Saturday, 24 May 2014 16:20
UPDATED: Fight notes are below. We are waiting for the presser to start. Who woulda thought we'd get five one-sided fights on the PPV and everyone would go home happy? (Except the Brazillian Barao fans, I suppose.) The show was noteworthy as hell and maybe, just maybe, TJ Dillashaw took his first step towards being the first sub-155 (male) draw the sport has ever had.
Dave was having tech issues, but they are resolved (darned MGM Arena WiFi). His more robust play-by-play is here: http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/97-ufc/37158-ufc-173-live-coverage-from-las-vegas-barao-vs-dillashaw-cormier-vs-henderson
FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Jingliang Li beat David Michaud via split decision (170 lbs.)
Sam Sicilia beat Aaron Phillips via unanimous decision (145 lbs.)
Vinc Pichel beat Anthony Njokuani via unanimous decision (155 lbs.)
FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS
Mitch Clarke beat Al Iaquinta via d'arce choke submission (155 lbs.)
Chris Holdsworth beat Chico Camus via unanimous decision (135 lbs.)
I'm back at my seat so I'll add round-by-round play-by-play until Dave gets set up.
TONY "EL CUCUY" FERGUSON VS. KIKUNO KATSUNORI (170 lbs.)
Kikuno enters to "We Are The World" by Every 80's Pop Star Except Prince. Really makes you realize how great prince was that he avoided that turd. El Cucuy enters to "The Party Has Begun" by Freestyle, which is pure 80's electronic cornyness.
R1: Ferguson wins by KO. Fight was apparently "Head Movement, Optional". Started with both guys trading. T-Ferg was more accurate and had longer reach. Ferg got KK down (I'm on my phone, hence the abbrevs) and nearly rolled for a slick armbar. After KK got loose and up to his feet, Ferg got the KO seconds later.
FRANCISCO TRINALDO VS. MICHAEL CHIESA (155 lbs.)
TRINALDO enters to "Can't Be Touched" by Body Head Bangerz. Chiesa to Todd Martin favorite Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold". Chiesa wins entrance music 10-7.
R1: Chiesa put a whuppin' on him. Trin wanted it standing and kept it there early, but halfway thru MC got a takedown, maneuvered to MOUNT and just kept elbowing/punching. Dominant round. (So a 10-9 from Nevada judges)
R2: Another MC round, but not dominant. Chiesa got ground time after Trib tried a guillotine counter (WHY?) to counter a takedown attempt. Trib can still win though. MC looks uncomfortable standing and he looked less sprite early in this round.
R3: Chiesa wins UD (with a majority of judges giving Chiesa a 10-8 in the first. PROGRESS!). Uneventful round with Trin trying for hopeful (English soccer usage; ask Botter) subs from bottom of guard but MC in control. Solid win. Well done.
JAMES KRAUSE VS. JAMIE VARNER (155 lbs.)
Krause enters to "Double Bubble Trouble" by M.I.A., obviously liking the "You're in trouble" refrain. Jamie Varner enters to "Sail" by AWOLNATION. He ain't gonna make Donald Cerrone think he's any less of a tool with that one. I mean, I like the song but come on.
R1: Krause wins by TKO. If you're a Varner hater, that's all you need to know. Actually, you also need to know that Varner turned his ankle early and "fought like
Phil Baroni a warrior" until the round ended despite collapsing multiple times on the soft ankle. Varner was gutsy, I guess. A more cynical way to look at it is that he knew he was done early and was fishing for Warrior Points from then on.
FRANCISCO RIVERA VS. MIZUGAKI TAKEYA (135 lbs.)
Rivera enters to Red Hot Chili Peppers (not "Under The Bridge", but the other one that sounds like it). TAKEYA enters to "Numb" by Linkin Park. This is the entrance music equivalent of the Heat vs Hawks 1st round series in 2010 (sorry, NBA nerds only).
R1: Heck of a finish to a round that Tak should win 10-9. Advantage standing and on the ground for Tak but FR had a nice reversal to get on top near the end. Crowd popped for that last ground flurry.
