Photo via Associated Press
So, UFC 152 is in the books and I have to say, there were a lot of surprises. Nobody really seemed to be themselves last night, with grapplers deciding to be strikers, strikers deciding to be grapplers, and light heavyweight champions making Vitor Belfort look great.
All in all, I'd probably give the event a B. I'd give the prelims an A- for four finishes in seven fights, while I'd hand the main card a C. It definitely wasn't worth shelling out the pay-per-view cash for such a mediocre card after such a long wait. And you also have to consider that it probably seemed better than it was because I was so starved for MMA that I would have paid to watched Jon Jones fight a one-legged leper after six weeks without UFC.
I only have gifs for the prelims, which is good because they were all finishes. The rest, you'll have to make like a fat girl with the lights off and use your imaginations.
Prelims on Facebook
Prediction: Brenneman via decision
Result: Noke via TKO in round 1
Charlie Brenneman is like a spastic hyperactive dog that you can never take the leash off or he goes off humping legs, biting the wheels of baby carriages, and burying his nose deep in somebody's crotch and taking huge whiffs. When the round started, he did exactly that, charging in at Noke's crotch and looking to bring it to the ground.
The former middleweight was having none of that nonsense. He dropped Brenneman with a flurry of punches and moved in for the kill. It looked like it was soon going to be over but we'll never know for sure because Mamma Bear Mirgaliotta was hovering close and swooped in to save Brenneman from having to get any more boo boos.
To say the fight was stopped prematurely is obvious. It was. Although Brenneman was close to being finished, there's no way he was done. And anybody who thinks otherwise needs to watch the tape again. Basically, Noke had a checkmate in three or four moves. But it wasn't officially checkmate yet. It was not a foregone conclusion, folks.
Mirg pulled a reverse Rosenthal and jumped in so early that even John McCain would've been all like, dude, that was a fucking early stoppage.
Still, nice work by Kyle Noke, who makes his welterweight debut with a statement. And that statement is, stay the fuck away from my crotch or you're getting dropped.
Prediction: Gagnon via decision
Result: Gagnon via submission in round 1
I'm not sure why Watson was a -175 to -235 heading into this fight. The only fighter of note Watson had beaten in his MMA career was Joseph Sandoval, who had the distinction of getting knocked the fuck out in 22 seconds against Nick Denis.
There's not much to remember from this fight. Watson ran in with his head straight up in the air, channeling Stefan Struve versus Travis Browne, and got dropped the exact same way. If Mirg was reffing the fight it would have been stopped right there. Instead, Gagnon got his back and choked the life from his body.
It's elementary my Dear Watson. You're fucking cut.
Prediction: Baczynski via KO in round 2
Result: Baczynski via KO in round 1
Sorry, I didn't watch this fight. I had to run to the store and get beer and sometimes in life there are casualties of war. This fight didn't really interest me much and I thought it was kind of silly it was the hot bout. Some Euro scrub versus a proven UFC fighter? Yeah, sell me another piece of swampland in Florida.
But here, enjoy this:
Prelims on FX
Jimy Hettes (C-) versus Marcus Brimage (A)
Prediction: Hettes via submission in round 1
Result: Brimage via decision
I have no idea who the guy pretending to be Hettes was last night, but he sucked some serious balls. He looked tired, hungover or stoned, lazy, and plodding. He couldn't submit Marcus Brimage, a kid with no known jujitsu skills, when he had him down in the second round. And the first and third rounds were basically composed of Hettes walking forward, getting his head snapped back like a fucking speed bag, and then repeating the process.
Hettes' takedowns were lazy and pathetic. His judo was nowhere to be seen. And he was walking forward throwing telegraphed hooks and baby leg kicks that even Carlos Condit would find embarrassing. Although Marcus Brimage is no Condit, the kid has decent enough standup to beat a jujitsu guy who suddenly thinks he's Nick Fucking Diaz.
Here's a tip, Jimy. Whatever the reason for your suckage, you might want to think about not doing it next time out. Because you won't last long in the UFC fighting like that. If it's the weight cut, find a better dietician or move up to 155. If it's the drugs, stop smoking them. If it's the alcohol, save it for the after party.
As for Marcus, I have no idea what the fuck kind of Star Wars Red Team Leader 10 facemask you had on after the fight, but you're not blowing up the Death Star and this aint 1983. Thank God Rogan didn't interview this twit.
