Man… that card was off the hook. It was awesome from start to finish. I was really excited about each one of the fights, and none of them were disappointing. Each of the main card matches were awesome, the only downer was the Mirko Cro Cop fight as Ben Rothwell dropped out on short notice leaving no one to step up, except the completely unknown Sydney, Australia native, Anthony Perosh. More on that later though. Lets draw our attention to Chris “Lights Out” Lytle. He took on up and comer, Ben Foster, in one of the Prelims, and they put on a show for about a minute before it was all over. Foster was smacking him around and powerslamming him repetitively until Lytle pulled out a knee bar out of nowhere when Foster had his back, and slapped it in hard and did some serious damage to Foster’s knee. His knee looked like it had popped out of the socket and he lay on the mat writhing in pain for minutes after the fight. Lytle got yet another Submission of the Night award bonus, and proved that he is a very skillful fighter. On to the main card action.
Mirko Cro Cop defeats Anthony Perosh
Mirko Cro Cop finally rededicated himself to his fighting after a few bad losses forced him to. He was set to take on the hard veteran Ben Rothwell but a last minute injury changed things. Instead, Anthony Perosh, an unknown Australian fighter stepped up in front of his home town crowd to take the fight against the bigger, stronger Cro Cop. Perosh showed big balls in taking the fight and not giving in, however, he was overmatched by Cro Cop’s size and strength from the get go. Cro Cop seized the opportunity and dominated with his striking ability, constantly keeping Perosh’s takedown attempts at bay and just teeing off on his counter part. He nailed “the Hippo” with several big left hands and cut open is face very badly with a nasty elbow. At the end of the 2nd round Cro Cop nailed him with a huge left that looked as if it broke Perosh’s nose, and during the break the doctor checked on Perosh and decided to stop the fight due to the damage received giving Cro Cop the victory by TKO. Respect was definitely earned by Perosh, who showed his toughness in the Octagon by taking this fight and not giving anything up to the bigger, stronger opponent.
Ryan Bader defeats Keith Jardine
This was a very anticipated and exciting fight, and the two fighters went at eachother with everything they had for 3 rounds. “Darth” Bader proved himself once again against tough competition in his biggest fight to date to keep his undefeated streak alive. Keith Jardine gave it his all, like he always does, but came up short in the slug fest. Bader dominated in round 1 with his striking and wrestling abilities as he controlled the pace. Jardine would not let that fly in the 2nd round as he started to amp up his leg and body kicks and wore down Bader. Both looked tired in the 3rd, but Jardine seemed to have a little more juice left, until that is, he ran into a big right hand from the youngster, who then took advantage of his rocked opponent with a flying knee to the chest that pinned him against the cage, and while Jardine tried to recover, Bader held him up with his right hand and wound up his left, nailing him with a huge left hook that KO’d the veteran light heavyweight. Bader moves to 11-0 with his KO of Jardine at 2:10 in the 3rd round.
George Sotiropoulos defeats Joe Stevenson
Joe “Daddy” was definitely not the Daddy Saturday night, it was George Sotiropoulos in front of his country-men crowd in Sydney, Australia. The fight deservedly won the Fight of the Night bonus, and it was just that. A hell of a fight, the two went at it for the full 15 minutes, in what will go down as an instant classic. This ground war seemed like it was close to being over on 6 or 7 different occasions, with constant momentum swings and close calls. Ultimately, the unanimous decision victory came to Sotiropoulos after he dominated much of the fight pinning Stevenson to the ground and trying to work him into submissions. Every time Stevenson got an edge or good position, Sotiropoulos was able to wiggle away or work him into a submission attempt. As soon as Stevenson got his back, every time, Sotiropoulos automatically put his leg up to attempt to stop all momentum and lock Stevenson into a triangle. It was definitely non stop action as the two went constantly after each other in what is probably the best fight thus far of 2010. I may have predicted this one wrong, but I don’t regret it, this was just an amazing bout.
Wanderlei Silva defeats Michael Bisping
The Axe Murder is back. Wanderlei Silva came into the fight, his first at 185 pounds, looking a lot more fit and muscular, his conditioning was back to the top level it used to be at, and the surgery he had on his nose helped his face a bit too. Michael Bisping did not go down easily, as the two slugged it out for the full 15 minutes. Ultimately Silva came out on top in a narrow unanimous decision victory, each judge scored the fight 29-28. While the fight came very close to being finished several times thanks to last minute surges put together by Silva at the end of each round. Bisping looked to be in control for the entire first round, taking Silva down and controlling the tempo, until the last minute when Silva looked up at the clock and put it in high gear. He came at him, lowered his head and started swinging his heavy hands as only he can. He landed big blow after big blow, but to no avail, he could not finish it there, but he took the momentum into the 2nd round and because of that flurry he won the 1st. Silva came out looking to dominate in the 2nd, and took Bisping down immediately. That didn’t go anywhere for Silva, and the fight stood back up. Nothing much happened until the last minute again, when Silva picked the pace back up and took the fight to Bisping. This time though Bisping countered and took Silva down, but that is where it got scary for the Brit. Silva locked him into a tight guillotine with about 13 seconds left in the round. Silva put everything he had into it and had him in very, very tightly, but Bisping would not give in. Remarkably he didn’t pass out, and he was saved by the bell at the end of the round. The 3rd round was much of the same, the two sluggers were toying with each other and looking for the knock out blow. No one made any headway, but Bisping did hit Silva with an illegal, inadvertent, kick to the crotch, and he also poked him in the eye shortly after. Once again Silva recognized the end of the round coming and put it into high gear, nailing Bisping with several big shots in the final 30 seconds, and knocked him down with a huge over hand right to the side of the head with seconds remaining, and then started to ground and pound. The referee jumped in and looked like he was gonna call it a TKO, but the round ended just seconds before. Silva walks away with a 185 pound weight class victory in his debut, and looks like his old self.
Cain Velazquez defeats Minotauro Nogueira
Wow. That is really all that I could say after the fight ended. I was speechless and in awe of Cain Velazquez. He is the real deal, there is no doubt about it. Coming off a very impressive streak of victories, the 27 year old heavyweight had yet to be truly tested, and this was his test. He passed it with ease, as he quick work of the legend. Nogueira looked slow and un-prepared for the flurry that was about to be unleashed on him. Velazquez is the backup for a title shot in case the winner of Mir-Carwin next month is hurt and cannot take on Lesnar this summer. Velazquez looks primed for this shot, and regardless of anything, will be deserving a shot sooner than later. There really is not much else to say about this fight, the finishing abilities and killer instinct of Velazquez is amazing. I am excited to see him continue to rise in the UFC.
This night was incredible. 2 of the biggest, up and coming, dominant fighters continued their undefeated streaks, and both of them happen to be Arizona State wrestling products, Ryan Bader and Cain Velazquez. What a combo those two are. Both might be on the fast track to MMA legend status and could potentially be battling for their respective weight classes titles by the end of 2010. Until next month folks, UFC 111 is March 27th. And I leave you on this last though about UFC 110. DAMN.