UFC 104: Are you upset about something?

It’s Sunday morning, and the hotel room we’re staying is a stone’s throw from LAX. Aimee is still sleeping, and I’m still taking in the experience we had last night. I have to say thanks again to Dana White (@danawhiteufc) for giving me and about 3300 others free tickets to UFC 104 last night. He is obviously being very aggressive in marketing his product, and I’m way too happy as a fan that I got to go.

Most of the fights were very good. At times, fans would boo when action was not moving fast enough, a product of the “I want it now!” fan that the UFC has helped create. However, some of those times the fighters were still working, especially in the case of Machida/Rua. Sometimes, folks, you have to enjoy something for what it is.

There are plenty of writers that are giving recaps of all the matches, so I will focus on the ones that I liked.

Pat Barry gave up 10 pounds, 5 inches in height, and a sizable reach advantage when he fought Antoni Hardonk. However, it only took him a round and a half to gain victory when he punched him out in the second round.

Tempe, AZ resident and former ASU wrestler Ryan Bader fought an entertaining fight against Eric Schafer, a fighter that was described on the broadcast as dangerous because he finds different ways to win. As someone that was rooting for Bader, I got worried during the match that he would lose because he didn’t win in a convincing fashion. Or at least that’s what I thought…because the decision was unanimous.

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson quickly dispatched Yoshiyuki Yoshida. A lot of people, myself included, love Rumble because of his lightning-quick hands with a lot of power behind them. After the fight, Rumble apologized to everyone because he didn’t make weight. I’m sure he’s going to have to forfeit some prize money, but a few pounds isn’t what won the fight.

Possibly the best fight of the night was Spencer Fisher and Joe Stevenson. It didn’t get out of the first round, but Stevenson put on a clinic against a very talented Fisher, and eventually pummeled him into the canvas when he tied up Fisher so effectively that he could rain down elbows to Fisher’s head unimpeded. Very entertaining.

Gleison Tibau defeated Josh Neer in a match that went to the judge’s scorecards. This match was also entertaining, with Tibau taking down Neer repeatedly throughout the 3 rounds. Some of the takedowns were spectacular, including the first when he flipped Neer almost like a hip throw in professional wrestling. However, I wondered about the outcome of this match because the takedowns never resulted in a real advantage for Tibau. Neer may have been taken down, but once down there, Tibau was ineffective, and in some cases suffered more damage than standing up. Tibau, a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, was thoroughly frustrated by Neer’s ability to negate any advantage gained by the takedowns.

In pre-fight interviews, Josh Neer stated that he believed Tibau “would waste a lot of energy trying to take me down”. I believe Josh was prepared for Tibau’s style, and rendered him ineffective. However, while Neer was a defensive genius in my book, he had no offense whatsoever. The unanimous decision handed down by the judges for Tibau was justified.

Cain Velasquez defeated Ben Rothwell easily, but not without some controversy. By now, you’ve probably heard the outcry from fans claiming that referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight too early.

I have to tell you a little background of my own opinion on this one. Aimee and I have watched a lot of fights that Mazzagatti has supervised, and his tendency is to let the fights go on way too long. I can’t recall specific fights, but trust me when I say that when we see Steve ref a match, we get drinks and a meal ready, because he ain’t gonna stop it for nuttin’.

So, back to last night. Velasquez is easily taking down Rothwell, and dispensing a lot of damage. However, Rothwell must have had a stone chin and a lot of heart, because he kept getting up, even when Velasquez appeared to have him down for the count. It almost looked like the fight would not get out of the first round, and there is probably at least one or two places where Mazzagatti would have been adequately justified in stopping it. But true to the reputation he has with us, he let it go.

The fighters come out for the second round, and it’s more of the same. Velasquez damaging Rothwell at will, and Rothwell continuing to escape and go back to standing up. Just before the fight was stopped, Cain was dealing more punishment, and Rothwell was starting to stand up. Again. He was almost to his feet when Mazzagatti stepped in and ended the fight, with Rothwell sporting a “what the hell?” look on his face. Rothwell continued to stand there, even after the decision was announced and almost everyone else had vacated the octagon. To his credit, I believe he congratulated Velasquez, and realized that the ref was the reason he was ticked.

Make no mistake about it, folks. To say Velasquez dominated this fight is an understatement. However, that being said, I do not feel he effectively finished Rothwell to the point where the fight should have been stopped. One of the things that makes the UFC so exciting is that one punch by a fighter can turn a loser into a winner in a split second. Could Rothwell have delivered that blow? I believe he could have.

Steve Mazzagatti, as a referee, is charged with mediating a fight and keeping the fighters safe. For that reason, I can’t just say “oh, you stopped it too soon”. However, I am challenging his consistency. To let some fights go on until a fighter’s face is hamburger, and then stop this one as soon as you did, is just ridiculous. You consistency, sir, is what sucks.

Finally, we have Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. In spite of the fans’ boos during some of the fight, this was also extremely entertaining. This was a five round chess match where neither fighter seemed to adequately “solve” the other. After reading some other reviews, I have to say that Rua appeared to be better conditioned than Machida, who was breathing hard after two rounds.

Like every other fan that saw the match, I have to agree that Rua was probably the better fighter last night. However, there are two sayings that come to mind. First is the voice of Dana White and every other boxing coach worth their salt. “Never, NEVER, let a fight go to the judges. You never know what they will see in a match.” So, for all of you that thought the judges should have given the decision to Rua, you have nothing to be upset about.

Furthermore, this is a championship match. Every boxing, wrestling, and MMA fan in the world knows that, in the words of Ric Flair, “if you wanna be the man, you gotta BEAT the man!” Did Rua deliver a convincing beating of “the man”? I do not think that Rua was that much better, justifying a change of the belt. Therefore, I believe the judges made the right decision. However, Rua deserves a lot of credit for his performance, winning the hearts of a lot of Staples Center fans last night.

If you feel ripped off by the decision, rejoice in a late-night tweet sent by Dana White. “I hear you all. They have both agreed to a rematch.”

Well, it’s time for me to get going. I hope you got to watch the fights last night…it was awesome.

Category: UFC

2 comments on “UFC 104: Are you upset about something?

  1. you people are fuikcn retarded.Shogun didn’t win the fuikcn fight. I’ve watched it 20 times not once did I think Shogun won 3 of those rounds. here’s the strike count 1st- M(23), S (17), s had more hard strikes, 2nd- M (20), S (23) M had more hard strikes, 3rd- M (32), S (15), M landed alot more hard strikes, 4th M (19), S (12), S had one more hard strike but M landed more and won the round, 5th M (19), S (20), s landed alot more hard strikes controlled the round. Machida won

    • That’s your opinion, Mr. Spammer.

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