Sunday, September 9, 2007

UFC 75: Put It in the Books

Dan Henderson vs. Rampage Jackson – Was it me or was the Pride belt no where to be seen? Considering that this fight was a unification bout, I foolishly expected to see both belts, but what do I know.

I gave the first round to Dangerous Dan. He controlled Rampage on the ground and against the cage, and he landed some big shots. Henderson scored a takedown early in the second, but Rampage made his way back up to is feet, took down Henderson, held him down, and stayed busy from side control. I gave a close Round 2 to Rampage.

The third round was also very close. Rampage got the early takedown and fired off some mean punches (none of which seemed to have done any real damage) in the final seconds. Henderson, meanwhile, worked some good ground-and-pound after nearly securing a kimura.

Rampage dropped Henderson early in the fourth and put some elbows into Henderson's ribs after the two were stood up by Big John. On their feet, Rampage seemed to be the fresher, stronger guy. The final round saw some good stand-up action, with Jackson getting the better of the exchanges. Henderson managed a takedown but did little damage before Rampage popped back up, connected with two big knees, took down Henderson, and fired off some more shots as the final bell sounded. Rampage took the unanimous decision.

I was especially impressed with Rampage's conditioning, his submission defense, and how he managed to to keep Henderson down. Henderson looked good too and would look even better at 185.

Matt Hamill vs. Michael Bisping – Matt Hamill just learned that shit happens when you fight an English guy in England. Hammill completely bullied the hometown product in the first round, but Bisping later came on and landed some good shots.

In my eyes, Bisping looked hesitant to engage, while Hamill, who had little problem taking Bisping down, seemed more willing to let his hands go. I don’t like the decision, and I give credit to Hamill for his graciousness after the fight.
As for Bisping, I agree with Joe Rogan that "The Count" could be a terror at middleweight.

Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic vs. Cheik Kongo – Cro Cop once again came out to Duran Duran and once again looked listless. Great first round. Mirko looked strong on the ground against Kongo, who was clearly out of his element.

Cro Cop came out attacking in the second, but Kongo scored an early takedown and landed some big knees to the body later in the round. Kongo beat up Cro Cop some more in the third and was awarded the unanimous decision win. The UFC heavyweight stable is looking good, and Kongo’s impressive showing certainly gives UFC matchmaker Joe Silva something to work with.

Cro Cop, however, needs to get some shit together. He did have moments when he looked good, but I don’t think that UFC heavyweights are as scared of him and his dreaded left head kick as previous opponents have been. He also didn’t seem so bad as he made his way down to the cage. Somewhere in Manchester, England, Dana White is cursing like he’s never cursed before.

Paul Taylor vs. Marcus Davis – Paul Taylor landed a huge head kick in the first round that dropped Davis, who fought back after taking a pounding, punished Taylor with some nasty ground-and-pound, and tapped him with an arm bar. Taylor fought very well in defeat, and Davis may have catapulted himself to the upper echelon of 170-pound fighters. I'd love to see him step up and meet stiffer competition in his next fight.

Houston Alexander vs. Alessio Sakara – Alexander hits hard! Big knee, big shots on the ground, big win. What I like most about this fight is that Alexander went a long way in establishing himself as a legitimate light heavyweight threat. Nebraska is in the building, bitches.

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