I'm a little late getting started, so we're two matches (and two guillotines) in. So far Grice and Dollaway have been on the ass end of first round guillotine choke finishes.
As far as the crowd goes I don't have a full view of the arena, but it looks about a quarter full in the upper level and more like 10% full on the floor. I also notice only three ring card girl chairs, which surprises me. I guess maybe Holly Madison doesn't need a chair or something. Maybe someone is on their way out. Who knows?
It looks like we still have a few minutes until our next match, so in the mean time I'll throw out this interesting tidbit. Interim heavyweight champion Frank Mir will enter last instead of heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. I know that Mir beat Brock the first time and all, but Lesnar is the linear champion.
By the way, Lawlor gave an interview that got over pretty well with the live crowd. Rogan asked him about the cut to 185 and he responded that he wants to go up to heavy next to fight the Mir/Lesnar winner and then back down to 170 to challenge the St. Pierre/Alves winner. He said he then wants to go to WEC. T.J. Grant vs. Kim Dong-Hyun is up next.
First round is over. I have to say I did not remember how good Dong-Hyun's body control and wrestling was. He stuffed a couple of takedowns, controlled Grant for a while on the ground and hit a muddled judo hip toss near the end of the round. Unless he gets tired, it's hard to see Grant winning a battle on the ground. For his sake I hope he has a good stand up game.
Second round in the books. Todd Martin just told me that a low blow stoppage in the second on Grant resulted in a point deduction. In that case Dong-Hyun is way ahead going into the third here. Let's see if, after two rounds of being controlled grappling, Grant tries to keep Dong-Hyun on his feet.
Shutout win for Kim. The funny part was Rogan asking the question that he wanted to ask Grant (paraphrasing here): "Why did he keep trying to take you down when you were controlling him on the groung the whole fight?" It was like the reverse of Sherk's loss to Edgar over Memorial Day weekend.
Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien is up next. If you're curious about the view from the press area I'm in for the show, here is is: http://twitpic.com/a2ery.
Great intro music for this fight. O'Brien with "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" from the FRIDAY soundtrack. Bones with "Angry Johnny". You know, I was just telling Todd on the drive here that if I were fighting this weekend, I'd enter to this.
Well, after one round it looks like this won't be a fight that makes the PPV, but I am really intrigued. Both guys are showing me something I didn't expect. Bones is showing great defense of takedowns on a guy who almost always gets things to the ground. O'Brien is holding his own standing, which is something that never happens. It looks like the fight will stay standing, which would theoretically favor Bones. Let's see...
...Well, I don't want to say I told you so, but Bones controlled round 2 standing and eventually won with a no-arm D'arce choke on the ground. The key blow on their feet was a nice spinning back elbow that caught O'Brien in the temple. Very nice performance by Bones. Maybe this will make the PPV. If they think Bones has star potential, it should.
Crowd is filing in pretty well an hour before the main card. Floor seats are still less than half full, but the lower level is about half full ad the upper level looks three quarters full. Still an empty chair by the ring card girls. No Edith yet, but I'm guessing that the empty chair is for Madison.
Jim Miller vs. Mac Danzig is next. Miller, though I like his name, ticked me off. He entered to Dustin Hazelett's entrance music from a while back ("Bad Moon Rising" by Clarence Clearwater Revival). So now I have to choose between a vegetarian and a folk entrance music stealer. Actually, at this rate I'll just hope for a submission so that we can keep the streak going.
First round in the books and it is a bloody one. Danzig is cut above the right eye. It looks deep, but I will be surprised if it leads to a stoppage. Crowd likes the blood, though.
The second round is still going on, but it's boring GNP at this point. This card is getting closer to boxing. Crowd has been very quiet and the expensive seats have been slow to fill for the undercard.
Just as I say that, I get made to look like a fool. Mazzagatti stood them up and then Danzig locked in a tight guillotine to pop the crowd, but time expired in the second round. Now the crowd is buzzing for the 3rd. Danzig is really getting over here.
