Wednesday, January 30, 2013

UFC on Fox 6 Recap

The first thing I have to say about this event is that going to see an event live should be on every fight fans bucket list.  I made the voyage to Chicago this past weekend for the fight and forked over a good amount of money to make sure I had some good seats but it was well worth it.  Especially for those who purchase UFC pay per view fights for 60-80 dollars, if there is an event nearby you should try to go.  For most of the prelims the arena was not full, so if the ushers were sleeping on the job you could sit anywhere.  Once the main card starts, the UFC puts on a video to pump up the crowd.  The fighting montage of spectacular highlights of UFC stars playing to the music of Baba O'Riley by the Who may have been the best part of the whole thing. This video brought a tear to my eye it was so amazing and it was immediately followed up by the first fight of the main card.  The energy of the United Center was unlike any other sporting event I have been too.  It was an amazing time and I look forward to doing it again in the future.

That said, time for the fight recap:
The first fight on Facebook featured Dave Mitchell and Simeon Thoresen.  They slugged it out in the first round and had a nifty submission battle in the second.  Mitchell clearly took both rounds and the doctor almost stopped the fight due to Thoresen's beat up face.  Despite having the match locked up, Mitchell rallied the crowd to cheer and convinced Thoresen to continue.  This really made be a Dave Mitchell fan.  He went on to win the third round as well and take an exciting unanimous decision victory to start the day.

Rafael Natal followed up this fight on FX with a dominating victory of his own.  He outwrestled UFC newcoming Sean Spencer for 3 rounds until he finally secured an arm triangle choke in the third to hang on to  a victory.  He was dominant, yet slightly unimpressive.  I would have liked to see Natal be a little more active on the ground, but laying on top of a guy is an effective way to win if the guy on the bottom is not good enough to get you off of him.

Chicago firefighter turned UFC fighter Mike Russow entered his fight with Shawn Jordan a hefty favorite.  In the first round he showed this by dominating Jordan with striking and grappling.  He took the first round easily but Jordan stood tall despite being rocked a few times.  Jordan was a football player at LSU and is an incredible athlete.  He used this to his advantage by being the more conditioned fighter on Saturday night.  The second round was all Jordan, and he finished Russow on the ground by getting his back and pulverizing his face until Herb Dean pulled him off of Russow.

Ryan Bader showed he does not belong on an under card ever again with his impressive victory of the 42 year old Vladimir Matyushenko.  He staggered Vladdy with a left hand before grabbing a front choke and switching into a guillotine.  Once he had the neck, it was over.  Ryan Bader secured the fastest submission in UFC light heavyweight history in impressive fashion to show he is still a force in the division.  He took home an additional $50,000 for a submission of the night bonus.

Pascal Krauss apparently defeated Mike Stumpf by winning all 3 rounds and securing a decision.  The reason I say apparently is because I fell asleep in the arena this fight was so awful.  Literally passed out in my chair from the boredom of Stumpf playing with his hair while Krauss felt the need to hold him against the cage and do nothing the entire fight.  Both guys should be cut from the UFC this fight was so awful.  Congrats on the victory Krauss but you will have to do better than that next time.

Luckily the always entertaining Clay Guida fought next to awake the crowd.  He is insane and really gets the crowd going with his entrance.  He is a ball of energy and he sported a fantastic mustache for his fight on FX.  Guida secure a split decision victory because of his 2 slams and top control, however it did not come without controversy.  Hatsu Hioki definitely was the better striker and he was very active while on his back for 8 minutes.  Guida essentially laid on top of him while inflicting maybe 3 punches and did not pass the guard of Hioki once.  Hioki landed about 20 punches from the bottom and tried 4 or 5 submissions.  Combine this with his dominant standup and you could make a case he won the fight.  He took the loss with class and Guida will happily take the win, but this fight could have gone either way.

To end the FX card, lightweights TJ Grant and Matt Wiman went at it for an exciting round of fighting.  Wiman swung and missed a bunch, as Grant looked really elusive the entire fight.  Grant initiated the clinch to throw dangerous knees and elbows, similar to the way Jim Miller threw elbows against Joe Lauzon at UFC 155.  Grant eventually clipped him with 2 clinch elbows before jumping on him with 3 punches that led to a ref stoppage.  Grant looked phenomenal in 2 straight fights now and likely is on his way to fighting a top 10 lightweight.  This knockout very well could have been knockout of the night had another fighter not begged for it, as you will read later.

