Ultimate Fighting Championship
Added UFC 36 PPV Rundown
Added UFC 35 PPV Rundown
Added UFC 30 PPV Rundown
Now that they have more money due to having new ownership, they are interested in using Sakuraba again (he was on the original UFC Japan on 12/21/97 where he actually fought Conan Silviera twice, winning the 2nd after losing on a bad call by McCarthy) and bringing back some of the former champions that are now fighting in PRIDE like Kerr, Coleman, & Ken Shamrock.
The next PPV is this Friday. The double main event is Tito Ortiz defending the middleweight title against Evan Tanner and Jens Pulver vs. Kaoru Uno for the new bantomweight tile. I don't see Tanner submitting Ortiz, so I expect him to lose altough it could be a good fight. Pulver vs. Uno should be the best fight. Other matches include Pedro Rizzo vs. Josh Barnett and Elvis Sinosic (the guy who fought Frank in K-1) vs. Jeremy Horn. I don't see Barnett being able to take Rizzo down, so he could be in for one hell of a beating.
UFC XXIX: Defense of the Belts PPV 12/22/00 taped 12/16 Tokyo Differ Ariake 1,414
Tito Ortiz successfully defended the UFC Middleweight Championship, forcing Yuki Kondo to submit to a kubigatame at 1:52 of round 1. This was the most exciting fight of the night. Kondo got off to a strong start. He landed a left high kick, although to the upper arm/shoulder. The thing that was amazing was practically as soon as he pulled his leg back and regained his footing, he jumping in and kneed Tito in the chin. Normally any more where you leave your feet is recipe for your own disaster, but Kondo did it so quickly after hitting Tito the first time that Tito couldn't defend it. It was a hard shot that put Ortiz down, but Tito can take them and they seem to just piss him off. Ortiz got right back up and proceeded to take Kondo down and throw punches and elbows with a vengeance. Kondo gave Tito his but rather than choke, Tito mixed punches to the head with going under Kondo's body and uppercutting him in the face. Kondo really disappointed me here because his defense was simply covering up while he took blow after blow. He survived, but he took a lot of unnecessary punishment doing so and was lucky that the fight wasn't stopped on the count of him kneeling there taking blows and looking helpless. Anyway, Kondo got up only to be taken down onto his butt since they were against the fence. Tito hit one knee, which seemed to be designed more to get Kondo to move his head than to do damage. When Kondo moved, Tito got up high across his body and applied a neck lock I've never seen before where he essentially pulled Kondo's neck into his own chest and Tito's waist, cutting off Kondo's air for the submission. Kondo is one of the better fighters out there, but he was totally overwhelmed from the moment Ortiz got up from being knocked down.
11/17: Ben Earwood won a boring unanimous decision over Chris Lytle after 2 rounds. The whole match was Earwood, who is from Miletich's camp, trying to strike from the side mount or usually Lytle's guard. There was a concession made to get UFC into Atlantic City where fighters can't knee on the ground (New Jersey only rule) , which takes most of the potency out of the side mount. Lytle, who is from Jason Godsey's camp, showed good defense, but he was unable to mount any kind of an offense so it was an easy decision.
Pat Miletich successfully defended the UFC Lightweight Championship, forcing Kenichi Yamamoto to submit to a zenpo choke shiki no hadakajime/guillotine choke at 1:58 of round 2. Miletich controlled the whole fight, taking whatever Yamamoto gave him but at the same time never playing into his hands. His timing and transitioning between positions was great. Early on, Yamamoto tried for a takedown, but Miletich overhooked him and went down on top. Instead of trying to knee Yamamoto in the head, Miletich released Yamamoto and nudged his head so Yamamoto would go to his back and try to get guard. As soon as Yamamoto's back hit the canvas, Miletich popped Yamamoto in the face with a right hand. This was a great tactic because with Miletich's perfect timing, the chances of Yamamoto blocking or avoiding this blow were really slim because he hardly even had time to see it coming. Yamamoto got guard, but Miletich didn't care because he did his damage and if he couldn't pass quickly, he'd just stand up to force a reset. That was basically the story of the fight. Miletich wasn't the least bit afraid of Yamamoto in stand up and knew that whatever slight chance Yamamoto had of beating him would be from a submission, so he was never going to give Yamamoto that opportunity. That's a big reason why Miletich is so successful; he lives in whatever positions he has the biggest edge over his opponent in. Miletich didn't do a lot of damage in the first round, but he was beating Yamamoto mentally because the positions he forced gave Yamamoto almost no chance to succeed. In the second round, Miletich used his fists to beat Yamamoto physically. The finish came when Yamamoto went down to his knees to end a combination of Miletich punches. Miletich followed him to the ground and locked in the choke. Yamamoto probably wouldn't have lost here, but he made a stupid mistake in going from his knees to his butt. Once Yamamoto was on his knees, Miletich leveraged down, which virtually eliminated any movement Yamamoto could make to alleviate the pressure, thus forcing him to submit. Yamamoto came into this fight looking cocky, as always, but the only damage done to Miletich was done by Miletich. His heel was already injured, and he reinjured it jumping up after getting the submission.
