Wow, what a great night! I knew this card would be good but normally they have a hard time living up to my lofty expectations but this one fit the bill. From top to bottom there wasn't one fight I was ever bored with and there were some spectacular finishes. My record on the night was 8-2 which is pretty damn impressive if I say so myself. With that said let's break these fights down:
First off I cannot break down the Tan v. Kim or the Clementi v. Etim fight as neither of these were aired. I totally misfired on the Clementi fight as I picked Etim by submission in round 2 with tap out of the night here and Clementi won on a decision. Definitely not my finest moment. However, I made up for it with my prediction of the Kim fight. Even though I said Kim by TKO in the 2nd I think getting Kim by TKO in the first seconds of the third is pretty close. Okay let's break down the rest of the fights.
Carwin v Wellisch: They both came out looking to trade which is interesting because I expected Carwin to use his wrestling to get the fight to the mat and then use his submission skills to take out the stand up fighter. However, they both came out swinging and while Wellisch looked more technically skilled Carwin has massive power and landed a one punch KO in the opening minute of round one. I can see now why everyone thinks this kid is a rising star. But I will say that even though I got the prediction of the finish wrong I still picked Carwin to walk all over Wellisch.
Koppenhaver v. Yoshida: Koppenhaver came out looking to brawl as usual and Yoshida took him right to the mat and submitted him with a great anaconda choke that actually knocked Koppenhaver out. Obviously Koppenhaver had no idea what that was and I believe does not belong in the UFC. I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see him back any time soon. While I picked Yoshida by TKO I did predict he would stop Koppenhaver in the 1st round so more props to me on that call. Just on a side note, Yoshida seems like a really strange kid right?? That interview was awkward even with the aid of a translator which Rogan even pointed out.
fighters can be exciting too if they work like Palhares v. Salaverry: Palhares manhandled Salaverry taking him right to the ground and putting on a BJJ clinic moving right to the mount and making an incredibly smooth transition from a rear naked choke to an armbar that seemed almost effortless. Obviously this was the submission of the night. Props to me again for picking the finish almost 100% correct. I predicted Palhares by submission in the 2nd round but the 1st is even better. This match goes to show BJJ fighters can be exciting too. Palhares didn't just lay and wait for his opportunity he actively looked to finish the fight. I think Goldie and Rogan were right, this is probably the end of the road for Salaverry at least in the UFC but maybe overall. I hope this Palhares kid keeps it going because the middleweight division needs someone to come in and challenge the old guard (Franklin, Henderson, and Silva) and Okami is not the guy.
Sokoudjou v. Nakamura: A very entertaining stand up fight. Nakamura stood in and traded with Sokoudjou which Machida wouldn't do in their last fight which allowed Sokoudjou to let his kicks and punches go more. This made for an entertaining fight that ended unfortunately with Sokoudjou knocking down Nakamura who injured himself by rolling over his own knee/ankle and being unable to continue after the horn rang. I'd like to say that I picked this fight right on the nose with Sokoudjou winning by KO in the 1st round. Hopefully now that Sokodjou looks comfortable in the UFC we'll see him back competing at a higher level and hopefully in the televised portion of the cards. He is a good up and coming 205 lb. fighter and I hope we get to see more.
Silva v. Mendes: I would like to point out that I also called this fight right on the button. Silva won by TKO in the first round. Mendes looked pretty good but he looks way too small to be at 205. If he dropped to middleweight he could be very dangerous but Silva's power was just too much. Silva continues his undefeated streak and I think a great fight would be Silva v. Machida possibly to see who fights for the belt after the Rampage v. Griffin fight. More on this later.
Ortiz v. Machida: Once again I picked this fight perfectly folks. Why you don't listen to me I'll never understand... Anyway, Machida did exactly what I predicted. He remained elusive and confused Ortiz with his stand up. He got Ortiz in trouble once in the first round with a good take down and some strong ground and pound before the round ended. In the third he caught Ortiz with an excellent knee to the liver (props to Rogan for giving props to Bas Rutten on that one!) and that sent Ortiz to the canvas where Machida put some more ground and pound on him. Ortiz almost had a triangle choke/arm bar (which came out of left field to everyone but Ortiz) but again Machida remained slippery and pulled out the decision just like I said. It was an entertaining fight even though apparently everyone in the building was an Ortiz fan. I was so happy Machida won and sent Ortiz packing. If I don't ever have to watch Ortiz fight again and then act like he's the star even after he got owned I'll die a happy man. Good riddance. Of course he had to steal the thunder from Machida by jumping on the cage as Machida was trying to do his interview and actually give props to Ortiz. He also had to crash the post fight interviews even though he didn't win and stir up trouble with White one last time. This guy has no class and is a douschebag. I know EliteXC or someone will sign him but I hope he loses every fight he ever has. Isn't it obvious this guy is an antique?? He has f'n Ricco Rodriguez in his corner? What is this UFC 20? The day Ortiz beats an actual contender at 205 I'll kiss his peroxide covered noggin. So long dips***. Don't let the door hit ya' where Jenna sticks the strap on. P.S. Did anyone else see Yves Lavigne bust his ass?? That was hilarious!
