UFC 163 went down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last night (Sat., Aug. 3, 2013), featuring two highly anticipated matches with Featherweight champion Jose Aldo against a ring rusty "Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung, while former Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida battled Phil Davis.
Unfortunately for fight fans, however, neither match could live up to the hype, with the main event ending because of an injury and the co-main event ending in a controversial decision.
Nevertheless, it's good to be in Brazil. If there's one thing that can be guaranteed in the land of Shooto boxing and bodacious booty, it's a bevy of highly entertaining finishes. Much like the previous Brazil card, UFC on Fuel TV: Nogueira vs. Werdum (which resulted in 10 finishes in 12 fights), there were seven fights decided by bone-jarring, bloody goodness.
Not a bad consolation for a card that was plagued with injuries that removed Anthony Pettis in the title fight, Josh Koscheck versus Demian Maia, Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard Robert Drysdale, scrappy Flyweight Phil Harris, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 alum Clint Hester, and even the hyper Joe Rogan, who was replaced by the very able and newly retired Brian Stann.
(Although he killed it in the color commentary, Stann needs to work on his post-fight interviews and not grip the flyweights by the shoulder to make them look like halflings from Lord of the Rings.)
UFC 163 Overall Report Card: Given the lack of names on the card and only fight that had any real meaningful fight implications whatsoever, I'd have to say this scores a B-, which isn't bad comprised many TUF: "Brazil" veterans on the pay-per-view (PPV) portion.
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There's not much to write about this fight. Bristol Marunde stepped into the Octagon on a two-fighting losing streak and didn't do a single thing to change that as he ate canvas less than two minutes into the first round. In fact, The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 competitor didn't land a single strike on his opponent, fellow reality TV series fighter Viscardi Andrade, who got an early left-right knockdown combination.
Marunde hit the floor and tried to recover while Andrade worked a front head lock. He let it go and clipped Marunde again as he tried to get up. The referee jumped in shortly after that. This can't be anything but an embarrassment for Marunde, who dropped to an abysmal 12-9 in his professional MMA record and third in a row under parent company Zuffa.
Andrade, meanwhile, is an interesting 29-year-old prospect who is technically on a seven-fight winning streak. He lost to William Macario via technical knockout in the third round of the quarter finals of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 2, but is extremely well-rounded and despite stopping Marunde is known for having a technical ground game as well.
Winner: Beating Bristol Marunde, even by early stoppage, isn't exactly like winning the gold medal at the Olympics. Taking it slow makes sense. An opponent like Ryan Laflare (8-0), who also has one win in the Octagon, would work.
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There's a saying in fighting: you can't teach power. Well here's another saying, you can't teach stupid. Ednaldo Oliveira has the fight IQ of a matchbox, and he showed it last night by dropping his first fight at 205 pounds to promotional newcomer Francimar Barroso in a slippery and sloppy affair.
Oliveira is coming off a first round submission loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 142 that ended his 15 fight unbeaten streak against a number of Brazilian tomato cans. Dropping weight didn't help him realize that his six-foot-five-inch frame and 79.5-inch reach might be more effective by kicking the smaller fighter at range.
Barroso came out throwing two head kicks at Oliveira, which was cute in a Matt Serra midget sort of way, but struggled early getting inside. Luckily for him, Oliveira chased him around the cage whiffing at air, not cutting him off against the cage, and not throwing leg kicks. Barroso made ample use of leg kicks, however, which slowed the giant down considerably.
In the second round, Oliveira dropped Barroso and began some brutal ground and pound with his reach. Just as it seemed like Barroso might go out, Oliveira stood up and walked away. If you were like me, you looked over at your wife or girlfriend in disbelief (she rolled her eyes back at you). Barroso then won back the round, and the third as well, despite running out of gas in the end.
Winner: What a cheeky little monkey, coming in and beating Oliveira in the standup where he was supposed to dominate. But before anybody gets excited, let's remember it's probably safe to assume that if there's a threshold to the UFC door, Barroso has only put his big toe inside. He'll need to fight an established 205er before he's to be taken seriously at all.
