|Bermudez (blue trunks) hits Grice (red trunks)|
in an early favorite to win Fight of the Year 2013.
I must confess that I was unable to get my computer to work during the preliminary Facebook fights at 7pm. I heard all 3 fights were pretty entertaining and the Facebook portion of the night went well.
- Nah-Shon Burrell missed weight by a few pounds but came up the winner over Yuri Villefort by unanimous decision.
- TUF Carwin Vs. Nelson fighters went at it next. Magny edged out Manley with a unanimous decision.
- The 3rd fight on Facebook I did see, since it aired on the PPV after the Faber/Menjivar fight. Kenny Robertson won Submission of the Night with a nasty kneebar win over Brock Jardine. Kenny looked like he is for real, showcasing some serious grappling and submission expertise.
Moving on to FX, the UFC put on one of the best prelims of recent memory.
- UFC veteran Sam Stout was able to edge out Strikeforce's Caros Fodor with a controversial split decision.
- The Fight of the Night and potential Fight of the Year candidate followed Stout's victory. Matt Grice took on Dennis Bermudez in a featherweight bout that received little to no attention in the media. I personally had not heard of either of these guys prior to Saturday night. Bermudez was known by a few for his stay on The Ultimate Fighter, but from now on he will be known for his fight with Matt Grice. The first round showed Grice taking it to Bermudez, throwing elbows and left hooks while pushing the pace. However he slipped on a takedown attempt and ended up on the bottom of Bermudez in the full mount with an arm trapped. Bermudez repeatedly landed hard left hands and destroyed Grice's face with over 40 significant strikes in about a minute. Grice got back to his feet and was able to again dominate the standup. He landed a few combos and eventually tagged Bermudez with a nasty left hook that sent him to the ground. His legs were not under him and Grice kept bringing pressure. Bermudez was able to survive the first round. The second round is the only reason why another fight could potentially edge this one out for Fight of the Year. The 2nd was not nearly as exciting, but both guys still threw crazy strikes and did damage with an active clinch game. This was yet another tough round to score but I personally had Grice winning the first 2 rounds. Joe Rogan seemed to be in agreement with me since he kept pointing out that Bermudez would have to finish Grice if he wanted to win. Well about a minute or two into the final round, it seemed like that is exactly what would happen. Bermudez landed a couple of wicked uppercuts from the clinch and really staggered Grice. The cage kept him on his feet for a second, but Bermudez took him down and had active and effective ground and pound. Grice held on for his life as Bermudez kept pushing the pace and landing heavy shots. Somehow Bermudez did not finish the fight, and Grice was about to survive some of the nastiest punches while he was already staggered. They swung it out for the final seconds until the fight had to come to a conclusion. It took a minute for the judges to give their final decision but ultimately it was Dennis Bermudez edging out Matt Grice in another controversial split decision. Grice and Bermudez took home $50,000 for their Fight of the Night performance, as well as plenty of new fans. This fight was crazy and if you can find it on the internet, it is worth your 15 minutes.
- TUF Live winner Michael Chiesa took on Anton Kuivanen and they had a tough act to follow. Chiesa is a fan favorite due to his amazing story from TUF where he won despite the loss of his father during the show. Chiesa and Kuivanen had an even first round and I immediately started thinking, "here comes another split decision." Chiesa, however, decided he had seen enough of the judges. Mike got the back of Anton and finished with his signature rear-naked choke to stay undefeated. This was an impressive win for the up and coming lightweight Michael Chiesa.
- Heavyweights Brendan Schaub and Lavar Johnson closed out the so far incredible FX card. Expectations were that Schaub would demonstrate his chin is not made of glass by standing with Lavar and knocking him out. Schaub then decided to take Johnson down at will and lay in his half guard for days. He stayed in the half guard and did not look to pass or posture up at any point in the fight. Boring unanimous decision for Schaub.
The PPV card was a historic one, and it lived up to the hype.
