There’s been a lot of fights since my last Spilled Bag of Fights but I’m going to mainly focus on UFC 136 which was really one of the most impressive and stacked cards in recent memory. It featured two title fights as well as the return of the entertaining albeit polarizing Chael Sonnen. So, let’s just dive right in.
Steve Cantwell vs. Mike Massenzio
Massenzio wins via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00>/em>
A solid fight. One thing that stood out to me was Massenzio repeatedly going for the takedown when he had Cantwell hurt and giving him a chance to recover. Especially since he was having little to no success getting the takedown. Of course, Massenzio won the Unanimous Decision but he probably could’ve finished Cantwell if he if stayed on him standing.
Aaron Simpson vs. Eric Schafer
Simpson wins via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Nice showing by Simpson who unlike Massenzio, kept the fight standing where he was out-classing Schafer.
Tiequan Zhang vs. Darren Elkins
Elkins wins via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26), Round 3, 5:00
Another fight with a questionable, at best, gameplan. Zhang stubbornly kept going for the Guillotine Choke that repeatedly ended the same way – with Elkins getting out of it and spending the rest of the round on top beating him up and handily dominating. Zhang has pretty good striking some decent power but he didn’t even try to use that. Maybe he needed that “Submission of the Night”? Gambling debts? Who knows…
Joey Beltran vs. Stipe Miocic
Miocic wins via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
We love Stipe. He’s been on MMA Gospel Radioa number of times and couldn’t be a cooler, funnier guy. Stipe is known for destroying guys with his vicious KO punches so, Joey Beltran was the perfect test for him. How would he fair against a dude that is seemly impossible to knock out? Either he’d show how powerful his hands are by KOing Beltran or it would be a test of his previously untested heart and endurance. It was definitely the latter as both guys lived up to their potential. Stipe showed that he can rely on his wrestling to grind out a decision and Beltran showed that he’s not going to be an easy fight for anyone. Ever. Really a big fan of both guys and hope that Beltran has a place in the UFC as long as he wants one because no matter who he fights, it’s going to be a war and we’re all gonna tune in to see it. That being said, big congrats to Stipe on his win. Not only is he a friend of MMA Gospel but he’s also a helluva an exciting fighter who’s still got more untapped potential on the horizon.
Anthony Pettis vs. Jeremy Stephens
Pettis wins via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Not sure why Jeremy Stephens thought that Anthony Pettis needed to be “knocked of his pedestal”. Sure, “Showtime” is flashy, confident, and full of swagger but I never thought he was cocky or arrogant. Maybe Stephens was projecting. Either way, what was most interesting about this fight was the way Pettis won by outwrestling “Lil’ Heathen”. Wrestling was a weakness in Pettis’ game that Clay Guida exposed in their last fight and Pettis showed how much working with Ben Askren has improved his game. Jeremy Stephens has a tattoo that reads, “Only God Can Judge Me”… he forgot about the three judges Octagon-side that gave the nod to Pettis in a Split Decision.
Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago
Maia wins via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Maia is a supremely talented Jiu-Jitsu fighter and his stand-up is ever-improving but the majority of his fights are not exactly barn-burners. Case in point.
Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan
Phan wins via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Their rematch went similar to the first scrap except this time the judges got it right. Yes, Leonard is not a very technical fighter. He’s a brawler. He can’t help but brawl. And yes, Garcia is a very fun, exciting fighter to watch. Not sure why this causes so much debate. Judging from the tweets during this fight, there seems to be a sentiment that anyone who enjoys a good brawl doesn’t understand the finer points of MMA. Why can’t you like Miles Davis andthe Ramones? Don’t be elitist, yo. Furthermore, I find it really fun to watch a technical fighter like Phan having to deal with a brawler like Garcia. Whatevs, snobs.
Melvin Guillard vs. Joe Lauzon
Lauzon wins via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 0:47
I said in our post-fight wrap up show with Kit Cope and Patrick Guera that I thought Melvin’s undoing was that he was over-confident, that he was stomping around the cage like he already won. Joe Lauzon and Dana White echoed these exact sentiments. It’s never a good idea to disregard your opponent’s striking just because you have a power advantage. Especially a guy like “J-Lau” who has power and is a very calculated fighter across the board. I hope Melvin learned his lesson this time because I do like the dude and enjoy watching him fight.
Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann
Sonnen wins via Submission (Arm-Triangle), Round 2, 3:51
Chael did what most of us expected him to do… and then he won by submission. When you hear Chael Sonnen and submission in the same sentence, it’s usually one of his haters taking a shot at his submission losses. I’m surprised Chael hasn’t rubbed his submission victory in the faces of all his critics who act like he’s never heard of Jiu-Jitsu and can’t finish a fight. Considering how much shit he takes for those criticisms, one certainly couldn’t blame him for at least pointing it out. Perhaps it’s out of respect to Brian Stann whom Sonnen likes and respects. Then of course we can’t neglect his post-fight call out of his nemesis Anderson Silva. Chael’s response to Joe Rogan asking how his victory felt: “Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!” Oh, Chael. Putting his UFC career on the table to raise the stakes and only asking that Anderson leave the middleweight division, is certainly ballsy and makes for even more excitement than the rematch already inherently had. I mean the only guy who ever came close to beating Anderson and by close we’re talking a matter of seconds. Who’s not buying that fight? Anyone? Exactly. Love him or hate him. Chael knows how to hype a fight. He’s a one-man publicity empire.
Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian
Aldo wins via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46), Round 5, 5:00
I kind of figured Aldo would be a little too much for Florian and predicted that he would take a close decision. It wasn’t that close and it wasn’t really that exciting. Leg kicks and clinching against the cage are fine weapons to use in a fight but when they wind up taking up most of the fight, it gets a little dull. Apparently Keith Florian’s strategy of yelling louder and louder as the fight went on did nothing to help his brother win. Impressive vocal stamina, though.
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard
Edgar wins via TKO (Punches), Round 4, 3:54
As the first three rounds looked remarkably similar to the last fight and on almost everyone’s scorecard Edgar and Maynard headed into the fourth round tied, you had to entertain the insane possibility that the fight would end in another Draw. It would be so horrible that it would’ve been kinda hilarious. Yet in the fourth round Edgar tagged Gray with a beautiful uppercut that ended the fight. Maynard hits harder but Edgar has proven his chin is strong enough to stand it – barely, but enough. Given that, I believe Frankie is just the better fighter and that’s why I picked him to win and that’s why he’s still the champ.
There were eight fights that I ventured a pick on. I went 8-0. *gloat* See. It’s not all Jon Fitch’s sandy vagina jokes – I know what I’m talking about. More or less.
Let’s cover a couple Bellator fights before I get on with my life.
Season 5 Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Fight: Douglas Lima vs. Chris Lozano
Lima wins via KO (Punch), Round 2, 3:14
Both dudes have been on MMA Gospel Radio and both are really awesome guys and tough, talented fighters. Sucks that one of them had to lose. I don’t even know what to say about this fight except that it was a great, great fight. After the first round where Lima got the better of the striking, a bloodied Lozano seemed to say “all day” and Lima smiled and stuck out his tongue like he was in the front row of a Motley Crue concert. Mad testosterone flowing there and mad respect these guys had for each other. Neither was gonna quit. Chris went out swinging for the fences but Lima tagged him with a perfectly timed and placed hook that turned the lights out immediately. I know it’s a tough loss but Lozano’s got nothing to be ashamed of. He definitely left it all in the cage. He’ll be back.
Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Fight Luis Santos vs. Ben Saunders
Saunders via Submission (Americana), Round 3, 1:45
Man, what a crazy fight. Ben Saunders had some long-ass flexible legs. The entire fight was the tension of whether Santos would be able to survive the latest attack on his shoulder and arm. He did a a great job defending but Saunders just seemed to throw a new submission attempt at him as soon as he squirmed or flipped out of the last one. Plus Saunders is no slouch in the stand-up department either. Saunders vs. Lima. Oh, fuck yeah!
This is the obligatory part where I wrap-up. Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment and listen to MMA Gospel Radio with Gary Friedman and myself anytime via the archives and tune in for the live shows on Thursdays at 8:30pm ET.