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On the list of things that impress me, eating 50 boiled eggs in an hour, six saltine crackers in 60 seconds, or 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes are all included. Rani Yahya is not on that list. The Brazilian fighter came into the match on a two fight winning streak and was facing a man with one fight since 2009 and he put forward a lackluster performance that could accurately be described as lazy.
Yahya's sole game plan last night seemed to be hunting for legs and avoiding any sort of complications whatsoever. In the first round he shot in for a takedown and when he couldn't get it he pulled guard to a leg lock which led to a sweep into top control. But despite taking the mount position with a minute left, he did nothing to attempt to finish the fight.
In the second it was more of the same but he got the mount with a full three minutes left in the round. Nothing doing. Yahya held position in a "Safe Pierre" stance for the rest of the round. When he came out in the third he clearly decided to coast to the judges.
Clearly more tired than the guy with two years of ring rust, Yahya bailed on a single leg and got reversed by Clopton. After losing most of the round he finally scored a takedown and held Clopton... and hugged him and pet him and squeezed him and named him George.
Winner: It's hard to reward a performance like that. So there's no need to. He should fight somebody beneath him like Rodrigo Damm.
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Flyweight : Ian McCall (B) vs. Illiarde Santos (B-)
Prediction: McCall via decision
Result: McCall via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
This was a great little scrap for the little guys. McCall came out aggressively landing combinations and staggered Santos against the cage, making it look like it would be a short night. But Santos worked for a single leg and pulled guard. McCall started going savage with classic donkey kong ground and pound as both guys went hard for the full round.
In the second McCall found more success jumping in and out and outboxing Santos with technical footwork until he became lured into a brawl and got clipped a few times, losing the exchanges. A takedown by Santos with a minute left made the round close but still went to Creepy.
But in the third round, McCall got back into a rhythm, except this time counterpunching and escaping Santos who pursued him along the cage. It was a strange role reversal to see Santos pour on the pressure late as McCall faded. Still, it was good for the number-3 ranked flyweight to get back into the win column.
Winner: Speaking of winning, it looks like McCall's only fight right now is with John Lineker, who also won last night. With the lack of depth in the 125-pound division, it's to be hoped guys like Illiarde won't be cut and more fighters from bantamweight will drop down and beef up the ranks.
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To say a lot of people slept on this two-time world Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion would be an understatement. After dropping from 185 pounds and defeating fellow TUF Brazil competitor Renee Forte via rear naked choke, Moraes was facing Neil Magny (8-1) who owned but a single win over a guy anybody's heard of. And the only reason anybody had heard of Jon Manley is that he competed with Magny in the same TUF season.
After a few exchanges on the feet, Moraes got a body lock on the skinny Magny and a beautiful outside trip. He jumped to side control and then into mount effortlessly, before working his feet up for a mounted triangle. Magny tried to roll away but it was too late.
Moraes landed brutal elbows to the head as Magny bucked and squirmed like a fish on a hook before tapping Sergio on the leg and surrendering the fight. Magny didn't look too happy about it during the announcement either.
Winner: I'd be curious to see TUF: "Brazil 2" winner Leonardo Santos against Sergio.
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Wow, talk about pillow fisted fury! Sheila's got the right surname for her fighting style. Her gaffe-prone performance led to a quick finish for Brazilian Amanda Nunes, who repelled an early submission attack to smash the German against the cage.
The two clashed the center of the Octagon and Gaff grabbed the back of Nunes quickly. Although she slid off once, she regained back control and for a second it looked like she might have something. And then she just fell off. Just. Like. That. (As Mike Goldberg would say).
Nunes then scored an easy takedown and it seemed the fight had all slipped out of Gaff's body, because she mounted her like a toy pony and smashed away at her until the referee had seen enough. Not a pretty performance, and her second loss by strikes (in women's MMA!) in the first round.
Winner: Germaine de Randamie? I don't know, there are like eight women in the whole division, it's not that difficult.
