UFC on FOX – Shogun v Vera

The Fox opening in lieu of the usual is so strange. It’s actually like watching Strikeforce.

And WE ARE LIVE! With the robots from Real Steel.

The opening graphic with Vera/Shogun and Bader/Machida looks like a tag team match on Raw.

Feed went out with Curt Menaffee bigging up Randy Couture at the Fox Sports desk. Still weird to have a football style panel discussing fights. I’d have a better opinion but all I can see is ESPN’s big apology screen.

Joe Rogan is a gigantic human. I hope he took his Alphabrain tonight.

Apparently DaMarques Johnson is a ‘crafty veteran’. End of the road my friend.

Video package for the fight was fucking perfect. First time fans know everything they need to know about Mike Swick and DaMarques Johnson and their motivations. It’s the price you pay catering to a potentially bigger audience that mightn’t be too clear on the sport.

Swick has been out with esophageal cramps and this is his first fight since being choked out with a d’arce in Febuary 2010.

Mike Swick v DaMarques Johnson

I’m actually psyched for this. Johnson physically looks much bigger. Swick rocked him straight away. Johnson on top working from guard. Swick back up. FUCKING CRAZY SLUGFEST for a second. Johnson gets mount from a scramble, Swick gets half guard back and the crowd cheers. Awesome. Johnson working for a d’arce but not happening. Round ends with Johnson on top. 10 – 9 Johnson barely, great round.

Swick is tired as fuck at the start of round two. Slow, lumbering strikes from Swick and HOLY FUCK HE KNOCKED JOHNSON OUT! Swick caught the leg, hit a pushing single leg and knocked Johnson out standing above him in guard. Great fucking fight. Swick’s first win since UFC 99. Fucker is going to be a huge star off this if he keeps it up.

Anyone remember when Buff Bagwell broke his neck in 1998? When he came back he had all the sympathy in the world and he fucking turned heel. This was the opposite of that. He came back from being ill after two years, survived the last move to finish him in a fight and knocked the dude out impressively.

Jamie Varner v Joe Lauzon

I love Jamie Varner. Both guys are well rounded and always deliver a good fight. Lauzon in particular has only been to a decision once in his career. Varner is good everywhere while 17 or Lauzon’s 20 wins have been from submission.

Varner with great movement, varying his attacks and rocked the shit out of J-Lau a minute in. Varner eats a knee, wobbles for a bit. Varner is gassed as fuck. Lauson turning up the pressure with a brutal bodyshot. Varner knocked him down with a right and Lauzon is defending well from the guard. Varner 10 – 9 with the late knockdown. Good round again.

The sequence that dropped Lauzon was a left – right combo.

Varner starting round two strong. He’s wearing him down with some great leg kicks. Varner pulled guard for a guillotine and immediately had his back taken. Back to the feet, great defense. Lauzon starts lashing him out of it on the feet, gets side control and back to the feet. Lauzon takes him down again, gets the back, gets mount and looking for an arm triangle. Joe moves to the back, Varner stands up and takes top off a failed armbar. Fucking amazing round, Varner’s ground defense was so good. Lauzon 10 – 9.

Varner starts round three with a big power double leg and flattens him out to half guard. Lauzon sweeps him to the next dimension. Another power double from Varner. Sweep from Lauzon, Varner blocks and gets caught in a briangle. Varner is working to escape bit Lauzon adjusts. Varner taps. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. His body language while he tapped was as if he tried his best and just came up short. Fight of the night for sure. It was amazing.

No interview for Lauzon for some reason. Varner got a hero’s reaction on the way back to the locker room. Second star making performance here tonight. Him losing like that was actually better for his career than a fluke win or decision loss. Not quite Hart/Austin at Wrestlemania, more like Misawa/Kawada from 1994. Hashtag wrestling.

A perfect fight.

Now for Ryan Bader to dry hump a foreign man for fifteen minutes.

Lyoto Machida v Ryan Bader

Lyoto has FUNGUS KILLER written across his groin. Both mens’ hair look well conditioned.

Don’t have high hopes for this. Bader having trouble closing the distance and Lyoto is looking real comfortable. Bader is diving in and getting tagged with jabs and body kicks. Bader has the imprint of Machida’s toes on his back suggesting a deep body kick to the liver. Machida 10 – 9. More interesting than it sounds on paper. The Machida puzzle is alive and well.