The Fox card started with Erik Koch against Ricardo Lamas.  Koch was originally scheduled to fight Jose Aldo for the featherweight championship at UFC 153 before getting injured.  He is an unorthodox striker who can knock you out of submit you.  Rather than complain about Frankie Edgar getting the title shot instead of him, he gladly accepted this fight against Ricardo Lamas in his home town of Chicago.  This proved to be a major mistake.  Lamas has now won back to back fights against guys guaranteed title shots.  Hioki had Aldo scheduled before eventually deciding to fight Lamas fight for extra preparation.  Lamas won the fight and ruined Hioki's title hopes.  Koch lost his title hopes by getting destroyed by devastating ground elbows by Lamas.  Koch was covered in his own blood after Ricardo cut him open with an elbow, only to continue to lay down more elbows.  The fight was stopped in the 2nd round and Lamas made himself a top 5 featherweight, if he wasn't already.  He could either get a title shot next, or take on a top 5 guy like Jung or Mendes in a top contender bout going into the future.

Top lightweights Anthony "Showtime" Pettis and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone went at it next.  They both walked out to the lamest songs on the card: Cerrone to "Cowboy" by Kid Rock and Pettis to "Show Time" by Tum Tum.  There is something pretty lame about both walking out to their nicknames.  Both fighters also have their names tattooed on their backs which is also slightly weird.  Pettis was able to handle Cowboy with relative ease, throwing unorthodox strikes, including another crazy off the fence knee.  Late in the first round he landed a liver kick which knocked Cerrone down.  Pettis jumped on him and got the finish scoring a knockout of the night bonus.  While I love the liver kick KO, I think that he stole $50k out of Grant's pocket by begging Dana for the bonus.  He said it was his birthday and he would love the bonus as a present, which I found to be lame and pathetic, but hey it worked.  Grant should be more motivated to climb to the top to knock Pettis out and take his money back.

Rampage Jackson pretty much did what everyone expected in his final UFC fight.  He was taken down with ease and gassed almost instantly while throwing a few good combinations here and there.  It was Glover Teixeira that turned heads by doing the unthinkable.  He had a clear wrestling advantage over Rampage, and put him down whenever he wanted to.  However instead of holding him there to squeak out a decision like Bader did to Rampage in Japan, he stood in the pocket with him.  Glover demonstrated his excellent standup game by boxing with one of the best.  Glover took every round and nearly finished Rampage on a couple occasions.  He had Jackson's back in the first round but Rampage escaped that.  A few times in the standup he rocked Rampage but could not finish the experienced fighter.  Rampage put on a good show but ultimately lost to a better fighter who trains harder and wants to be a champion.  Rampage lost the fire and motivation in fighting a while ago and it showed in his final stint with the UFC in Chicago.  Also, I give props to both guys for walking out to a DMX song.

In the main event, powerful John Dodson looked incredible in the early going. He had significantly better striking than a dominant striker in Demetrious Johnson.  JD vs DJ was a really entertaining bout and that is why they both took home a fight of the night bonus.  The first round saw Dodson stuffing DJ's takedowns and catching his strikes.  He landed a couple of good combos and threw Johnson to the ground on a few occasions.  The second round was much of the same.  Dodson rocked DJ twice and knocked him down with a powerful left hand counter.  I thought the fight was over on both occasions, as the left hand really hurt Johnson.  Then came the foul play.  Johnson kneed Dodson in the groin accidentally which caused a stop in the fight in the third round.  Dodson was ok and the fight continued.  Early in the fourth round, Johnson threw a knee to the head of Dodson while he was a grounded opponent.  John McCarthy should have docked Johnson a point for this illegal hit.  It did a lot of damage and caused a swelling over his eye.  Had a point been deducted the fight would have been a tie, or it would have inspired DJ to really go after Dodson to finish the fight which could have led to some serious fireworks.  Instead, DJ used a wicked muay thai clinch to deliver knees to the body and head of Dodson for a large portion of the fourth and fifth rounds.  Dodson definitely gassed and said he will work on that going into the future to take the next step towards becoming champion.  Dodson was also very gracious in defeat, and praised Johnson for his talent rather than complain about illegal shots that DJ got away with.  When asked about how bad his head was hurt by the illegal knee in the post fight press conference, Dodson simply replied, "I'm not going to bitch."  Dodson likely gained a lot of fans after this fight, outside of the ones who already loved him when he won the Ultimate Fighter.  DJ defended his title in an exciting manner and demonstrated his cardio and chin while doing so.  The fight of the night performance proved to people that flyweights can and will be exciting whether they are finishing their opponents or not with the main event on Fox.

Unfortunately I picked a bit too many underdogs on the undercard which made my picks a little off the wall.  I finished 4 for 11 on the night.  My bias agaisnt Guida didn't help me either. Oh well we all have bad days, I'll bounce back with a strong UFC 156. 16/35 overall 45.7%

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