. I have no doubt in my mind that the strikes were unintentional, but do believe that Poirier should have been awarded the DQ victory.

David Branch def. Krzysztof Jotko
Branch def. Jotko via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

I was excited to see Dave Branch and his mutton chops make their return to the UFC. Branch is an incredibly talented jiujitsu fighter who never managed to find success in his first run in the UFC. He later went on to dominate and even become a double champ in smaller organizations, but he has never truly showed us his skills under the bright lights. Krzystof Jotko came into this fight on a 5 fight win streak, and had some decent momentum behind him. This was a good back and forth fight which saw Jotko land some good shots to win the first round, and Branch getting rounds two and three. Not the most exciting performance, but Branch’s dominance on the ground was enough to get the Split Decision victory. Let’s see who he fights next.

Frankie Edgar def. Yair Rodriguez
Edgar def. Rodriguez via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of R2

Yair ‘El Pantera’ Rodriguez is red hot right coming into this fight. The youngster has shown off a repertoire of creative strikes, and made quite the name for himself in recent months. Frankie Edgar, has seen everything in the game though and is a true veteran of the sport. Significantly shorter than Rodriguez, Edgar did appear to have his work cut out for him. The bell rang, and Frankie Edgar unleashed a storm. He took Rodriguez to the ground in just over a minute and started some heavy ground and pound. Elbows punches and the kitchen sink. This was a 10-8 round for Edgar, easy. Rodriguez went back to his corner with a horribly swollen eye. Round 2 – Rodriguez tries to get off a few kicks, but Edgar is having none of it. Takes him down again and beats him up on the ground. Edgar’s experience is proving to be too much for the youngster. The eye is looking bad, and the doctor stops the fight.

Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal
Maia def. Masvidal via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Props to Demian Maia for taking this fight. The guy was already in line for a title shot but obliged the UFC and took a fight to stay busy. Taking a fight against the always dangerous Jorge Masvidal takes some serious guts and speaks volumes about the fighter’s confidence in himself.

Maia looks for the takedown right away. Masvidal defends but Maia ends ups getting a full body lock on a standing Masvidal. Maia hangs on for a good four minutes before Masvidal gets out, ends up on top and starts landing punches. The round closes with Maia having had more dominant position through out but Masvidal doing more damage. Round 2 was very evenly matched with both fighters had their moments, making it a hard one to score. Round 3 was similar to Round 1. Masvidal kept busy with strikes. Maia got the takedown and kept busy on the ground. The fight ended, and Maia got the Split Decision. He immediately went over to Dana and confirmed his next fight for the title.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Jessica Andrade TITLE FIGHT
Jedrzejczyk def. Andrade via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-45)

JJ has completely outclassed everyone in her division. Jessica Andrade is a great fighter, but does she really have a shot at this? Round 1 – JJ lands a few kicks, and Andrade returns fire. It’s pretty obvious that JJ has the reach advantage. That said, Andrade is throwing every shot with bad intentions and I daresay she can KO anyone out there if she connects. JJ does a great job staying out reach and landing her strikes in and out of the pocket. She kept this up for 5 rounds straight and while Andrade did have a couple of threatening moments, JJ was never in any real danger. The fight went the distance, and JJ won an emphatic Unanimous Decision. Spectacular scrap. Points to Andrade for never letting up and constantly attacking.

Stipe Miocic def. Junior Dos Santos TITLE FIGHT
Miocic def. Dos Santos via TKO (punches) at 2:22 of R1

Second title fight on the card! JDS has been in some big fights. He looked great in his last fight, and I think his experience gives him a significant advantage here. While Miocic has finished all his opponents thus far, some still feel it’s been a faltering on the parts of his opponents rather than skills brought to the cage by Miocic. Horrible sentence construction. I know. Anyway, JDS starts off with a couple of nice leg kicks. Miocic eats them, comes back with a few punches and they end up against the cage. Miocic lands a huge right that drops JDS to his knees. Keeps pounding till the ref stops the fight.

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Amazing. Maybe now the haters will shut up. Stipe Miocic has now finished all his title defenses and is close to entering the record books.