Matt Lindland defeated Yoji Anjo via TKO when the ref stopped the bout at 2:58 of round 1. Anjo apparently put a lot of stock in the element of surprise because he went right in for the takedown against the 2000 Olympic wrestling silver medalist. Lindland just overhooked him and threw a series of knees to the head. Lindland pushed Anjo against the Octagon and transitioned into a full mount where he punched away. His striking wasn't that impressive, but most guys don't have the skill to get such a good wrestler off of them, and Anjo doesn't have the skill of most guys. A minute or two of Lindland throwing punches and elbows without Anjo being able to improve his position was enough to warrant the ref stop once Lindland flurried. All four UFC-J's have been disappointing from a match quality standpoint, but it's always enjoyable seeing Anjo & Yamamoto lose.
Fabiano Iha TKO'd Daiju Takase at 2:24 of round 1. Iha took Takase down right away, and the rest of the match was basically Iha throwing punches while in Takase's guard. This was apparently fine with Takase because he didn't even release the guard when Iha was standing. The finish came when Takase made virtually his only offensive move of the match, trying to apply some type of ankle lock, but Iha just punched down on him for the stoppage. The first punch pretty much put Takase out; he just rolled to his side and covered up until John McCarthy stopped it.
Evan Tanner defeated Lance Gibson, Sr. when the ref stopped the bout during round 1 due to mount punches. This was one of the better fights because both men had some success from each position they were in early on. Gibson did a good job of striking from the bottom. Tanner concentrated on mounting Gibson. His attempt to go from the side mount to the full mount failed, so the next time he got side mount he busted Gibson open with knees to the face then went to the body with punches and forearms. Tanner was really mixing up the methods and locations of his strikes. Eventually Tanner took full mount and threw a flurry of punches for the ref stop. Tanner does so many things well, and knows how to implement them.
Dennis Hallman made Matt Hughes submit to a cross armbreaker just 20 seconds into round 1. This was a revenge match because Hughes lost to Hallman in his first pro fight then ran off 18 consecutive wins. Hughes did one of his patented slams right off the bat, but Hallman put him in the sankakujime. Hughes beat himself here because there was little pressure on Hallman's lock, but Hughes chose the brute method of escape where you lift your opponent and slam him into the mat. The problem with this method is that is there's about as much chance of your opponent tightening the lock as there is of them loosening or losing it. Hallman switched to the arm bar while Hughes was slamming him and improved his leverage by getting to his side, which forced Hughes to tap.
Chuck Liddell won a unanimous decision over Jeff Monson. This was one of those rare occasions where the kickboxer beats the wrestler. Monson, who is in the Couture camp, had total control early on, but you don't get many points here for holding or riding. Liddell starting dictating in standup in the 2nd half of round 1, but he was in no hurry to take a chance with a strike and Monson kept backing up so it was a terrible round. The second round was much better because the first 4 minutes was Liddell beating Monson's thigh raw with low kicks. Monson finally found some method of defense for this, catching a kick and landing a combination of punches, but he was unable to take Liddell down. Liddell continued to exploit Monson in round 3. A wrestler that has nothing in standup can usually beat a kickboxer because they take them down before the kickboxer can get going. Monson didn't have the takedown skill though and Liddell does have some takedown defense. Since Monson was unable to take Liddell down after the beginning of the fight, his huge disadvantage in standup was exploited throughout. Monson does have some boxing ability and doesn't leave himself open for knockout blows, but since it was so easy for Liddell to score on him with low kicks, Liddell never had to go for the homer or nothing.
