Sunday, August 26, 2007
UFC 74 Wrap-Up
What a great night.
Clay Guida def. Marcus Aurelio via split decision - One of many fights on this card that I correctly predicted. As expected, Guida was too athletic, too aggressive for a waning Maximus Aurelio.
Thales Leites submitted Ryan Jensen via arm bar at 3:47 of Round 1 - Jensen fought well early on, aggressively and calmly throwing punches and kicks and pressing the action, but Leites' submission skills prevailed once again, as Jensen rolled into a picture-perfect arm bar from Leites, who picked up his third UFC win in as many bouts. The high point of this fight came when Leites came out to a Bob Marley "Get Up, Stand UP" remix. Smooth.
Frank Mir submitted Antoni Hardonk via kimura at 1:17 of Round 1 - Mir scored the early takedown and displayed some his submission prowess against an overmatched Hardonk. I called this one, as well.
Renato Sobral submitted David Heath via anaconda choke at 3:30 of Round 3 - Babalu caused quite a stir when he held onto the choke well after Heath tapped. And he later admitted to it! More on this fight later on...
Patrick Cote TKO Kendall Grove at 4:45 of Round 1 - Both fighters jockeyed for position and landed some good strikes in a Greco-Roman clinch against the cage for most of the first round. But it was Cote who, after losing hold of a leg as he went for a takedown, landed a big overhand right to the side of Grove's noggin that dropped Grove. Cote pounced, secured a rear naked choke from which Grove somehow escaped, mounted Grove and pounded him out fir the stoppage win late in the round. I picked Grove to win this, but Cote was the better man last night and deserved the win.
Joe Stevenson def. Kurt Pellegrino via unanimous decision - This was a great fight: technical, hotly-contested, and exciting. Just as I called, Pellegrino shot in for a takedown and was almost caught in a Joe Daddy guillotine! Pellegrino opened plenty of fans' eyes with his excellent grappling, strong takedowns and crisp punching. Unfortunately, Joe Daddy was just a little better at all of them and outlasted the Team Armory leader for the win. Joe Daddy really turned things up in the final round, where he maintained dominant position and landed some vicious punches from above. Joe Daddy was in great shape and pulled out a big win over a very tough opponent in Pellegrino. In the post-fight interview, an obviously excited Stevenson seemed to have lost command of the English language altogether. I had no idea what he was saying. Nonetheless, this win was a big step for Joe in becoming the top lightweight contender.
Roger Huerta TKO Alberto Crane at 1:50 of Round 3 - Huerta is an excellent athlete: fast, powerful, indefatigable. I had Crane pulling off the upset, but his top-notch Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills weren't enough. Huerta displayed excellent submission defense all night and absolutely punished Crane with strikes from just about every position. At one point, Huerta even used the big screen to land elbows while Crane controlled Huerta's back. To Crane's credit, he displayed some outstanding sweeps and transitions, but this was unfortunately not a grappling match. Huerta didn't even look tired after the fight - probably because he wasn't. I was certainly impressed by Huerta, but I'd still like to see him fight tougher competition.
Georges St. Pierre def. Josh Koscheck via unanimous decision - I said that GSP would steamroll Koscheck, and he did. As expected, GSP outstruck the shcmucky Koscheck and seemed to have no problem putting the decorated wrestler down. Koscheck, on the other hand, managed only one takedown against GSP, and his punches were wild and ineffective. Koscheck had no answer from his back and was completely outclassed on the ground and on his feet by the young Canadian. Remember when I said not to be surprised by GSP surprisingly good wrestling?
Randy Couture TKO Gabriel Gonzaga at 1:37 of Round 3 - Soon enough, people will learn not to bet against Couture, who only seems to be getting better. Couture and Gonzaga wasted no time letting their hands go, and Couture roused the crowd with a dramatic takedown that ultimately busted Gonzaga's nose. Couture worked masterfully from the clinch, landing big uppercuts to a bloodied, rattled Gonzaga. Couture continued to score with punches and takedowns in the second round. Gonzaga, still bloodied and obviously distracted by the busted nose, saw his best chance at victory come in Round 3, when he landed a crushing head kick to Couture. Instead of crumbling to the ground like Cro Cop did, Couture smiled, walked through the kick, took Gonzaga down, mounted him, and teed off on the bloody Brazilian, prompting Herb Dean to stop the fight. Randy Couture is the perfect man.