Weekend fight feedback



Another big weekend with two nearly unadvertised UFCs, other MMA, and boxing.

MMA
Bellator 84
Thumbs mostly down. This time they had another canceled fight train wreck but tried to cover it up, had a terrible ref mistake that forced a wrong ending, and the top card fights blew. Undercard was decent except for the bad finish.
Best fight: the three undercard fights White-Booker, Williams-Diehl and Wright-Uflacker
Worst fight: Volkov-Hale
KO: Taylor (shoulda been Wright)
Sub: none
White edges Booker in a very physical opener. They could have been twin brothers. Gomez quickly chokes out Talamates in a sorry matchup of flabby 215ers. Williams takes a very close 29-28 UD over Diehl after a tough 3 round grind @ FlyW despite a strong finish by Diehl. Bad ref call of a nonexistent downed knee robs Wright of an upkick KO in the 3rd and Uflacker is UTC and gets the technical decision when they go to the cards.

Louis Taylor kicks off the top card KOing Joe Vidopo late in the 1st with a short right hand on the ground after a round of heads up grappling. Felice Herrig repeats a previous 30-27 UD win in another promotion over Patricia Vidonic. Can't imagine why they chose to rematch this fight. It was pretty much identical. Felice sure got a cute outfit. Vizcaya takes the 29-28 SD over Hernansson in a prelim level fight.

The co main of Marcin Held vs. Dave Jansen for the LW tourney final is unannouncedly canceled because somebody realizes Held is only 20 and cannot legally be in the casino. I can see why they wouldn't want to say it in public because it makes them look so fucking stupid but sometimes it's better to man up and not leave the whole audience wondering what the fuck is going on. This was like Nixon shit. They should be ashamed.

The main for the vacant HW title is horrible as Hale after a good opening moment just follows Volkov around the ring walking into punches for five boring rounds and cannot make any adjustment. Hale's corner is all screaming at him between every round 'move your fucking hands' but they don't tell him HOW to get into position to do so or even offer ONE FUCKING SUGGESTION of anything he might wanna try doing different. They should be arrested for impersonating fight trainers.

UFC

Two TUF-related cards, barely even promoted by the geniuses at the Number One SportsKorpAmerika Network. It's like they're afraid somebody will watch. Both cards, against expectations, are really good, too. Mostly short, explosive fights with come from behind wins.

FX Sot vs. Pearson

Thumbs mostly up. This was from Australia and was the finals of the TUF UK-Australia season (there WAS one?)

Best fight: The main, Whitaker vs. Scott, and the opener Penner vs. Donovan were all very good

Worst fight: Pierce-Baczynski

KO: give this a tie among Alloway, Lombard and Pearson

Sub: none

On the fuel undercard, Penner survives several KDs from Donovan and attacks from the ground, then when he scores his own KD late in the round does not let him off the hook. Great opener. Wilkinson takes the 29-28 UD over Loughnane in a very close more-will-than-skill brawl. Alloway stops Rodriguez with a front kick to the face (actually he ducked into an intended body kick) late in the 1st after Rodriguez dominates most of the round on the ground. Mike Pierce grinds and coasts out a boring UD over Seth Baczynski. Joey Beltran finally looking in something like shape outworks the harder hitting Pokrajec for the 30-27 upset UD. Chad Mendes makes short work of late sub Bendo sparring partner Meza with a right hand KD and followup right on the ground.

On the top card on fx, Hector Lombard looking back in form blasts out Palhares in *ahem* short order. Amazing physical similarity between the two. Anybody believe these guys are 5'9" and 5'8"? Hector calls out Pissbing. Hell yeah. Parke takes an uninspired UD over Fletcher in one of the TUF finals. In the other, Whittaker takes the 29-28 UD over Scott. This was a really good fight and Whittaker really turned it on to seal the deal. In the main event coaches fight, Pearson just has too much firepower for Sotiropoulous' questionable chin to withstand and scores the KO in the 3rd of a scheduled 5.

TUF FINAL

Thumbs definitely up. Only one bad fight on the whole card. This was the windup to the US TUF season.

