UFC 78: Validation 11/17/07 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
Frankie Edgar vs. Spencer Fisher 3R. Edgar may be the most tedious fighter in MMA history. There are a number of crotchcheckers whose goal is 15 minutes of the gay lay, and you can bet UFC will try to sign all of them, but Edgar has the combination of power, speed, and stamina to ensure he can sit in guard delivering just enough pathetic mat and pat to avoid the standup for 14:50. Fisher is normally an entertaining fighter, but while he could get back to his feet, he couldn’t avoid the clinch, so rather than landing some of his good strikes he’d be right back on his back where he was unable to try any submissions or do anything to pressure Edgar. The match was so repetitive they could have replayed the first minute 14 times and no one would have been able to tell the difference. Edgar won a unanimous decision. Poor match.
Joe Doerksen vs. Ed Herman 3R 0:39. Doerksen took the fight on 2 weeks notice when David Terrell pulled out. He didn’t seem to have his usual strength or stamina, never really looking right as he was off balance and sloppy on his feet and overpowered trying takedowns. Herman’s standup looked better than ever, coming in with elbows from various angles. Doerksen wanted the fight on the ground, but Herman would not only fight off his takedown, he’d use Doerksen’s momentum to get the takedown himself. Herman landed some good blows in standup, though typically the nasty cut he opened up under Doerksen’s left eyebrow came on a grazing blow (jab). After round 1 it was looking as though Herman might coast to victory. However, Doerksen turned the fight in his favor halfway through round 2 when Herman tried to walk Doerksen down from the clinch, but Doerksen swung his upper body and transitioned right from the takedown into back control. Doerksen had a good chance to finish the fight here, but failed to secure Herman’s body allowing him to not only escape but take his back. Doerksen prevented Herman from choking him out with a leg lock attempt. Doerksen had Herman dead to rights in a triangle at the end of R2, but time expired. Though Doerksen was battered and bloodied, the fight was even at 1 round a piece. Early in R3, Doerksen avoided a left hook, but missed with his right hook counter and got hit with an overhand right. Herman ducked Doerksen’s right hook counter, ending the exchange by clipping Doerksen on the jaw with a left hook for the 1st KO of his nearly 20 fight career. Good match - the best on the adequate show - particularly for the exciting 2nd round.
Karo Parisyan vs. Ryo Chonan 3R. Karo is normally a human highlight film, so by his standards this was a boring fight, probably as dull as he’s had. Chonan’s standup is based on his ability to kick, which Karo totally eliminated, so Chonan’s claim to fame was landing a good right hand then making Parisyan at least eat a kick to take him down. The rest of the time Parisyan took him down as soon as he lifted his leg. Chonan’s defense was excellent, so Parisyan was more similar to a wrestler here. Parisyan kept setting Chonan up for his judo throws, but Chonan always maneuvered out of trouble so Parisyan would have to settle for traditional wrestling style takedowns, which he got at will. On the ground, Karo was unable to pass Chonan’s solid guard. He’d regularly resorted to standing and trying to use a strike to break around the corner, but instead Chonan would quickly scramble back to his feet only to be quickly taken back down. Parisyan finally mounted with 3 minutes left in R3 only to be immediately swept. Parisyan landed a few good blows in standup and some elbows while in Chonan’s guard, but essentially he coasted to the unanimous decision through dominating position and reducing Chonan’s offense to virtually non-existent. Karo was disgusted with his performance, regularly apologizing to the fans for not delivering his usual excitement. Above average match.
Thiago Silva vs. Houston Alexander. Alexander was surprisingly patient and subdued, working the clinch game and actually slamming Silva. Houston’s throw was more similar to a chokeslam because he didn’t follow Silva to the mat, and that exposed him to a single leg that quickly transformed Alexander from phenom to fraud. Alexander seemed to have no inkling of how to defend against Silva’s mount, just trying to bear hug him from the bottom. Silva would, of course, break the grip and pummel Houston, leading to the stoppage.
Michael Bisping vs. Rashad Evans 3R. Evans took Bisping down repeatedly even though Bisping’s takedown defense was pretty good. Evans, the typical dull UFC mat and pat practitioner, was unable to do much once he got to the ground though, with Bisping sliding over to the cage then using it to stand up. Bisping seems to think that his defense once he gets taken down in escaping without damage negates the takedown itself, but that can’t be the case since Evans controls the segment and the takedown itself is more offense than Bisping has during the segment. Bisping is a better technical fighter in standup, probably landing more strikes than Evans because he has a jab, but Evans is a more explosive striker who certainly hits harder, so I didn’t see any real advantage for Bisping beyond not looking as though he was ready for the oxygen tank. Bisping’s best portion was halfway through R2 when he got his second wind after getting back to this feet at the same time Evans showed serious signs of exhaustion. Bisping even took blown up Evans down at the R2 bell. Evans sucked wind, but found it in himself to continue taking Bisping down in R3. All in all, though a close fight, even if you give Bisping the nod in standup because he looked better doing it he once again didn’t do enough offensively to negate his opponent’s takedowns and warrant the decision victory. Since Bisping wasn’t fighting in the UK like his shady win over Matt Hamill at UFC 75 9/8/07, Evans was granted the split decision he earned. Above average match.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jason Reinhardt R1 1:14. Lauzon is a slick mover on the mat, maneuvering all around Reinhardt until he took his back right into the rear naked choke.