Live from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, it’s time to settle some scores in the UFC!
Our hosts are Mike Goldberg and UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture, and after a quick look at the main bouts of tonight’s telecast, it’s on to the first fight!Lightweight Fight: Joe “Daddy” Stevenson VS Yves Edwards
Joe Stevenson is the Ultimate Fighter 2 Welterweight winner, and has since moved down to the Lightweight division.
Yves Edwards is a returning veteran looking for a win after losing in his UFC return fight at UFC 59.Round 1
They feel each other out for about a minute before Edwards floors Stevenson with a big left kick to the head! Edwards pounces on Stevenson and throws punches, but the Ultimate Fighter 2 winner is able to survive the storm and get back to his feet, clinching on to Edwards’ leg to take him down! Stevenson tries to push Edwards into the fence, but the veteran is able to escape and they get back to their feet. Stevenson corners Edwards, but the veteran jumps him and tries for a triangle! Edwards fights it off and gets into a high guard position and begins raining elbows on Edwards. Edwards takes a few shots and fights to his feet to escape, but Stevenson holds on to his leg, which almost turns into a big mistake as Edwards again takes advantage to shoot for the triangle! Stevenson gets into a dangerous position where his right arm is locked in Edwards’ triangle, but survives through it as the time limit expires.
Very even back and forth opening round with no clear advantage for either man.Round 2
Edwards out boxes Stevenson for the opening minute, so the Ultimate Fighter 2 winner shoots in for a single leg takedown and pushes Edwards into the fence and begins raining down heavy punches and elbows. Edwards gets cut and starts bleeding a gusher as Stevenson continues to pound away. Stevenson is relentless, but Edwards is able to weather the storm till referee Big John McCarthy pulls them apart and asks the doctor to check on Edwards’ cuts. There is blood EVERYWHERE! Edwards chooses to continue the fight, and McCarthy restarts them on the mat where Stevenson again gains a high mount position and rains down the elbows and punches! Edwards is somehow able to survive the assault and fight back to his feet in the final seconds as the round comes to an end.
A very BRUTAL and BLOODY second round, clearly won by Stevenson.
The doctors check on Edwards during the intermission and decide the fight can’t continue, ending the fight and awarding it to Stevenson by TKO. Edwards is not happy, and there are some boos from the crowd as well at the decision.Winner: Joe Stevenson by TKOHeavyweight Fight: Frank Mir VS Dan “The Sandman” Christison
Frank Mir is a former UFC heavyweight champion, winning the title off current champion Tim Sylvia at UFC48, and snapping Sylvia’s arm in the process with a triangle armbar! Mir also held a 46 second submission victory over Tank Abbott, as well as handing Lion’s Den fighter Pete Williams his first submission loss also in 46 seconds! Mir was on top of the world after winning the heavyweight title, but tragically was involved in a motorcycle accident before he could defend his title and was out of the game for over a year. His return fight was less than memorable as he lost the fight in the first round by TKO via ground strikes. But he’s still determined to climb the mountain back to the top again.
Dan “The Sandman” Christison is a 6’8” giant of a man, and the Ultimate Fighter 2 heavyweight runner up. He’s got size and power, as well as submission skills as proven in his last fight where he lived up to his namesake and put his opponent to sleep for one of the greatest submission moments ever!Round 1
They start off with a few short punch-kick combos before Mir is able to push Christison to the cage and take him down. Mir starts throwing punches, but Christison pulls out an armbar! Mir is barely able to escape as Christison loses his grip on the hold and both men get back to their feet, ending the round with a volley of strike exchanges.
The whole thing was a lot slower than it sounded and Mir already looks winded. I’d give the advantage to Christison for being the aggressor and connecting with more strikes during the closing moments.Round 2
They start off trading punches for a bit, and Christison scores more thanks to his reach advantage. Christison actually smiles for a bit before Mir takes him down and tries to ground and pound the big man. Christison slaps on a sloppy triangle which Mir is able to escape. Despite his back on the mat, Christison is able to be more active. The referee eventually stands them back up. They trade kicks before clinching up against the fence again and throw short knees at each other as the round comes to an end.
The crowd boos the fighters as they go back to their corners. Christison again looked to be the better of the two as Mir is just gassed now.Round 3
They trade strikes for a bit before Mir takes down Christison and shows some fire for the first time in the fight, raining down punches and elbows that bust open the Sandman and he starts to bleed, ironically in the same corner of the Octagon with the big blood patch from the previous fight. Unfortunately, Mir gets gassed again and the referee eventually stands up both men with 50 seconds left on the clock. Mir tries for a quick takedown, but Christison is able to sprawl to avoid the takedown, but himself can’t do anything from the position he has Mir in and the crowd boos the lack of action. They manage to get back to their feet in a clinch position and throw knees at each other as the time expires ending the round as the crowd boos some more. The Decision:
We go to the judges decision and it’s a unanimous decision as all 3 judges score the fight 29-28 in favor of FRANK MIR!
