Weekend big show feedback: UFC, WSOF and Dragon Gate
NBC SPORTS NET FIGHT NIGHT
Overall thumbs up. Good boxing, good MMA.
Tuned in late but thumbs up. No squashes on paper, competitive matchmaking. Kenny Rice from Inside MMA does a good job on commentary with the help of a very alert sounding Freddie Roach and a guy I don't know described as the 'North American cruiserweight champion'.
Best fight: Jennings-Fedosov
Worst fight: none
KO: tie Kovalev & Trujillo
Russian LHW Sergey Kovalev destroyed Cornelius White in 3 via 3 KD rule TKO for some kind of regional title. Kovalev came in 20-0 and White 21-1. This guy is a killer. Fast, heavy hands, good technique.
In a mutual pro debut, GG champ Art Trujillo blew away Anthony Watson, dropping him twice inside of 30 seconds, the last time for good.
In the main, Bryant Jennings, described as the top rated US HW, survived a bruising scrap with Russian tank Andrey Fedosov, stopping him after the 6th due to a closed eye. He didn't look bad but didn't appear to be anything to cause anybody named Kiltschko any trouble.
Thumbs more up than otherwise. 3 entertaining fights out of 5 (maybe shouldn't count the first one as it was a dark fight they went to when the boxing ended early). Some bad schilling announcing, with Bas attempting to provide reason.
Best fight: Gaethje-Cobb
Worst fight: Volkmann-Beer Bong
Sub: Burkman with HM to Carl
The dark fight is @ MW. I didn't catch the names but both started with 'M'. The short stocky Bulgarian wrestler decisions the tall rangy black dude. Bad style matchup.
Good opener as prospect Justin Gaethje, a wrestler with natural striking ability, comes back from getting schooled early by veteran Brian Cobb to stop him with low kicks in the 3rd.
Jacob 'New Stupid Nickname' Volkmann dominates the whole fight over the clueless Fancy Pants Beer Bong, who keeps putting himself in holds, for a UD in one of the worst fights in memory. One judge somehow gives Beer Bong a round. They are smart and do not give Volkmann an interview.
Steve Carl gets annoyed with Tyson Steele jumping around throwing silly kicks and snatches an RNC out of nowhere without even looking for a hook and that's that. Not sure what Steele was doing, saskatch as katchewan kan or something but whatever it was it was lame.
Dave Huckuba vs. Rorizontal Rolles Gracie is cancelled when Rorizontal gets hurt. They announce Huckuba will fight Ray Sefo, who plays the president of the company (do they really think anybody's buying that?) on the next card.
In the main, Josh Burkman kills Jon Fitch in a major upset, knocking him down and choking him unconscious in 40 seconds to avenge a loss via the same move several years ago. Fitch's first sub (even though it wasn't a submission) loss. Mazzagatti as usual standing there with his thumb up his ass. Burkman just stands up and walks away and leaves Mazzagatti to wave it off. Don't know what the hell has gotten into Burkman but he has just blown away Fitch and Aaron Simpson and is suddenly looking like one of the top WWs on the planet. The schill, whoever, the third or fourth commentary guy, interviews Fitch (why?), goes 'rubber match', the crowd moans and he goes 'they love it'. Bas provides some sanity on the idea.
Thumbs down. Not overly attractive to begin with card that then gets decimated from 'injuries'. They really need the option of downgrading cards like this to regular TV. Sometimes these cards end up being more entertaining than the 'name' cards but not this one.