Best fight: everything but Ricci-Smith

Worst fight: Ricci-Smith

KO: On a night of highlight reel KOs Khabilov because his was from a SUPLEX (THREE suplexes actually)

Sub: Waldburger

The fb undercard opens with Elliot recovering from an unintentional but really bad illegal knee in the 1st and finishes strong to take to take the 30-25,25,26 UD over Papazian in a bloody but technical fight that had a little of everything. Elliot just after the fight told his corner that Papazian was oiled up. That fight's gonna be hard to top. Rio taps Kofer in the 3rd after a very competitive fight. Hugo Wolverine stops Duran in the 1st after a pair of long range KDs.

On the fuel midcard, after a round of heads up wrestling dominated by Catone, Waldburger drops him early in the 2nd then puts him to sleep with a triangle. BUFFER, 'WALD' IS NOT HIS MIDDLE NAME. What is this fixation he has on -burger/berger names? It would seriously piss me off if a ring announcer deliberately mispronounced my name for his 'gimmick'. A ring announcer does not need a 'gimmick'. Ruslan Khabilov in his UFC debut KOs Pichel in short order with the 3rd German Suplex. REAL impressive. The fight is replayed on the main card in place of the canceled Varner-Guillard and we may be in a Star Is Born scenario here. Johnny Bedford looking very sharp destroys Vinicius with a 2nd R KO.  Note to Goldy: 'solar plexus'. Not 'solar plex'. In the midcard main, Mike Pyle survives getting knocked silly but not down early by James Head to stop him later in the 1st with a knee to the head from Thai clinch.

Opening the top card, Jonathan Brookins starts fast showing improved punching but the Chin In The Air bad habit does him in again as Dustin Poirier able to drop him then finish with a D'Arce late in the 1st in another come from behind win. Shane Del Rosario dominates the 1st on the ground then Pat Barry blows him away with punches at the top of the 2nd. Hard to dislike Barry. As mentioned Verner vs. Guillard is scrapped by the commission because Varner is throwing up backstage. In the TUF final, Smith humps his way to a one sided UD over Ricci, aided by Magoo Mazagatti missing a groin kick Helen Keller saw although it didn't matter much. Just what we need at welterweight. Another guy who won't put anybody to sleep except the audience. In the main coaches fight, Matt Mitrione subs for the as usual injured Shane Carwin and has the right idea, moving and tattooing Fatso Nelson with punches and kicks, but doesn't maintain enough focus and Fatso nails him for the KO. Really can't get much more entertaining than this card.

BOXING

Could only catch one of the many fights but it was very good, Leo Santa Cruz retaining the I Be Felonious BW title with a decision over the surprisingly competitive Alberto Guevara. Guevara had Cruz out of his element outboxing him early but Cruz' conditioning and pressure allowed him to take over midfight and pull away in the later rounds. This was Cruz' fifth fight and win of the year and he has to be in the running for overall Fighter of the Year.

Crimson Mask

Hi Guys.
 
I gave the Australia show a thumbs up. I didn't have as high expectations going in, especially after the great UFC on FOX card but was really thought this was a really decent show with some really good fights.
 
Best Fight: Mike Wilkinson vs Brendan Loughnane
Worst Fight: Baczynski vs Pierce
Best KO: Ross Pearson
Best Sub: N/A
 
Cody Donovan  vs. Nick Penner - Good start to the show. This was all action until the finish.
 
Mike Wilkinson  vs. Brendan Loughnane - These guys were going for it. An all action fight for 3 rounds
 
Manuel Rodriguez vs. Benny Alloway - kind of a weird bit there where the ref had stopped the fight thinking it was a KO rather than a low blow and then a nice front kick KO to end it shortly thereafter. 3 good fights in a row.
 
Seth Baczynski  vs. Mike Pierce - Not as exciting as the first few fights. Pierce continued to take him down but then didn't really do a heck of a lot with it, just controlled him.Not too excited to see either of these guys next fight.
 