Round two starts with some circling. Bader rushes in and gets knocked the fuck out. He rushed in with his hands down like a mug. Bader was never in the fight. It was a straight right from Machida that put the lights out. Machida got in a few ground shots before we all copped that Bader was snoozing.

If I’m Bader, I’d be testing the waters at 185, drop some of that muscle.

According to Lyoto THE DRAGON IS BACK. Great fight surprisingly.

Mauricio Rua (The Naked And Famous – Young Blood) v Brandon Vera (Jay Z/Kanye – Gotta Have It)

I couldn’t have been more wrong on my predictions so far. This means that Brandon Vera will win in the first round with a twister.

Shogun came out to YOUNG BLOOD. Hipster Rua.

Shogun with a takedown and progresses to half guard straight away. Measured, relaxed pass to side control and back to the feet. Vera with two head kicks as soon as they separate. Vera pulled a TIGHT guillotine but couldn’t finish. Shogun was in deep trouble but he’s on top working with HARD fucking punches. Hanging out in Vera’s half guard again, to side control again and back mount face down. Shogun with hammerfists. Easy 10 – 9 for Shogun. He gave Vera so much to think about in round two.

They’re having a tired slugfest to open ROUND TWO. FOR FUCK SAKE. CARDIO CUNTS. Shogun is just whooping Vera’s ass here. Vera is getting some offense in between flurries and catches Shogun with a good left elbow before a clinch. Great takedown by Vera. He’s not working at all, using it as an excuse to catch his breath. Shogun is fucking jacked. It’s actually like round five of the Hendo fight. Shogun looks that tired. Vera actually stole the round. Honours even so far and I don’t expect it to go past this round.

Both lads are exhausted. Awesome fight so far.Vera is taking him apart with good combinations. Headkick by Vera. Takedown to half guard by Shogun. Vera has nothing from the bottom position.

Round four. Two minutes of THE CLINCH GAME. Brandon is throwing the straight right, left hook to the body and right leg kick combo at will when he’s in range. It’s actually the Sagat combo without special effects. Another minute of clinching against the cage. Shogun just backed up, unloaded and finished the fight.

It was a big right – left combo that knocked out Vera’s mouthpiece. Vera turtled up and Shogun finished the job. A proper war. Neither lad looked worthy of a title shot sadly.

The tag is still on Vera’s shitty Hayabusa hat. Shogun apologizes for being so tired. Well he fucking should be sorry. Christ.

Looks like Machida is getting his second shot against Jon Jones. Good luck son.

One of the best shows of the year. Best Fox show that’s been produced yet. I’ll see how I feel about it in the morning but this shall be staying on my DVR for a good long while.

ULTIMATE FIGHTER LIVE: FINALE

UFC Ultimate Fighter LIVE Finale.

Pretty great show actually, Jon Anik and Kenny Florian are a nice change of pace from Goldie and Rogan. More of a laid back feel to it.

Justin Lawrence v John Cofer

Really good fight. Started out even, Lawrence’s footwork was much better but Cofer was landing the better strikes and scoring more despite not being as technical. Second round was fairly similar, Lawrence started taking charge in the striking exchanges. Cofer ducked under a lazy jab, got a single and took Lawrence’s back with great ease. Any useful guys would have finished it there. It’s an unwritten rule that you drop your expectations in these finales.

Third round starts and Justin Lawrence knocks John Cofer the FUCK out with a highlight reel headkick. Seriously, that was amazing. It looked like Cofer had his kids’ names and birthdays kicked out of his brain.

Wait, Lawrence’s nickname is “The All American KId”? That needs to go. Immediately.

Max Holloway (Drake) v Pat Schilling (Dropkick Murphys)

I picked Schilling based on my Irishness when he came out for his fight. I also have the worst record for fight picks on the FigureFourOnline board. So obviously Schilling lost. Exciting first two rounds with Holloway eating Schilling up. Holloway evaded all of Schilling’s takedown attempts and picked him apart repeatedly. Third round was comprised of Schilling trying takedowns, pulling guard instead and slowly and sadly getting back to his feet. In between he was being waylaid with body shots. Just an interminable round.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Holloway’s tattoos. They’re appalling. He looks like a gang member in Barney the Dinosaur’s imaginary world.

Holloway takes it on the scorecards. 30 – 27 across the board. Also, he’s Max “Blessed” Holloway. Christ.

