One of the things Marquez's one-punch knockout provides is fresh perspective on the poor judges' decision that cost Pacquiao his previous fight against Bradley.
Though I didn't agree with that decision at the time and I still don't, I also argued against turning bad decisions into crusades. They're part of the sport. Pacquiao didn't take out Bradley or even knock him down or get him in serious trouble, as he should have, and wound up getting punished for that by a weird decision. In retrospect, this was a precursor of Manny's diminished skills. I suspect the judges right at ringside saw a shockingly slower fighter than they were used to seeing, and overreacted.
What a great weekend of fights, capped by the Fight of the Year without question.
Thumbs mostly up. Entertaining even though truncated card, with only 6 total fights and the main cancelled. Jessica Eye stole the show.
Best fight: Eye-Gurgel for Eye's performance
Worst fight: Wessel-Kutin
Mike Wessel, who still needs to lose some weight, grinds 2 rounds and coasts one for a drab HW UD over Alexei Kutin in the first of two prelims. Jimmy Rivera shows good boxing taking the UD over Jesse Brock @BW.
On the top card, Jessica Eye makes herself a star destroying women's FlyW champ Zoila Gurgel in an over the weight nontitle fight. Drops Gurgel in the opening moments with a crisp jab-cross and then puts her to sleep with a standing arm triangle in 58 seconds. Anthony Leone surprisingly more than holds his own on the ground with ex BW champ Zach Malkovsky and wins a correct upset 29-28 SD. The scheduled main FeatherW turney final between Rad Martinez and Shamhalaev is cancelled when Shamhalaev contracts food poisoning and is vomiting in the dressing room, and will go on next week's card. In the substitute fight Darryl Hoerker takes a 29-28 UD over Chris Liguori in a very good scrap that should have been 29-27 and possibly stopped in the 1st.
I didn't watch the whole card closely but want to comment on the main in which Nick Newell took a quick RNC over Eric Reynolds, who is no bunny rabbit, for the vacant LW title. Newell has a congenitally amputated left arm. It wears away to a bony nub just below the elbow. He is 9-0 with 8 1st round stoppages. Not to take anything away from him, as he can do everything in there and would obviously be a good fighter regardless, but IMO the wing is way more of an unfair advantage than anything else. He can whack like hell with it, doesn't have to wear a glove, he can still use it to sink holds and in fact it fits more tightly in the crook of his other arm than a normal arm could, there's no way to hand fight and strip the hold because there's no hand, and there's no way to get any kind of a hold ON it.
UFC on fox 5
Thumbs way up. Great card top to bottom. One of the best of the year. Negative: Goldy REALLY sucked. Did he get some kind of memo to namecheck every fighter who had nothing to with the current fight? Also babbling stats over hot action, more than once.
Best fight: Jorgensen vs. Albert
Worst fight: Assuncao-Easton and it wasn't terrible
KO: Cruickshank with HM to Trujillo, Yves, Brown
In the fb prelim, Scott Jorgensen tapped John Albert with the RNC literally a split second before the end of the 1st after a full round of brilliant grappling on both parts. Wonder why Jorgensen, a title contender, is jerking the curtain.
The first fuel prelim also makes no sense booking wise as they're the biggest names on the undercard. Nam Phan steps up late but maybe is less than 100% but in whatever case is in way over his head with Dennis Siver, who does whatever he wants to do and completely controls the fight at all ranges. The decision is surprisingly correct---30-26, 30-25, 30-24. I had 24.
Marcus LeVesseur steps up late also after his own fight got cancelled and Tim Means slips in the shower or something, and gets absolutely destroyed by UFC debuting Blackzilian Abel Trujillo in a matchup of amateur wrestling standouts. Trujillo finishes him in the 2nd with a series of undefended knees to the body. Note to Rogan, Goldy and Buffer: tru-HEE-yo.
Some strange business as Henry Martinez misses weight by two pounds yet the graphic and Buffer announce him at the weight limit and Goldy outright lies and says the graphic read 158. Martinez is scrappy as usual anyway but karate man Darren Cruickshank nails him at will, hurting him with body kicks and finishing him with a single RHK in the 2nd. Looked like a shoo in for KO of the week until the boxing.
Ramsey Nijem takes an active 3 round UD over Joe Proctor. Had to remember he's a wrestler to do it. Really needs to keep his hands up striking.
