Sunday, September 25, 2011

UFC 135: How we fared

Last night's UFC 135 was generally fun to watch, though a couple of the heavyweight bouts were painful at times. Kyle and I disagreed on three picks, so someone was going to emerge the winner.

Let's see who it was.

We start as always with the preliminary fights. We were fortunate enough to get to see two of the three as fillers on the later shows.

James Te Huna vs. Ricardo Romero

We both opted for the grappler, Romero, to triumph over the striker, Te Huna. Boy, were we wrong. Romero looked like he was moving in slow motion, and Te Huna took little time in picking him apart. Forty-seven seconds after the fight started, Te Huna knocked out Romero. We began the night 0-1.

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Cole Escovedo

I opted for Escovedo in what I thought would be three rounds of ugly. Kyle chose Mizugaki. Kyle was right. Mizugaki won the first round, and in the second he dominated Escovedo until the ref swooped in for the save and Mizugaki earned the TKO victory.

I was 0-2, while Kyle went to 1-1.

Junior Assuncao vs. Eddie Yagin

In the one fight we didn't get to see, Kyle and I again disagreed. I figured Assuncao would win if for no other reason than that this was Yagin's UFC debut. Kyle opted for Yagin, because Yagin trains with a better team.

Fortunately for me, Assuncao dominated the fight and won every round en route to a unanimous-decision win.

I was then 1-2, as was Kyle.

On to the matches that aired on Spike TV.

Tony Ferguson vs. Aaron Riley

We both chose Ferguson, and I said I didn't expect the fight to last all three rounds.

It didn't.

A vicious uppercut from Ferguson broke Riley's jaw midway through the first round. Riley, who was as touch as they come, finished the round but after the bell told his coaches his jaw was broken. It sure seemed to be, and they called off the fight.

Ferguson took us both to 2-2.

Nick Ring vs. Tim Boetsch

I have to hand it to Ring: he was bigger, stronger, and tougher than either of us expected him to be. He even won the first round, though not by a lot. In the second and third, however Boetsch kept beating him up and scoring points. Those two rounds gave Boetsch the unanimous-decision victory and put the two of us above .500 for the first time at 3-2.

Then it was time for the PPV.

Ben Rothwell vs. Mark Hunt

This fight was the last one on which Kyle and I disagreed. I figured Rothwell could stay away from Hunt and win a decision--though I also said I was not at all sure I was right. Kyle called for Hunt by knockout.

Neither of us was completely right, but Kyle at least called the victor correctly, as Mark Hunt left with a unanimous-decision victory. Along the way, though, both men gassed as completely as I've ever seen fighters gas. Both could barely breathe and looked like they could fall over at any moment. Hunt clearly deserved the win, however, so I cannot complain.

I lost for the night and went to 3-3, while Kyle was at 4-2.

Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi

There was not one second of the 4:27 that this fight lasted in which Gomi looked like he had a chance. Diaz dominated him striking, then ended up on the ground and submitted him with an armbar.

Fortunately, we both picked Diaz to win. I again went over 50-50 to 4-3, while Kyle was 5-2.

Travis Browne vs. Rob Broughton

We both picked Browne to win by knockout. We were half right: Browne won, but it took him all three rounds and a great deal of work. The two heavyweights were clearly gassed long before the bout ended. Perhaps Dana White and Joe Silva should rethink the plan of putting heavyweights to work in Denver.

I was then 5-3, while Kyle was 6-2.

Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck

For about two minutes, Matt Hughes actually looked like the crisper striker. For the next minute, it looked like it might be a good contest. The remaining time was clearly Koscheck's, as he hurt Hughes, knocked him down, and then knocked him out with one second left in the fight.

We were both right to pick Koscheck, but I still wish Hughes had won. Kyle hits 7-2, while I move to 6-3.

Jon Jones vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

Rampage looked as good as I've ever seen him. He was conservative. He landed a few strikes. He did his best.

It was simply nowhere near good enough. Jon Jones dominated the entire fight and with a little more than a minute left in the fourth round did something no else had ever done: finished Rampage (with a rear naked choke) in the Octagon.

The conclusion left us all chatting about who could even stand a chance against Jones. Of the current 205 crop, our best guess is Machida. I don't think it will be Jones' next opponent, Rashad Evans.

Jones is fighting at a completely different level than the rest of his weight class. He is as good as all the hype around him says he is. If he can keep his head straight, he could be the first Light Heavyweight champion in some years to hold the belt for a long time.

I ended the night 7-3, while Kyle beat me with an 8-2 record. We tied last time, so at least he's not on a streak.

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

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