They aired a promo for Silva – Sonnen II after this. It was unbelievable, I actually had goosebumps afterwards. If you haven’t seen it, find it now.

Jonathan Brookins (Black Sabbath) v Charles Oliveira

I still can’t say ‘Jonathan Brookins’ in anything other than a French accent. Brookins with his usual hands down style, taking shot after shot from Oliveira. Brookins got a takedown to guard, not where you want to be with Oliveira who immediately threatened with an armbar. I feel like flying to Vegas and gluing Brookins’ right hand to his face. Head up on a flagpole, repeatedly taking shots.

Second round starts, same shitty boxing from Brookins. Oliveira gets a huge takedown but gets caught in a guillotine. He escapes, hits some ground a pound against the cage and hits a sweet modified guillotine. It was sweet, he almost used a D’arce grip from arm in guillotine position.

ESPN then aired a three minute advert documenting Shaq and Kobe’s relationship. Don’t know what it was for but it was awesome.

They aired the video packages for the main event. If this wasn’t live and people actually watched the show then Michael Chiesa would be a superstar.

I already wrote about the problems with the live format of the show, you just can’t build storylines. Regardless what anyone thinks about sports vs reality television, the numbers are there. Nobody watched this show regularly except for the hardcores but they watch everything anyway.

The guys lost his father is WEEK ONE and stayed on to win the whole show as the underdog in all his fights. Real life is better than any script. The only problem is that they couldn’t make the most of it during the season.

Al Iaquinta (Fat Joe) v Michael Chiesa (Ted Nugent)

Chiesa rides the storm, gets the clinch, takes the back and chokes Iaquinta unconscious. The perfect ending to the season. Not a dry eye in the house between the video packages and the aftermath of the fight. Awesome ending to the series. he wins the six figure contract, the trophy and an unreal Harley-Davidson.

Martin Kampmann (Three Six Mafia) v Jake Ellenberger (Eminem & Nate Dogg)

How do you follow that fight? What this awesome fight of course!

Ellenberger tags Kampmann with a left hook and starts pounding the shit out of him on the ground. Kampmann keeps defending and regains his guard. And they stay there for the next 4 minutes. I mean they were working hard and all but they weren’t advancing position or striking.

Second round starts and Kampmann looks like a zombie with all the blood on his face. His nose is fucked up. All of a sudden WHAM, Kampmann catches Jake with a left to the temple, Jake wobbles around, Kampmann gets the thai clinch. Two knees to the chin and it’s goodnight Ellenberger. Referee Steve Mazaghatti dives straight in to prevent any unnecessary damage. Holy shit, great finish to the fight.

If Kampmann doesn’t get a title shot during his UFC career it will be a monumental tragedy. He’s the most consistent contender, durable and always has exciting fights.

Chris Saunders v Myles Jury

Shitty kickboxing match until Jury throws a failure of a flying knee but lands in perfect guillotine position. Boom, fight over.

Joe Proctor v Jeremy Larsen

Proctor, the grappler, took his time and hit a beautiful thai knee for the knockout. He’s one of the most well rounded guys from the season and has a ton of charisma so good booking there.

Really good show, not one I’ll have on my DVR forever but an enjoyable 3 hours. They have something in Michael Chiesa. Hopefully he doesn’t get thrown to the wolves too quickly and has time to progress his striking skills.

Also for anyone wondering my 4 show Mount Rushmore of UFC shows on my DVR currently stands at 117, 121, 140 and 142. 116 was there but an overzealous girlfriend deleted it by mistake. A dumping offense..

UFC 146 HEAVYWEIGHTS

UFC 146: THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

Haven’t posted in ages so I’m gonna lash out a few recaps of stuff still on my DVR.

ESPN’s coverage was slightly preempted by some football game so we start halfway through Lavar Johnson’s entrance.

Lavar Johnson (Wake ft. Meek Mill & Rick Ross) v Stefan Struve (Godsmack)

I hate Godsmack with such a passion.

And it’s over. Jesus Christ. Johnson waded in with some lazy jabs and an uppercut. And that was IT for Johnson’s offense. Struve pulled guard against the cage and finished almost instantly with an armbar. Learn to grapple son. Johnson has huge power but he’s fucked on the ground with anyone who has a clue. Especially at this level. Even Mark Hunt has improved on the floor lately.

