Thumbs in the middle. Was going fine up till the main which was bad enough to negatively balance everything else put together. That plus some of if not the worst local yokel reffing ever.
Best fight: Partricky vs. Rickels
Worst fight: Newton vs. Vegh
Best performances: Patricky, Anderson, Held
Worst performances: Vegh, Newton
Prelims: Bobby Cooper outworks Marcio Navarro for a grappling-free UD with one 30-27 @ 159 catch. Late sub Frederic Brown giving up a lot of size gives it a good shot but gets KOed standing late in the 1st by big porker Daniel Gallemore @HW. Maurice Jackson, Gallemore's size, scratched when he slipped in the shower. Local yokel ref lets the fight go on for about 15 seconds with Brown unconscious. This may have been the worst reffing I've ever seen. Eric Wisely takes a 29-28 split, 30-27 SD over Donnie Bell in an interesting clash of styles @LW. Cody Carillo despite being local, much bigger and much younger drops a dubious 29-28 UD to 40 year old Mexican Israel Giron who is also coming off nearly a 2 year layoff. Not great. Strange decision. Fight is @ LW and Giron isn't even a big FW. In the first LW tourney fight, Brandon Girtz ducks right into a Derek Anderson knee for a clean KO at the top of the 2nd after Anderson had dominated the 1st (but keep him away from the mic, he's brutal).
In the next tourney fight, Tim Welch drops from WW only to get a 3 round drubbing from Derek Campos. Could call it 30-25. Campos had him in trouble a couple of times and probably could have finished if he hadn't reverted to wrestling. Judges will probably go 30-27 and do.
In the third quarterfinal, Marcin Held quickly secures the toehold (big shock) for the tap on Rodrigo Cavalheiro.
In the last quarterfinal, David Rickels fighting in his home town with a big size advantage wins the first then gets KTFO by Patricky Pitbull in the 2nd. Herzog let it go one punch too long. Patricky looking back in form after a rough couple years. He hurt Rickels and didn't let him off the hook. This is a pretty impressive final 4 for this tourney.
In the main. 'interim champion' Emmanuel Newton unifies the LHW title and avenges a previous boring SD loss over 'real' champion Attila Vegh via boring SD. Vegh does almost nothing while Newton is busy but wouldn't break an egg. Stunk out the joint. Lame excuse for a title fight. Bellator's LHW division remains pathetic.
UFC FN 38 NATAL BR
Thumbs up. Very entertaining with lots of upsets and finishes but JESUS GOD THE BRAZILIAN REFEREES SHOULD BE IN JAIL. And again, Buffer HAS to be mispronouncing names on purpose. What is so hard about 'pe-PEY'. How is it possible to say 'hen-der-SON'. Why is this tolerated?
Best fight: Hendo vs. Shogun
Worst fight: L. Santos vs. Parke
Best performances: Pepey and about a 9 way tie (Hendo gets the $)
Worst performances: L. Santos, Markes
Weblim: All-time HL reel Flying Knee KO for Godofredo Pepey in the middle of the 1st over UFC debuting but favored Israeli paratrooper Neo Lahat @ FW. Lahat might be better off a division down. Jonny Pipik describes Lahat in the moment of waking up a couple minutes later as a 'look of disappointment'.
Prelims: Hans Stringer takes a dubious SD over Francimar Barroso @ LHW. Yamasaki allows Barroso to advance to midring before the bell for the 2nd and then calls a break with Stringer jamming Barroso into the fence and elbowing him in the head. Thiago Bodao drops to WW and might wanna rethink it as he gets quickly cut with a HK, mounted, back mounted and choked out by Kenny Robertson who doesn't even have time to start stinking out the joint. The other Brazilian ref somehow misses Scott Jorgensen getting dropped by an accidental headbutt and Jussier Formiga secures back mount and RNC for the tap @FlyW. Ronny Markes misses 185 by 5 pounds admittedly from overeating and ATT-trained fellow Brazilian (so Yamasaki can't do too much damage reffing) Thiago Santos puts him away in 53s with a kick to the left ribs (note to all commentators even Stann: the liver is not on the left) and G&P.
Rony Jason looking at least two divisions bigger than Steven Siler @FW drops Siler him with a right hand left hook and that same Brazilian ref who missed the headbutt can't jump in and stop the fight fast enough even as Siler is throwing upkicks. This is total bullshit. Even some of the homie crowd booing and Rony is like the most popular undercard fighter in Brazil.
