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.

UFC Nashville Results: OSP invents new submission, Swanson delivers another thriller

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Woke up a little late and missed a few fights. Here goes –

Prelims:

Dustin Ortiz vs Brandon Moreno
Bruce Lee was like water. Dustin Ortiz is like glue. He really took the fight to Moreno, and was absolutely relentless with his takedowns. Just offered zero distance and brought a stifling game into the cage tonight. Moreno defended well, stayed active and made it back to his feet every time but Ortiz took Round 1. Ortiz followed the same gameplan in Round 2 but Moreno landed a beautiful headkick and immediately followed up on the ground. Got the bodylock and worked to secure a great RNC that put Ortiz to sleep. A really solid performance by Moreno.

Jake Ellenberger vs Mike Perry
Wtf is up with Jake Ellenberger’s beard? Looks like a possum caught fire. Anyway, this should be a good scrap. Ellenberger has been around for a long time and has some good wins under his belt and ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry is the hungry youngster looking to make a name for himself. Ellenberger starts out well. Both fighters trade, and Ellenberger seems to get the better of the exchange. The separate, and holy crap. Mike Perry takes Ellenberger out with an elbow from hell. Didn’t even need to follow it up. Mike Perry has all the makings of the next big KO artist. Some find his attitude and antics annoying, but he gets the job done. In a flashy manner. And that’s what the UFC likes. Massive win for the young up and comer.

Joe Lauzon vs Stevie Ray
I love watching J Lau fight. The dude has been around forever and is tough as nails. I love his story too. Lauzon is a computer science major turned fighter, and calls himself the Mark Zuckerberg of the UFC! http://www.joelauzon.com/about/joe-lauzon-is-the-ufcs-mark-zuckerberg/ I don’t know about the Zuck reference, but there’s not too many guys out there who can beat the shit out of you, and then fix your laptop.

This fight has reached the ground really really fast. Dominant first round for Lauzon. Kept Ray on the ground and constantly attacked from the top. Round 2 – pretty much the same as Round 1. Good pressure, but no threat of a finish really. Round 3 – Lauzon is gassed. And pretty bad at that. He’s completely unable to mount any offense and Stevie Ray begins to land shots. The round ends with a completely exhausted Lauzon simply surviving on guts. It goes to the judges, and Stevie Ray wins by Majority Decision! Round 3 definitely went to Ray but 1 and 2 had to belong to J Lau. Damn.

John Dodson vs Eddie Wineland
This should be fast paced to say the least. Dodson is a really good fighter but his goofy, grinning schtick can be quite annoying. Wineland looks focused as always and the difference in demeanor is stark. Wineland is 4.5 inches taller and has a significant reach advantage. Let’s go. Round 1 – unreal how fast Dodson moves. Constant movement, and almost impossible to hit. Wineland is keeping busy but nothing is landing, and Dodson is seeing a lot more success. Must be frustrating as hell for Eddie. Round 2 – Wineland has no answer for the speed of Dodson. His nose is busted up a bit and Dodson looks fresh as a sprig of basil on a bowl of Pho. Round 3 – Dodson steps up the offense and lands several shots. He’s way too fast, and Wineland simply can’t connect. The round ends and the crowd boos, but it’s a masterful performance and Dodson takes the decision. Acts like a bit of an idiot in the post fight interview. Gets booed again, but hey you can’t deny the fact that the dude has some serious skills.

Ovince St Preux vs Marcos Rogerio De Lima
De Lima has missed weight for the second fight in a row, loses 30% of his purse to OSP. Crazy. This guy needs to figure out if he belongs at LHW or not. He’s massive for the weight class and definitely looks like he can shed a few pounds. Interesting stat – OSP owns 1 of 2 Von Flue choke finishes in the UFC. Need to look up who has the other one. Anyway, let’s see who takes this one. OSP’s post fight celebration is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Will we see it today?

Round 1 – both guys throwing heavy leather with De Lima looking slightly more aggressive. Pretty sure he won the round. Round 2 – OSP catches a leg kick and takes the fight to the ground. Lands some solid ground and pound and gets in an odd position where he’s literally just leaning on De Lima’s oesophagus. It didn’t even look like a proper submission, but De Lima taps! Crazy shit! No idea where that came from. Really innovative submission win for OSP.  Oh no. He’s going to do that goofy thing he does. Is he supposed to be a dog? A cow? What the fuck is that thing? Anyway, it’s good hear chants of OSP fill the arena. We get another look at that choke and I’m still not sure what the hell that is. OSP’s coach chimes in to say that they’re calling the choke a Von St. Preux. Good shit.

Diego Sanchez vs Al Iaquinta
Diego is one of the originals of the sport. He won the first season of TUF and he’s still fighting. Iaquinta is coming off a really long layoff. Will he show signs of ring rust? Diego Sanchez is the Shia LeBouf of MMA. Comes out with his typical “Yes” chants and comes across as completely crazy. Fight starts and the guys trade shots. 1 min 38 seconds in, Iaquinta lands a killer right cross and drops Diego. Diego pops back up, chomps down on his mouthpiece and it looks like we’re in for an classic insane Sanchez throwdown. Iaquinta has other plans though, and lands another right and knocks Diego out. Weird post fight interview. Nobody can make out what the fuck Iaquinta is even saying. Dude wasted his mic time on national TV.