UFC XXVIII High Stakes 11/17 Atlantic City, NJ Trump Taj Mahal
Randy Couture recaptured the UFC Heavyweight Title that he never really lost (he vacated), defeating Kevin Randleman via ref stop from a flurry of mount punches at 4:13 of round 3. Randleman beat himself here. Randleman looked great in standup when he had distance, as he was able to deliver some nasty combinations of punches. He also could take down the Sydney Olympic alternate at will because Couture couldn't handle his quickness and power, The problem was, he didn't seem to realize his own advantages. Instead of disengaging when things stalled, which was anytime he got in close and Couture started clinching to control his upper body or getting up when he was really getting nowhere doing ground and pound while in Couture's guard, he just played into Couture's hands. I mean, he'd rock Couture with 3 punches, but then Couture would grab him and get Randleman to try to bull him forward. Even if it worked for Randleman, which it didn't, Randleman would have just had Couture against the fence where he couldn't come close to being as effective in striking as he was when they weren't holding each other. Randleman won the first two rounds easily, but it's like he wants to prove he can beat his opponent at their own game rather than just doing his thing and totally dominating them. Randleman could have taken Couture down all night if he kept coming in, and Couture could not have returned the favor, but since Randleman was stupid enough to get into a hugging match, Couture eventually tripped him up. Randleman apparently assumed he'd go through his entire career without being taken down or reversed because his "guard" was a joke. I mean, it brought back memories of the earliest UFC's when most of the guys didn't even know what a guard was and had no idea what to do when someone was on top of them. Couture could have passed his guard in a second, but I think seeing what he wasn't up against, didn't even bother doing so right away because he could tell the opportunity would be there whenever he wanted it. Couture punched away, cutting Randleman on the bridge of the nose, and passed the guard when he tried to. Couture's punches weren't that great, but Randleman didn't know how to defend himself so it was basically a turtle on his back situation. If Randleman had half a clue he could have held on until the end of the round and probably still won the fight. Since he didn't and wasn't doing anything to defend himself, McCarthy had to stop it.
Renato Babalu somehow only beat Maurice Smith by majority decision after 15:00. Babalu controlled the entire fight. He took Smith down at will, and Smith wasn't able to get off his back even once except when Babalu let him up. Smith couldn't get anything going in standup either. He was too cautious both in standup and on the mat. He only tried single punches, and didn't have the quickness to get his leg back when he kicked. He used a closed guard the whole time, which really gave him no opportunity for offense on the mat aside from some weak punches. Smith's defense was typically superb, but when you essentially have no offense the entire fight, you lose even if when your opponent does no real damage. Although Babalu didn't hurt Smith, he was impressive because he handled him in every aspect of the fight. He had a whole lot of confidence in his ability, and although things like letting Smith up seemed silly at the time, he proved the confidence was warranted.
Mark Hughes won a unanimous decision over Alex Stiebling after 10:00. Stiebling's advantage was in submissions, but after the first minute he never even came close. Hughes would take him down and control position the rest of the round. He was overly aggressive early, which is where Steibling had a chance to hook him, but once he settled in he was very efficient. Hughes was also very predictable, takedown and ground and pound is basically all he does, but he's got such wrestling ability and power that he's going to have his way with most opponents anyway. He would already be a real force if he was doing this full time like brother Matt.
Josh Barnett beat Gan McGee via ref stop from mount punches at 4:34 of round 2. McGee is huge. Barnett is 6'3", 257, yet he gave up 7 inches and 39 pounds. McGee's problem is his stamina doesn't cut it. Barnett looks like a bar room brawler, and although he got more active in round 2, he wasn't exactly evoking memories of Frank Shamrock when it came to a moving guard or anything else. Still, he was able to blow McGee up in 6 minutes and get him to near collapse in 9. McGee fought his fight as long as his stamina held out, keeping Barnett close in standup so he couldn't strike and taking him down when he could. He did some effective elbows in round 1, which he won easily. A little ways into round 2, McGee was barely able to muster enough energy to control Barnett. Soon, McGee went for broke hoping he had just enough left to take Barnett down, which if he was smart would allow him to get some rest. He wasn't able to do it though, and that resulted in a mental and physical defeat. Barnett seized the opportunity, continually upgrading his position until he had mounted McGee. Barnett threw several punches, bloodying McGee's nose. They weren't going to knock McGee out or anything, but McGee was too tired to defend himself so McCarthy had to stop it. Barnett seems to be a guy that doesn't look like he'd be much, but find a way to win. McGee is a project, he's got the size to become a dominant fighter, but until he adds to the tank all bets are off.