Decision: 30-27 Miller across the board. Applause with a few boos. Danzig was the babyface by the end of the fight due to the blood, but really Miller did look great. Crisp punches and control on the ground was really the key here. Next up is Bonnar vs. Coleman.
Bonnar with his normal entrance music. I can never remember the name of it, but it's a cool song. If they show this fight on the PPV and anyone knows it, email me. Coleman enters to "Hell's Bells". Apropos. The Milwaukee Brewers' closer, Trevor Hoffman, enters to this music and he's a quadragenarian as well.
The crowd is really trying to will Coleman to victory here. Coleman did not throw a single punch standing. He just waited for Bonnar to throw and then went for the takedown immediately. He got the fight to the ground, but to be fair Bonnar controlled the action on the ground. Coleman looks like he still has gas in the tank entering round 2.
There will be (more) blood tonight. Coleman got the fight to the ground again after Bonnar tried a spin kick and hit a few elbows to open him up. This is probably an even fight entering the third round. Crowd is hot for Coleman, too.
Third round ends without a finish, and the crowd pops big because they think Coleman has won. He got a takedown in the third, but didn't do much damage. Still, you kind of have to give him the round, and likely the fight, because he controlled the action. Either way you have to wonder about Bonnar's future. I know he was in The Fight That Saved UFC, but this was less than impressive. As for Coleman, I'm sure he'll keep trucking along. I say give him Jake O'Brien next. :)
No interview for Coleman since we're so close to PPV start time. Instead we are getting that great YouTube video recapping UFC history so far.
I don't know if I was clear, but Coleman won 29-28 across the board. And DAMN IT! No Baba O'Riley video! Argh! I don't know if they cut it for the history video or if they just are short on time. Either way, me no likey.
Alright, here we go with the main card. A smattering of lower level seats are still empty and a good 10-15% of the floor has yet to fill in. Crowd is hot as heck. I'm up high so I can't tell if there are celebs in the house or not. I did see Trevor Ariza walking by as we were having dinner yesterday, but that's the only non-MMA celeb I've seen here this weekend. The NBA summer league is going on right now, so I think we might get a sports celebrity or two. Wait, wait. Chuck Zito is in his customary third row seat, so that's something. Rogan and Goldberg are running down the card right now, so we should have Akiyama and Belcher entering shortly.
While we wait, let me make a movie recommendation. Since we saw guillotine wins in 3 of the first 4 matches of the night, let's go with Master of the Flying Guillotine. It's a kung fu movie from the 70's and some of the effects are bad, but in my opinion the story is great. Aspiring writers and directors should take note on how they make the lead villain a bad ass.
Ah ha!!! I believe it is "Por Ti Volare". I remembered it from the third act of STEP BROTHERS. Alright, the match has started.
Best round of the night so far. Mainly standing, with the big blow being a left that put Akiyama down. Short "U-S-A" chant at one point, followed by what sounded like a handful of Japanese women chanting "Aki-Yama". Akiyama ended the round catching a leg, hitting a nice punch and then getting on top on the ground. He hit one punch after the bell and Belcher was ticked. Also, Holly Madison just did her first ring card round.
After two rounds, both men look tired. Akiyama controlled from the top on the ground early in the round. He even had side mount for a while, but really didn't do anything with it. I thought Belcher did better standing, but other in the press box didn't think so. Holly Madison is also ring carding again. So disappointing to see fake breasts on a UFC ring card girl. Let's hope that is not the start of a trend.
In my opinion, this fight fizzled after a sparkling first. The third round was fairly even, saw some good shots hit and even had the unique spot of Belcher using a double backwards somersault (think about it) to get out of trouble after Akiyama caught his leg and downed him with a punch. Still, it was pretty sloppy, both guys were gassed by the end and neither guy felt like a real contender to the crown. Spilt decision winner for Akiyama, including a 30-27 score on one judge's card. I thought all three rounds were close, so unless UFC gets it right and decides to start pushing ties, I guess that's an acceptable result. No interview for YA. After two decisions, they may be worried about time.