Struve improves to 5 – 1 in his last six fights. It’s getting harder to deny him some better fights. That said, I’d prefer him to take some time up and shore up the holes in his game. All his problems in the Octagon stem from his inability to use his reach properly. He always seems to end up in these wars where he gets tagged repeatedly and fights from there.

Shane Del Rosario (Drake) v Stipe Miocic (Linkin Park)

Del Rosario wins the battle of the entrance music fairly handily.

The first 4:30 of this fight are Del Rosario picking Miocic apart with crisp jabs and liver kicks. For a heavyweight he can get in and out of range really quickly. Miocic gets hit with a right counter and proceeds to RUN THE FUCK AWAY. He seems amused that he’s getting the shit beat out of him, just laughing his ass off. With 30 seconds to go in the round, Miocic takes Del Rosario down easily and rides out the round.

Miocic comes out for the second, immediately gets the takedown and starts pounding away. Del Rosario has nothing on the floor, just hanging on for dear life. Miocic settles down in Del Rosarios’s loose half guard and just elbows away until the referee jumps in. There was something like nine hard elbows to the temple before the stoppage.

Miocic then cuts the most unintelligible post fight promo since James Toney.

Dave Herman (Beastie Boys) v Roy Nelson (Queen)

Both good choices from the lads here.

Both guys look the best they have in the UFC, Nelson in particular has lost a ton of fat and replaced some of it with muscle. He also has the greatest tramp’s beard of all time.

And it’s over. Big Country lands a hilarious haymaker, it was seriously like something out of a cartoon.

Roy immediately goes over to Dana and company and swears repeatedly in their direction. Dana had been especially vocal in the week leading up to the fight about Roy’s non athletic look and beard.

As an aside, I was reading a Wrestling Observer from around the time Elite XC died. When the IFL went down the UFC would not under any circumstances take Roy Nelson who was their heavyweight champion at the time. Roy ended up in Elite XC where he lost to Andrei Arlovski in what was essentially a handicap match with Arlovski tagging with the referee. Seriously, Roy got stood up from side control while working from a kimura. Then he got knocked out. How different would the world be if Nelson wasn’t on TUF 10 with Kimbo Slice? Kimbo would probably have hammered most of those guys on the show and made the UFC a TON of money on pay per view.

Dan Hardy v Duane Ludwig

Since all the fights ended early, we’re getting some SWEET prelim action.

Hardy lands his trademark lead left hook and pounds Ludwig out. He lost his mind afterwards, running around like a madman and kissing the mat. The fans went apeshit. Similar reaction to when Tito beat Bader last year. The fans love an underdog story and Hardy’s job was on the line after four straight losses.

The finish was hilarious as after Hardy dropped Ludwig he put his hands up as if it was over. When he realised it was not in fact over he dropped elbows like there was no tomorrow. Dan Hardy comes across like such a superstar it’s not funny.

Edson Barboza v Jamie Varner.

I’ve always been unhappy that Varner didn’t have his contract picked up by the UFC after they absorbed WEC. Then again, he was last seen getting push kicked into another dimension by the gay porn star from this season of TUF.

Varner was hated here. There were a good few vocal Brazillian fans but when an entire arena in your home country chooses the foreign dude, then you’re probably a dick.

After Barboza landed a few leg kicks we learned a few things.

One: Jamie Varner could time the kicks and attack off them.

Two: Edson Barboza can’t take a punch.

This all resulted in Varner knocking Barboza down with some looping punches on the counter, getting top position and pounding Barboza out with hammerfists. I lost my mind on the couch watching this, Varner clearly had something to prove here and prove he did.

Jamie immediately found a camera cage side and said “I’m ba-ack” in the douchiest manner possible. He’s a great man and a great heel. Hopefully we get Varner – Cerrone 3 to capitalise on his newfound employment opportunity.

Antonio Silva (Eminem) v Cain Velasquez (Vincente Fernandez)

Cain got a MONSTEROUS reaction. Like this was ridiculous. Cain is a superstar to the fans despite not having any normal qualities associated with that. No charisma, can’t cut good interviews, hates the spotlight etc. But he’s a cold blooded, remorseless killer and you can’t teach that. Also, his music is awesome. I’d love to go to a Cinqo de Mayo party in a border town.

Silva is huge, he had to cut weight to make the heavyweight limit. Cain weighed in 20 pounds lighter but the difference was more likely 40 in the cage.