Andrei Orlovskiy made Aaron Brink submit to a reverse arm bar at 0:55 of round 1. Orlovskiy tripped Brink up into the fence when he tried to take him down. Brink almost got an immediate reversal because the fence pretty much prevented Orlovskiy from getting control of Brink's left side. It didn't matter because Orlovskiy made a great move turning around Brink's body and locking in a reverse armbar. Orlovskiy should become the best Russian UFC has had because he isn't just a sambo guy, he's got a strong kickboxing background and cross trains in the other areas.
Jens Pulver KO'd John Lewis with a left hook in 35 seconds. Lewis' weakness played right into Pulver's killer left hand. Pulver knew Lewis' jab was lazy and left him vulnerable, and it didn't take him long for him to capitilize on it. Lewis came out jabbing, and Pulver threw a right so Lewis would sidestep and walk right into his left hand over the top of Lewis' jab arm. The first time Lewis sidestepped enough that Pulver missed to the right, so instead of noticing he almost got his block knocked off, Lewis goes right back to the same thing. This time Pulver just came over the top with the left, and Lewis was seeing stars. Lewis should beat Pulver because he's got more all around ability, but he was so confident in his boxing that he got Pulverized.
The next PPV, their
debut in Atlantic City, NJ called High Stakes, is Friday with Kevin
Randleman defending the UFC Heavyweight Title against former champion
Randy Couture. I hope the undercard is good because this will probably
be a long, boring bout. Matching fighters of similar styles can make
for a great match, but when they are both wrestlers who specialize in
pinning their opponent down and are weak when it comes to finishing,
that's not the recipe for a match of the year. I thought Couture was
bigger, but both are listed a 220 even though Couture is 3 inches taller.
Randleman is more powerful, which may be the key since the world class
wrestler that outwrestles his opponent will probably be the guy that
wins the match. Couture will try to negate this with superior technique
though. Randleman has the advantage in standup, so he could try to beat
Couture there. I mean, he was willing to face Pedro Rizzo in standup
even though he's one of the best in the world in that regard, and Randleman
somehow won although that was more Rizzo having the worst night of his
career than Randleman really being a good standup fighter. Their common
opponent is Maurice Smith, who Randleman handled but didn't really damage
and Smith attributes his poor performance to being sick. Couture just
lied on top of Smith and stalled the whole fight, that should have been
a draw because simple preventing your opponent from doing anything isn't
a measure of success in a shoot if you also don't have any offense.
I like Randleman here. He's younger. He's been in with more top fighters
in the last few years and he's beaten them all, while Couture has an
impressive record but hasn't fought anyone great and beats his best
opponents (Smith, Horn) by decision because he doesn't even seem to
be on Severn's level when it comes to finishers.
UFC Japan is looking to book Shinya Hashimoto for their 11/23 show. If Hashimoto is going to shoot, PRIDE makes much more sense because the pay will be a lot better and his match will get a lot more hype/publicity. Also, Antonio Inoki is already associated with the PRIDE shows.
UFC XXVII 9/22
New Orleans, La UNO Lakefront Arena
Pedro Rizzo defeated Dan Severn by ref stop at 1:32 of round 1. This was the worst Severn has ever looked. He was unable to take Rizzo down, and couldn't make Rizzo respect him so Rizzo felt comfortable striking him at full force every time. Severn tried a bull charge early, but Rizzo did a matador like move, sidestepping and actually using Severn's momentum to take him over. Rizzo would have nothing to do with the mat though. Severn never really committed to the shoot. He tried several times to come in with fakes and feints, but Rizzo just backed up until Severn stopped then started moving toward Severn to regain his ring positioning. Rizzo's offense was basically three kicks. The first was a high kick that only grazed Severn, which was lucky for him or it would have been a repeat of Yvel vs. Goodridge. The next was a low kick to the inside of the right knee that put Severn down. Finally, Rizzo did a second low kick to the same spot, injuring Severn (his knee seemed to pop or go out in some way). Severn went down because he couldn't put any weight on the knee anymore then McCarthy stopped the fight. It wasn't boring, but it was more sad than enjoyable.