Pops for Mir and St. Pierre as they are shown entering. Boos for Lesnar. And I don't like the DJ who's working tonight. I doubt it's the same guy they usually have live. Also, no celeb shots on the video board as of yet. Bisping vs. Hendo is up not. Should be good. I'm hoping that Bisping enters to Blur again.
I just love Bisping right about now. The song, the look. And he's accepting the heel persona perfectly. This could be Bret Hart c. 1997 all over again if they play this up right. Just pleasepleaseplease don't give a babyface interview sucking up to Hendo or the fans if you win. Please.
Big "U-S-A" chant before the match. Ladies and gentleman, this is pro wrestling.
End of round 1. This is like a less dominant version of Machida vs. Ortiz. The babyface is pushing the action, but Hendo's punching technique is not quite enough. Bisping is hitting more clean shots standing, but Hendo hit the only punch that staggered anyone and he got Bisping in a clinch towards the end of the round. I think the judges will give it to Hendo. Good USA chants during the round, and a light Let's Go Hen Do.
Wow! Henderson cold cocked Bisping with an overhand right. Bisping was out before he hit the mat, and then Henderson loaded up for a big right to the face on the ground before Yamasaki could some in a get him off. The bloodthirsty crowd loved it, but the sportsmanship was about as bad as it could get. Let's just hope that Bob Reilly and the anti-MMA pols in Ontario were not watching the end of that match. More USA chants from the crowd and a massive pop as well.
Updates: 1) "Lunatic Fringe" was Hendo's song. 2) Royce Gracie was shown in the crowd with what appeared to be Rashad Evans behing him cheesing and getting himself some camera time. 3) DJ is playing
anti-American anthem iconic song "Born in the U.S.A." by The Boss.
Whoa. St. Pierre vs. Alves is up next. I guess they are worried about time with two five round fights still left to go. I wonder if they'll put on Fitch and Thiago after the PPV ends if these fights both go the distance. Hopefully those guys at least get their win bonuses if they get bumped off the card entirely.
I am going to go out on a limb and predict a St. Pierre massacre here. Maybe that is not that out on a limb considering he's a -260 favorite, but my sense is that most people are expecting a close fight or that at least Alves has a chance. Alves is entering to TI's "Big Things Poppin'", which makes me even happier to make that prediction.
While we wait for GSP's supersonic pop during intros, let's take a quick break to look at the cover for the first ever UFC magazine. I know. I'll give you a second to look at it again. OK. Now, If you're Dana White, how on earth do you justify that? I mean, unless it's hype for a fight vs. Attencio, that is just the most ridiculous magazine cover I've seen this side of "O".
OK, fight's on.
GSP's round in round 1, but Alves is OK. GSP got a takedown, but Alves is standing up very well after being down. He also is a strong guy so he is doing OK in the clinch. GSP may end up getting tired if too many more takedowns get stuffed or if Alves gets up from too many. Very interesting so far.
First things first. GSP is up two rounds. He's controlling the fight. He got Alves down again and this time hit more shots on the ground. Now that we've settled that, I must say that Alves is one resilient MFer. He got up towards the end of the round and I'd say he looks to have more wind than GSP at this point. He's down 2, but definitely not out.
The streak of round wins for GSP continues. 3-0 so far in this fight. I thought Alves looked like the better fighter early in the round. He stuffed a takedown and hit more punches. Later, though, GSP got a takedown. After Alves got up (yet again) without taking too much damage, GSP hit a straight right that put Alves down. He pounced and tried to finish, but it wasn't a strong enough shot to finish and Alves lasted until the end of the round. I still think Alves looks more fresh, but that was a big round for GSP.