Best fight: Krause-Stout, HM to Jabouin-Pague
Worst fight: Shields-Woodley because it should have been better, but Pierson-Robertson and Jimmo-Pokrajec were at least as bad
fb card opens with a round of the year candidate between Dustin Pague and Yves Jabouin, All downhill from there. Local yokel ref misses an unintentional but blatant illegal knee by Pague in the 3rd. Interesting fight. Pague makes the whole fight a ground battle and nullifies Jabouin's standup. Jabouin is on top most of the way but Pague constantly attacking with subs. Looked great off his back but then again, couldn't close the show. Jabouin lands some good G&P but few and far between but finishes the first two rounds strong. I thought Pague won all 3 rounds. Local yokel judges go 29-28 split Jabouin. Gee, the Canadian wins in Canada. Whatta shock. Local Mitch Clarke looking much improved especially in conditioning and low kicks after training with Bendo, easily outworks the again passive Brit John McGuire for what should be a 30-27 UD but is for some reason 29-28. McGuire had back control for a couple minutes of the 3rd but did nothing with it.
Opening the midcard show local Roland Delorme spends most of the fight on the much smaller Edwin Figueroa's back but cannot finish him. Figueroa never quits and comes closest to finishing the fight with a barrage of G&P in the last few seconds. The judges obviously give Figueroa the 3rd, 29-28 UD.
Kenny Robertson and local Sean Pierson both gassed by the end of the 1st. Sloppy brawl. Everything telegraphed from both. Limp, swinging strikes. Robertson closes his eyes and lands a big elbow early in the 3rd but can't hit hard enough to finish and spends the rest on Pierson's back throwing wrestler marshmallows. Pierson reverses in the closing seconds and probably saves a 9-10 round. Probably another 29-28 for him. One judge gives a 10-8, 28-28, so it's a MD. Horrible fight. Both the last two fights the Canadian is twice the other guy's size. What's up with that?
Okay here's a terrific fight. Pleasure to see good striking with no windup. The very tall James Krause paint jobs local Sam Stout in the 1st, opening a big cut with a HK. Stout lands a big liver hook early in the 2nd which slows Krause's offense and allows Stout to take the round. Krause gets back in his groove at his range in the 3rd and picks Stout apart. Stout shoots a late TD but Krause counters with arm in guillotine and gets the tap with 13 seconds left. FotN by several light years.
Sigh. Right back in the toilet. Tyron Woodley shows up overmuscled and slow. Couldn't get off. Jake Shields able to make it boring and control the action. Woodley may steal the 3rd with a big-looking SBF that did no real damage. His shots were worth 10 of Jake's but Jake was more than 10X busier. Judges go 30-27 Woodley?, 29-28 X 2 for Shields. Undercard ends up even worse than expected.
Shawn Jordan, slimmed down to 248, smokes Pat Barry with uppercuts and G&P in 59 seconds in a minor upset to open the PPV. Good to see Jordan maybe living up to his potential. Tremendous athletic ability.
Girls fight is very good if not spectacular. Once again the Canadian Alexis Davis is FAR FAR bigger than the opponent Rosi Sexton, who makes it very competitive but Davis takes the 29-28 X 2, 29-27 UD. You could have made a case for Sexton 29-28 but not in Canada.
Horrible fight with Lavigne doing totally schizophrenic reffing. Breaking them every 30 seconds in the 1st round and letting nothing (meaning, the absence of anything) go on for minutes late in the fight. Igor Pokrajec loses 27-30. Can't really say Ryan Jimmo wins. Suckage of every type. Joe goes on the interview, I think there's a fight in the crowd. Jimmo goes, probably more exciting than this fight. Least he's honest.
Stipe Miocic perfect in the first. Rocks Fatso Nelson repeatedly. Maybe let him off the hook though and may regret it. Outwrestles him too. 10-8 round. Roy gassed and looks mentally broken in the corner. Miocic remains perfect in the 2nd. Another 10-8 IMO. Everything he's doing is working. Roy can barely raise his hands. Stipe's maybe dubious jaw not a factor because he hasn't been hit yet. Roy winging in the 3rd but all arm. Won't KO anybody with that. Stipe loses a little steam but still doing whatever he wants. Adds a TD. Finishes the fight with a flurry. Could maybe call that one 10-9. Somebody (well other than Junior, Werdum and Mir) finally fights the right fight with Nelson. 30-25 by me, doubt the judges will give him 10-8s and of course they don't. How do you call rounds like that 10-9s. Nelson landed NOTHING, Stipe landed 70% accuracy. Schmuck audience booing for some reason. Hopefully the end of Fat Boy's 15 as this was his last contract fight.