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Light Heavyweight : Anthony Perosh (A+) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (F)
Prediction: Magalhaes via submission in round two
Result: Perosh via knockout (punches) at 0:14 of round one
Once upon a time there was a jiu-jitsu guy who thought he was a striker. He got knocked out in 14 seconds. The end.
Well, not exactly the end. But I thought Cesar Gracie kind of set the bar for grapplers running into a straight right and falling down unconscious. There's really not much more to say about it than that. This sentence is longer than the fight lasted on the screen.
Magalhaes was so disgusted with his effort he ripped his gloves off and left them in the cage. I guess he knows he's getting cut.
Winner: Well, I guess 40-year-olds can win without TRT. Who knew? If going out on a high note and retiring isn't an option, how about Matt Hamill?
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Flyweight : John Lineker (B+) vs. Jose Tome (B)
Prediction: Tome via technical knockout in round three
Result: Lineker via technical knockout (punches) at 1:03 of round two
This was a great fight until something weird happened to Tome. The fight started out strange as well, with the usually prolific pugilist John Lineker patiently stalking Tome around the cage. Lineker was timing Tome's leg kicks perfectly to land counter strikes and dropped his opponent early.
But, Tome recovered and landed a spinning back fist that put Lineker in all kinds of trouble. He rocked Lineker at least three times after that but wasn't able to finish and by the end of the first round he seemed fully recovered.
The second seemed to be more for Lineker, who landed at will. But the finish was hard to understand. Tome seemed to buckle his knees before Lineker landed a punch to the shoulder. Tome crumpled to the ground and covered up. A complete mystery of a stoppage. I'd like to see Jose Tome again at some point because he was exciting to watch.
Winner: Ian McCall.
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Middleweight : Thales Leites (A) vs. Tom Watson (B-)
Prediction: Watson via decision
Result: Leites via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Wow! What a return to the Octagon for Leites after a four-year exile. I may be alone in this belief, but I thought it was easily "Fight of the Night." Leites came out of the gates like a freight train, wading in and landing heavy shots on the striker before clinching against the cage. Getting a body lock from behind, he dragged Watson to the mat in the first 30 seconds.
Leites then proceeded to land heavy leather from behind in the form of hammerfists as he worked rearnaked choke attempts. Unbelievably, Watson escaped with a minute left in the round, but continued to get outstruck on the feet. The second was no better for Watson, who didn't seem to bring his takedown defense to the fight. Leites waded in again and hurt Watson with brutal strikes. Watson tried to pull the Thai plum and was rewarded by being taken down into the fastest side control and mount I've ever seen. Watson tried to get up but was dragged down again and fought off a very tight armbar.
Although Leites seemed to fade at the end of the second by getting tagged a few times, a rest on the stool seemed to help and he came out strong in the third, hematoma and all. Leites waded in with a brutal uppercut that cut Watson on the forehead, finally scoring the takedown and mount. A near arm triangle finish capped off the beatdown of the night.
Winner: Leites once fought for the title and there's no reason he should have to wallow at the back of the pack again. I think Tim Kennedy would be an obvious choice, who shrugged off Roger Gracie's jiu-jitsu easily. Alternately, Francis Carmont would be a Top 15-ranked guy.
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Ok, look, Thiago Santos was overmatched. Fighting the TUF: "Brazil" winner at a heavier weight class than he usually competes at, Santos didn't exactly fare well in his own TUF: "Brazil 2" series, losing his first fight to William Macario. But, in a wild card fight he defeated Pedro Irie before losing to the ultimate series winner in the quarterfinals, which means he basically went 2-2 against guys not good enough to fight on the first season.
But, even having said all that, I don't think anybody thought Santos was going to lose in the first 45 seconds and land zero strikes. Ferreira rocked him immediately with an overhand left followed by a head kick that led to a rolling guillotine that he locked in like a vice grip.
I honestly think that Mario Yamasaki may have saved his first life last night. Ferreira, whose nickname in Portuguese means "Mutant," looked like he was going to squeeze him until he died.
