You are reading LIVE from the
outdatedbeautiful MGM Grand Garden Arena in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.
I will be providing comments from ringside once the main card starts. I may chime in during the undercard from time to time (a lack of power outlets ringside has sabotaged my ability to do a my typical in-arena coverage), but in the mean time check out Dave's full coverage here: http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/20790/ and Bryan's special surprises here: http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/20791/.
In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the preliminary fights from the best seat in the house:
As always, I'll be providing commentary with the most recent fight at the top of the page. Scroll to the bottom to see the early undercard fights.
The main event is next, and it will probably come on in twenty minutes or so. In the meantime, they showed the TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON trailer again. Say what you will about those movies, but that trailer is tops.
Woops. They're coming to the ring now. I suppose if I were a UFC person and I could get out 15 minutes early to start my Memorial Day weekend, I would, too.
While we wait, I must take umbrage with Patricia Morse Jarmon. She scored round three of the last fight 10-8 for Mir. It's possible that she just has something against beer belly sharecroppers and she directed that anger at Roy Nelson, but that appears to be incompetent judging to me. Mir never approached a finish, so I just don't see how that could be a 10-8. I guess it didn't matter, anyway.
While Michael Buffer runs through the corporate sponsors of tonight's main event, let's prepare ourselves for Mark Hamill (entering to The Rolling Stones) vs. Quinton Jackson (entering to DMX). Round 1 is next.
Hamill has nothing. He's a tough guy, and all, but he has no answers. Hamill tried for a few takedowns, getting stuffed easily each time. On the last stuff, Rampage hit a hard knee to the midsection that seemed to hurt Hamill. When they stood, Rampage was just too quick, too powerful and too skilled. Hamill may come back, but I am going to be surprised if he wins without clipping Rampage with a big punch out of nowhere.
Round two was more of the same. Hamill is trying, but Rampage has hurt him to the body (more with punches than kicks, this round) and Rampage remains too difficult to take down. It makes me think back a year to Rampage's fight against Rashad Evans, where Rampage was taken down repeatedly. I think Rashad just caught Rampage at the exact right moment. Either that, or Rashad is a better wrestler than any of us realize.
Round three is over. It's a shutout, possibly even worse than 30-27.
While we wait for the judges, I'll just point out that this match was a lesson is career management. I realize that every fighter wants to get a title shot and all of that, but if you're not ready, you can't jump up to the top level. Hamill is a tough guy and all, but he never showed any signs of being at the top level. This performance will hurt his career. It's possible that he never would have made it to the top level, anyway, but going before you're ready can really cost you.
For Quinton, this is a good, but unsatisfying win. He did prove that he is an elite fighter, but I think we already knew that. Hopefully the light heavyweight schedules will conspire to allow him to prove it in his next fight.
Alright, it is time to sign off. The show was good, with one spectacular finish (Browne) and a could of darned exciting fights (Nelson/Mir and Alves/Story). UFC could use a high quality main event right about now. They are a strong company with a lot of things going for them, but after these last two main events some fans could begin to get impatient.
Roy motherf*cking Nelson. You have got to love this guy. And you have to love "Fat" by Weird Al Yankovic (Roy's entrance music), Roy Nelson's world class mullet (with Cunth-esque ponytail and the fact that he has been waiting to be crowned the King of Vegas ever since Frank Mir was bouncin' the Rhino for a grand a night.
Mir has good taste too, of course. Many
lazygreat people do. He enters to "In The City" by Kevin Rudolf, which I hadn't heard before now, but is great.
I'll tell ya. You could not have a better environment for this fight. Two LV natives with opposite backgrounds, worldviews and skintones. I can't wait.
Let me try to re-create round 1 in dialogue:
Mir: You can't strike with me, kid.
Roy: You can't hurt me, son.
This is great. Mir's technique is so superior, but Roy is too tough. He can't hurt him standing and when he got Roy in mount after a cool hip throw, Roy got right out. Somewhere, Mike Sawyer is loving this. I already want a rematch. On to round two.
End of round 2. You know, I remember when I watched the Brock vs. Herring fight with Todd Martin, and I commented that Brock must be the worst guy to have to fight. I stand corrected. It's Roy Nelson. He leans on you all fight, he's impossible to take down, he hits hard as hell and he has jiu jitsu skills.
Mir is winning this fight right now, probably 2-0. But if they had no time limits, I feel like Roy would eventually finish Mir. The round was great, by the way, and the crowd is hot for round three (though they could give the booing a rest. You have to let guys push each other a little on the cage. It's part of the sport.
And it's over. Frank Mir will win, probably 3-0. The third round lacked the intensity of the first two. The guys were tired and I think the crowd was tired. The round was still compelling, with Mir going to the ground and Nelson always escaping, but it was a comedown from the emotion of the last two rounds.
Nelson looks spent, but OK with things overall. I think he's comfortable knowing that he lasted the fight and that if it were a fight to the finish, he may well have won.
For Mir, this is a dominant victory. I am still a skeptic, and in fact I'd love to see a match between him and Browne next.