Rafael Assuncao also in as a late sub and gives Mike Easton a three round striking lesson. Easton doesn't like getting hit and starts whining about nonexistent fouls. Not a real exciting fight but good win for Assuncao. Goldy is commenting on some other fight taking place on Mars.
Yves Edwards does us all a favor and flattens Jeremy Stephens with a short right hook and pounds him out with an overhand hooking elbow on the ground in a couple of minutes. Great undercard, maybe best of the year.
A continuingly improved Matt Brown destroys Mike Swick in the top card opener, threatening with subs throughout the 1st and finishing with a left hook right hand in the 2nd. Swick looked shrunken and just wasn't there. Maybe he shouldn't be fighting with that disease he has.
Graphic announces Boetsch-Phillipou and Okami-Belcher at 'welterweight'. Gotta love how fox understands the product.
Okay pardon me for dissenting but I thought Rory MacDonald's stock lowered. Sure he took a nearly effortless UD over BJ Penn but BJ is old, shot and undersized and frankly there's no reason he should have allowed BJ to go the distance. He nearly broke him in half with body shots in the 2nd and let him off the hook. How that was 'more impressive' than his manhandling of Nate Diaz escapes me. Any case Rory is a natural arrogant heel and should play that up. Maybe he should bleach his hair blond.
Alexander Gustafsson took an overly wide IMO UD over Shogun Rua. I thought the fight was close until the last round when Shogun gassed as usual. How a guy who has a 47 resting pulse can always be out of shape escapes me, too. I didn't think it was the kind of performance that should guarantee a title shot. He'll be a night off for Jones.
Ben Henderson exposed (once again) the Nate Diaz myth. They can repeat 'he's the #1 contender' as much as they want but he's been beaten several times at the weight and he wasn't, period. Bendo used his low kicks, far superior wrestling, and much greater strength and speed to take Nate's boxing completely away and make it a very easy fight. I had it 50-42. Only one round was even competitive and shooting the bird was the closest Nate came to offense. Credit to the one judge who had the sack to go 43.
BOXING PACQUIAO vs. MARQUEZ 4
The three prelims sucked. Usual boxing glorified squashes. In the last one, at least Farenas forgot to cooperate long enough to knock Gamboa down once. All these years and Mushmouth still can't pronounce Spanish names. Hate it when he and Limpley smirk about how bad the fights are. Never mind all that.
Everybody should know the deal going in. Manny and JMM have fought 3 times over the past 8 years. There's a strong argument for Marquez deserving all three, with the last one a year ago seeming to be unarguable, but it stands at 2-0-1 Manny. Manny then loses an equally inexplicable decision to Bradley. Manny is widely suspected of steroid use, being essentially a blown up flyweight who was won titles up to welter. For this fight, JMM enlists Angel Heredia of the BALCO scandal notoriety as S&C coach and comes in the most muscular of his career at age 39. A recent famous loser and fellow politician if you get my drift visits Manny in his locker room, don't think he went to Marquez' (but hey, ya know, Latinos).
The fight is simply off the charts. Manny is looking the sharpest he has since routing Oscar de la Hoya, with constant defensive head movement, and JMM maybe is looking a little musclebound and Manny puts the first two rounds in the bank.
Things pick up in the 3rd. Manny steps up his boxing early but JMM starts finding the body shot counter and then feints Manny out of his shoes and sends him flying with an overhand right. Marquez never hit this hard before. Manny gets up and fights his way back into the round.
Manny gets his groove back in the 4th. JMM lands occasional counters but Manny is outpunching him 2-1. JMM sure is landing HARD though.
The fifth explodes. Manny drops Marquez with a short straight left. Marquez gets up and staggers Manny. Manny rocks Marquez again and looks to be close to dropping him again. Marquez battles back late. I had this round 10-7 Manny.
JMM comes out for the 6th looking busted up and rocky on his legs. Manny is boxing his ears in. He smells the finish and turns it up and walks smack into an overhand right just at the bell and he is OUT flat on his face. The fight is over. You can't get hit any harder than that by a human hand. See if this works:
Fight of the Year. No question. Nothing else is close. Many was looking the best he had in years up till the KO. I want to see a fifth fight.
Big thumbs up. I've been telling my friends who don’t watch MMA, you know the ones who
will say, "hey, I saw a commercial for it the other day" as if it's abig deal, to watch
Saturday. Hope they listened because they got a good show.