Prediction: Pierson via decision
Result: Pierson via decision
This went pretty much as expected, with Pierson picking apart Benoist on the feet for most of three rounds. It was surprising to see Pierson handle his own on the ground as well, getting some takedowns and reversing Benoist with a beautiful judo throw in the second round.
What was unexpected, however, was the late comeback by Benoist when he put Pierson on a street so queer that they could have held a Pride Parade on it. Pierson was doing the chicken dance and it looked like it was going to be over in a hurry. And then Benoist snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Had he forced Pierson to get up again, I think he could have knocked him out. Instead he jumped into Pierson's guard and allowed him time to recover just enough to survive to the bell. It was probably seconds away from being over but he made it.
Personally, I tend to score rounds like that 10-8, which means I'd give this fight a 28-28 draw. But I'm not a judge and I'll take the 11 points on Playground.
TJ Grant (A) versus Evan Dunham (C+)
Prediction: Grant via decision
Result: Grant via decision
I think this was the easiest 13 points I've ever received on Playground. I really couldn't understand why Dunham was such a balls-on favourite, especially when Grant has been 2-0 since dropping from 170, is a beast of a fighter, and has held his own against some of the elite of the welterweight division.
What was completely unexpected, however, was that Grant beat the brakes off Dunham on the feet. I thought that this would be a case where Grant would need to get late round takedowns to steal the fight from the better kickboxer, but it was a reverse scenario. Grant absolutely mauled Dunham on the feet, landing brutal knees and elbows and cutting Dunham on the forehead.
For his part, Dunham made this an easy pick for Fight of the Night, sticking his tongue out, shaking his head like a dog to spray the excess blood away, and brawling like he thought he was Matt Riddle. It made for a spectacular show and definitely put a stamp on Grant's emergence into the top 20 of the lightweight division.
For a brief moment I thought Grant was going to be robbed when I heard 30-27 announced, but as it turns out it was just another judge being incompetent. There's no way on hell or earth that Grant, who slowed down considerably in the third round, won that final round.
Prediction: Pokrajac via KO in round 2
Result: Magalhaes via submission in round 2
Well, this was disappointing. The first failure of the night has to go to Igor, who demonstrated a fight intelligence of Terri Schiavo out there last night. The fight started with Igor allowing Vinny to get to the clinch, a quick Judo trip and then it looked like it was over.
But Igor miraculously survived, and with seconds to go in the first round he rocked the badly winded, out of shape, muscle-bloated Brazilian. Most people would have taken that confidence into the next round by trying to rock him again. Instead, fucknuts decided to doubleleg into a triangle and followed it up with an armbar.
When Igor tapped and started nursing his arm I was screaming at the television, "Good! I hope it's fucking broken you dumb bastard! I hope you have to spend years in rehab and repeated surgeries to fix this fuckup." Or words to that effect, I'm not sure. I was on my fourth beer.
Look, if you're a striker with heavy hands and you jump into the guard of an elite submission specialist, you're a moron and you get the official "F" stamp of approval from me.
Photograph by Ed Mulholland, ESPN.com
Prediction: Oliveira via submission in round 1
Result: Swanson via TKO in round 1
When the fuck did Cub Swanson become an elite striker? It's just bizarre. And also frustrating. I remember picking him to beat Mendes and he lost. I picked him to beat Lamas and he lost. I picked him to lose to Roop and he won. I picked him to lose to Pearson and he won. And now I picked him to lose to Oliveira and he won. Do I have to pick him for him to lose again?
Similarly, I picked Oliveria to beat Jim Miller and he lost, picked him to lose to the White African Space Christ and he won, and now picked him to beat Swanson and he lost. What the actual fuck?
I don't know what happened to Oliveira out there. The fight looked like it was going to be easy pickings for the Brazilian at first with a quick takedown. But the squirmy Swanson got up again and then threw a few winging Leonard Garcia punches that hurt Oliveira badly.
The first brutal punch landed to the crap factory of Oliveira, where he made a face like he was about to drop a load right onto the mat there and then, following up by a right hook to the chin that broke the Brazilian's spirit like a fat kid at vegan summer camp.
The 22-year-old Oliveira was supposed to be the next generation of elite all-arounder, while the 30-year-old Swanson was relegated back to his usual form of inconsistency. But he didn't stick to the script. And suddenly you've got a guy with three knockouts in three fights, which at 145 is practically a miracle.