Gouveia v. Reljic: Unfortunately this was the other fight I got totally wrong. I picked Gouveia by decision. If I had known Reljic trains with Cro Cop and Roger Gracie I would've been more inclined to give him a chance. He threw everything with power although he did get caught once in the first round and is not a good technical striker. However, when he caught Gouveia he was out. Reljic had great high kicks (how could you not when you train with Cro Cop?) and his power makes him dangerous. I thought this fight was to keep Gouveia's win streak alive to create another contender at 205 but funny things happen. Reljic isn't a complete fighter but at 24 he has a bright future ahead of him with the raw talent I saw last night. I thought this was a great pick by the way for fight of the night. It was very back and forth and ended in a finish.
Silva v. Jardine: This fight ended exactly as I said. Everyone said that Jardine was next in line at a title shot. Everyone said Silva's career was over. Everyone had a lot of things to say but everyone (but me of course) was wrong! Silva came out and showed why he is the "axe murderer". Jardine was supposed to have the unorthodox technical stand up along with the reach advantage to keep Silva at bay and the power to end the fight. However, they didn't take into account that Silva is an animal and simply fights like a seek and destroy missile. He knocked out Jardine with a couple brutal punches that left Jardine prone and stiff on the mat for several minutes. Silva is back in a big way and with his following and history is most likely 1-2 fights away from a title shot. While I think there are other more deserving fighters it's good to see Silva contend again. As for Jardine I said it before and I'll say it again: beating Griffin and outpointing Liddell does not make you a champion. Jardine will most likely have a long road ahead of him before he even sniffs a title shot with all the talent in this division. Good luck to him, he seems like a great guy, but he just isn't as underrated as everyone kept saying. Also, I'd just like to point I also picked this fight right for KO of the night.
Penn v. Sherk: While I picked the winner I did not pick the right outcome. I picked Penn to win a decision but at least I got the winner right. The only reason I saw it going to a decision was because I didn't expect Sherk to stand up and trade the whole time after one failed shot attempt. If I had known that I would've made a different pick but oh well. The fight was entertaining but not competitive. Sherk has great power at 155 but he is not nearly the stiker Penn is. Penn picked him apart the whole time with mostly jabs and a couple rights with some leg kicks thrown in. Penn hit one incredibly well timed knee that basically ended the fight at the end of the second round (even though the horn sounded Sherk was a mess and couldn't continue). Everyone built up this fight with all this bad blood but like I said, I knew there was no bad blood as after the fight they were very civil and both guys thanked each other for making a huge fight.
Overall this was a great night of fights that leads to some interesting questions for future shows. First off is after Penn defends his title against the winner of the Florian v. Huerta fight in August will he move up to fight GSP? GSP is a very busy man himself having just been added to the August card to defend his title against Jon Fitch to replace the main event between Coleman and Lesnar when Coleman got injured in training. GSP has also talked about moving up to fight Anderson Silva. GSP holds the key to many of the most interesting fight possibilities in the sport right now. Also, this show saw the introduction of Shane Carwin who along with Cain Velasquez (who made his impressive debut in UFC 83) make for two very interesting prospects in the heavyweight division where there is a serious talent void right now. They are both young and somewhat unproven but they will be shoved into the spotlight shortly, whether they like it or not, because the UFC doesn't really have a choice. Like I said before I think this was Palhare's and Sokoudjou's coming out parties and I bet we'll see more of them sooner rather than later. Speaking of Sokoudjou there is now a glut of fighters at 205 looking for a shot at Rampage's (for now) belt. Liddell is probably one fight away from a rematch. Wanderlei is back in the hunt. Machida and Thiago Silva are both undefeated. There are a lot of interesting matchups awaiting down the road to sort out the mess at 205. I would love to see a Machida v. Silva fight. I would love to see Liddell and Shogun hook up like they were supposed to in a couple weeks. I would love to see Sokoudjou against Wanderlei. This list doesn't even include Rashad Evans who is also in the hunt. With that said there are alot of great upcoming fights in the UFC 205 lb division. Can't wait to see what White and Joe Silva have up their sleeves. Stay tuned for the WEC and Elite XC previews and the TUF 7 recap. Also, UFC 85 is in two weeks so keep it glued for that preview coming soon too. Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...