I normally watch every UFC card on Fight Pass, at home. The events air at around 8 am on Sundays and it’s a nice way to spend my morning. This Sunday, I decided to step out and watch the fights at a bar. Boomarang – an Australian style cafe / bar is known to serve up good grub and air sporting events so I called, and made a reservation. A wise call, judging by the number of people who showed up to watch the fights. MMA is still small in Singapore, but interest is surely growing. It’ll be interesting to see how many folks show up for the live event next month.

Todd Duffee slated to return this November

MMA Junkie reported a few days back that The Duffman is coming back this November. I’d almost forgotten about Todd Duffee to be honest. He hasn’t fought in almost two years, and his last outing saw him get knocked out by Frank Mir. Now there are prospects who don’t live up to the hype, but with Duffee it kinda feels like he never quite started the race.

I remember Duffee bursting onto the scene with a 7 second KO of Tim Hague back in 2009. Duffee had raw athleticism, paired with a great look and people immediately started calling him the future of the UFC’s heavyweight division. I’ll admit it. I was excited too.

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Duffee’s next fight saw him take on Mike Russow – a former cop who looked the exact opposite of Duffee. I daresay the man looked pudgy and out of shape. Duffee beat the living daylights out of Russow for two and a half rounds, until Russow landed two rights out of nowhere and got the KO victory. The shocking come from behind win kinda broke the internet for the next few days. One of my favourite reactions was this Mortal Kombat style video someone made of the fight. Seven years later, it still makes me laugh.

Duffee still had some steam behind him, but was abruptly cut from the UFC. Dana White cited an “attitude problem” and Duffee himself says he was never given a reason for being let go. Rumours flew around, saying that he had lied to the UFC and wanted to do movie role instead. He soon found a fight in Japan, and faced Alistair Overeem at Dream’s NYE card. He simply wasn’t ready to take on a fighter of Overeem’s stature and lost by TKO in just 19 seconds.

Duffee’s run of bad luck started right after the Overeem fight. He’s been plagued by injuries ever since, and has only fought four times in the last 7 years. He’s found it really hard to stay healthy, and injuries have sidelined him for a ridiculous amount of time. His last outing saw him knocked out by Frank Mir, but there’s still a good amount of interest surrounding this Duffee.

The guy has five KO wins, in under 1 minute; one of which is currently tied for the record of fastest KO in UFC history. No matter which way you look at it, that’s a bloody impressive stat.

While the UFC hasn’t announced an opponent yet, it’s going to be interesting to see who he goes up against next. Can Todd Duffee make a run of it? Here’s hoping he stays healthy and lives up to his immense potential.

Al Iaquinta – ragin’ against the machine

When I watched UFC Nashville, I didn’t quite get ‘Raging’ Al Iaquinta’s post fight interview. The man seemed unfocussed, off point and totally random with his comments. He showed annoyance, mumbled something about selling real estate, and that was it. I felt like he’d wasted his on-air time, and failed to say anything relevant.

In the days that have followed, we’ve seen Al really live up to his nickname and spew fire about the problems he’s been facing with the UFC. It started with him ranting about low pay – an issue he’s brought up in the past as well. What really pushed him over the edge though, was overlooked for the Knockout Of The Night bonus. His performance against Diego Sanchez was amazing, and produced a highlight that the UFC is going to use for long time.

Al Iaquinta KO Diego Sanchez

Hard to argue with that.

Then, there was the issue of sponsorship money he’d lost thanks to Reebok. And then, there was the matter of the UFC being selective in the fighters they promote. He took at aim at everyone’s favourite hate magnet – Sage Northcutt, then Mike Perry and then a whole bunch of other fighters, but most surprisingly, Al went after the boss himself.

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Now there’s nothing passive aggressive about the manner in which Iaquinta is calling out Dana White. From telling Dana to “go f*ck himself” to declaring himself the new President of the UFC, to calling him a wannabe fighter – Iaquinta is mincing no words.

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Whether you’re on his side or not, it’s bloody hard to look away now. This is an employee taking it to his boss in the most aggressive tone we’ve seen since Stone Cold Steve Austin. The UFC has been silent but it will be interesting to see how they deal with this. Do they simply ignore this disgruntled employee, or will they let this thing turn into a hero vs establishment kinda thing that will get fans interested in his next fight. Post acquisition, we’ve seen the UFC become a lot more.. corporate. Will they fan a few flames and try to generate marketing content out of this, or will they simply have HR send Al a warning letter?

Let’s wait and watch.