Really disappointing fight overall as both men lacked any fire, and I’m rather surprised by the judges decision.Winner: Frank Mir by 3-0 Judges DecisionLight Heavyweight Fight: “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock VS “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz
This is one of the few MMA fights where both men have legitimate heat with one another, and the rivalry dates back a long way. The two of them even almost went at it when they were coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 3! The first time these two fought it was UFC40: Vendetta, and Ortiz totally dominated Shamrock save for one punch Shamrock got in that instantly buckled Ortiz, but he was able to recover from to win the fight. Shamrock is counting on Ortiz to make that same mistake again tonight so he can capitalize on it and finally shut up Ortiz.
Heck, the fireworks for this one already started at the official weigh-ins on the previous day where Shamrock officially weighted in at 206lbs. The official weight designation for the Light Heavyweight Division is 205lbs, but an extra-pound of leniency is allowed. Tito immediately mouthed off to UFC president Dana White about Shamrock not making weight, but Shamrock is allowed to fight anyway. Ortiz on the other hand weight in at 206 1/2lbs! And had to spend the next half-hour jogging around the Octagon to cut weight to make the fight!Round 1
Very heated stare off before the round and even security are in the Octagon to make sure they don’t go at it before official start.
They go right at it and Shamrock immediately rushes in with punches. Ortiz hits a knee and tries for a single leg takedown. Shamrock tries to block it, but Ortiz picks him off the mat and slams him down! Ortiz pushes Shamrock against the fence and begins dropping elbow strikes, and suddenly referee Herb Dean stops the fight and pulls Ortiz off Shamrock, awarding the Huntington Beach Bad Boy the win at 1’08 of the first round!
The crowd boos the decision heavily despite cheering for Tito during the fight. Shamrock also obviously is still good to go despite the replay showing Shamrock was absorbing the punishment instead of blocking the shots. Uniformed security guards even enter the Octagon to keep both parties apart, and the official decision stands as Ortiz over Shamrock by TKO in the first round.
This right here is the thing I don’t like about MMA, when a referee stops the fight earlier than he should have. Especially after the way the fight was hyped as one of the most anticipated in UFC history! The fans were still booing and chanting “Bullsh*t!” even when Ortiz offered to face Shamrock one more time.Winner: Tito Ortiz by TKO from ground elbow strikes at 1’08 in Round 1
After a short intermission, UFC President Dana White is in the Octagon with a big announcement to make. He says he knows the fans are probably a little pissed right now, and they boo him to confirm it! White than brings out WANDERLEI SILVA! And Silva challenges Chuck Liddel for his UFC Light Heavyweight Title! Chuck immediately jumps from his ringside seat and enters the Octagon to stare off with the Axe Murderer and Dana White officially announces that if Liddell successfully defends the title against Renalto “Babalu” Sobraj at UFC 62 next month, he will than defend the title next against Silva in November!Welterweight Fight: Josh “The Dentist” Neer VS Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman
Josh Burkman is an Ultimate Fighter 2 competitor that had to pull out of the competition due to an arm injury he sustained in a fight on the show that he won. He came back at the Ultimate Fighter 2 Finals to win his fight in just 21 seconds by KO, followed by another quick submission victory in his second UFC fight before his momentum was derailed by a loss in his third fight. He’s hoping to get back on the winning track tonight.
Josh Neer lost his first UFC fight, but has since came back and taken down two Ultimate Fighter 2 contestants, including a win over Ultimate Fighter 2 welterweight winner Joe Stevenson. Neer also happens to be a big fan of Tito Ortiz, and ironically, his opponent tonight happens to be a trainee of Ortiz! Neer is looking to climb the welterweight ranks by taking out another Ultimate Fighter 2 competitor tonight.Round 1
They trade off some hard punches before locking up in a clinch where Burkman showed some good flexability hitting some high knees to Neer’s head. Neer actually gets cocky and calls out Burkman to bring it. Burkman manages to take down Neer near the fence and got up high to try and throw strikes, but Neer is able to kick him off and sweep him down, and both men get back up to their feet and trade strikes again. Burkman was able to catch Neer with a good right hand that buckled him, and Burkman immediately pounced on the advantage but wasn’t able to complete locking on a choke or an armbar, leading to both men getting to their feet again and ending the round trading punches.
Burkman looked to be the stronger of the two, connecting with more strikes, even short elbows and knees when they were up close in the clinch.Round 2
Burkman starts off with a big kick to the head that gets blocked, and Neer backs him against the fence and tries for a single leg takedown. Neer leaves his head open and Burkman connects with a few close punches, but Neer takes the advantage to sweep and takedown Burkman. Neer can’t get into a proper guard and so he tries to hold down Burkman against the fence and throws short punches. Neer is able to get Burkman in a guillotine position, but can’t clamp down on the hold. Neer rocks Burkman with punches as they get back to their feet. Burkman is able to shove off Neer with a hard left hand and follows up with more hard punches and a body kick. Neer gets cocky again and dares Burkman to try and hit him again. They clinch up again and Neer struggles for a single leg takedown. Burkman pushes him off with a big left hand and follows with more punches as Neer blocks the offense before asking Burkman for more! Neer is slightly bleeding over his left eye as Burkman backs him against the fence. Burkman leaves his neck open, but Neer is unable to lock on a choke, and gets picked off the mat and slammed down into the guard position. They struggle for a bit on the mat and Neer manages to lock on a triangle just as the time expires!
