Face the pain, it’s time for a change. The saying goes that all good things must come to an end, and never has there been a finer example of this than the exhausted gladiator intro to the UFC brodcasts, complete with Stemm’s “Face The Pain”. This entrance has been around since what seems like the dawn of time. I’d be willing to bet that (counting Fight Nights and TUF Finales) the same introduction has been aired over eighty times at this point. I’ve been a UFC fan since Gerard Gordeau kicked Teila Tuli’s chompers out of his face, and maybe it’s because of this that the overplayed intro has the same effect on me as nails scratching across a chalkboard. I’m not going to lie, I used to get pumped every single time the gladiator dude would begin to don his armor…….. up to like 50 events ago. There may well be “no escape when I step to this” but quite frankly the opening montage is “ripping me into pieces”.
Ross Pearson just put himself on the UFC lightweight map in a big way. I was never blown away by Ross during his stint on The Ultimate Fighter. He looked to be a solid, well rounded fighter, but nothing really separated him from the rest of the UFC up and comers in my mind. All of that changed on Saturday evening as the Sunderland, England resident absolutely picked apart a six time UFC veteran with forty professional fights to his record like it was second nature. Aaron Riley is no joke, and he had Greg Jackson in his corner for the bout with Pearson, yet Pearson allowed him to have zero moments during the two rounds the one sided beating lasted. Pearson really impressed me with his vice-like clinch game, use of knees and elbows, technical boxing, takedown defense and overall strategy and composure in his first fight out of The Ultimate Fighter.
Enough with punching the unconscious guy already; I’m looking at you Andre Winner. By the way, impressive performance man. I was starting to become a fan, until you blasted Roli in the face twice as hard as you could when it was clear that he was unconscious. Is anyone else fed up with this nonsense? Delgado went down like a sack of bricks; it was clear he was out. To make matters worse, the way he slumped to the canvas, he was facing Winner, making it quite apparent to everyone in attendance that he was sleeping. Hellen Keller could have seen that. So what better time to tee off on a guy with two indefensible punches right? Wrong. That’s how people get seriously hurt in this business. One thing I’ve been able to observe in this sport is that fighters take note of that type of thing, and karma can most definitely be a b****. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Winner himself takes a canvas nap, and he’s going to hope that his assailant uses more civil discretion than he did at UFC 105. Joe Rogan made note of the late shots a couple time following the knockout, but I would find it refreshing if Rogan would call the fighters out on their late hits during post-fight interviews in the future. Something like, “Is there something wrong with you? Could you not see that he was unconscious?” would suffice. Maybe it’s time to start fining fighters when this happens.
Getting clocked early in the first round was the best thing that could have happened to Michael Bisping. You just never know how someone is going to come back from a devastating knockout like the one Bisping received from Dan Henderson in his last bout. I was pleasantly surprised to see “The Count” come out looking much less tentative than he did in his bout with Henderson. Sure, Hendo is a harder puncher than Kang, but Denis is no pushover standing and Bisping looked like he hadn’t missed a step. Taking that right hand and coming back was huge for Bisping. He needed to get hit in this fight so he could gauge his chin and senses in general. Obviously he passed the chin check with flying colors; neutralizing Kang for the duration of the first round from his back, escaping the mount like it was second nature, and managing to throw up a couple submission attempts by the round’s conclusion. While Joe Rogan did a good job pointing out how well Bisping was doing defending in the opening round, I feel like he did an even better job when he concluded at the round’s end, “Excellent round for Kang”. In the second, Bisping did a tremendous job switching levels for the takedowns that ultimately forced the bout’s conclusion. Once he had Denis hurt, Bisping was like a shark in blood drenched waters and did a fantastic job sealing the deal. Easily the most impressive performance of Bisping’s career considering the circumstances.
What was up with referee Marc Goddard’s double standard in regards to the time allowed for Randy’s clinch and Vera’s takedown? Goddard allowed Randy to clinch Vera up against the cage while offering little to no offense for over two minutes on more than one occasions, yet when Vera scores a takedown he’s almost immediately being warned that he needs to work or they’re going to be stood up. I’m sitting there thinking, “Are you kidding me?”, and the next thing I knew it, he actually stood them up! I am still bewildered by his thought process and rationale in handling things the way he did on Saturday evening.
I had Couture vs. Vera: 29-28; Randy Couture. The controversy surrounding the scoring of this extremely lackluster headlining bout has left me scratching my head to some degree and I’ll explain why. Personally I had Couture taking the first, Vera taking the third, and I don’t really find either of those rounds to be disputable. So the round in question is obviously round two. So much has been made of the initial body kick that kicked off the combo that put Randy on the canvas, but it was the knee in the clinch that did the damage. The thing is, that blow didn’t come until right around the 2:10 mark, and up until that point Randy had been (as hard to watch as it was) controlling Vera against the cage. Once Randy went to the canvas Vera didn’t land a single blow of significance and the fight was brought back standing a mere 40 seconds later where Couture pressed Vera against the cage for the duration of the round, landing a few hard shots in the clinch just before the bell. That’s four minutes that Randy controlled that action and one minute for Vera. Randy’s overall control outweighed Vera’s moment in round two, but it wasn’t by a huge margin.
Whether he agreed with the decision or not, I feel like Joe Rogan was out of line screaming controversy at the end of what I considered to be an extremely close and hard to call fight. Alluding to the decision being terrible and something being wrong with the judging of the sport was just wrong in all kinds of ways. First of all, Rogan feeling Vera may have won is nothing more than his personal opinion. I personally felt like Couture won the fight by the narrowest of margins, but the fight wasn’t lopsided in either direction. It may very well have been a bad decision, but there’s no way that fight even ranks in the top fifty of the worst decisions in the history of the UFC. Why he chose to speak against this great injustice and deep seeded problem in this fight is beyond me. The last thing the sport needs is for people just tuning in recently to associate mixed martial arts with the terrible judging that has taken it’s toll on boxing in recent years.