UFC 119: "Mir vs. Cro Cop" took place tonight (Sept. 25, 2010) from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Frank Mir and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic squared off in the main event of the evening -- an old school match up between a talented ground specialist and a lethal kickboxer.
It almost turned out to be the most boring glorified sparring match. Ever.
Neither fighter appeared motivated to pull the trigger, content to play patty cake and hug each other against the cage. Herb Dean had to separate them numerous times, but it did nothing to spark their aggression.
With the clock ticking down, Joe Rogan said it best: "Who won this fight? Definitely not the fans!"
And just when we were all being lulled to sleep, Mir connected with a direct knee to the face that sent the Croatian crashing to the canvas. He followed his unconscious counterpart to the canvas and delivered two more blows just for good measure.
Thank God -- that saved a very ugly 14 minutes.
In the end Mir, who didn't use a lick of jiu-jitsu, scored a very brutal knockout of a knockout artist. That's got to count for something.
Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira served as the co-featured fight of the night, pitting perhaps the future of the division (Bader) against one of the true 205-pound legends of the sport (Nogueira).
Unfortunately for Nogueira, he looked (appearance-wise) more like Ron van Clief than an actual light heavyweight contender. The good news is he can still put up a good fight. But he once again just didn't have any real answers for a talented wrestler.
And they don't get much more talented in cage than Mr. Bader, a two-time collegiate All American.
Bader mixed it up while standing to set up his powerful takedowns. He'd dish out some ground and pound and get out. Repeat.
"Lil Nog" did catch him a few times with several powerful shots, but they were few and far between. And, in the end, it wasn't nearly enough to get him a victory tonight, snapping an impressive seven-fight win streak.
"Darth," meanwhile, likely punched a ticket to take on another ridiculous prospect, Jon Jones, in the very near future. That showdown can't happen soon enough.
Don't call it a "Comeback."
Serra abandoned the foot stomps, and seemingly everything else, to stand and trade with the former professional boxer, firefighter and all-around tough guy. Lytle hit him repeatedly with straight up bombs that would have likely knocked out a mule, but not the "Terror." Not tonight.
The slugfest slowed in the third round. Probably because the pair went toe-to-toe for 10 straight minutes and beat the hell out of one another, but it was a very entertaining bout nonetheless.
Lytle ended up taking home the decisive decision. And he'll probably take home yet another "Fight of the Night" bonus. Will the fans be treated to a third and final rubber match someday soon?
Wouldn't be too surprising.
Former lightweight champion and division stalwart Sean Sherk was tasked with sending the new kid on the block, Evan Dunham, back to the end of the line as he makes one final push for 155-pound supremacy.
Sherk -- who was returning from more than a year-long layoff because of various injuries -- admitted that when he accepted the bout, he had no idea who Dunham even was!
He does now.
Dunham, who was bleeding like a stuck pig for most of the fight because of a gaping cut near his right eye, had him strangled on three separate occasions. However, Sherk was able to defend, reverse and go back to his wrestling roots for the first two rounds and control the up-and-comer for a decent amount of time.
It all went out the window in the final frame.
Sherk was unable to get and keep Dunham down for more than a few seconds, and with two minutes to go in the match, Dunham began to unload on the "Muscle Shark" with a mix of knees, punches and kicks that had the Minnesotan weebling and wobbling.
But it was perhaps too little, too late.
Sherk went on to earn a very close, and perhaps controversial, split decision from the judges. Dunham certainly looked like a bloody mess, but he did everything he possibly could have done to try and end that fight. And he came close ... numerous times.
That's more than Sherk can say. Regardless, big win for him.
On the other hand, it's conceivable that even in defeat, Dunham moved the needle on his career further than had he won the match. See Jones, Jon.
"Lil Heathen" lit the fuse about two seconds into the fight. dropping the "Young Assassin" with a thundering right hand right off the bat. Guillard, however, popped up like toast and didn't appear to show any ill effects from the blow whatsoever.
That was about it, unfortunately, in the fireworks department.
Guillard glided around the cage for the rest of the fight, dipping in and out to touch up Stephens, who seemed to struggle with the distance all night long. He was scoring points, but he never really hurt the Iowa native or had him in any real trouble.
In the end, the gameplan worked -- Guillard was able to convince two of the three judges sitting ringside that he did enough to win. The other official, as well as most of the vociferous crowd, thought Stephens should have had his hand raised.
Close fight. It had it moments, but it's just too bad it didn't live up to the explosive expectations for more than the first two seconds.
That’s enough from us — now it’s your turn to discuss "Mir vs. Cro Cop" in the comments section below. Are you pleased with all the decisions and their outcomes? How about that knockout? Can Bader-Jones the start of the next great trilogy? Is Dunham a better fighter for his first "real" loss tonight?
Sound off, Maniacs.
For complete UFC 119 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.