The WSOF show was a memorable way to start off a day of MMA and it wound up playing nicely into the events of the UFC event later on. Guillard-Cavalcante was pretty much all-action and it amazed me seeing Guillard in there after they showed the car wreck he was in recently. The Bollinger win was short and impressive, while Fitch-Hallman was largely boring. The only reason I was excited about the show was the main event and it delivered.
Gaethje got things started by running into battle like the Ultimate Warrior, and Newell came in and looked fantastic early on landing some combos - then he didn't and things got uncomfortable. I was never scared for his health, but nothing beyond the near-Sharpshooter done in round 1 was enjoyable after that. Gathje bloodied him and every shot against the cage had me hoping it would be stopped. The doctor came in and again, I hoped it would end, but it didn't - until Newell ate a huge right hook and that was it. In terms of drama, it was a fight of the year contender. I've rooted for WSOF since their first show and love hearing Bas on commentary. Kenny Rice actively took away from my enjoyment though by largely talking about how great the fighters used to be, and he didn't have chemistry with Bas either.
LION FIGHT 16 MUAY THAI
Thumbs sorta up, although really only 1 out of 5 fights was competitive.
Best fight: Parlett-Shepard
Best performances: pretty much all the winners
Worst performances: Toner
KO: Van Soest
Casey Parlett scores a 4thR KD en route to a 48-46 46-48 49-45 SD over Josh Shepard. Close fight aside from the KD. Gaston Bolanos wrecks Tyler Toner with spinning elbows causing a corner stoppage after the 1stR. Uh, yeah Schiavello, we KNOW it wasn't a doctor stoppage. The RING ANNOUNCER SAID 'corner stoppage'. Rungravee Sasiprapa in classic Thai mode starts slow and accelerates throughout the fight, battering Adrian Morilla at will by the end. I had it 48-46 with 10-8s in the 4th and 5th even without KDs. 48-47, 49-46, 49-45 from the judges. Tiffany Van Soest way too fast for Italian Sindy Huyer, dropping her in the 2nd with a spinning back elbow and ending the fight with a front kick to the face in the 5th that made Huyer turn her back. Good rebuilding win over an at least on paper credible opponent. Kevin Ross too big for Michael Thompson and fighting smarter than usual on top of it takes a wide UD with a KD in the 2nd and the vacant company SLW title. 50-45, 49-46 X 2. I had it 49-45.
Thumbs sorta up as again not real competitive fights. Productionwise this was on NBC main network (however this outfit conned its way on there) and a lot of commercial time sold (to very few clients which was incredibly boring) but had the effect of making the actual content very lean without a bunch of babbling between fights, which was in a way a plus.
Best fight: eh
Worst fight: Fitch-Hallman (no duh)
Best performances: Gaethje
Worst performances: Hallman
Dustin Holyko pounds Neiman Gracie, who shows that famous Gracie striking ability or rather lack thereof, around in the 1st but looks short on gas and quickly gets taken down and body tri-ed in the 2nd and eventually RNCed, in a dark fight that makes air after the main. Melvin Guillard gets a maybe premature TKO over JZ Cavalcante in the 2nd after a close 1st. Had JZ rocked and receiving but JZ seemed to be defending fully alertly. Cody Bollinger misses weight again like he did on TUF. Twice the other guy's size, Pablo Alfonso, anyway and overpowers and RNCs him pretty easily, and says he is done trying to make BW.
Palhares was supposed to defend the WW title vs. Fitch but he pulled out to care for his dying mother or some such (yeah I know, I didn't think he ever had one either) so Fitch fights Speedo Hallman at catchweight. Fitch looks emaciated at 183. Hallman looks kinda fat. The whole fight is Fitch on top pounding, there's a shock. The problem as usual is that there's only two things God didn't give him but one of them is power in the left hand and the other one is power in the right hand. Hallman grabbing the cage about every three seconds until Fitch drags him away from the cage about halfway through. Couple three leglock attempts are the extent of Hallman's offense. Realistic score 30-3. Real world score 30-27 UD, duh. Strikes landed 167-8.
Justin Gaethje defends the LW vs. Nick Newell (the one and three quarters armed dude) in the main. Up till now that stump has been actually an advantage for Newell. He can whack hard as hell with it, doesn't have to wear any padding on it, has enough length on it to use it to hook subs and you can't handfight it off but it's too short to hook it yourself. Gaethje however is a huge step up from the guys Newell has been fighting and the first to figure out how to exploit the stump, attacking with rights both punches and kicks which Newell obviously cannot block. Newell looking shaky going into the 2nd with a bad cut they couldn't close. Gaethje just refusing to go to the ground. Very smart. Everything landing from the right. This isn't going much longer. Finally goes down to do some pounding. Ref calls the doctor in to look at the cut. Lets it go. Typical local yokel reffing, should have restarted on the ground in the same position but academic as Gathje pulverizes Newell with a right that drops him again and it's over. Bas and Kenny apparently directed not to talk about how Gaethje exploited the stump. Gaethje is a really good fighter.
Thumbs way up, the main and Ronda putting it over the top.
Best fight: Weidman-Machida
Worst fight: Santos-Camozzi
Best performances: Ronda
Worst performances: Camozzi
Kevin Casey looking to have finally gotten his shit together in and out of the ring blows away Bubba Bush, not a chump, in just over a minute in a matchup of minor league MW champions. Immediate counter left hook KD and then pretty much made applesauce out of Bubba's head with short elbows. Kevin is Ali's son in law which I did not know. Luke Zachrich, boxing really well, paintjobs Guilherme Vasconcelos in the 1st. And 2nd. 3rd is a little more competitive. Fight never gets near the ground. One judge gives Vasconcelos the 3rd.