Yamasaki immediately outdoes him doing everything short of holding Mairbek Taisumov so Michel Prazeres can hit him in a LW fight. First he takes a point for an illegal upkick that I didn't even see that in any case does no damage and that they for some reason don't show on replay. Then they say it was a fence grab, which he did do, but for some reason it wasn't called till he had escaped from mount. THEN they say it WAS for the kick because he had been warned for the fence. Huh? THEN his hand just TOUCHES the cage again and he immediately pulls it away and gets ANOTHER point in the 2nd. THEN in the 3rd another warning for a fence grab that as far as I saw didn't even happen. Good performance by Prazeres who showed improved striking and cardio and didn't even need any of the 'help'. Legit 30-27, possibly even 26, so it's a 30-25 UD with the 2 points. I wouldn't fight in Brazil unless you guaranteed me an American or neutral ref.
Excellent performance from Fabio Maldonado coming back from being ragdolled by the much bigger Gian Vallente @LHW in the 1st to take over the fight with his superior boxing as Vellente gassed in the 2nd and 3rd. Fabio nearly finished him in the 3rd for a 10-8 so obvious one of the judges even scored it. The 2nd was borderline for that matter. Fabio would still be better off a division or two down, though he was leaner than usual and showed better cardio.
Total stinker @ LW between TUF Brazil winner Leonardo Santos and TUF Former British Empire winner Norman Parke. Santos dominates the 1st but then goes totally passive just clinching and allows Parke to sweep the 2nd and 3rd just by being minimally active. However the other Brazilian ref takes a point from Parke in the 2nd for an actually pretty flagrant attempt at a trunks grab TD, so the fight is a 28-28 X 2, 29-27 Santos, majority draw. Please spare us a rematch.
CB Dolloway takes one look at Yamasaki and brings his own ref, in his gloves, making Cesar Mutante miss roundhouse punches and dropping him with short counters and finishing with G&P in 39s.
The main rocks as Shogun drops Hendo in the 1st and 2nd but errs on the side of not risking gassing out and lets him off the hook both times, and as both start to gas in the 3rd Hendo lands a right hook that sends Shogun somersaulting backwards and follows up with another shot, both to the nose, that ends it. Even with Hendo up 2-0 I think a 3rd fight would be a great idea. What the hell, neither one of em's gonna win the title.
Best match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bad Luck Fale
Worst match: Sakuraba/Nagata/Nakanishi vs. Jado/Yano/Iizuka
Show started well with Tanaka/Captain New Japan against BUSHIDA. Tanaka looked great, fun little match and a nice way to start the show. Second match was good, a few cool spots, short but lots of action. Saku/Nagata/Nakanishi vs. Jado/Yano/Iizuka wasn't very good. I like Nakanishi but he looked awful here. Saku busted out the plancha. Shelton vs. Fale was weird to say the least, and I guess it got Fale over as a monster but I had the feeling they wanted to save him for the main event. Not sure what the point of Shelton beating Shibata (with a Paydirt no less) was if he was just going to lose so convincingly to Fale.
The Nakamura-Suzuki semi-final was good but lacked heat. Suzuki worked the arm with a ton of armbar variations. He looked pretty vicious, that armbar draped over the ropes never fails to look great. I thought the show was just OK up to this point. The crowd didn't seem as into the six man tag and the two semi-finals as they were the two opening matches.
Shibata/Goto vs. YOSHI-HASHI/Yujiro was fine and makes sense if Shibata and Goto are moving for the tag titles. The boyhood friends trading finishers was a very cool spot. The crowd popped pretty big for the Goto and Shibata team and they could have a great match with Anderson and Gallows.
Bullet Club vs. Tanahashi/Taguchi/Honma/Makabe. Weird finish. Pretty obvious Tonga was gonna eat a High Fly Flow. It was all fine, just short. Taguchi has looked like a dork in this Bullet Club feud.
Okada/Ishii/Gedo vs. Naito/Ibushi/Desperado was great, MOTN up to that point. Naito/Ishii face-offs the highlight. Looks like they'll be feuding for a bit longer. Can't complain.
The final, Nakamura vs. Bad Luck Fale was very good. Exceeded all expectations. Usual Bullet Club shenanigans to start with, but after their ejection and the clash of heads during the flying armbar the match really picked up. The blood completely made this match. Fale came out looking pretty menacing despite losing after three Boma Ye's. Nakamura challenged Tanahashi for the IC title.
Not sure about the decision to have Nakamura go after Tanahashi again after he's just lost to him twice in a row on consecutive PPVs. Regardless, a thumbs up for this show. A few good, albeit short matches and then two great final matches. Expect to see an announcement regarding the rest of the card, and the IWGP Heavyweight title shot tomorrow at the Invasion Attack press conference.