I re-watched UFC 73 last night and would like to share with you the follwing observations:
1) I'm still sour that the UFC did not televise Frankie Edgar's first-round TKO win over Mark Bocek. They could have shown it. There was plenty of time after the Florian-Robinson beating. Either way, I'm ready for Frankie Edgar vs. Roger Huerta.
2) Sean Sherk dominated Hermes Franca. There are really no two ways around it, but I think that finishing Franca would have sent a scary message to the rest of the division. After a while, Sherk's complete control became a bit predictable. Still, I am in awe of how he absolutely suffocated and manhandled a very tough opponent in Franca.
3) The Ortiz-Evans draw was better the second time around. I was impressed with Tito's aggression (especially the head kicks) and found Rashad's boxing to be underwhelming. Tito definitely doesn't like to get punched, and I feel that Rashad could have let his hands go in combinations.
For me, the best part of the fight was the clinch work against the cage when both fighters were working for position. I could see how it may bore some of you who aren't that into wrestling, but I really enjoyed it and appreciated how Tito looked to land some nasty elbows as the action broke from the fence. Nonetheless, I'm not dying to see the rematch, but I might be warming up to it a bit.
4) I love how Kenny Florian reminded the fans - and the rest of the 155-lb. division - that he finishes fights! Kenny looked excellent against a very powerful, very aggressive Alvin Robinson.
5) I thought that Nate Marquardt fought well, charging in immediately, grabbing Anderson Silva's leg and taking him down, and later taking a very heavy shot, only to drop down and go for another takedown. As for Silva, he looked phenomenal. Poised, confident, and almost surgical in his punches. I think that a rematch with Rich Franklin will once again go to Silva, and I think I'd rather see Franklin fight Marquardt. I see Marquardt taking Franklin down and beating him up on the ground.
6) Heath Herring is a guy I definitely hope to see more of. He landed some big shots, took some big shots, and showed tremendous skill on the ground against Nogueira.
As for that Round 1 head kick from Herring, I have no problem with referee Yves Levigne not stopping the fight. Nog looked dazed but didn't seem completely out of it (maybe just 90% out of it). Herring needed to have pounced with only seconds left in the round but instead waited for Levigne to stand Nog up, which he did -- eventually. I can understand Herring's hesitation to get into Nog's comfort zone on the ground, but that was ultimately his best opportunity all night.
Overall, I thought both fighters showed a lot of heart; Herring fought like a bastard against a more skilled opponent who's beaten him twice already, and Big Nog pressed on to win the fight after a head kick that would have put most men down for the night.
7) I would like to have seen the Bonnar/Nickels and Lytle/Gilliard fights, which were stopped in the very first round. The UFC should at least show highlight clips from the undercard fights, especially when they ended as quickly as these two did. Maybe next time.
8) It was very cool to see WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber in the crowd. My bet is that most fans had no idea who he was.
9) Mike Goldberg was OK. Nothing too stupid.
10) I'm sorry, but Bruce Buffer is insufferable. I don't care who his brother is, the UFC needs to jettison this dead wood. Even his suits sound terrible.