Prediction: Hamill via TKO in round 2
Result: Hamill via decision
Worst fight of the night? I think so. Good old plodding Hamill plodded around the cage, chasing the juice monkey Canadian fighter, who looked like he was scared to be in the cage the entire night. His arms were so bloated and presumably juiced with steroids he could barely lift them except to cower in terror as Hamill dropped limp girl slaps to the side of his head.
Hamill may have set a record for significant strikes in a fight but if those are significant strikes then Jake Shields is Mike Tyson. The two fighters seemed to gas early in the second round and spent the next 10 minutes waddling around the cage throwing leather that wouldn't squash a mosquito.
As for Hollett, cut that fat fuck. Now. Dude was primo Canadian garbage, and spent most of the first round cowering in a corner and going to a happy place in his mind. Somewhere in the world last night Benji Radach was watching the fight and going, "hey, that's my technique!"
Frankly, if I'm a referee and you cower like a coward for more than 10 seconds I'm stopping the fight. Exploiting the back of the head rule so you can take a two minute break on all fours is not why the fucking rule was invented.
Prediction: Bisping via decision
Result: Bisping via decision
This one went exactly as expected, although there was a little more brawling than I thought there'd be. Stann stole the first round by rocking Bisping late, but then the Brit settled down and used his wrestling to dump the American fighter numerous times on his back.
It was a close fight and a pretty good scrap but Bisping used intelligent fighting to pick his punches, get crucial takedowns, and circle away from the power hand of Stann. The wrestling advantage of Bisping is something we don't often see, though we got a glimpse of it during the Sonnen and Miller fights. It's something I think he should be utilizing more.
I've got nothing bad to say about Stann. He fought to his full potential there, but he's just a tick below the level of Bisping and can't compete in the grappling department.
Prediction: Benavidez by decision
Result: Johnson by decision
I have to admit, I never gave Johnson his due. I felt like McCall beat him in their first fight and so I've never really gotten on the bandwagon. Nor did I think he had any chance at all against Benavidez. Boy, was I wrong.
Johnson was at least two steps ahead of Benavidez all night long. When a guy can make Benavidez seem slow you know he's frikkin quick. Johnson was able to step in, hit Benavidez in the face, and step out, all in the time it took the other fighter to take a punch that would go two feet wide.
He not only dominated him on the feet, he suplexed him, took him down at will, controlled him every single time in the clinch. I compared Johnson to trying to get a cat to sit on your lap when it doesn't want to. The guy was impossible to hold down.
Great job by Mighty Mouse.
By the way, the judge who handed the fight to Benavidez needs to seek drug and alcohol counselling.
Jon Jones (C) versus Vitor Belfort (A)
Prediction: Jones via TKO in round 1
Result: Jones via submission in round 4
Well, I think last night said it all about Jones. The man done growed up and he's too big for 205 anymore. My guess is he was too tired and dehydrated from trying to fit 240 pounds of muscle into 205 pounds of frame for the weigh-in. The man needs to man up and move to 265 now. There's no other way.
Either that, or he just had a really, really, really bad night. The fight was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be over quickly. It was supposed to be a mismatch. Instead, Vitor nearly broke Jones' arm in the first, and if it weren't for Jones' massive ego he probably would've done the sensible thing and tapped out.
Jones looked slow out there. He looked weak. He looked nothing like he did against other elite opponents in the past. Perhaps he looked past Belfort. Perhaps he stopped training after Dan Henderson got injured and took it easy in his second training camp. Perhaps he just didn't feel like fighting last night.
But Jones did nothing Jones usually does, except try and injure Belfort with kicks to the kneecaps. He didn't display that brutally strong Greco-Roman wrestling he did against Stephan Bonnar. He didn't display vicious Muay Thai knees like he did against Mauricio Rua. He didn't batter Belfort at range with the consistency he did against Rampage Jackson or Rashad Evans.
It's time Jones moved up to the next challenge. If he fights like that again against an elite fighter, and not some bloated up middleweight, he's going to get knocked out or armbarred.
As for Belfort, outstanding job. After nearly scoring the submission in the first round, the rest was really gravy. He was supposed to lose in the first place, so hurting Jones that badly is more than anybody in the entire career of Jones has managed to do. And the post-fight interview really said it all, with Jones wincing and cradling his arm like a newborn baby. We all know Belfort came out the champ in this fight.
Well, that's another UFC event in the books. What did you guys think? Drop your knowledge in the comments.