When most guys promise to bring violence to their fights you think of it as hype to sell tickets. But, when Carlos promises to bring violence you better believe somebody is getting destroyed (except when he fought Nick Diaz ... let's just pretend that didn't happen, what fight, I don't remember a fight, lalalalalala, I can't hear you).
Thiago Alves was the unfortunate recipient of that violence at UFC Fight Night 67 last night (Sat., May 30, 2015), getting his nose pushed up into his skull via a brutal elbow from "Natural Born Killer" in the second round (watch video highlights here).
More on that fight shortly.
At any rate, this card in Goiania, Brazil, was a "Who's Who" in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). As in, who the heck are these guys? Without a Wikipedia entry for seven of the 24 fighters on the docket, this was flip-a-coin fight picking at its "Just Bleed" finest. And with more than half the fights going to violent conclusions, I don't think too many fans were concerned, either.
Especially when the main event delivered such satisfaction for the aforementioned connoisseurs of sanguine mayhem.
Still, somebody has to grade the fighters' performances. And with Caesar-like authority give them the yea or nay for their right to return to the hallowed eight-sided walls of this Gladiatorial combat sport. I reluctantly agree to this job, with the stipulation I am to be fed a single plum floating in perfume, served in a man's hat.
Without further ado, let's dive into it, shall we?
When Carlos Condit returned following a 14-month layoff the main question on everybody's mind was whether his repaired right knee could withstand the brutal leg kicks from "Pitbull." That question was answered with resounding "America, hell yeah" conviction last night, as the Albuquerque, N.M., native took everything dished out and returned threefold in the form of ultra-violence.
Condit's destruction of Alves' face is the sort of thing that requires family-friendly television stations to grab the nearest deep-voiced guy to narrate a, "viewer discretion is strongly advised" prior to witnessing it. Or in layman's terms, hide yo kids, hide yo wife. It's the sort of destruction that quite frankly makes me glad I was watching in standard definition last night or else I would have agreed with the doctor's decision to stop the fight when he did (as devastatingly disappointed as I was).
That's not to say "Pitbull" was there solely to take a beating.
He landed his fair share of violence as well, except the considerable beard of NBK held up without so much as a batted eyelash. After Alves was dropped by a truly vicious punch-elbow combination, the Brazilian survived the famous ground-and-pound from Condit, returned to his feet and landed some impressive strikes of his own.
Unfortunately -- despite the sort of physical and mental toughness that has limited Alves to being stopped by strikes just once in his 31 fight career -- fans were not treated to a third round because of the fact his nose was largely missing from important parts of his face.
I don't think there's any real "loser" in a fight like this one. Both guys showed they're incredibly tough, skilled and entertaining. And both will be back to the exuberant chants of grateful fans, we hope sooner rather than later.
When UFC was selling this fight as a rematch of a "controversial" finish by Charlies Oliveira in 2011 because of an illegal knee (the fight result was overturned) I wasn't buying the wolf tickets.
In my view, Oliveira had been dominating Lentz in that fight and the illegal knee more or less saved the American from getting the inevitable loss on his record. Fast forward four years and Oliveira and Lentz are now both one weight class down and among the best in their division.
But while "The Carny" has enjoyed an impressive 4-1 record since dropping to 145 pounds, I felt "Do Bronx" was on another level completely and would utterly smash the American early and often.
Turns out the wolf tickets were real.
Rightfully designated "Fight of the Night" by the boss, these two went balls to the wall for 11 minutes of back-and-forth action only to end in satisfying and convincing fashion. Oliveira started the fight out like one of the Diaz brothers, standing right in front of Lentz and eating shots while returning vicious knees.
It seemed like this "zero fucks given" approach was going to backfire until Do Bronx dropped his opponent and nearly finished him at the end of the first.
But, in the second round "The Carny" came raging back, using his smothering wrestling to control the elite grappler on the ground, frustrating his opponent and even landing some brutal punches of his own. Those who watched Oliveira emerge to the weigh-ins looking like Nosferatu had overslept could be forgiven for thinking the Brazilian's horrendous weight cut was coming back to haunt him.
But far from fading away, Oliveira landed a beautiful guillotine early in the third round, swept into mount and then began squeezing Lentz's beet-red head until it was either tap or neck snap. Lentz chose to live another day.
My, how the mighty have fallen.
Once considered one of the best fighters in the world at 155 pounds, it took less than three minutes for K.J. Noons to get choked out to Alex "Cowboy" Oliveira, a man who most MMA fans wouldn't recognize if they walked right into him.
Always a fighter comfortable and loose on the feet, Noons spent the early going showing a complete lack of urgency or concern for the aggression of his opponent. And even as color commentator Brian Stann was praising Noons for his takedown defense, Oliveira was ragdolling the former Lightweight to the mat.