Maurice Smith beat Bobby Hoffman by a split decision after three rounds. This was very similar to Smith's legendary win over Mark Coleman both stylistically and for match quality. Hoffman is the opposite of a technician, but he had 40 plus pounds on Smith and a big strength advantage. Also, Smith is a notorious slow starter since he wins on superior conditioning, and Hoffman is a guy that comes at you with everything he has in the early minutes hoping for the quick win. Smith could not stop a fresh Hoffman from taking him down, and it did not look good for him when Hoffman had passed his guard less than 1 minute into the round. Smith is as good as anyone at dodging punches from his back, and this is really what saved him because even when Hoffman had dominant position, he wasn't able to hurt Smith with his ground and pound. He did win the first round easily, but Smith made Hoffman burn a ton of energy in the process. Smith's unique ability to stand up against the fence played a big part here. Hoffman would be on top, but Smith would squirm against the fence, which is normally where the guy on top wants you because the lack of room to move negates most ground defense, get into a sitting position and then stand right up. In the second minute of the round, Smith took over with blows to the body, but Hoffman eventually spit his mouth piece so he could get a breather. Smith then totally lost his advantage as he had nothing to stop Hoffman's swinging bull rush, so Hoffman wound up getting him against the fence and planting him with a double leg takedown. Due to almost all of Hoffman's offense during the round coming in the last two minutes, this round could have gone to Hoffman even though Smith edged him, IMO. Round 3 was all Smith. He worked from the inside, landing repeatedly to the stomach and the thighs. Smith's hardest punches were uppercuts, which bloodied Hoffman's cheek and knocked his mouthpiece out. Smith was picking Hoffman apart in Ernesto Hoost like fashion, but unlike Hoost, these days Smith lacks to power to get the knockout. Hoffman was totally gassed, lacking the energy to do anything that would put some fear back into Smith or slow him down in any way. On the other hand, although Smith was totally dominant, Smith didn't have the burst or explosiveness to put a flurry on Hoffman that could lead to the much needed KO or ref stop. If the match was five rounds, Smith would have won easily because Hoffman would have collapsed by then. However, by not being able to finish Hoffman, Smith would have lost had the more of the judges given Hoffman the 2nd round. I definitely enjoyed this fight the most on the show, and consider it better than Kondo's fight.
Jeremy Horn beat Eugene Jackson with a cross armbreaker at 4:33 of round 1. Jackson is one of the best boxers in MMA, and can wrestle, but he's no match for Horn on the ground. There was no question Horn would know what he had to do to win, and he was able to do business. Takedown, some strikes, and then the submission.
Fabiana Iha avenged his controversial UFC XX loss to Laverne Clark when the referee stopped the bout at 1:09 of round 1 because Clark was trapped in a cross armbreaker. Clark was caught early on, but fought his hardest, slamming Iha and crunching his body, to escape. Clark wasn't getting anywhere, yet he refused to tap so the ref stepped in before he wound up hurt.