FOTN: Henderson vs. Diaz. If you ever wanted an example of someone going in with a game
plan and executing it perfectly, this was it. Just technical beauty you don't see enough
anymore. Plus, as much of a prick as Diaz can be, I was happy to see him show enough
class to congratulate Henderson after the fight. It reminded me of the Couture/Ortiz
fight way back in the early 2000's where Couture just imposed his will and didn't let
Ortiz do anything. Except that Diaz was far more active in his escapes. I described the
fight as "two snakes fighting"
This night was not even about great fights, but great performances. Cruickshank and
McDonald put themselves in a position to become major stars. Assuming they make McDonald
and Condit in Montreal...whoah, daddy, that will be a fun fight. I was a little
disappointed in Gustaffson but I also think on a different card his match would have
Which brings me to a point. Why are people so jacked to see Penn and Rua? Why do we want
to see Rua/Jones again? I don't get it. I have nothing against Rua, but he WAS an
incredible fighter. This is a sport with a very short shelf life. I don't want to see
someone die in the cage of a massive embolism because he "had so much heart"
I was watching the fights with my fiancée (who doesn't normally watch but is so impressed
by Henderson and so hates Diaz she wanted to see the one beat the other) and I was making
so many negative comments about Penn. She said "you must hate this guy". I said no, I
loved watching him fight, but he ALWAYS breaks. The first time I saw ti was the Hughes
fight where he absolutely destroyed Matt for two rounds, but couldn't finish and got
submitted quickly in the third. He broke. I told her to watch carefully and tell me
exactly when he would break against McDonald. Even she, a non-fan, recognized he was done
after the body shots in the second.
Worst fight: Easton vs. Assuncao. Just nothing happening.
Don't let my negativity fool you, this was a tremendous night of fights and I would have
been happy had I paid $45 for it. I just hope McDonald and Henderson come out as the huge
starts they should be.
Best Fight: Ben Henderson vs Nate Diaz
Worst Fight: BJ Penn vs
In addition to the Bellator commercial there were audio problems during fights where the audio would cut out for a few seconds at a time. Also during the main event, about once a round, we would suddenly see the Octagon in the middle of an empty arena for several seconds.
Both thumbs way up. Was a very good showcase for the sport from the first round with Brown. All fights were good.
Best: Henderson v Diaz, because of the incredible all around game of BH, and my hatred of the Diaz punks. The match also made one appreciate Edgar.
No real worst, but if I have to: McDonald v Penn. McDonald seems like he could have gone for the finish several times. B.J. again with no tank, small and fat.
Prelims were excellent also. 5 great hours.
Mike "The Thinking Man's Gordo Chihuahua" Devlin
Big thumbs up overall
Best: Albert vs. Jorgensen
Worst: Assuncao vs. Easton
Best KO: Cruickshank
Best sub: Jorgensen (the only one)
I was entertained from beginning to end, so a big thumbs up. I figured Assuncao-Easton to be the worst ahead of time, and I was right. That was my get dinner and other crap done fight.
The undercard, minus Assuncao-Easton, may have been the most entertaining one in recent memory.
Jorgensen-Albert was so awesome! A beautiful ground fight with big swerves one way and the other. Albert must be kicking himself for tapping right at the buzzer. Nice to see Jorgensen take care of his vitiligo.
Abel Trujillo put on a head-turning performance sutffing a solid wrestler in Levesseur and finishing emphatically with devastating knnes. Trujillo is one fighter to keep an eye on.
Dennis Siver looked gigantic next to Nam Phan and he convincingly beat his smaller opponent. He really looked no different from what he looked like at 155. The 145 lb division has been warned.
Cruickshank's head kick KO was awesome! Henry Martinez had shown his toughness throughout the fight, and finally the better fighter got his reward with a devastating one kick walk awy KO. Definitely a KO of the year candidate.
Nijem - Proctor was a fun fight between a couple of thebetter recent TUF prospects. I was impressed with Nijem's improved striking, although he needs lots of work to ever contend.
Edward's KO of Stephens was a nice bounce back after the hated Assuncao-Easton fight. I honestly did not hate the fight, but after the previous action-packed fights, I can understand the booing.
Matt Brown looked awesome and he simply overwhelmed Mike Swick. Maybe Demarques Johnson was simply not up to snuff as an opponent the last time around, but I expected more from Swick.