Main Card Fight #3: Travis Browne vs. Stefan Struve
Struve enters to Lil' Wayne. A fine choice, but I have a feeling it may not save him from a beating. Let's see what happens.
Welp. That was wicked. Ho-lee-crap. Lunging overhand right by Browne sent Struve out and then he hit a couple of hammer fists on the ground that were Hendo-late.
Browne has charisma. He's a mean mutha, he cut a good promo for his dual home towns (Hawaii originally, San Diego now) and he even got emotional with his final shout out. In the draw with Kongo, Browne looked like the better fighter, but he may have lacked the savvy to beat a veteran. I think Joe Silva saw that and wanted to get him in against a flawed striker so that he could get the big duke. If so, well done Joe Silva.
Main Card Fight #2: Alves vs. Story
Alves is the bigger star (or at least, was). At the outset of the fight he was cheered when he went on offense. The problem is, either his offense is less crisp than it once was (that's my theory) or Story's striking has suddenly become world class.
Story did start the fight by going for takedowns, which Alves dutifully defended (and, in doing so, possibly tired himself out). When Story tried a standing assault up against the cage, Alves was not able to hit his trademark counter punches, and the first round became Story's.
Round 2 was Story's as well. The crowd is really into him (nearly as much as I'm into the guy who just walked by wearing a Lakers jersey with "Cash Phloe" written on the back). Alves may need a finish here in round 3.
Man, that was great. It's probably going to win fight of the night, even though it went to a decision and there was little drama about the result.
Round three was Alves being Alves. He stuffed every takedown, he countered every punch combo with his duck/overhand right move and Story took a beating. Story is just so darned tough, though. By the end of the fight they were trading against the cage (Story taking the beating, of course) and the crowd gave a huge ovation to both men at the finish.
The lone pockmark on the fight was that the crowd seemed to have little grasp of MMA scoring, as there were lots of boos at what should have been an obvious 2-1 decision. I've already harped on round-by-round scoring enough over the years, but in judging who gave the other man a worse beating and who came closest to ending the fight, Alves deserves the nod.
Main Card Fight #1 is Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago.
Now might be a good time to tell everyone that I am going to have a hard time watching tonight's fights. The matchups are compelling enough and the action so far has been good, but there is a more entertaining spectacle ringside with Lil' Jon and Warren Sapp. They are sitting right behind "Stitch" Duran and their excitement over Stann's right cross knockdown and following punches on the ground was quite funny. The problem is that Stann thought he had a finish (which I'd call a rookie mistake if he weren't 30 years old) and he may pulled a Maynard. We'll see if he has some wind left or if he begins to wear down during these next two rounds.
No problem for Stann there. He had plenty. He also got over with a Hacksaw-sized "U-S-A" chant after the TKO victory. The second round was Stann continuing to out-punch Santiago. Another right hand got the final knockdown and Stann finished on the ground with punches. Santiago seems to initially be unhappy with the stoppage, but it sure looked like the right call.
Prelim Fight #5 (our last) was Miguel Torres vs. Demetrius Johnson. I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here when I report that Johnson was the upset special for Todd Martin. After hearing him say it, I started to think he was on to something, and sure enough, he got a unanimous 29-28 decision. Much of the crowd disagreed, but it was a wrestling match and Torres was out-wrestled.
Torres did try for some long shot submissions, but nothing was close and I'm glad that the judges saw through that.
We're only 3 minutes from pay-per-view airtime, so there will be no Baba O'Riley tonight. So sad. We get "Ladies and Gentlemen" by Saliva. The crowd seems way into the big knockouts in the video, and the shot of GSP got a huge pop. Still less than 70% full in the arena, though.
Prelim Fight #4 proved only that Tim Boetsch is in a higher league of grappling than Kendall Grove. The most interesting part for me (aside from the cool judo throw) was with about a minute left in the fight. Grove finally managed to get Boetsch on his back, but within about five seconds not only was he back in control, but he came the closest he did to finishing all fight with a guillotine choke attempt.
Funny line from Tim Boetsch when he said that Phil Davis played a big part in helping convince him to drop to middleweight (185 LB).
It's commercial time now, but I did manage to find a power outlet. Apparently the person sitting next to Bryan Alvarez didn't show.
Prelim Fights #2 and #3 are in the books. McDonald beat Cariaso via decision in everyone's eyes, save Tony Weeks. Joking aside, it was pa perplexing 27-30 scorecard by Weeks, as Cariaso failed to get anything going on his feet and worked only hopeful submission attempts from the ground.
Tibau beat Oliveira via rear naked choke in the second round of a dominant performance. I mean, he looked great (and not just because of the Carwin-esque physique). He did quite well standing before he got his takedowns. Oliveira had no chance.
Prelim Fight #1 saw Renan Barao beat Cole Escovedo via unanimous decision at bantamweight (135 LB). Nice fight, as usual, from the little guys. The crowd is already about 40% filled in, but nO signs yet of all the NFL players Dana White has been touting as attending on Twitter. I will say that Wet Republic, te MGM Grand's party pool, does draw it's share of VIPs this weekend. I believe it was last year that I saw Birdman the basketball one, not the award winning rapper) on his way to the pool.