Seven seconds in and Silva is on bis back. Velasquez just wades in to Silva’s open guard and pummels the shit out of him in an uncomfortable fashion. Cain busts him open with an elbow and blood starts POURING out of Silva’s head. Cain is hitting Bigfoot so hard that the blood is squirting up on to him. Disgusting. The fight is stopped two minutes in the check the cut. The cut isn’t that bad, it’s just pissing blood out.

Fight is restarted on the ground and Silva looks unhappy getting back into position. There is blood in Silva’s eyes. He’s getting pounded relentlessly, not able to rest for even a second. The blood is flowing into Silva’s own mouth. Cain is just killing him with shot after shot as the crowd are not enjoying this at all. Silva turtles up and it’s mercifully stopped.

Velasquez stands up after the fight as if he was just back from the shops. Except shirtless. And covered in blood. He looked like a serial killer after the fight, no remorse at all. It looked like a crime scene after the fight.

This would have ranked as the goriest thing I’ve seen all summer but the Miami Zombie and the Canadian lad stole Cain’s thunder.

Frank Mir (Kanye West) v Junior dos Santos (Bill Conti)

Cool entrances for both. When Junior came out his eyes were so scary. He wanted to fuck someone up and Mir was in his way. Mir looked gigantic, carrying a lot of extra muscle and fat. This seemed like a poor strategy from the outside. Junior looks healthy as ever.

Mir immediately goes for the takedown but Junior escapes. Mir even pulled guard at the end of that sequence but no dice. It settled down into a sparring match with dos Santos landing hard shots over and over. Mir looks sluggish and has no answer for Junior’s speed. Mir’s leg kicks are just asking for a straight right counter. dos Santos tags Mir at the end of round one and pummels away, Mir is saved by the bell.

Second round, same as the first. Junior knocks Mir down twice, the second a counter off a lazy leg kick. Mir turtles up but his equilibrium is gone. Referee stops the fight having seen enough.

Junior is the most charismatic man on earth, just brings joy to the world in his post fight promo. He brings a young kid rescued from poverty in to the cage after the fight

“THANK YOU VERY MUCH LAS VEGAS, THANK YOU FOR THOSE WHO BOUGHT PAY PER VIEW TO WATCH ME AND THOSE WHO COME HERE TO WATCH ME TOO.”

Greatest man of all time.

The Ultimate Fighter – LIVE – Episode 2

The main thought I had coming from the first real episode of TUF was “Who cares that this is live?”

Without the benefit of having the whole season in the can there is little chance of the producers being able to fit together a narrative aside from the obvious sporting storyline. People view these shows for characters as opposed to great fights. Without characters these breast fights become two dudes hitting each other.

We’ve got the 4 W’s and H to hook people in journalism. Who, what, where, when and how.

Who? It’s episode one. I don’t expect to know who these fighters are individually yet. However without an idea of who advances in the tournament, it’s harder for producers to focus on the guys and rivalries that will develop over the next few months. Bellator is RIGHT THERE. No one is watching talented dudes that they don’t know having a fight.

The biggest UFC event of all time was UFC 100. The main event had Brock Lesnar and Frank MIr in a rematch of a fight 18 months earlier. Without an word being spoken, there’s already a revenge aspect there, a case if unifying the belts and so on. People want to see stars. People will pay money to see stars. There’s a big reason why America’s Next Top Model isn’t live. They need to have 12 weeks footage recorded and know which girls are going to be finalists before they start producing. “Oh Jimmy Jones, from Fucklick, Tennessee got eliminated? I’m heartbroken.” This is a conversation I can only imagine his immediate family having.

Aside from a couple of incidents in the past, TUF has never had the results leak. For all intents and purposes, the show was live to everybody. During his latest podcast, even the fmed MMA and Pro Wrestling journalist said that he didn’t know the results in advance. Everyone involved had to sign a non disclosure agreement to take part.

Don’t even get me started on the first show. 16 one round fights with no commentary and no name fighters. This show dragged worse than anything I’ve ever witnessed associated with the sport. The ratings b0re that out as well. Started low and lost viewers as they went on, bucking all previous ratings patterns of 6 years worth of debut TUF shows.

Maybe it’s a work in progress but we shall see what happens. The advantage they have is that they can tinker with the formula as time goes by. Fans don’t like not having commentary? Great, put Jon Anik in.These are all aesthetic issues they can deal with. The main problem is that all the human drama that reality tv is based on will be gone.

Drama is what makes this show exciting, without it, its just two dudes hitting each other.