After some sloppy ground work by Noons and a complete absence of concern about the potential for being submitted, Oliveira grabbed his back and landed the hooked. Still without an apparent care in the world, Noons relaxed for a moment to think about his options.
It was during this mental lapse that Cowboy tipped his hat in thanks, and sank in a fight-ending choke under the neck.
It wasn't exactly Cody McKenzie levels of fail, but it was pretty bad. Oliveira, meanwhile, rebounded in a big way from his disappointing loss in his UFC debut, no doubt earning himself another challenger in the near future. Or at least the next time the UFC requires a dude named Oliveira on a Brazilian card, which at the rate they visit the country shouldn't be too long at all.
I give two Fs, as in, utter failure.
To quote the great Dave Chappelle, I wish I had more hands so I could give those titties four thumbs down. This fight could easily go down as the worst fight of the year, if not the worst fight of the decade. This was basically two guys stalling against walls, ignoring referee calls for action, and a brief incident of destroying some balls.
Indeed, the flush kick to Jimmo's sack was the "move of the fight."
It's little surprise that Jimmo looked like death warmed over after coming out to the weigh-ins with a towel, but it's hard to understand how Francimar Barrosso seemed to mind meld to Jimmo's epic levels of fail. I've seen staring contests with more violence than this fight. I've seen poetry recitals with more passion. I've seen narcolepsy patients with more pep and vigor.
I mean, these guys sucked so much that there are literally no photos of their fight posted on UFC's website. They even stopped fighting and started hugging congrats with two seconds left.
The most entertaining part of the fight had to be the ref's concern that Jimmo was going to upchuck his Gatorade all over the MMA mat after Barrosso smashed his opponent in the junk. Thankfully, we didn't get to see what the Canadian ate for lunch.
But fans could be forgiven for remembering it that way.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of watching a Norman Parke fight is that you know you're in for 15 minutes of yawning. Even more frustrating is when the guy actually wins despite looking quite terrible doing it. Such would have been the case last night if the judges weren't so utterly incompetent.
But all things considered, it was nice to Trinaldo pick up the win since he was the sole entertainment in the fight.
This was an atypical fight for Trinaldo, who usually blows his wad in the first round before dying of dehydration somewhere in the second or third. Instead, Trinaldo fought a patient first round (which I felt he clearly lost due to the takedowns of Parke), which left him enough juice in the tank to wreck Parke in the second. Fans of the Brazilian would probably be grateful if he would fight every round as he did in the second.
Crisp, accurate strikes with great takedown defense and beautiful aggression.
But, as somebody said in the live thread last night, Trinaldo gonna Trinaldo. Parke came out in the third and blanketed "Massaranduba" for most of the round, making this a fairly elementary decision for the judges. But I suppose the deciders were as bored to tears with Parke as the fans, as somehow two of the three presiding decided to give Trinaldo the home cooking.
If somebody could pass me the world's smallest violin I will play Parke a sorrowful tune.
Two outta three Oliveiras aint bad.
This was a hard fight to call. Darren Till, an Englishman who doesn't quite speak English, was taking a perfect 12-0 record up against Wendell Oliveira, last seen getting knocked out by Santiago Ponzinibbio. Facing a guy with eight knockouts that didn't seem to bode well for the Brazilian, and yet Oliveira has 11 knockouts of his own so nobody quite knew what to expect.
Which could explain why this was the tightest betting line in Vegas.
The first round was more or less what you'd expect as the two were trying to feel one another out. I think Till threw about 100 kicks, none of them looking like they were going to put Oliveira away. I was ready to be colored unimpressed. But then the second round showed Till has a wrestling game, reversing an Oliveira takedown attempt and landing in the guard. And then Till showed he also has some rather finely sharpened elbows, as he took Oliveira's temple on a blind date with his left elbow.
I don't think it was a love connection.
As Brian Stann observed about "Hony" Jason Bezzerra, the kid is hot and cold. You really never who's going to show up. The one who knocked out Steven Siler in a minute, or the one who was brutally finished by Jeremy Stephens in 40 seconds? If the early going was any indication it was going to be the latter. Damon Jackson was landing the better strikes and also the better takedowns, seemingly controlling the TUF Brazil winner without effort.
And then the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills of Jason became apparent.
With Jackson seemingly in total control in Jason's guard, posturing up to rain down strikes, the Brazilian launched his legs up into the air to land an inexplicable armbar that he converted into a fatally tight triangle choke. Once caught in the web Jackson was utterly helpless, surviving mere seconds before tapping to escape the sweet sleep that was on its way.
When the strengths of two guys are cancelled out sometimes you get to see what their weaknesses are. In this case, two elite grapplers were forced to stand and bang, but this was more like stand and box at the shadows. If ever there were two guys who don't belong on the feet it's BJJ World Champion Wilson Reis and Jussier Formiga. Although Brian Stann intimated that Reis looks a lot better than he did in 2008 that's not saying a whole lot. Based on last night's fight you could out his picture next to the word "hesitation" in the dictionary.