Debuting Rob Font beats George Roop's left hook with an overhand right a couple minutes in and it's over in a clean KO. Bruno Santos, showing maybe more cardio than his muscular overdevelopment suggests, grounds Chris Camozzi for the last two rounds and should win a very unentertaining 29-28 and does although it's split. Camozzi does a lot of emoting but not much escaping. Kenny Robertson plop and schmops Idhelmar Alcantara pretty much the whole fight. Effective but tedious. 30-26 X 3? A lot more damaging rounds rarely get a 10-8 on even ONE card. Even Robertson was shocked. Alex Bruce Leroy Caceres does pretty well but can't keep Urijah Faber off and has to tap to the RNC in the 3rd.
Good fight opens the PPV. Marcus Brimage looking better dropped to BW. Russell Doane good on the ground early, Brimage takes over the last two with LKs and should take a 29-28. Doane gets an odd 29-28 split, 30-27.
Uriah Hall rips a toe open with the bone sticking out in the 1st but guts out a 30-27, 29-28 X 2 UD over the bigger Thiago Santos, and cuts a great babyface promo afterwards. Uriah just might be a fighter after all.
As everybody knows, Stefan Struve coming back off cardiac issues had palpitations and a near fainting spell in the back, and his fight with Matt Mitrione was cancelled.
Ronda... what can you say. Overhand right, knee to the body, hiptoss, 10 punches to the head, Alexis goes to sleep. 16 seconds. SIXTEEN SECONDS.
Weidman and Machida just rip it up. Chris has Lyoto figured going in and controls the distance and doesn't give Lyoto room to step in and counter and sweeps the first 3, the 3rd big enough for a 10-8 on one card. Lyoto accurate as usual but Chris not letting him get off, and even though Lyoto stuffs most of the TDs Chris hits a few and always does something off them. Lyoto figures out Chris' figuring and takes over the 4th, rocking him repeatedly and taking the round wide. Could have been a 10-8 too. Lyoto continues drilling Chris early in the 5th but Chris regroups and takes Lyoto down again and takes his back and has him in some trouble, but Lyoto escapes and launches a blistering attack in the last 30 seconds that has Chris on his heels. Great finish, probably FotY to date and almost certainly round OTY. Chris gets the deserved UD and has proven something about how he handles adversity, because he took shots that have dropped most everybody else and waved Machida in. He did slow a bit in the later rounds and will have to work on that but it may have been just the mental aspect of being in them, for the first time. Machida does not damage his standing in the division one bit with that performance.
Thumbs up. BJ's nonperformance stunk up the card real bad but good fights and performances on most of the card.
Best fight: Issa-Tuerxun
Worst fight: Walsh-Spohn
Best performances: Gordon, Anderson
Worst performances: Penn
BJJ legend Robert Drysdale goes to 7-0 all 1stR subs in MMA when Keith Berish's knee dislocates falling to the mat when Drysdale has a standing body tri and RNC on him. Sarah Morais gets an IMO correct but rare UD fighting mostly off her back against scary looking Alexis Dufresne, who is in bad shape when forced to go over half a round for the first time and missed weight and looks way too big for 135.
Porky but tireless wrestler Pat Walsh plop and schmops Daniel Spohn for 3 in the TUF consolation match. Overachiever vs. underachiever. Spohn blows a late opportunity after a ref standup when he gets Walsh rocked but pulls gullotine which hadn't worked all night rather than letting it hang out for the KO. Judges give Spohn a round. Horrible. Insomnia cure. I'm wasn't tired and I was nodding. Adriano Martins saves us from more of Jonny Pipik mangling Juan Manuel Puig's name by catching him coming in with a right hook and knocking him cold midway through the 1st. Leandro Issa stops Jumabieke Tuerxun in the 3rd via arm bar variation in what turned into a very active, even scrap, avoiding a decision that would have been problematic for him because of a point deducted by Yamazaki (and good for him especially with Issa being a fellow Brazilian) for a blatant cage grab. Very good, competitive scrap in the undercard main as Jesse Ronson handles himself very well vs. the much more talented Kevin Lee but drops a 28-29 split, 27-30 SD.
FlyWs rippin it up to open the top card. Dustin Ortiz takes the closest possible 29-28 SD over Justin Scoggins after 3 full rounds of back and forth grappling.
Big HW Derrick Lewis poleaxes Guto Inocente with mid-scramble right hands on the ground for the 1stR TKO.
In the MW TUF final Weidman teammate Eddie Gordon jumps on the smaller Dhiego Lima and scores a quick TKO. Lavigne lets him get away with a bunch of shots to the back of the head. Lima really fighting a division over his weight but props to Gordon who was very boring during the season. Serra and Longo jump up and down in celebration. The resulting earthquake in Outer Mongolia kills 17 people and a yak.
In the LHW final an almost identical fight as Corey Anderson, who also did not start any fires during the season, blows away Matt Van Buren.
The less said the better about the main as BJ Penn is no better than a tacking dummy/punching bag for Frankie Edgar who does whatever he wants till Herb Dean as to step in in the 3rd. BJ promptly re-retires and hopefully will stay that way this time.