- Robbie Lawler came out swinging in his return to the UFC picking up a huge upset win over UFC veteran Josh Koscheck. Kos looked for the takedown against the cage for a while but was unsuccessful. Lawler caught him with a hard shot that stunned him and kept pounding his face until he got the 1st round TKO finish. There was some controversy on the stoppage being too early, however it seemed like Herb Dean got this one right. Lawler landed some hard shots and Koscheck was not defending himself adequately.
- Due to Manny Gamburyan being forced to withdraw from his fight with Chad Mendes, the fight between Court McGee and Josh Neer was promoted to the PPV portion of the night. Court looked great in his welterweight debut, breaking Nick Diaz's record for strikes landed in a welterweight fight. Anyone but Neer probably would have been finished by Court in this fight. McGee really put on a show and went on to take a unanimous decision victory. He had his UFC life on the line in this fight, but after the win he is looking to take on a top 10 guy next.
- Urijah Faber made a statement with his huge win over Ivan Menjivar. He showed he is still a top guy and is not on the decline. Anyone not named Renan Barao or Dominick Cruz should fear this guy. The question is what is next for Urijah? Maybe a match with Michael "Mayday" McDonald? Faber could end up being the bar test for fighters who want title shots. He cannot get over the hump and win the UFC title, and yet he is undefeated in non-title fights. Stay tuned to Urijah's career because he still thinks he is getting better and plans on getting that belt from Cruz.
- Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson fought in the co-main event knowing a potential title fight was on the line. This win for Machida ended up being the 3rd controversial split decision of the night. Nonetheless he will get the winner of Jones and Sonnen. I am going to have to watch this fight again more closely to score it and see if I agree with the judges or not. I think it was pretty apparent Henderson took the 3rd round with his takedown and ground control. In the first 2 rounds he was the more aggressive fighter who brought the fight forward. Lyoto has always been a counter striker so he was content in sitting back and waiting for Dan. Hendo pushed the pace but he definitely took more damage. This is one of those fights where the fans are disappointed no matter who wins the decision. I am a Henderson fan who gave Lyoto no chance of winning, so needless to say I was upset. Dan's future will definitely be a question. At 42 will he still aim for the belt? Will he switch back to middleweight or try heavyweight? We will find this out soon. As for Lyoto, good luck beating either Jones or Sonnen in your title fight. Both guys are bad matches for him and if he loses another title fight he will probably be forced to drop to middleweight.
- The historic main event of Ronda Rousey verses Liz Carmouche could not have gone any better for everyone involved. The women's community as well as the LGBT community could not be happier after the first women and gay fighters entered the octagon. Liz Carmouche proved she is for real. She came out swinging and prevented Ronda's judo hip toss from sending her to the ground. She even grabbed a hold of Ronda's back and tried to go for the same finish Urijah Faber used to defeat Ivan Menjivar. Rousey lost her mouthpiece and had her neck cranked as hard as Liz could pull. Liz had teeth marks on her arm after the fight causing a little bit of a stir. All of it seemed accidental so nothing should be taken away form Ronda for shaking this submission off. Once on the ground, Ronda entered the dangerous guard of Carmouche and eventually got a hold of the arm. Once the arm is in Ronda's hands, the fight is over. They did a little roll over and Liz fought it off for a while, but Ronda eventually pulled the arm and got the submission win. This is another first round armbar win for Rousey. The fight was entertaining, Liz became a star in a loss, and Ronda showed resilience in coming back from danger for the first time in her career. These three things will do wonders for the future of women's MMA. As I mentioned before, this main event could not have gone any better
Of the Night honors were just $50,000 for this event:
Fight of the Night: Matt Grice and Dennis Bermudez
KO of the Night: Robbie Lawler
Submission of the Night: Kenny Robertson
My 3 stars of UFC 157:
- Urijah Faber
- Court McGee
As for my predictions, I was just 6/12 on the night. I believe I was robbed by the 3 split decisions all going against me. Had Fodor, Grice, and Henderson got the nod over their opponents by just 1 more judge, then I would be a much improved 9/12. The upset of Lawler over Koscheck did not help either. This brings my blogging career total to 31/63 in an upset heavy UFC of late. (49%)