Joey Beltran  vs. Igor Pokrajac - I was really looking forward to this fight as it had the potential to be fight of the night with a standup war. Beltran looked really good here with great hand speed and combinations and wasn't his typical punching bag style of absorbing incredible amounts of punishment. Pokrajac never really got it going. Good to see Beltran win here and will be interesting to see how he does at this weight class. We have never really seen him on the ground in any of his fights so he has to hope he is matched with predominantly strikers.
 
Yaotzin Meza vs. Chad Mendes - Mendes looked like the pre Aldo fight monster again here.Great showing for him although against a no name opponent.

Rousimar Palhares vs. Hector Lombard -  this was the Lombard that we all expected to see in his debut. Palhares who had been so dominant as of late didn't even look in the same league with him and couldn't even come close to trying to grab a leglock. again, it was nice to see someone call another fighter out rather than the "whoever they put me against" reaction. Would like to see Lombard vs Bisping.
 
Norman Parke vs. Colin Fletcher - A grind it out victory that didn't seem as good as some of the earlier fights.Like Pierce, Fletcher took him down at will but really didn't do anything with it. Fletcher with his size sure has a lot of different movements in his strikes and escapes. He just couldn't avoid being taken down and held down. Parke deserved the win but he really needs more fights before he is ready for the next step up in competition.

Bradley Scott vs. Robert Whittaker -  This was definitely the better of the two Smashes finale fights. These guys put on a really good fight and kept a good pace the whole way. Well matched even fight.
Ross Pearson vs. George Sotiropolous - Pearson's standup continues to improve and he looked so comfortable and smooth in there. Sotiropolous on the other hand after being touted as a potential title contender hasn't been the same since his loss to Dennis Siver. This was a poor performance and he maybe on the endangered species list although they may need him for the Aussie shows. I don't know if he really recovered from that first big punch that had him wobbly in the 1st round. The KO blow sure had him crumble in a weird fetal like position.
 
I gave the Las Vegas card a solid thumbs up. Who couldn't vote a thumbs up for a card with so many finishes?
 
Best Fight:Jonathan Brookins vs Dustin Poirier
Worst Fight: Colton Smith vs Mike Ricci
Best KO: Rustam Khabilov
Best Sub: Dustin Poirier
 

Hugo Viana vs. Reuben Duran - Duran was Viana's punching bag. He had  alot of heart to keep getting up after so many power punches.

Nick Catone vs. T.J. Waldburger - This was a great opener. Catone definitely had the power advantage and controlled the 1st.  Waldburger totally composed throughout and made the smooth transition from the guillotine attempt to the triangle finish. Nice.

Rustam Khabilov vs. Vinc Pichel - What a debut. Those were some nice looking German suplexes. Looking forward to seeing Khabilov again. A great start to the show!
 
Marcos Vinicius vs. Johnny Bedford - Bedford's striking looked great here, the best he has shown us so far. He was solid on his season of TUF but he looked even better here. A great finishing sequence with the punch that dropped him, body kick and then the finishing head strikes.

James Head vs. Mike Pyle - Is everybody looking for best KO bonus tonite or what?!

Jonathan Brookins vs. Dustin Poirier - this was another all action bout. What a great start to the fight. Brookins standup was vastly improved and both guys took a lot of shots. Another impressive display by Poirier and nice D'arce.
 
Shane Del Rosario vs. Pat Barry - Nice aggression by Barry to finish this in the 2nd after being in trouble in the 1st round. Big KO getting inside of Del Rosario's reach..

Mike Ricci vs. Colton Smith - Dominating performance by Smith but a non fan friendly fight compared to all of the other finishes. Smith looked like he had great stamina as he didn't appear tired at all going the distance. Hoping a sponsor buys him different trunks for his next fight. Disappointing display for Ricci who I was expecting to win this one going in.

Matt Mitrione vs. Roy Nelson - Mitrione looked good and his striking very solid in this fight. He looks better each time he competes but just ran into too much power and experience. Nelson gets an impressive win, although vs a short notice fight,  but I think he still needs a top 10 ten win or two before he can call out a championship fight.
 
Email me about UFC & Royal Rumble Observer specials at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Have a fantastic Christmas everyone. Looking forward to Dos Santos vs Velasquez.
 
Grant Zwarych
Official Index of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter
 
 

 

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