UFC Thoughts- Rodriguez vs. Penn
I figure if I put cutesy names on UFC posts, it'd get a bit confusing as to what events I'm actually writing about. This post is coming to you delayed as I had to go to the doctors when this event was on live. I've said it before and I'll say it again- I'm a fan of tremendous athletes, I am nowhere near being one myself. Cerebral Palsy and a myriad of back and hip issues mean I need painkillers constantly. I'd wager that a few of these fighters will need some sort of painkillers when all is said and done. Onto the fights!
UFC Fight Pass Prelims:
Heavyweight- Dmitrii Smoliakov (8-1) vs. Cyril Asker (7-2)
Result: Asker def. Smoliakov via TKO (ground strikes) at 2:41 of Round 1.
Notes: Not a whole lot to this one. Heavyweights test the range early, following an eye poke Asker switches up and gets the takedown, mount and ground and pound pretty easily.
Light Heavyweight- Bojan Mihajlovic (10-4) vs. Joachim Christensen (13-4)
Result: Christensen def. Mihajlovic via TKO (punches) at 2:05 of Round 3.
Notes: Christensen was the more technical fighter throughout, while Mihajlovic threw a lot of wild power shots, connecting every once in a while. Christensen was well on his way to a convincing decision win, then threw an uppercut in the third to make him fall like a tree. There were follow up strikes but they were unnecessary- he was out.
Heavyweight- Walt Harris (8-5) vs. Chase Sherman (9-2)
Result: Harris def. Sherman via KO (knee and punches) at 2:41 of Round 2
Notes: Beautiful combination to finish a competitive fight that Harris was getting the better of. Two athletic heavyweights, both had their moments in a fast paced battle, Harris just kept connecting until the chin of Sherman said, "no mas".
Strawweight- Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-3) vs. Nina Ansaroff (6-5)
Result: Ansaroff def. Jones-Lybarger via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:39 of Round 3.
Notes: Ansaroff did an excellent job all fight. Crisp striking to start the first round, then transitioned to ground control for the rest of the 1st and a dominant second. The third round finish came after Ansaroff dropped Jones-Lybarger with a leg kick and got ground position that way for the choke. Jones-Lybarger worked hard as well and it was a very good fight.
Lightweight- Tony Martin (10-3) vs. Alex White (11-2)
Result: Martin def. White via decision (30-27 X3)
Notes: Martin had the superior wrestling skill and controlled the majority of the fight on the ground. Not the most exciting stuff in the world, but it gave me a chance to listen to Daniel Cormier on commentary breaking down the ground game. So an informative fight, if not an exciting one.
Heavyweight- Aleksei Oleinik (50-10-1) vs. Viktor Pesta (10-3)
Result: Oleinik def. Pesta via submission (Ezekiel choke) at 2:57 of Round 1.
Notes: First ever Ezekiel choke finish in UFC history. I've never seen the move before, but Pesta had the mount, and Oleinik, from the bottom, was able to get a forearm under Pesta's neck, and pull down with the other arm to force the stoppage. It apparently marks Oleinik's 10th win with that hold. Insane stuff.
Bantamweight- Frankie Saenz (11-4) vs. Augusto Mendes (5-1)
Result: Mendes def. Saenz by decision (split- 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Notes: Saenz came out aggressive, mixing combinations to the head, body and legs. Mendes scored a takedown and was able to land a good flurry on the escape. I think Saenz had the first, but it was close. Saenz rocked and taken down to start the 2nd, but gets up quickly and scores a huge knockdown with an elbow! He rocked Mendes a few more times throughout the round and keeps the pressure up. R2 to Saenz for me. R3 started with Saenz getting rocked with a huge flurry, he recovers with some clinch work but fails to inflict significant damage. Mendes scores a few quick takedowns on a compromised Saenz to take R3. Round 1 was definitely the point of contention there. This got FOTN honours, and it was an extremely entertaining fight.
Lightweight- Devin Powell (8-1) vs. Drakkar Klose (6-0-1)
Result: Klose def. Powell via decision (30-27 X3)
Notes: Klose was aggressive but disciplined. He seemed to have a chip on his shoulder going against Powell of "Looking For A Fight" fame. Klose with excellent pressure, striking and clinch work, while Powell showed some nice kicks, elbows, and ridiculous toughness as Klose was throwing with power. Fun fight.
Flyweight- Sergio Pettis (14-2) vs. John Moraga (16-5)
Result: Pettis def. Moraga via decision (29-28 X2, 30-27)
Notes: Sergio Pettis' striking was on point! Showtime Jr. was looking like his big brother in his prime. He scored early with accurate jabs which busted Moraga up, then almost finished things at the end of the first with equally accurate hooks. Moraga integrated his wrestling to negate a lot of Sergio's attack to win the second on my scorecard. Sergio upped the defense and turned up the heat in the final minute or so to take R3. Nice win for the younger Pettis brother that moves him closer to the top 10 at 125. And let's face it, the Pettis name could actually give Mighty Mouse a marketable challenger for once.
Welterweight- Court McGee (19-5) vs. Ben Saunders (19-7-2)
Result: Saunders def. McGee via decision (29-28 X3)
Notes: Saunders kicks the crap outta the relentless McGee (body and legs) to win R1. Pressure pays off for McGee in R2, landing strikes to the head and body, forcing him against the fence. Saunders still landing kicks, but McGee gets a close R2. McGee lands some clean shots on a slowed down Saunders to take a clear R3. Yeah. That decision is a little questionable. It's R2 that's the difference, and McGee worked a lot more there.
Lightweight- Joe Lauzon (26-13) vs. Marcin Held (22-5)
Result: Lauzon def. Held via decision (split, 29-28 X2, 27-30)
Notes: Held is a suffocating grappler. Lauzon almost blasted him out early with some vicious elbows, but Held recovered to Fitch his way through R1. Even Lauzon's corner commented, "he wants to take a boring decision!" R2, Held on Lauzon like glue. Controlling grappling, no attempts at passing or submissions, just enough ground and pound to avoid a stand-up. Damn, I hate this fighting style, deliberately riding out the clock instead of going for a finish. Close armbar attempt for Lauzon in the final minute of R2. Held clinches at the first opportunity in R3, controls grappling and scores a takedown in the final minute to secure R3.
You know what? I'm happy with that decision going to Lauzon. His elbows and armbar attempt were the most damaging thing to occur in the fight, Held made it a pure grappling contest with no thought of a finish. If judges and referees start penalising being passive in the Octagon, we might get less Jon Fitches, Jake Shields and Marcin Helds in this world. Lauzon being classy saying he didn't deserve to win, but he was the only one who came to fight.
Featherweight- Yair Rodriguez (10-1) vs. BJ Penn (16-10-2)
Result: Rodriguez def. Penn via TKO (front kick and punches) at 0:24 of Round 2
Notes: BJ came out aggressive and fast, but Rodriguez's movement and speed was just too much. He landed clean kick after clean kick, and Penn's chin and heart were on full display, but the ref had to save BJ from the beating. That should be it for BJ Penn. I'm a huge fan, but he came out fast, motivated, full of heart and desire, and was just outclassed. The only reason the fight lasted as long as it did was Penn's insane durability.
That's it for my first UFC Thoughts post! I might tinker with the format as we go, it was a very time-consuming way to watch a UFC event, and it basically ended up as a full report. For future events I might give quick results for the prelims, and do notes/analysis for the main card.
Some impressive fights. Sad to see BJ Penn go out like that, well done to Yair Rodriguez and fuck you Marcin Held.
Until next time, take care,