It's probably four rounds to zero GSP right now, but that round was interesting. GSP ended up on his back int he guard for the first time in a long time. I think maybe since the first Hughes fight. He did eventually stand up. Alves made a mistake late and tried a kick that was caught. GSP hit a short punch after the caught kick and got the fight down again. That's how the round ended. Alves needs a finish here. I think he is the fresher fighter, but GSP is GSP.
Shutout. Or at least, that's how I'd score it. Really an amazing performance by both men. GSP did not have his A game, but he used his amazing wrestling to win a fight over a superb opponent. Alves just showed why he has his nickname. This guy can't be hurt standing, he's strong as heck and he has this supernatural center of gravity that allows him to get up from everything.
They just announced a shutout for GSP. Great job, but if you were to just look at the two fighters and their condition after the fight, you might give it to Alves. GSP had to be held up by two cornermen when Alves came up to shake his hand. GSP is hurt, to be fair. In fact, he said he hurt an abdominal muscle in round three.
In some ways Alves has to be ticked. He has to feel like if he just could've been more patient and kept his distance to avoid takedowns, he might have had a better chance.
Rogan also asked St. Pierre about a possible fight with Silva. He mentioned that he is really too small for the middleweight division, but that he might take it on as a challenge. Interesting.
My guess is that we'll get Lesnar vs. Mir next. Only an hour left and with entrances, I don't see how they could go to the Fitch fight.
Well, I was wrong. Mir enters first to "Amazing" by Kanye West. The lineup with the press packet had Mir entering last, but this makes sense for the reasons I cited earlier. Please, Lesnar, enter to Motley Crue. Pleasepleaseplease.
Nope. Lesnar goes with James Irvin's music. "Enter Sandman" by you know who. Hey, did you all know that Death Clutch is Lesnar's company? It's like Team Punishment for Tito Ortiz. I'm not sure if Lesnar owns 100% of it, but check it out: Death Clutch.
Intros. And Buffer seems especially jumpy. Great pop for Mir with a smattering of boos. Lesnar gets booed heavily. Similar to the Couture vs. Lesnar dynamic, though in that case Couture's pop was even more massive. Here comes round 1. Next time I post it may be over...
It is not over and I am back for another post. First round was
lay and pray ground and pound. Lesnar on top, but no big shots. I hope this doesn't end up like that awful Tito match back in 2001 that kills UFC buyrates for months or even years.
It's over. Lesnar wins with punches on the ground. And boy is this guy a great heel. He walked over to the camera and said something angry, then got in Mir's face and started talking even more trash. Sable's now in the ring and she looked like just about the only person besides Brock who's happy right now. Great win for him, though.
Lesnar gave what I'd describe as too much of a heel promo. I'm all for having heel MMA fighters, but in his interview he told the fans to keep booing and just all in all played it up a bit too much. If he didn't come from wrestling, I'd say it wasn't so bad, but he has that taint. I guess only Brock knows if he was really mad or if he was playing it up because he learned how to be a heel in pro wrestling, but if I were him I'd tone it down some.
If the question is whether Brock's actions and attitude tonight will make people more likely to pay to see him fight next time, I think the answer might be "no". I can imagine that there are quite a few people out there who saw a pretty boring fight won by an obnoxious guy and that might turn them off. I think he'll draw big money when matched up against the right guy, but Brock vs. Carwin or Velasquez doesn't feel like a money fight to me. Let's just hope Randy beats Nogueira so that we get a big time rematch that draws.
Well, I'm going to wrap it up as Fitch and Thiago head to the ring. I'd like to get a seat for the press conference, so I'll leave the play by play to Bryan. My final thought is that this was an uninspiring night of fights on the main card, but the atmosphere and a few slick finishes made it enjoyable. UFC really puts on a great production. And also a quick congrats to Randy Couture for going 3-0 on his main event picks. I know he took all chalk, but lots of people had doubts about all three.