Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

UFC 80: Rapid Fire PPV
1/19/08 Metro Radio Arena Newcastle, England

Kendall Grove vs. Jorge Rivera 1R 1:20. Rivera has been out of the ring for 11 months due to injury, but looked very sharp if not ferocious in his return. He landed a punch and followed through with a takedown. Rivera brought some stiff ground and pound, though in sacrificing control for distance to throw with power allowed Grove to get back to his feet. It didn’t matter though as Rivera was hitting him so hard, simply staying after Grove resulted in the KO before Grove could get away.

Wilson Gouveia vs. Jason Lambert 2R 0:37. An interesting fight with a nice mix of styles. Gouveia seemed to consider Lambert a good candidate for submission, twice trying for a guillotine choke as soon as they locked up. Lambert was fighting with confidence, but I didn’t think he was doing as well as the announcers. He’s a lot stronger and seemed to have the advantage in standup, which is why the BJJ fighter was fine with his guillotines failing as, even if he was on his back, Gouveia has a whole arsenal of submissions he was attempting. Lambert was comfortable on top, defending Gouveia’s triangle and omoplata and opening up a small cut on Gouveia’s cheek with his ground and pound. The finish was surprising as in the midst of an exchange of misses Gouveia smacked Lambert with a left hook for the KO as Lambert was starting to throw a right hook. Good.

Marcus Davis vs. Jess Liaudin 1R 1:04. Liaudin kept Davis out of range by landing several low kicks. Davis knew he had to get a little closer, it was just a matter of timing Liaudin. As Liaudin did the same thing repeatedly, adjusting wasn’t going to be too difficult. Davis came close, landing a left hand but taking a kick in the process. The next time Davis closed the distance a little more, timing Liaudin’s low kick and landing an overhand left when Liaudin was throwing it for the KO.

Paul Taylor vs. Paul Kelly 3R. The opening 30 second lightning exchange of strikes was as good as any standing up segment you’ll see as they were both letting loose at top speed yet it wasn’t a bunch of wide sloppy and loopy blows. Taylor is a particularly dangerous striker because he doesn’t suffer any noticeable loss of technique by speeding up his strikes, still very tight and precise. Unfortunately, Taylor is essentially just a kickboxer. This could have been a great fight if Kelly was a blockhead, but even though he’s a good striker he’s smart enough to realize his advantage is on the ground, where Taylor is a clueless turtle. Taylor has no concept of body control or leverage, so his ground game essentially consists of playing with his opponent’s arm in what’s purportedly a Kimura. Kelly controlled almost the entire fight, taking Taylor down and busting him up with nasty elbows that opened up a deep gash in Taylor’s forehead as well as bloodying his nose. Taylor was dominated to the point it was very surprising he lasted the full 3 rounds, getting by on heart and endurance. Some great moments, but often very minor league.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Fabricio Werdum 2R 4:34. Gonzaga possesses one of the greatest low kicks I’ve ever seen. He knocked Werdum off his feet with the third one, buckled his leg with another, and generally hobbled him by the middle of the first round. Unfortunately, Gonzaga wasn’t able to utilize them to open anything else up. Werdum caught a middle kick and took Gonzaga down, bringing a few good elbows though generally the ground was a stalemate due to both being such high level BJJ practitioners. Still, I was surprised Werdum decided to stick with standup, as Gonzaga’s low kicks were so powerful it didn’t seem as if Werdum could withstand many more. Perhaps he simply wanted to have an exciting match to make up for his much derided loss to Andrei Arlovsky? In any case, Werdum faired better in standup in R2, and Gonzaga was wearing out. Werdum landed a series of big knees, and Gonzaga made a crucial mistake failing to either push off Werdum’s clinch or get separation so he could fire back. Instead, Gonzaga squatted down so Werdum couldn’t knee him any more. However, Werdum quickly got on top, which was very bad for Gonzaga as he was stuck against the fence barely able to defend himself due to one arm being pinned against the cage. Werdum threw right hand after right with Gonzaga simply lying there on his side until the ref stepped in. Excellent comeback win for Werdum. Good.

Lightweight Championship: B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson 2R 4:02. Penn controlled the entire fight. He knocked Stevenson down immediately with a left straight and right uppercut combination then landed several rights on the ground. Penn was taking whatever position he wanted, but Stevenson was good enough to regain guard. The key move was Penn’s grazing elbow from the top, as it opened up a disgusting gushing movie cut on Stevenson’s forehead. Stevenson came out in round 2 as though it were now or never, landing a nice elbow. However, Penn quickly began picking him apart, countering his standup with several left hands. Penn hurt Stevenson again with a series of punches. Stevenson escaped to the ground, but Penn took the mount and the blood, which was previously dripping down the nose, started spreading out into Stevenson’s eyes. Stevenson twisted and turned, but couldn’t shake Penn, who took his back and choked him out. A valiant effort by Stevenson, but Penn was simply in another league.

Antoni Hardonk vs. Colin Robinson 1R 0:17. Hardonk is a dangerous kickboxer with no ground game, but Robinson is a perfect opponent for him as he’s a tough guy who is willing to strike. Hardonk mixed powerful right low kicks with left jabs, and after two Robinson’s knee buckled. This was supposedly a controversial stoppage as Robinson wasn’t groggy, but Robinson couldn’t stand up when he initially tried to, so he was lucky Mario Yamasaki saved him from the big strikes Hardonk was about to release to knock him out.

Alessio Sakara vs. James Lee 1R 1:30. Lee’s strengths are wrestling and submissions so wanted no part of standing with boxer Sakura. Lee would shoot immediately and hold onto the leg until he got Sakara down. He succeeded twice, but Sakara got right back up. The second time Sakura rocked Lee with some hammerfists while Lee was holding his leg for the stoppage.

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* MMA Review Copyright 2008 Quebrada *