Main Event (5 rounds): Artem Lobov vs Cub Swanson
Props to Swanson for taking this fight. With a record of 14 – 12 – 1, Artem Lobov really doesn’t have the creds to be headlining a card, let alone against a veteran like Cub Swanson. All the marketing has been around him being Conor McGregor’s training partner and it’s pretty obvious how he landed this fight. For what it’s worth, Lobov says he’s looking for a Griffin-Bonnar-esque war. Let’s see if he can back up the talk.

Good first round – Lobov gets the first takedown but Swanson landed more shots, including a nice headkick towards the end of the round.

Round 2 – Wow. I was wrong. The counter says Lobov landed more shots in Rd. 1. Good round for Swanson. Sneaks in a good takedown and goes to work on the ground. Gets the back but is too high up to get the RNC. Lobov makes it back to his feet, they swing some more and the round ends.

Round 3 – Lobov has a good chin on him, man. Swanson is hitting him with some good shots. I’m liking this fight. Both fighters nod and show a sign a respect and trade shots. The ref pauses the action to check a cut on Lobov’s eyelid, but it’s no big deal and they continue. Swanson throws a crazy cartwheel kick that Lobov catches and get’s a takedown to close the round. Good round.

Round 4 – Some good clinch work in this round with Swanson landing a nice spinning back elbow that lands flush. Lobov eats it like it’s nothing. My Chromecast died and I missed the last minute of the round.

Round 5 – Mutual respect shown. Both guys are looking for the knockout. Both guys are tired and bloodied up. Swanson lands some really creative strikes – hook kicks, head kicks but nothing rattles the Russian’s chin. Swanson lands a fantastic Judo throw towards the end of the round and both guys just pour on the action till the end of the fight. Great show. Swanson gets a very well deserved Unanimous Decision win. Classy post fight interview from Cub Swanson who tips his hat to Lobov.

There were times when I thought Swanson could have really poured it on and finished Lobov, but I guess really was the better strategy. If you’re Swanson, would you really risk getting knocked out by such a small name, at this stage in your career? Props to Cub Swanson for playing safe but still managing to turn in a crowd pleaser.

The UFC should be happy with this event. This is just the kind of card you should put on free TV, to pull in casual viewers. So that wraps up UFC Tennessee. We’ll be back with more ramblings. Hope you guys had fun.

Over and out.

Naming names – Shane ‘The Engineer’ Carwin

Shane ‘The Engineer’ Carwin will walk out at UFC 111 tomorrow. I thought this would be a fitting time to blog about the nickname that I suggested to Carwin’s team a few months ago. Jason Genet, Shane’s manager put together a contest on their website http://www.shane-carwin.com/profiles/blogs/official-shane-carwin and asked fans to come up with cool nicknames for the heavy-weight wrecking ball that is, Shane Carwin. I along with another chap named Josh Diehl won the contest and will soon receive some merchandise signed by Carwin.

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Shane ‘The Engineer’ Carwin

What’s really cool, is that this is the first time Carwin will be called by this name. I literally can’t wait to hear Bruce Buffer announce it. Carwin last fought a year back and is coming off a first round knock out of Gabriel Gonzaga. He faces his biggest test tomorrow, in Frank Mir. Good luck Shane.. Frank Mir is a beast.

This fight is for the interim heavyweight title and the winner will face Brock Lesnar to unify the belts. I’m a huge Lesnar fan, but we’ll get to that later. This fight, in the meanwhile looks to be solid gold and while it IS hard to make a pick, I’m leaning towards Shane because of his one punch knockout power. Mir is dead dangerous with submissions but he’s no match for Shane’s striking.

Lets see what happens. May the best man win.

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Update: I actually won this contest, but the t-shirt never made it to India (where I was based at the time). Oh well. Still a cool story, right?

TUF 10 Episode 5 – WTF Wes Sims?

I was getting tired of writing MMA stuff on my regular blog, so now this place will serve as my ranting/raving ground for all things MMA related. I’ll kick this off by talking about episode 5 of the Ultimate Fighter. The Rashad and Rampage show continues while Kimbo lurks in the background, chomping at the bit to fight again. This episode sees Wes Sims fight Justin Wren and man, did Sims stink up the place! I expected a hell of a lot more of the 12 year veteran. Wren is just 22 years old to boot. I actually thought Sims would keep him at bay with his significant reach advantage and win by a late TKO but no such thing happened. Wren took the big man to the ground, and submitted him in under two minutes via arm triangle.

Sims went to sleep and took his own fucking time waking up. Rampage again left his fighter in the octagon to fend himself after the loss. I’ve actually started liking Rashad Evans now. I used to hate this guy because of his bullshit antics in the cage earlier but now, he comes across as a pretty decent guy. Nothing like getting knocked the fuck out by Lyoto Machida to set a dude right.

I’d like to see Kimbo fight again.  I’ve always been a bit of a freakshow fan. I’d actually pay money to see Oleg Taktarov fight a bear.

Over and out.