Sunday, February 1, 2009

UFC 94 Review

Last night might not have been the most exciting card the UFC has ever put on, but damn if there weren't some really competitive fights outside of the co-main event. It was pretty funny that the one guy who is blamed for putting on boring fights with no finishes (Lyoto Machida) is the only guy to finish someone on the entire card.

The main event, while not competitive, at least proved without a shadow of a doubt, that GSP should be mentioned in the same breath with fighters like Anderson Silva and Fedor.

Unfortunately because so many fights ended in a decision, none of the undercard fights could be aired, so here are the results along with how my picks went:

Matt Arroyo v. Dan Cramer: Cramer def. Arroyo by split decision. I was way off on this fight.

Jake O'Brien v. Christian Wellisch: O'Brien also wins by split decision. I got the pick right but not the prediction. I'm pretty sure we won't see Wellisch back in the UFC any time soon.

John Howard v. Chris Wilson: Howard wins by split decision. I got this fight wrong.

Thiago Tavares v. Manvel Gamburyan: Tavares wins by unanimous decision. I got the pick right but not the prediction. I could be wrong but I'm not sure we'll be seeing Manny back any time soon either.

Jon Fitch v. Akihiro Gono: Fitch wins by unanimous decision (though the scores were pretty funky - there was a 29-28 and 30-26). I got the pick right but not the prediction. Hopefully this win gets him back on main cards in the near future where he belongs.

Nate Diaz v. Clay Guida: You've got to love Guida's passion and energy! He is a ball of fire from the moment he walks out of the locker room. Him and Diaz were such stark contrasts and it was obvious that the audience sided with the good guy Guida over the cocky Diaz.

Guida just used his superior wrestling to overcome Diaz's reach advantage and to break out of Diaz's submission attempts. He didn't do anything impressive other than a couple slams but it was enough to control the fight and earn him the split decision. I picked this fight right on the nose!

Karo Parisyan v. Dong Hyun Kim: This fight, while competitive, was not as interesting as the last one. Kim definitely won the first round with superior grappling. Parisyan won the second round simply by landing some strikes and avoiding Kim's grappling.

In the definitive third round, which the judges differed on, I thought Karo deserved the nod as neither did much but I thought Karo did enough on the feet to earn the decision. I picked this one right on the button too!

Stephan Bonnar v. Jon Jones: Jones was quite a sight! This kid moves right to the top of my list as far as "best athletes" in MMA. He did things with his takedowns and striking that 99 percent of fighters wouldn't even think of let alone try (e.g. a reverse full nelson take down and a spinning back elbow).

This kid just picked apart Bonnar and if his stamina had been better he could've dominated him.

Bonnar unfortunately just looked totally overwhelmed and confused and I'm not sure where he goes from here if you're UFC match maker Joe Silva. Obviously he's not fit for the main card but Jon Jones was a no name and Bonnar still lost.

However, it's all good news for Jones who, if he can get into a real camp, has no limits on where his career can go as long as he continues to improve technically and build his cardio. I was way off on this pick.

Lyoto Machida v. Thiago Silva: Lyoto did everything I thought he would. He stayed away from Silva's clinch and Muay Thai and landed devastating strikes that knocked Silva down a couple times before the final KO at the end of the first round.

It was good to see Machida get a defining victory. That should propel him to a title shot very soon. I got the pick right but not the prediction.

Georges St. Pierre v. BJ Penn: This fight went basically like I expected it to. GSP used his superior size and athleticism to wear BJ down and crush his spirit. He wrestled him down in the first two rounds and totally controlled him.

The third and fourth rounds saw GSP begin to pick apart BJ more on the feet to set up the take down where GSP really started crushing BJ with killer ground and pound. Finally at the end of the fourth round his corner verbally threw in the towel which was smart since BJ was getting smashed and was mounting no offense.

This win solidified GSP as a legend in the sport and as possibly the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I picked this fight perfectly, too!

Fight of the night went to Guida/Diaz and Howard/Wilson. KO of the night went to Machida. There obviously was no submission of the night.

This was a great night and the main event was worth the PPV buy all on its own. It wasn't the war I think we were all hoping for but I was so impressed with GSP that it was worth it anyway to watch him dominate someone universally regarded as a top five pound for pound fighter. The UFC is back on track after the fiasco that was UFC 93.

Overall I had a solid night going 7-3 plus three bonus points for getting the predictions right. Stay tuned people because the UFC has two more (FREE!) cards this month with Fight Night next week. So stay tuned for my Fight Night preview as well as my monthly fighter rankings. Until then,

Soccer kicks and head stomps...

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