Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Australia last night (Dec. 6, 2013) with UFC Fight Night 33 live from the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. It was a card that fell in between bigger fight weeks, so for the most part, it really didn't receive much attention in the lead up.
That was a mistake as it was by far one of the most memorable free cards in UFC history. The main event between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva exceeded all expectations, as the two heavyweights stood toe to toe and exchanged punches for the full five rounds.
It was one of those nights that you'll look back on as one of the best examples of why we love fighting. So without wasting anymore time, let's talk about last night.
The best heavyweight fight of all time? The best heavyweight fight of all time.
People love heavyweights. In boxing, it's historically been the "money" division. When you ask anyone about heavyweights, they picture greats such as Muhammed Ali or Mike Tyson, two of the best boxers of all time. The division is very much synonymous with greatness.
In mixed martial arts (MMA), the heavyweight division has been a bit of a disappointment. While there have been great fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, the average fan has images of Soa Palelei vs. Nikita Krylov running through their head.
The reality is that while heavyweights usually come to bang, those bouts turn into sloppy stand up affairs where one man falls from a combination of punching power and exhaustion. It's understandable, it takes a lot of energy to keep those enormous bodies moving and the longer a fight goes, the quicker they will fade.
The bout between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva had me on the edge of my couch. It was poetic violence, neither man willing to give up an inch or give up. It was the kind of fight that makes you realize why you're a fan of the sport.
It seems like we've been getting that kind of feeling a lot lately. Any other year and this is a shoe-in for "Fight of the Year" honors. This year? This year there's so much competition that it may not even get the nomination. Even if it's not recognized officially, know that was the best heavyweight bout in UFC history.
Everyone wins! Except for the fighters, they tied...
Alright, I know that this is going to be beaten to death but honestly, last night's fight was amazing. There was literally no loser as the bout went to a draw and there's no way anyone could complain about the action that took place inside the Octagon.
Even though it was great, I personally don't want to see a rematch. Last night was special and there's no way they could possibly put that kind of performance on again a second time. Instead, let's just be super happy we got to see it once. If you have a DVR, watch it over and over again.
I'm glad Dana White gave both fighters their win bonus because they deserved it. And to think, the UFC tried to buy Mark Hunt out of his contract after the purchase of PRIDE. Thankfully, that didn't happen.
"Shogun" isn't back, he just had a good night...
Alright, so I know you guys are gonna call me a "hater" for saying that Mauricio Rua's performance against James Te Huna isn't indicative that he's still "got it" as a fighter. I expect those comments and the truth is, I don't actually care that you feel that way.
People will argue that "Shogun" is one of the all-time greats. Or at least he is in the light heavyweight division. My opinion is that his UFC career has been pretty disappointing. When the UFC bought PRIDE, Rua was expected to come in and carry the light heavyweight division.
Instead, he's lost to fighters that he should have beaten and in his wins, he really hasn't been all that impressive. There was talk before the fight that a loss would mean he could possible retire. Honestly, I'd rather see that than him attempt to recreate any sort of magic.
- After watching the fight between Ryan Bader and Anthony Perosh, there needs to be a "mercy rule" in MMA. I was legitimately uncomfortable as Bader continued to assault Perosh in the third round. Bader had to be wondering what he had to do to get a stoppage. Perosh had to be wondering what did wrong to deserve such a beating. That's 100% on the referee and damn them for putting a fighter's health in jeopardy.
- Speaking of terrible refereeing, when Soa Palelei knocked Pat Barry senseless, the referee didn't make any attempt to keep Barry on the mat to get inspected by the ringside physician. Because of this, Barry stood up and then face planted because he was still incredibly punchy.
- Greg Jackson's cornering during Julie Kedzie's bout with Bethe Correia was amazing. There were times when Jon Anik and Kenny Florian seemed to go silent just so we could hear what he was yelling. And when he kept saying "JUST KIDDING! JUST KIDDING!"? I was dying.
- Nam Phan shouldn't be in the UFC at this point. While the bout with Mizugaki went the distance, it was pretty clear that Phan was thoroughly outclassed by a way better fighter. I don't expect to hear Phan got released because he has a fan friendly style, but that he's in the promotion and a guy like Askren is being told to fight in World Series of Fighting is insane.
- Man, Ben Wall got blasted last night. Alex Garcia is definitely for real. This is why fighters should worry about the fight and not some goofyass walkout. Seriously, I felt like I was on a weird acid trip.
- Matt Roth Pro Tip for fighters: Stop dying your hair like an asshole. You look ridiculous.
- This show was everything that the Ultimate Fighter 18 finale was not. The pacing was still pretty rough but the fights were at least exciting. It probably also helps that there was at least some recognizable fighters on a card instead of a bunch of people no one has heard of.
- The refereeing and judging on the night was awful. If only there was a way to ensure that everyone judged the same way and all referees were actually competent at their jobs. But that's impossible, so why even bother trying to hope for it?