Macdonald-Penn: This was sad. BJ was owned from the opening bell to final bell. He looked two weight classes smaller. He was simply outclassed. I think he retires. As a Canadian, I would normally cheer for one of our own, but after the showboating tonight, I don't think I can ever really warm up to Macdonald. I think he was disingenuous when he said he really looked up to BJ. If you did, you wouldn't show him up like you did. If you showboat, then make sure you finish your opponent like Anderson Silva does. Given you were at least 20 lbs bigger than your opponent, you really should have finished him.
Rua - Gustaffson: Rua could never manage Gus's reach and length. He just went for the home run the whole fight with his right hand and that was never going to happen against a guy as quick as Gus. Good luck to Gus against Jones. He won't have the height and length advantage in that one.
Henderson - Diaz: A complete masterpiece by Henderson. He took Diaz's boxing advantage totally out of the equation by simply not engaging him in a boxing match. He kept his distance unless he wanted to kick or punch and basically nullified Diaz's volume boxing blitz. Once they ever locked up, he was simply too strong and a better wrestler.
Thumbs way up.
Best fight: Cruikshank vs Martinez.
Note: Watched undercard at an Indianapolis Buffalo Wild Wings. There was so much hype and excitement that no TV was showing the fight. I had to request it.
The restaurant was not busy and nobody watched the fight but me.
I was at the same bar last year, same time for UFC. Bar packed.
Miragliatta is like the idiot pro wrestling referee who never catches the heel cheating, although obvious to the audience.
Hey Dave & Bryan,
I gave the show a definite thumbs up! Prelims definitely delivered as did the main card.
Best Fight:Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez
Worst Fight:Mike Easton vs. Raphael Assuncao
Best KO: Daron Cruickshank
Best Sub:Scott Jorgensen
Scott Jorgensen vs. John Albert - Jorgenson had a nice escape from the triangle attempt, showed some great patience in it until he was able to get free. Nice submission at the buzzer.
Dennis Silver vs. Nam Phan - I have always been a big Siver fan. This was a great performance by him after dropping to featherweight. His pace was incredible and he never tired. Pham was totally outclassed here and got virtually no offence. 30-24 is kind of shocking score by one of the judges. Looking forward to Siver's next challenge in this division. There is a ton of potential great matchups here, maybe Cub Swanson next?
Abel Trujillo vs. Marcus Levesseur - Trujillo was an animal. Those knees to the body to end it were just awesome. You could feel them land thru the TV. Nasty!
Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez - This was the best Cruickshank we have seen yet. His kicking display was unbelievable but Martinez' ability to absorb and keep coming forward was equally impressive. A great kick to end it. Going to be tough to beat that as KO of the night!
Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor - This was a pretty even fight but Nijem definitely deserved the decision. Some nice knees and kicks by Nijem while he was on offence. I think he is still a couple years away before he moves up a tier to the next level if he continues to improve.
Mike Easton vs. Raphael Assuncao - Not a great fight and the worst so far. Assuncao fought the Machida game of keep away with the odd counter but nothing with power. Easton did not look as impressive as he has in the past where he has been able to overwhelm people.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Yves Edwards - Really looked forward to this one to be a great stand up war. Too short to comment on other than a beautiful punch by Yves and then perfect follow up with elbows for the KO.
Mike Brown vs. Mike Swick - That was an amazing first round to watch the ground work. Swick's submission defense was stellar. Great KO for Brown, Swick fell like a tree. Big win for Brown here.
B.J. Penn vs. Rory MacDonald - Total domination by MacDonald. The showboating he did with the few Ali shuffles and speed shadow boxing was totally unnecessary and unsportsmanlike and reminiscent of Silva vs Maia in Dubai and the crowd turned on him every time he did it. Surprising he called BJ his hero and looked up to him in the post fight when he continued to disrespect at points in the fight. Nice to see someone call someone out though to set up a future fight.
Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson - I thought a really good 1st round. Shogun had a great game plan to combat Gustafsson's reach and worked it perfectly...until the 2nd round. Shogun's face was pretty beat up and Gustafsson dominated the rest of the fight. Don't think he is ready for a title shot yet but needs another top 10 win.
Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz - a solid main event and Henderson imposed his will and took Nate out of his normal fight making his boxing totally ineffective. Henderson's game plan, strength and ground and pound was too much. 50-43? the judges were pretty generous with some 10-8 rounds tonite.
Email me about Observer UFC or Royal Rumble specials at
Have a great weekend.
Official Index of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter