Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pulled off yet another successful mixed martial arts (MMA) event last night (March 2, 2012) from the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia. And once again Dana White and Co. could not outrun the long shadow of controversy despite planning specifically to do just that.
First things first, however, and we start with the UFC on FX 2 main event between Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann, a 170-pound fight that seemingly (and refreshingly) had everything but controversy. Alves and his rehydrated 200-pound+ frame sauntered into the Octagon and immediately began to go to work.
His powerful punches were on point all night, snapping back the head of the "Hitman" and getting the better of the overall exchanges. He did get clipped with a foot to the face, as well as gave in on a takedown or two, but other than that, Alves was in full control of the fight heading into the final frame.
But then it all fell apart.
Still cruising and bruising, Alves hurt Kampmann bad with about 90 seconds remaining in the Welterweight fight. Kampmann was covered up with his back against the cage, seemingly helpless to defend the raging Brazilian unleashing his fury with punches, kicks and uppercuts. Then, for some unknown reason, Alves dove in for a takedown, scooped up Kampmann and deposited him on the canvas.
There was just one really big problem: Kampmann knows a thing or two about Brazilian jiu-jitsu. So, while he was going along for the ride, he wisely held on tight to Alves' throat and kept the firm grip upon landing. Not only that, he flipped positions and bent Alves' neck with a guillotine choke, cutting off his air supply and forcing him to tap.
It was an opportunistic finish, one that Alves handed him on a silver platter. Sure, Kampmann clearly deserves credit for toughing it out, hanging in there and never giving up. His underrated submission skills also deserve a nod. But, it's clear that Alves and his wrestling gaffe essentially lost this one big time.
And one has to wonder just how much all the point fighting as of late had to do with that terrible takedown decision. Alves is a dangerous Muay Thai striker who had his opponent hurt bad, on the ropes, with nearly two minutes left on the clock.
What on Earth was he thinking?
Perhaps he needs to take a page out of Joseph Benavidez' little 125-pound playbook. The former Bantamweight number one contender was making his Flyweight debut, taking on former Shooto champion Yasuhiro Urushitani in the first round of the promotion's inaugural four-man, 125-pound tournament.
It didn't take long for him to announce his presence.
After a first round in which Benavidez clearly dominated on the ground with his fantastic wrestling and top-notch jiu-jitsu skills, he turned to his striking early in the second stanza. It was apparently a deep and dangerous well that he should have revisited much earlier and more frequently.
The wannabe Jedi-in-training caught a kick from his Japanese counterpart early in round two and then countered with an absolute laser guided bomb that detonated on his chin. Urushitani flew half-way across the cage, arms flailing with eyes rolled back into his head, and Benavidez was right on his tail in hot pursuit. It wasn't long before Benavidez was delivering unanswered blows and the referee was telling him to knock it off already.
It only took the loss of 10 pounds for Benavidez to notch his first technical knockout win in more than two years. Expect more of the same as he advances to the flyweight final against ....
.... we still don't know.
As UFC President Dana White so eloquently put it last night, "You've got to be fucking kidding me." Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall met on the other side of the flyweight tournament bracket, with the winner expected to face off against the Benavidez-Urushitani winner to battle it out for the 125-pound crown.
And it appeared that Johnson would be that man, winning a very close split decision over "Uncle Creepy" after a very tight three-round fight. Bruce Buffer made the announcement, McCall stormed out of the cage upset and Johnson jumped for joy.
Here's where the controversy comes in: The fight was scored a majority draw. One judge gave McCall a 10-8 round in the final frame after he beat the tar out of a visibly tired "Mighty Mouse." That lopsided score helped McCall even out the first two rounds; however, the Australian Commissioner charged with overseeing the bouts apparently can't add small, basic numbers.
He realized his mistake after the decision was read, but at that point, it was too late to go back and implement the "sudden victory" round that the promotion snuck into these four fights to avoid situations exactly like this. Amazing, really, when you think about it. White can't catch a break lately, no matter how hard he tries.
Johnson and McCall will now have to run it back, three more rounds, to see who gets to fight Benavidez later this year and vie for a world MMA title. Tick-tock, tick-tock ...
And last and certainly least, Constantinos Philippou and Court McGee collided in a meaningless Middleweight fight to kick-off the FX main card broadcast. Meaningless in the sense that it has no impact whatsoever on the 185-pound contender picture.
At least not for now, anyway.
Philippou took it to The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 11 winner for basically 13 full minutes. It was not a very close fight, with the Greek-born fighter dominating the action with his power punches and takedown defense. McGee tried his best to press the action and get the fight to the ground, however, he was stymied at just about every turn.
Perhaps realizing that he was about to suffer his first-ever defeat inside the Octagon, McGee turned up the heat in the final few minutes, landing several solid strikes and even finally finishing a takedown, albeit briefly. Unfortunately for him, it was a case of too little, too late.
Philippou went on to earn the unanimous decision, capturing his third straight UFC win and snapping McGee's eight-fight unbeaten streak.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC on FX 2: "Alves vs, Kampmann" in the comments section below.
Does Kampmann deserve to be considered a contender after his performance? Where does Alves go from here? Is Benavidez the clear-cut favorite to win the flyweight tournament? Is this the worst scorecard blunder ever, considering the significance of the fight?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC on FX 2 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Alves vs. Kampmann" event right here. Our complete UFC on FX 2 results recap of the Facebook/FUEL TV "Prelims" action can be found right here.