In the main, which for some reason (like Hendo not being able to go more than 2) was not bumped to 5 rounds, Shad outspeeds Hendo most of the 1st but Hendo drops him late in the round with a jab and probably steals the round. Very close 2nd. Shad a little busier, flash TD early, Hendo probably landed the best shot with a short elbow. 10-10 by me. Both look gassed at the end. Shad rocks Hendo with a flurry about 1m into the 3rd. Hendo gassing as expected. Shad remains the busier and lands the sharper strikes and finishes strong and definitely takes the 3rd, but I have the fight even. All hinges how the 2nd was scored. Judges go 29-28 split Shad. Neither made a 'statement' in any case other than 'I'm over the hill' but about evenly so, so the fight was competitive if not overly thrilling.
Thumbs in the middle. It isn't like it was a bad show per say, but it was just unmemorable for the most part and didn't really leave you pumped coming away from it.
I didn't catch the prelims this time outside of the final one as none of them really interested me going in (probably due to a lack of Brazilian prospects!).
Woodley vs. Shields was the big disappointment to me - I actually thought Woodley won because his shots seemed to do more damage - but he wasn't nearly as aggressive as I'd thought he would be. I don't get why people with wrestling like Woodley's - or Akiyama for that matter when he fought Jake - don't open up more on the feet against Shields because his striking really is bad. The only guy to really open up was Ellenberger and surprise surprise, he crushed him.
Main card was fine outside of the Jimmo fight which I thought was dull. Jordan/Barry was a cool knockout and Sexton/Davis was a perfectly acceptable fight if nothing special.
Obviously the biggest thing here is what happens to Roy Nelson now. The big problem with Roy is that essentially, he's a very high-level gatekeeper to the elite who happens to be very popular with the crowd, but he sees himself as a title contender, and if he tries to get title contender money I think Zuffa are likely to wish him luck in Bellator. While he's popular, he doesn't move the needle or draw buyrates and if you're not doing that then popularity alone won't get you the big money unless you can back it up with top-level wins, which Roy can't. I went for the upset here and got it right and I thought Stipe looked fantastic. I think he's genuinely a handful for all of the top HWs right now with that striking and his wrestling background too. Wouldn't mind seeing him against the Barnett/Mir loser actually, assuming if Barnett wins he'll get a title eliminator.
Rashad/Hendo was actually more exciting than I thought it would be, but on this occasion I'm glad it was a three-rounder as I think they were wearing down a bit towards the end and would've slowed in a fourth and fifth. Right guy won for my money and I'm really unsure where Hendo goes from here.
Not really a memorable show at all.
Best fight - Nelson/Miocic
Worst fight - Jimmo/Pokrajac
Best Match: Dragon Kid vs. Masato Yoshino.
Worst Match: Windows vs. Jimmyz.
Easily one of, if not the best, shows of the year from any promotion in 2013.
The first two tag matches were solid but largely unspectacular for the most part. After that however, there was a run of five consecutive matches which were easily all over **** for me. Dragon Kid and Masato Yoshino probably had the match of the night but the Akatsuki vs. Mad Blankey Twin Gate match was also extremely good. The main event went 30 minutes and while honestly I probably could have done with it being about 5 minutes shorter I was always engaged by it so they were doing something right. Again it was also a very good match.
Like the New Japan shows, the quality on ustream was excellent and it's worth noting that the Japanese commentary was mixed very low and this really allowed the atmosphere of the crowd to come through.
Definitely falls into the must see show category for 2013 and realistically for the last decade or so.
Dr. Patrick McHugh
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