Reis simply could not pull the trigger last night, and while Formiga was scarcely better he at least made attempts to throw and land punches.
In fact, Formiga dropped Reis once during the fight and swarmed for a finish there wasn't there. But despite getting outclassed in the early rounds, Reis never did find a sense of urgency in the third round and seemed content to coast to a decision loss. While he won the third round there was no desperate attempt for a finish or anything resembling the sort of go-for-broke attitude you'd want in a fighter who's down 2-0 on the scorecards. But while we're on the subject of uninspired fighting, Formiga didn't exactly put in a performance to write home about either. It's not enough to win a fight, you've also got to be entertaining and Formiga didn't really show anything that would promote him from the Fight Pass or Fox Sports undercards.
This is a bit of an unheralded bangfestival that was probably the best outright brawl on the card. Both guys did the proverbial "leave it all inside the octagon" over three rounds of absolute warfare. The Great Dane Dalby showed early on he's the better wrestler, taking dos Santos down and earning points with a stifling top game. But the Brazilian was game for a war, heading into round two with a far more aggressive mindset and making Dalby pay for his takedowns.
At one point in the second round you could literally hear Dalby gasping for air as he grinded Dos Santos against the cage, trying desperately to cling to every advantage he could get. The second and third round showed the Brazilian had the more complete attack, landing the harder blows and more convincing damage. But Dalby's true grit must have impressed those sitting cageside, with two judges handing him the split decision, much to the shocked and delighted surprise of the Dane. Although neither earned any UFC bonuses you'd have to think they're both going to get a return visit to the premier MMA promotion.
Anyone concerned that Mirsad Bektic might be a bit of a lay and pray artist after taking Paul Redmond and Chas Skelly to decision wins in his first two fights in the UFC, worry no more. Bektic absolutely destroyed Martins, who gets a "C" mainly for surviving as long as he did under the volume of such a brutal attack. Bektic landed vicious strikes, precision takedowns and ruthless ground and pound.
The Brazilian sustained a horrifying cut to his left eye and his face looked tenderized enough to be slapped on the grill and served with fries. The undefeated 24-year-old American Top Team Fighter was more aggressive than in his previous fights and showed improvement everywhere in his game. And although Lucas Martins isn't exactly on par with the Jose Aldos and Conor McGregors of the division he's no easy out, having been finished just once in his 17-fight career prior to last night, and that was to standup murderer Edson Barboza.
When Bruce Buffer read out a 30-25 scorecard for Juliana Lima I burst out laughing. Sure, she dominated the early rounds of the fight, but this pillowfisted ground and pound surely could not count for 10-8 for anybody with a serious mind? I mean, considering Light Heavyweight Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's five minute domination of Dan Henderson in round 5 of their epic war was scored a 10-9, I find it difficult to imagine the pitter patter of a 115-pound woman could outrank it.
Nevertheless, Lima did dominate the previously undefeated grappler for most of the first two rounds, effortlessly taking down Almeida and having her way with her. Surprisingly, Almeida seemed fairly lost on her back, and was unable to escape from bottom position despite all seven of her previous wins coming via finish and six of those via submission (where they dig up her victims, the streets of Rio?). Even more surprising, Almeida was the one who landed the better strikes in the third round, battering Lima (with pillows) until yet another takedown secured a relatively dull victory. She even got up before the end of the match and literally ran away giggling until the horn sounded.
I'm not saying Tom Breese didn't turn in an impressive UFC debut by becoming the first guy to legitimately finish the Brazilian via strikes. And I'm not saying the victory isn't valid. But I am saying, Fernando Yamasaki, dude, what the fuck? Two seconds left? You couldn't wait two more fucking seconds? You thought Dutra was going to die in an extra two seconds?
Breese and Dutra spend the better part of the first round trading strikes. Neither really landed anything impressive, and while Breese was probably winning by a slight margin, it wasn't clear yet who was the better fighter. And then with 10 seconds remaining Dutra seemed to relax and Breese landed a shot that dropped him to the canvas. Breese pounced for the finish, but Dutra rolled into a kneeling position and covered up to wait out the round, probably realizing there was seconds left (the snap-snap-snap had sounded). Then Yamasaki inexplicably jumped in like a mother hen with her baby.
The frustrating thing is that Benji Radach spent the better part of three rounds turtled up in the exact same position against Ovince St-Preux in their 2010 Strikeforce fight. So, I don't quite understand the consistency here. If a guy is turtled up to block strikes and preventing the other guy from landing any more damage, is he NOT intelligently defending himself? With two fucking seconds left was he supposed to try and stand up and take undefended shots in a pointless attempt to move? It doesn't make any sense that he would do that. And neither did this worthless stoppage.
That's a wrap, folks.
See you guys next weekend for UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson. You can, of course, follow all the live action right here on MMAmania.com.