Boy, it is a great time to be a UFC fan right now.
The sport is changing in a major way right now, but it forgoes the usual awkwardness of adolescence and cuts right to all the good stuff, sporting a look that is faster, stronger, and just plain meaner. A lot of great fighters retired this year–off the top of my head you have Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Mirko Cro Cop, and (possibly) Tito Ortiz. But there has been a steady stream of young talent in the sport, and a lot of them have really made a name for themselves. Part of what made this event so great is the fact that it showcased a lot of this young talent in spectacular fashion.
That said, on to the fights!
- Featherweight bout: Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung
This was my first time watching Chan Sung Jung fight, but man, was I impressed. It will probably take you longer to finish reading this sentence than it would to watch that entire fight. The funny thing is that The Korean Zombie (TKZ) was talking about how he felt he was the superior striker, and the commentators countered by saying that was probably a bluff because Hominick was clearly the superior technical striker. That may be true still, but a 7-second KO (tie for all-time fastest KO, BTW) is a hell of a rebuttal.
Jung’s quickly turning into a favorite for me. This performance follows upon his first UFC fight (a rematch vs. Leonard Garcia), which he finished with the first (and only, thus far) Twister submission in UFC history. Look that up if you haven’t seen it; it’s plain nasty. I was doubtful of the newer weight classes at first, but fights like these have converted me for sue.
Result: Jung defeated Hominick via KO (punches) at 0:07 of round 1.
- Welterweight bout: Claude Patrick vs. Brian Ebersole
Spoiler alert: this was the only fight that went to decision. To be honest, I thought it would go the other way. Claude Patrick was more aggressive in my opinion, and I thought he did more damage overall. Then again, people often speak of how defense is never given its due, and Ebersole’s submission defense was top-notch, exhibiting a Gracie level of calm the entire time. Perhaps that swung the decision in his favor; if so, I can’t really argue with that.
Result: Ebersole defeated Patrick via split decision (29–28, 28–29, 29–28).
- Light Heavyweight bout: Tito Ortiz vs. Antônio Rogério Nogueira
Say what you will about Tito Ortiz, but the man’s got guts. I’m pretty sure most of the fans had already dismissed him as early as the Ryan Bader fight, but he won fairly decisively in that one, proving he still has some fight left in him. Little Nog, on the other hand, while a great fighter, has had his share of ups and downs in the UFC. So it’s pretty clear that both men needed to win this fight, and in this case, Little Nog managed to play Tito’s game by grounding and pounding him.
Little Nog’s strategy was pretty brilliant, actually–go for the body. It was pretty clear in Tito’s last fight that that was his weak point, when Rashad Evans downed him with a knee to the body. Minotouro did the same here, opening with the same move and finishing with a salvo of punches to the body.
Result: Nogueira defeated Ortiz via TKO (punches to the body) at 3:15 of round 1.
- Heavyweight bout: Frank Mir vs. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira
Frank Mir is a bad, bad man.
If I had to put money down on this fight going in, I’d have chosen Big Nog. Not easily, perhaps, but I feel that’s where I would have ended up. I just felt he had good momentum going in, coming off a knockout of Brendan Schaub in UFC 134, whereas Mir last fought Roy Nelson way back in UFC 130, where he won by unanimous decision. It turns out I would have been dead wrong, so it’s a good thing my money stayed put.
Big Nog nearly got the win in this one, but as he was trying to work on the ground Mir managed to lock in a kimura. This was hands down the most painful thing to watch in UFC 140, and one of the most impressive as well–doubly so as Mir pulled off the one just when it seemed Noguiera was going to knock him out. Minotauro probably at some point thought he would get out, but Frank pulled him back in. Noguiera suffered a dislocated shoulder because of the hold, and Frank Mir came away the victor.
The heavyweight division wouldn’t be my pick for deepest in the UFC (my pick would be light heavyweight), but it’s improved by leaps and bounds over recent years. I’m never sad to see heavyweight bouts on the main card, and it’s only looking to get better in time.
Result: Mir defeated Nogueira via submission (kimura) at 3:38 of round 1.
- Light Heavyweight Championship bout: Jon Jones (c) vs. Lyoto Machida
I wasn’t really expecting much from the main event, to be perfectly honest. Don’t get me wrong, I always love watching Jon Jones fight, but I was thinking Lyoto wouldn’t be able to do much in this one. But to be fair, Lyoto put up a decent fight. I thought the first round went to him for sure, and he hit Jonny Bones with one or two good shots.
But then the second round came along, and that was it. Jones tagged Machida with a solid hit and they ended up against the cage, where the champion hit the challenger with a nasty standing guillotine, which literally put Machida to sleep. Done and done.
Result: Jones defeated Machida via technical submission (guillotine choke) at 4:26 of round 2.
It really says something that all Joe and Mike could talk about after the fight was how Jones actually broke a sweat this time around. That’s simply how dominant he has been in his UFC career. He joins the ranks of Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, and Chuck Liddell as the only men who have successfully defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Title more than once. And he’s only 24, at that! That’s just mind-boggling.
Can anyone in the division right now beat this guy? I honestly can’t think of a name, or even a fighting style that could be used to beat him. He uses his 7′ wingspan really well, so a boxer couldn’t get to him. Kicks will get you somewhere, but if he turns an errant kick into a takedown he can ground and pound with the most vicious elbows in the game today.
The only two areas I can think of where he may be at a disadvantage is on his back or in the clinch. Good luck with the former–he’s never been taken down in his UFC career, to the point where opponents just don’t even bother trying anymore. So the latter might work, but that comes with two big if’s: if one could close the distance, and if one could get around Jones’ length advantage, then maybe some real damage could be done in the clinch. Otherwise, Jonny Bones looks pretty much indestructible out there.
But there’s certainly no shortage of challengers. Right now Rashad Evans is on top of the list, but he needs to fight another contender again to get another title shot. On the other side of that coin is Phil Davis, who I feel is a bit underrated, but brings tremendous wrestling skills to the table. If things should go that way, then that fight may well play out like a master’s class in wrestling. Finally, my dark horse pick would be Dan Henderson. Not only does he have great wrestling and submission defense, he also has great hands, so he’s got a legitimate shot of getting a home-run knockout finish.
Well, that’s the recap, as well as a few of my thoughts on the event. If you’re into fights and have yet to catch the UFC in action, I highly recommend you do so. The past three “numbered” events have been the best I’ve ever seen–UFC 138 had one TKO and four submissions (including a sick 17 second first round finish) on a five fight main card, and UFC 139 featured the best main event I’ve ever watched, well worth the five rounds allotted for it.
So if you like watching people getting choked, twisted, knocked out, and beaten, you should definitely catch the next one, UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem, on December 30, 2011. It features Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem in what looks to be a very intriguing main event. Lesnar is no stranger to fight fans, of course, with his freakish athleticism, heavy hands, and solid wrestling base. Overeem, on the other hand, has a lot more experience than Lesnar, and is coming off a win over Fabricio Werdum. It’s shaping up to be a great fight, so again, you should tune in if you like that sort of thing.