I can admire Neer willing to absorb punishment, but the guy needs to get some serious offense going.Round 3
They start throwing punches again and Burkman shoots in and slams Neer hard on the mat. Burkman tries to ground and pound, but Neer tries for a triangle! Burkman powers out of it by picking Neer off the mat and powerbombing him down on the mat! Burkman pushes Neer against the fence and gets into a standing position in the guard to try for punches. Neer is able to kick him off and the two grapple on the mat for a bit, going back and forth trying for ground locks. Neer almost gets a knee-bar on Burkman, but both men are able to fight to their feet and Burkman again picks up Neer off his feet and slams him down! The round ends with Burkman dominant on top once again.
As far as points are concerned, Burkman definitely owned that round. And the crowd applauds the efforts of both men.The Decision:
All 3 judges score a unanimous decision in favor of Josh Burkman, and rightfully so as he dominated both the striking and grappling for the whole fight. While Neer definitely showed he can take a punch and has good counter grapple skills on the mat, he definitely needs to work on his offense a bit more.Winner: Josh Burkman by 3-0 Judges Decision.MAIN EVENT
UFC World Heavyweight Title: Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski VS Tim “The Maniac” Sylvia (C)
The first time these two fought, Arlovski shocked everyone when he floored Sylvia with one big punch and quickly pounced on the champion to lock on a leglock to win the title in barely a minute! The second time they fought, Arlovski was being built as being an unbeatable champion and Sylvia had little chance against the champion. And everyone seemed to be right as Arlovski again floored Sylvia with one big right hand, but this time Sylvia was able to quickly get back to his feet and connect with a big uppercut on an overly aggressive Arlovski, dropping the champion and giving Sylvia the opening to mount and rain down punches forcing a Referee Stop to win back his world title in under barely a minute of the first round!
Who will win the rubber match? The 6’8 Maniac or the aggressive Pitbull? The Main Event is NOW!Round 1
The first 3 minutes of the round sees both men being cautious with their movements as they exchange punches and kicks. Sylvia has been saying how Arlovski has a glass jaw, and true enough at the second minute he connects with a big right which staggers back the Pitbull. Sylvia follows in but Arlovski cuts him off with a clinch. They break off and continue to trade as a “Pitbull” chant breaks out. Arlovski is connecting with more punches as Sylvia closes the distance and they clinch against the fence and try throwing short knees. Referee Big John McCarthy restarts them in the center of the Octagon due to lack of action with 40 seconds left on the clock. They continue trading strikes and the round ends with Sylvia connecting with a big back kick and Arlovski answers with a low kick of his own.
Pretty even back and forth opening round, but I’d give the advantage to Arlovski since he’s showing more aggression and connection with more punch combinations.Round 2
The second round was another stand up affair with both men trading back and forth. A quick burst of strikes break out between the two around the 2 minute mark before slowing the pace down again. Both men being cautious not to make any mistakes as they stand and trade for the rest of the round. Since this is a championship fight, it will go for five five-minute rounds instead of the standard three rounds.
The second round was also very evenly matched with no clear winner. Sylvia does seem to be gassed a bit with Arlovski still sticking and moving.Round 3
Another bland round as both men are being over-precautious, and the fans let out boos throughout despite some big flurries. Arlovski probably wins this one since he pressed the fight more and seemed to connect with more punches. Arlovski is also smart to take advantage of throwing body shots, which is very underused in the sport despite the amount of damage it can do to a fighter’s breathing.Round 4
Again the big men keep it on their feet with a really slow back and forth pace that draws boos from the crowd. Sylvia presses the fight more this time as Arlovski is bleeding above his left eye and on his right cheek. If either man is going to try for anything big, like say a takedown, now would be the time to do it.Round 5
I wonder if these two saw the Shamrock/Ortiz fight and were afraid of the referee stopping the match, which is what lead to this rather anti-climatic fight finish as both men again stayed away from anything other than trying to jab and kick at each other from a distance. And the crowd rightfully boos as the fight comes to an end at the time limit.The Decision:
The judges score the fight 48-47, 49-46, 48-47, for a unanimous decision awarded to Tim Sylvia to retain his title. Sylvia is in tears as he hears the decision and Arlovski is obviously disappointed. Winner: Tim Sylvia by 3-0 Judges Decision
During the post match interview Sylvia jokes at how Arlovski apparently got his glass jaw fixed, but Sylvia is now looking forward and nominated Jeff Munson as a possible next challenger. Munson dominated his pre-PPV fight with Australian fighter Anthony Paroche, and is definitely worthy of a title shot down the line.
The PPV ends with a recap video of the nights fights as Mike Goldberg reads off the credits.Overall:
OK, the two heavily hyped grudge matches turned out to be really lackluster. Ortiz/Shamrock ended way too early and the heavyweight title fight lacked the fire of the two previous encounters.
The UFC returns to PPV on August 26th, with the headlining fight of Chuck Liddell VS Renalto “Babalu” Sobral for the UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship.
Labels: MMA, UFC