Sunday, August 28, 2011

UFC 134: How we fared

Kyle and I differed on only two picks, so the possibilities for victory were small. We agreed that the card was good, and it was, indeed, as the Brazilian fighters earned a great many victories in their home country.

Let's start, as always, with the prelims.

Yves Jabouin vs. Ian Loveland

Wow, did we call this wrong. We both thought the weight cut would hurt Jabouin more and leave Loveland with the victory, but Jabouin was the fresher fighter at the end and never looked in danger of gassing. Loveland could not impose his will wrestling, and the fight went back and forth through all three rounds. In the end, Jabouin pulled off the split-decision victory and gave us a 0-1 start.

Yuri Alcantara vs. Felipe Arantes

We both chose Alcantara, and we were right. He dominated the fight, winning in all areas and earning the unanimous-decision victory. Now 1-1.

Erick Silva vs. Luis Ramos

Silva was clearly going to dominate this contest, but few would have predicted that he do it by TKO in only 40 seconds. This short fight was a whirlwind of strikes, but Silva landed the one that counted. He was our pick, so we move to 2-1.

Raphael Assuncao vs. Johnny Eduardo

Assuncao did not submit Eduardo, as I had predicted. Instead, he dominated Eduardo in striking and everywhere else en route to a unanimous-decision victory that had him earning every round on every judge's card. We ride his victory to 3-1.

Paulo Thiago vs. David Mitchell

Thiago almost finished Mitchell in the final seconds after clearly beating him for all three rounds, but he couldn't quite manage it. Still, he dominated and was the second fighter in a row to win every round on every judge's card. Thiago wins, and we go to 4-1, not a bad start for the night as we cruise into the fights on Spike.

The two matches on Spike TV brought our first disagreement.

Rousimar Palhares vs. Dan Miller

Palhares beat up Miller for most of the first round, almost finished Miller, declared himself the victor, ran across the octagon, and jumped onto the railing in celebration.

The problem was, referee Herb Dean had not stopped the fight.

Dean restarted the two fighters, and Palhares beat on Miller some more.

In the second round, he beat the tar out of Miller, but Miller would not quit.

In the third, both fighters gassed, and Miller actually held his own.

It was too little, too late, though, for Palhares clearly won the unanimous decision, as we'd expected, and made us 5-1.

Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher

Ah, the first fight on which we disagreed. I figured Tavares to win in boring fashion, while Kyle chose Fisher by knockout. I called the winner and moved to 6-1, while Kyle dropped to 5-2. What I didn't expect was that this was an exciting fight in which Tavares constantly pressed the action and finished Fisher by TKO.

With the main card, we saw some excellent fights with at least one surprise.

Luis Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov

Cane is a bigger man and a more technical striker than Nedkov. Cane has been in the big show before. We both figured those factors would give him the victory.

They might have, too, except that Nedkov hits with a lot of power, and Cane turned sloppy and did not protect himself as well as he should have. The result was a first round TKO for NedKov. I dip to 6-2, and Kyle goes to 5-3.

Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza Jr.

We both chose Barboza, and indeed he earned a split-decision victory, but I have to say that you could make a good case for Pearson having won the fight. Pearson was the aggressor most of the time, and he did an excellent job of closing the distance and landing punches on the taller Barboza. The judges saw it differently, though, which was bad for Pearson but good for us.

Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

In our other disagreement, I figured Schaub would take out Big Nog, while Kyle went with Nogueira. Boy, was I wrong. Schaub had his moments, but I thought Nogueira looked better for most of the short fight. With only about three minutes gone, Nogueira landed a big right hand on Schaub, made the younger fighter reel backwards to the cage, and followed him down for the TKO victory.

We both move to 7-3 and are guaranteed a tie.

I don't mind losing this one, though, because even as I was watching the fight, I was cheering for Big Nog. It's great to see him back.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Forrest Griffin

Griffin looked sluggish and confused, a lot like he did against Anderson Silva. Rua looked sharp and in control. In short order, Shogun dropped Griffin, pounced on him, hit his head repeatedly with hammer fists, and the ref stopped the fight. We both picked the wrong man in this one. Griffin looked like a guy ready to fall out of the top ten light heavyweights, while Rua looked like a contender.

We're at 7-4 heading into the main event.

Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami

This one, we called correctly. Everyone did. Silva toyed with Okami for a round, then played with him a bit more before standing in front of the Japanese fighter and leaving his hands at his side. Okami tried to hit him, and Silva dropped Okami with a jab. Silva let him up, like a cat taking only one leg from a spider before temporarily releasing it. A little more play. Repeat. This time, Silva followed Okami down and beat him until the ref called the TKO.

Silva has to be the most amazing MMA fighter working today.

His entirely predictable victory leaves us at 8-4, which is not bad, though nowhere near as good as I expected us to be.

As always, don't use us for betting advice!

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