The world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, the UFC, returned to the bayou state of Louisiana for the seventh time last night to deliver the ravenous fans of MMA a quartet of main card bouts. The opening of the festivities saw long absent Thai boxer “The Talent” Alan Belcher (17-6) win in brilliant fashion over “The Athlete” Jason MacDonald (23-15) with a quick submission due to strikes. The night looked good from the start but quickly petered out as Jonathan Brookins (14-2) dropped a Unanimous Decision to “New Breed” Erik Koch (13-1) after one of the most lackluster fights in recent memory and “The Crusher” Court McGee (12-1) took the night’s second uneventful nod over “The Ox” Dongi Yang (5-2). The night did end on a high note for fans as young stud wrestler “The Juggernaut” Jake Ellenberger (25-5) shocked the odds makers by knocking out heavily favored former Strikeforce champ Jake Shields (26-6-1) in the first, but it did little to make up for a night of less than entertaining combat. The UFC puts on more fights in a year than any other two major organizations combined, so blowout cards can’t be expected every time, but one can’t help but wonder how happy Spike TV was to see one of the organization’s last fights before leaving for FOX fall flat.
Alan Belcher vs. Jason MacDonald: “The Talent” entered the Battle on the Bayou after a long lay-off in which he had surgery on a critically detached retina in his right eye. Against him was Jason MacDonald, a fighter who had just successfully rebounded from an injury of his own a few months earlier. The bout was fast paced from the opening bell with MacDonald closing and hoping to capitalize on a mistake from the rusty Belcher and “The Talent” working to show fans and opponents alike that his injury had not affected his trademark aggressive striking style. Roughly a minute into the fight, as MacDonald went for a takedown, Belcher reversed it and took dominant position and started dropping bombs. To his credit, MacDonald threw Kimuras and Triangles in rapid succession in an attempt to stymie the Mississippi native’s ground-and-pound, but in the end, he was forced to submit as Belcher blasted away with heavy punches. A triumphant return to the Octagon for the young striker.
Jonathan Brookins vs. Erik Koch: The battle between TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins and WEC featherweight Erik Koch was expected to be a back-and-forth war between two exciting fighters in the UFC’s most exciting division. Instead it was an exercise in fan patience as Brookins clinged desperately to a single-leg against the cage while Koch defended the takedown and punished him with elbows and short punches the entire time. For Brookins, the fight was the worst thing he could have happen. He was completely ineffective the entire bout, got punished inside, got punished on the breaks, and got punished outside, but was never finished. The net result was a 15-minute showcase of the reasons why there was no chance Brookins would win the fight that had fans changing channels to reruns of the Jersey Shore.
Court McGee vs. Dongi Yang: The young TUF 11 winner and the Korean Top Team stand-out fought a very bizarre fight that left the odd feeling that they were both holding back for something. Almost like a pair of NFL teams, McGee and Yang stayed competitive but didn’t take any chances whatsoever until the end of the fight where each went all out in an attempt to finish the other in their only version of the two-minute drill. The entire fight consisted of McGee lobbing leg kicks into Yang, who seemed content to do nothing more than attempt to catch said kicks in order to pull McGee in for a big overhand left. Towards the end of the first two rounds, McGee would drop the kicks and drive for a round-stealing takedown. Then, towards the end of the third, the pair went all out with the Korean throwing bombs and McGee throwing everything but the kitchen sink until the final bell saw the judges award McGee the decision.
Jake Shields vs. Jake Ellenberger: The main event didn’t last long at all. In fact, Joe Rogan likely spent a considerable amount more air time explaining how brave Shields was for fighting on despite having just heard of his father’s passing than Shields himself spent actually fighting. While Shields must be commended for honoring his obligation to the fans despite such a recent personal tragedy, his performance suggests that he should have bowed out of the fight instead. Shields took the cage flat footed and completely lacking anything remotely resembling passion and was promptly destroyed by a hungry young competitor with nothing on his mind except winning. It took just 53 seconds for Ellenberger to smash a pair of hard knees into Shields’ face and leave him grappling with the referee, oblivious to the fact that the bout had been halted. It was an amazing upset win for Ellenberger and will likely boost him directly into title contention.
For the full list of UFC Fight Night 25: Shields vs. Ellenberger, click here.