The first UFC event of 2010 brought us several very good fights. We have come to expect stellar cards every month from the UFC,and they definitely did not disappoint. In the preliminary fights of the night, there was several good bouts. All of them were pretty quick fights, only one went more then the first round which really surprised me. There was a lot of good submissions, a submission by strikes which is pretty rare now a days, and a good TKO. Martin Kampmann had a great performance against Jacob Volkmann. There was a really impressive performance by Mark Munoz, who got a submission by strikes against another very impressive young fighter Ryan Jensen. Munoz made it look easy, and is touted as being one of the brightest young stars in the 185 class. Looking at the main card fights, we get to even more awesome action.
Junior Dos Santos defeats Gilbert Yvel
Dos Santos scored the first round knockout in the opening fight on the main card of UFC 108. Dos Santos looked very impressive against the world famous heavyweight Yvel, who, after taking the fight on short notice, did not get a full 2 months of training. He gassed out pretty quickly and made mistakes that allowed Dos Santos to knock him down and pound the crap out of him. Dos Santos got the stoppage at 2:07 of the first round. My prediction of Dos Santos winning was correct, but I thought it would go the distance and be a split decision. A huge win and jump forward for the rising star of Dos Santos, who will look to take on another top flight competitor soon, if not challenge for the Heavyweight title. He wins yet another fight on his growing list of victories by TKO after he knocked down Yvel with a huge left hook and then pounded him 15 more times while he was on the ground before the referee stepped in.
Jim Miller defeats Duane Ludwig
Another 1st round ending for UFC 108, much like all of the preliminary fights. Jim Miller got a submission by armbar at 2:31 of the 1st. Like Yvel in the fight prior, Ludwig took this fight on short notice, 2 weeks, and provided Miller with an opportunity to actually fight at the event. This UFC show turned out to be good despite the 11 fighters who pulled out of fights that had been agreed upon at different points in time leading up to the night. Ludwig was a replacement fighter, and it showed a little. He didn’t seem to have Miller completely game planned, and it showed early. Ludwig loses his return to the UFC after a 3 year hiatus, in which he fought with Strikeforce and other organizations. But then again, Miller also had very little time to get ready for Ludwig, after having his opponent changed a few times. He came out with an impressive energy and connected on a big shot early that knocked down Ludwig, he then got control on the ground and slapped him in the armbar. I was 1 round off in my prediction, I picked Miller to win by submission in the 2nd, but he delivered the submission victory halfway through the 1st round.
Sam Stout defeats Joe Lauzon
In the 3rd fight of the fight, Sam Stout put forth a dominating performance to earn a unanimous victory. The first fight of the night on the main card to make it past the 1st round. Lauzon was in his first fight back after tearing his ACL about a year ago, and his inactivity definitely was a factor in this fight. Stout is a very good striker and usually has struggled against guys who like to take it to the ground like Lauzon, but that was not the case here as he dominated from the get go. He won the rounds 30-26, 30-27, 30-27 for the easy, but still hard fought victory. Lauzon looked like his old self for about the first minute of the fight, where he got Stout down and got himself into good positions, but after Stout got away, he controlled the tempo and dominated the rest of the way. A very impressive performance from Stout to get his 15th MMA victory. I was wrong on this one big time, as I predicted that Lauzon would take the decision by submission in the 3rd round.
Paul Daley defeats Dustin Hazelett
Another fight, another 1st round finish. UFC 108 was just one of those nights. Paul Daley, another ‘replacement’ fighter delivered huge in just his 2nd UFC fight getting a big KO of one of the best young fighters in the UFC. Daley got the KO at 2:24 of the 1st round. Daley was my pick to win this fight with KO in the 1st, making me 3/4 at this point on the card. Paul Daley has officially arrived, scoring his 2nd 1st round KO in as many fights in the UFC and is proving here in the States why he was so amazing in his years fighting in the UK and elsewhere. Hazelett is probably one of the best jiu-jitsu and submission guys around, but that counts for nothing when the fight is standing up, and all fights start that way as Daley said in the post-fight interview. Bigger and better things await the young British slugger. However, Daley did not make weight for the fight and 10% of his purse goes to Hazelett, Daley usually a very disciplined guy did not make weight because of his being a late addition to the card. Nonetheless, it was an impressive display from the Brit and he will get many more chances in2010 to prove himself. After the fight Hazelett said he didn’t know what year it was, he was hit so hard by Daley that he was knocked out big time.
Rashad Evans defeats Thiago Silva
This was one great main event. Definitely not a fight for the casual fan as it was not the most power-packed slug fest that many were anticipating, instead it was Rashad Evans dominating the entire fight until about 2 minutes left in the 3rd round. He took down Silva time and time again, despite Silva being one of the best at takedown defense. Evans won the 1st and 2nd rounds by taking down and slamming Silva continuously, however, he was losing points and lost opportunities to finish the fight by not really going for any submissions or ground and pound. Evans seemed content to get him down and keep him down, which is a fine game plan against a guy like Silva who can knock you out at any time. He definitely stuck to his guns and didn’t even let the taunting of Silva in the 3rd to get him to go after him. Silva wanted Evans to bring the punches so he could counter and beat him, he did land a huge punch with about 2 minutes left in the 3rd and had Evans hurt badly. However, Silva failed to pounce on the opportunity to, and missed out on a very possible TKO. I think it hurt Silva that he had never had a opponent challenge him like this, and had never been past the 1st round in a UFC fight. He was gassed in the 2nd, and it showed, and it showed again in the 3rd when he was trying to recuperate and missed his chance to win. He needed a KO or stoppage in that 3rd round, and despite winning the round, in my opinion, he still lost the fight. The next big thing for Evans is going to be his highly anticipated fight against Rampage Jackson, but that might be kind of far off. Silva will be looking to rebound and re-establish himself as a force in the 205 pound weight class.It was really a great fight until the 3rd round, when Silva stooped to a very unsportsmanlike level, and began trying to wave to the crowd to get them going and starting to dance around and mock Evans. It definitely worked to throw Evans off of his game plan and got him to stop moving forward and closing down space to limit Silva’s striking. This allowed Silva to catch him and almost got him the victory, but then he started to showboat again and it gave Evans enough time to recuperate and get back up. The official score was Evans winning all 3 rounds, 29-28, receiving a unanimous decision victory over one of the top contenders in the Light Heavyweight class. Evans is clearly at the top of his game, and went back to his wrestling roots to establish his pace early on and dominated the fight.
As usual it was as hell of a night for fighting. I picked pretty solid on the main card, 4-1. The prelims were all very exciting and will provide us with a good look at some up and coming young fighters, Mark Munoz especially. Evans is now staring a possible title shot in the face when Machida regains his health, and if the Shogun Rua rematch does not pan out. Junior Dos Santos has maybe 1 or 2 more fights before he gets a title shot, given that he wins those fights. I can’t wait for UFC 109 in February.