Sunday, February 7, 2010

UFC 109 Review

UFC 109 delivered last night bringing some good finishes, surprising performances, and the introduction of a promising young fighter. Randy Couture proved that he is the legend among legends besting his Hall of Fame counterpart while Chael Sonnen threw his name into the ring for the middleweight title. Let's break down the action:

Main Event:
Randy Couture vs Mark Coleman:
Couture came out with crisp boxing and his always impressive dirty boxing. Coleman had no answer for either as Randy picked him apart from outside and beat him up inside. Coleman survived the first round but he got hurt early in the second.

Couture smelled blood and went in for the kill. Couture took down the wrestling legend (a little too easily) and immediately proceeded to tap him out with a rear naked choke. There was great foreshadowing from Couture's entrance song "Stranglehold" and Joe Rogan who repeatedly claimed he felt Randy was looking for a submission.

This was a great performance for Randy even if it was against a washed up fighter. He seems to be slowly building toward another shot at the light heavyweight title. There are a lot of interesting potential match ups out there for Randy.

I don't think Coleman has a future with the UFC after this fight. Granted Couture is a legend but Coleman just looks used, though his smack talk was as good as ever based on his verbal confrontation with Tito Ortiz after the fight. Normally I would say Dana White should hold out and put that fight together (because real bad blood fights are few and far between these days) but would anyone even care about who won a fight between Tito Ortiz and Mark Coleman?

Ultimately these fight was exactly what most people expected. It was a one sided beating that will only expand Couture's legend while Coleman's career comes to a bitter, dark end.

Co-Main Event:
Nate Marquardt vs Chael Sonnen:
This was the most surprising fight of the night. Most people expected Marquardt to come out with a solid gameplan of stick and move striking that kept the fight off the mat. Unfortunately Sonnen's aggression sucked Marquardt into wild exchanges that allowed Sonnen to get the fight to the mat too easily.

Once there, Sonnen showed great top control, which everyone expected, but Marquardt had no answer with his jiu jitsu, which was surprising. Granted he slapped on a couple guillotine chokes and even opened Sonnen up with an elbow but ultimately he had no answer for Sonnen's ground and pound. Honestly Marquardt didn't win a single minute of that fight until the very last minute of the third round.

Sonnen, looking worse for wear than Marquardt, put together a dominating unanimous decision victory. After thoroughly dominating a fighter as talented as Marquardt he should be taken very seriously as the next number one contender. This has to be very disappointing for Marquardt and is sadly becoming a disturbing habit of getting so close but not being able to get over the hump.

Main Card:
Mike Swick vs Paulo Thiago:
Both fighters came out ready to strike but they both looked timid in the first round. Swick ultimately got a last second take down to win the round but neither fighter looked great. That all changed in the second round.

Both fighters loosened up and the striking picked up. Thiago landed a great counter left that dropped Swick. While Swick tried to just hold off Thiago while he recovered, he left his head open for a D'arce choke that Thiago used to turn Swick's lights out.

Swick has now lost two fights and will slide significantly in the division. But this is a huge win for Thiago that should catapult him up the rankings. This fight also proved that his fight with Josh Koscheck (lucky punch or not) was no fluke and he needs to be respected.

Demian Maia vs Dan Miller:
Maia came out ready to strike which was probably a surprise to Miller. While Maia's striking wasn't devastating it was effective enough along with his grappling in the third round to win him a unanimous decision. This was a good win over a tough opponent to get Maia back on the right track. If he keeps improving his striking he'll be that much scarier for his next opponent.

Matt Serra vs Frank Trigg:
Serra came out and did exactly what was expected of him. He went right at Trigg and tested his chin with the bombs in his fists and he took Trigg out quickly with a brutal TKO in the first round. This was a great win after two losses for Serra and for Trigg this might spell the end of his UFC career for good.

Mac Danzig vs Justin Buchholz:
Danzig went in and just did what he needed to do. He stood up with Buchholz until he could take him down where he had the best of it. Danzig won a very tough unanimous decision giving him at least one more fight in the UFC while Buchholz is most likely gone for a while.

Melvin Guillard vs Ronnys Torres:
This fight was very peculiar. Guillard was the better striker and got the best of it on the feet but most of this fight took place on the ground. But while it was there, even though Torres was in control most of the time, he didn't do much with his advantageous position.

The judges ultimately gave a unanimous decision win to Guillard but it was very strange given Torres had better cage control for most of the fight. Usually judges look favorably on that but I guess they just thought Guillard was more aggressive and was doing the most damage.

Brian Stann vs Phil Davis:
Hello Mr. Wonderful! Phil Davis is a superstar in the making. He is a superior athlete with a fantastic wrestling pedigree.

Stann tried to out strike Davis but Davis was having none of it, taking Stann down early and often. Davis' ground and pound was technically solid but wasn't doing a ton of damage. But he did enough to come away with a dominating unanimous decision.

Davis, much like Jon Jones, is going to be a part of the new wave of stars at 205 lbs. Light heavyweight is already stacked but a lot of the stars in the division are older guys. It's good to see that there is some fresh blood being infused into the division.

Rolles Gracie vs Joey Beltran:
Rolles Gracie far and away had the most disappointing performance of the night. He came out and was gassed mid way through the first round. I don't know if his cardio was just that poor or he was suffering from something else.

In either case Gracie was done when he looked like he had the fight won after getting into mount and then taking Beltran's back. But Beltran escaped and then put the hurt on Gracie pounding him out for a TKO victory in the second round.

Gracie, who trains with Renzo Gracie and Greg Jackson, has to figure out what went wrong and quickly. He brought serious shame to the Gracie name and it will be interesting to see if the UFC has any interest in retaining his services after a performance like that.

Philippe Nover vs Rob Emerson:
Emerson wins by unanimous decision most likely ending Nover's UFC career.

Tim Hague vs Chris Tuchscherer:
Chris wins by majority decision putting Hague's UFC career on thin ice.

Marquardt and Sonnen won fight of the night which was pretty surprising given how one sided it was. Matt Serra wins KO of the night almost by default. And Paulo Thiago deservingly wins submission of the night.

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