R2: Another Tak round. FR actually sunk in a decent guillotine choke early, but it was a guillotine. It's hard to win with those. Tak escaped and controlled afterwards. Had FR's back as horn sounded. Hard to see FR winning here, but let's see.
R3: Takeya wins UD (two 30-27s). I had Tak again. He was on top on the ground when they were stood up (GRRR! STAND UPS) with about a minute left. Wild punches from both in the last 15 seconds got the crowd hot.
JAKE ELLENBERGER VS. ROBBIE LAWLER (170 lbs.)
Jake enters to "Gangster's Paradise" by Coolio. Outstanding choice. But if Lawler chooses "Amish Paradise" then Jake forfeits.
Lawler enters to "Beautiful" by Eminem. 10-7, Jake.
R1: Lawler won the round. The man knows who his is. He throws big shots and he has a hard head. He's tough to take down and he can counter. I underestimated him when I predicted Jake.
R2: Lawler should win the round. Better striking and nice takedown defense. Jake got a real power takedown with 1 min to go in the round. Shouldn't win him the round, but maybe it gives him hope.
R3: Lawler wins via KO and it was dominant. I thought Jake was just about his equal and I was wrong. Well-timed knee when Jake ducked was the decisive blow. In every aspect Lawler was better and it sure seems like he deserves another championship match.
DAN HENDERSON VS. DANIEL CORMIER (205 lbs.)
Hendo enters to "Made in America" by Toby Keith. I prefer "Flyover States" by Jason Aldean when I listen ironically.
Cormier enters to "Right Above It" by Lil' Wayne (feat. Drake). Speaking of which, last night on the strip before a Bellagio light/water show I saw a humongous guy w/ a t-shirt saying "All I Care About Is Codeine Over Ice".
R1: Cormier's round. He slammed Hendo from a clinch and stayed on top for 2 mins plus. Hendo got to his feet to applause w/ 45 seconds left in the round, but little happened after.
Should add that it appears that Hendo thinks he can take Cormier down from clinches, which seems unlikely to me.
R2: dominant Cormier on the ground, but probably a 10-9. Hendo was never in danger of being stopped.
R3: Cormier wins via rear naked choke.
Man, Daniel Cormier is no fun. He hit a big slam again in round three and he's skilled as hell, but fighting that guy has to be almost as un-fun as fighting Cain. He just smothers people.
Cormier cut a darned solid promo on Jon Jones after the match.
From the tone of Joe Rogan's questions it seemed that he wants Hendo to retire. Hendo explicitly said he will continue fighting.
Looks like we we have a break until the main event. Will it be a sixth consecutive one-sided fight?
TJ DILLASHAW VS. RENAN BARAO (135 lbs. Championship)
TJ enters to "Can't Stop" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. That is like picking Godfather III as your favorite Godfather.
Barao enters to "Sou Ciumento Mesmo" by Wesley Safadão E Banda Garota Safado. This song had to be in FAST FIVE.
R1: Welp, if it ends up one sided it sure won't be the one most people expected. Dillashaw dominated. The big blow was an overhand right that Barao did well to recover from, but TJ was in control from te bell. He is quicker and more wily so far.
R2: Another decisive Dillashaw round, but not dominant like the first. He moves his head and Barao doesn't. But don't raise your arms after the second. There's a whole fight left.
R3: More of the same. Dominant TJ. It feels like a post-Barao world almost. The talk of best pound for pound seems ages ago. Most notable moment was towards the end when Barao got hit in the eye and tried to get a respite for an eye poke. Herb Dean disagreed.
R4: We are in Silva/Sonnen I territory. The underdog has been dominant. The champion has survived, but not thrived. But he is a dangerous champion. He hasn't used his reach or power. Can he now? Doubtful, but doubtful things happen occasionally in sports.
R5: Any doubt was misplaced. TJ won. He dominated the round and hit another overhand right to finish it. This was a mismatch, but I want to see a rematch.