Winner: Personally, I'd like to see him fight Daniel Sarafian as he was meant to do at the end of TUF: "Brazil." But, that might just be me. Alternately, he could crush Josh Samman's hopes and dreams.
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Light Heavyweight : Phil Davis (C+) vs. Lyoto Machida (F)
Prediction: Machida via decision
Result: Davis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Here comes a rant. First of all, no, I'm not upset at the scorecards. I scored it the same way. Second, this is all Lyoto Machida's fault. All of it. Hey, remember when Machida entered the UFC and started winning all his fights? No? Well, I do.
He won three boring fights and then submitted Sokoudjou. Back then nobody really saw guys unless they were on the PPV, so by the time we got to see him fight Tito Ortiz (and almost get submitted late), knockout Thiago Silva and give Rashad Evans the most brutal beating in his life, everybody thought it was the "Dragon Era."
But, boring old Machida never changed. Boring Machida did nothing for five rounds against Shogun and thought he won (although he lost). Then he did got knocked out in the rubber match. He thought he did enough against Quinton Jackson. He didn't.
Now and then, Machida fights a guy who plays into his strengths. Slow, old Randy Couture met a flying front kick. Ryan Bader ran into his fist. But, when he meets technically sound guys who don't really mount anything crazy he's pretty boring to watch. Hence the Dan Henderson and the Davis debacles.
The way I saw the fight was a close first round in which Davis outlanded Machida and worked a kimura to end the round. 10-9 Davis. Then I saw Davis get more active in the second round, while getting stuffed on takedowns quite a lot. A late takedown with knees to the ribs convinced me Davis was up 20-18. I guess you could score it either way. The third was Machida's.
Look: This was a typical Machida fight. A whole lot of nothing happens all round and then you're supposed to score it for someone. Well, I scored it for Davis. He tried harder. If Machida wants to start winning, maybe he should try doing that single rush he did in the first round. He may even *gasp* win some fans back. As of right now, Machida has become the Jon Fitch of the 205-pound division on the feet.
Winner: Let's face it, Davis wasn't "Mr. Wonderful" out there. The guy is still too tentative on the feet. But, I could be convinced to see him fight Gegard Mousasi. If Keith Jardine could get him down, Davis will have a field day.
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Featherweight Championship : Jose Aldo (B-) vs. Chan Sung Jung (C)
Prediction: Aldo via technical knockout in round two
Result: Aldo via technical knockout (injury) at 2:00 of round four
Well, that was unexpected. Nothing in this fight went as anyone planned. "Korean Zombie," who was chosen for a title fight for his tenacity on the feet and unpredictable nature, didn't show up last night. In his place was a guy who was standing still, watching Aldo for most of the fight. Sure, he landed flying knees and had a few flurries. But, it was a far cry from his performances that gained him the title shot in the first place.
If that was weird, Aldo going full wrestler on "Korean Zombie" was even weirder. Aldo landed five takedowns with two passes and spent a lot of time against the cage wall and stalling. Some speculated it was a bad weight cut. Some said he's just losing it in general.
Regardless, Aldo just defeated his sixteenth consecutive opponent and made his seventh straight title defense. I don't think we need to go criticizing his every move, especially considering the fact he was up 3-0 on the scorecards when "Korean Zombie" popped his shoulder out of his socket.
"Korean Zombie" just wasn't there last night. In 17 minutes, the South Korean landed 17 "significant strikes," which is basically one flurry every minute. The rest of the time was spent staring at Aldo inexplicably waiting for something to happen. It never did. Aldo landed beautiful combinations early, settling into a nice groove in the second round, before going into wrestling mode in the third and fourth rounds. Much like Machida, "Korean Zombie" has nobody but himself to blame for the squandered opportunity.
Winner: I'd like to see Cub Swanson get the next title shot. He deserves it despite losing to Ricardo Lamas before his current run. Alternately, Frankie Edgar can fight Swanson and the winner can fight the Chad Mendes versus Clay Guida winner for a shot at Aldo. During that time Aldo can fight Lamas.