Yuki Kondo beat Alexandre Dantas when the ref stopped the match due to punches at 2:28 of round 3. This was one of those fights where both men did a lot of good things, and it could have gone either way. This was my first look at Dantas, and he definitely impressed me. Dantas seems to be one of those guys that does the same things all the time, but is good enough to do them even though you know they are coming. That said, when you fight an opponent this good, it can and did come down to the guy who has more varying skills. Kondo spun during Dantas takedown so he wound up on top, but Dantas immediately got a reversal. Dantas mounted and threw punches. Kondo still needs work on his defense in this situation, as this kind hasn't been legal in most of his fights. Kondo was able to get a reversal before Dantas did much damage. Kondo threw some good left hands while in Dantas guard, but eventually just let Dantas up because Dantas is no match for him in standup. Dantas wouldn't think of trying to strike with Kondo, but this became a bad thing after a while simply because Kondo knew that his only move was to try to shoot. Kondo got a good knee lift in right before the end of the round. This round was really close and could have gone either way. Dantas backed Kondo into the cage, lifted and dropped him, and mounted. Kondo did basically the same reversal as before, but this time Dantas nearly arm barred him. Kondo really tagged Dantas with a right then got on top and threw some punches before letting Dantas up. Kondo quickly caught Dantas with another right hand. Dantas tried going down, but Kondo would have no part of it and you aren't allowed to just lie on your butt here. Kondo landed a big knee and got on top, but McCarthy stopped it before Kondo flurried on Dantas. Although he got a little goofy trying to put on a show at one point, overall Kondo's striking was extremely impressive. Excellent fight. It looks like Kondo will challenge for Ortiz's Middleweight Title on the December show in Japan, which makes about 4,000 tickets more sense than having this in America.
Ian Freeman won a unanimous decision over Tedd Williams after 3 rounds. Williams got off to a good start with a takedown and knees and elbows from the side mount. Freeman couldn't do anything from this position, nor could he escape it. Williams didn't do a ton of damage, but he was the only one doing any damage. The second round was really dull, with Freeman holding Williams in a front facelock for several minutes, but not doing anything with the position (he could have easily used elbow after elbow) other than keeping Williams head down. Still, Williams blew up then Freeman took over when he got on top by stopping a lazy Williams shoot. This lead to Freeman doing a lot of scoring and some good damage with strikes in the 2nd half of the round, winning it easily. Freeman was somewhat gassed in the third round, but compared to his opponent he still had a lot of energy. When they were down, Freeman used some knees from the side ala Severn, and also threw some good punches when he was in Williams guard. Freeman really dominated the round, although neither the round nor the fight were particularly interesting. I can't really say this was a good win for Freeman because Williams pretty much burned out on his own.
Kazuyuki Fujita returned to Japan after finishing his "tour (of Brazil) to probe the roots of teacher Antonio Inoki" and announced that he's going to attend the 9/22 UFC show to decide if he'd like to fight there in the future. He's going to spar with Yuki Kondo sometime before that. Kondo's opponent has been changed from Tito Ortiz to Alexandre "Cafe" Dantas, as there was a dispute between Ortiz and SEG (rumored to be over money). This means Kondo absolutely has to win since Dantas isn't exactly world reknown. With Ortiz seemingly out, the big matches for the 9/22 show are now supposed to be Pedro Rizzo vs. Dan Severn, Maurice Smith vs. Bobby Hoffman, & Eugene Jackson vs. Jeremy Horn. Is it me, or does the name Ultimate Bad Boyz totally not fit this lineup? Rizzo vs. Severn is a tough match for Rizzo because it's obvious Severn is passed his prime, but nonetheless Severn is the type of guy that is likely to give Rizzo a lot of trouble. If Rizzo can stay on his feet then it will be an exciting match that he'll win. However, I have to think Severn knows he can't stand with Rizzo and he has the body type where he can absorb a few blows to get a takedown. If Severn can take Rizzo down, which I believe he can even though Rizzo is more of a counter striker so it's hard to time him, he'll be able to hold him there for the duration of the rounds and win a dull decision.
Yoji Anjo vs. Murillo Bustamante is considered the main event in Japan because Tito Oritz vs. Vanderlei Silva has no marquee value even though it should be an excellent fight. Anjo is dropping weight for this because Bustamante is a middleweight. Kevin Jackson's opponent will be Pancrase's Sanae Kikuta. Other matches include Ron Waterman vs. Satoshi Honma (one of the guys that kicked Sano's ass in PRIDE) and Pancrase's Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Joe Slick (he beat Pancrase's Jason Delucia on the last UFC-J in a scary incident where Delucia's knee buckled and Slick fell on top with all his weight). This doesn't sound like a great show, but the last US show had a lot lesser names than these (not saying these are big names, but they are more well known than Tedd Williams) and produced a lot of quality matches before leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth by not having a main event due to Kevin Randleman slipping on a pole backstage.
All inquiries and orders should be e-mailed to M.L.Liger@juno.com.