I thought that I'd try out this whole live blogging thing for the UFC tonight. I'm not sure how it will go, but I'll give it a shot.
Tonight's UFC is coming to you from the UK on Spike TV instead of the usual pay-per-view (this is only in the US, for the rest of the world, it's pay-per-view). At first, I thought this was just the UFC being charitable and trying to attract new fans, but now I'm not sure. Are the fights actually live (at 2AM in Manchester) or is this on tape delay? If it's delayed, then that would explain why it's on Spike, since you'd have a hard time attracting a significant pay audience in the US for either a delayed card or a UFC on at 4PM on a Saturday. The logo in the upper right corner of the screen says "Live" but I never trust those.
Before the fights start, Rumors and Rants has a nice look at Cro Cop. The most interesting fight tonight has to be Cro Cop and Gonzaga. If Cro Cop wins, he gets a shot at Randy Couture in August, which would be a must see (although I can't see Randy winning that one).
More as the fights start...
Assuerio Silva Vs. Cheick Kongo
9:22 - Silva looks overweight and Kongo is ripped. But Silva is Brazilian, which always seems to count for something. Never mind, they just showed the stats, and Kongo has a 5" reach advantage. I'm calling this one for the Frenchman right now.
9:26 - I just noticed that there aren't any lines for the fights on Bodog. Maybe that has something to do with Calvin Ayre's silly attempt at putting together an MMA league. That guy needs to pick a few things and stick to it, instead of trying to do everything and make himself a mogul.
9:30 - Round 1 goes to the Brazilian (Silva) but not by much. Kongo looked far more dangerous and got a nice reversal at the end of the round, but Silva got a few takedowns that should sway the judges.
9:35 - I love how the Brits boo and whistle whenever the action slows down. The ref just stood them up, which seems unfair in a fight like this where one guy (Kongo) has such a huge standup advantage.
9:37 - Round 2 to Kongo but again not by much. Kongo hit Silva with a barrage of punches early in the round, but then Silva got a couple takedowns. I think in this round the punches outweighed the takedowns. Silva needs to take the fight to the ground to have a shot, but he seems confused at what to do when he gets it there. I haven't seen any submission attempts, and he doesn't throw many punches or elbows. The fight is much more exciting when they're standing up trading blows.
9:42 - Kongo starts the round playing to his reach advantage and throwing punches and kicks, but then gets taken down. The fight is stood back up (good).
9:45 - Round 3 to Kongo, very similar to Round 2. This is the type of fight that makes people (like me) not like the heavyweight division all that much. Two big dudes throwing a couple punches and then collapsing on each other. They can't do anything much on the bottom either. FWIW, Eddie Bravo scored the fight the same way I did.
9:47 - Kongo wins, but one of the judges scored it a draw. Hopefully the next fights will be more exciting.
9:52 - While we're between fights, I'd like to talk a little bit about a the Dana White - Tito Ortiz "fight" that was on Spike a couple weeks ago. I saw the listing for it, thought it might be interesting to see Dana White get his ass kicked (even though I like him), so I recorded it. I watched the whole thing (90 minutes of Dana White training, it was as exciting as it sounds) only to find out at the end that Ortiz never showed at the weigh ins, so there wasn't a fight. WTF?!!? The UFC doesn't let me down very often, but I was pissed after that.
Matt Grice Vs. Terry Etim
9:57 - Two undefeated lightweights in this fight. Grice is a decorated wrestler, but Etim is a hometown boy (from Manchester). You have to give the edge here to the Brit fighting in front of the home crowd.
10:07 - WOW! Amazing escape from a guillotine by Grice, then Etim gets the same hold again and puts Grice to sleep. Pretty good fight all around. Etim got in a good shot early, but then Grice took him to the ground and landed some good shots. After they stood back up, though, it was all Etim.
10:18 - Dana White just announced that Matt Serra and Matt Hughes are going to be the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 6. Awesome choices. Serra is a natural coach, and Hughes is an egomaniac. Serra said that he's looking forward to fighting Hughes because he's had to fight such nice guys lately (Lidle and St. Pierre) and Hughes is such a dick. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Michael Bisping Vs. Elvis Sinosic
10:23 - Bisping is undefeated and British. Sinosic has been around the block a few times and has a reputation for never tapping out, but his record is under .500. This sounds like a fight that will involve Bisping teeing off on Sinosic for 2 or 3 rounds.
10:30 - I'm starting to re-think my assessment of this fight (before it even starts). Bisping is under a lot of pressure and looks very emotional. He could burn himself out early or get caught by a dumb submission. I still think Bisping wins, but I'm not as confident after seeing his entrance.
10:38 - DOMINANT first round for Bisping. Even though Sinosic is a bit of a patsy, he has some decent wins and some decent fights. Bisping made him look like the guy who loses in the first week of The Ultimate Fighter every season. I was really impressed with two things: 1) Bisping's submission defense. Sinosic tried a couple of submissions, but they were wholly uneffective. 2) All of the damage Bisping did was from Sinosic's guard. He just postured up and rained blows on Sinosic for the entire round. This one won't make it 3 rounds (not that I'm going out on a limb with that prediction or anything).
10:44 - Sinosic actually had a good start to the round, but Bisping reversed and ended the fight 1:40 into the round. I think at this point you have to start talking about Bisping as someone with a legit shot at the title. I'd like to see him fight Tito Ortiz with the winner of that fight getting a shot at the Chuck Lidell - Rampage Jackson winner for the title.
Andrei Arlovski Vs. Fabricio Werdum
11:00 - Arlovski is the former UFC heavyweight champ. Werdum is a jiu-jitsu specialist who trains with Cro Cop. I think you have to give the advantage to Arlovski. These heavyweight fights can stay upright pretty often, and that style would definitely suit Arlovski's striking abilities.
11:12 - Round 1 to Arlovski. Lots of standup. Werdum went to the ground at one point and tried to get Arlovski to take his guard, but no dice. Both fighters landed a few bombs, but no one looked too hurt by the end of the round.
11:14 - Coming back from commercial, I just noticed that one of Arlovski's sponsors is "Condom Depot." The NBA needs sponsors like that. It would be almost like a public service announcement.
11:19 - Arlovski wins round 2 by default. Neither fighter seemed to want to go on the offensive at all.
11:26 - One of the many things I like about Joe Rogan's announcing (and the fact that that sentence wasn't sarcastic deserves its own full post) is that he's not afraid to tell you when the fight sucks. He'll chastise the fighters when they aren't trying as hard as they should or when they aren't good enough. That kind of brutal honesty just isn't there for most announcers.
11:29 - End of the third round. It looked just like the second. Arlovski is clearly the better fighter, but he didn't have that killer instinct tonight. He'll win easily, but the UFC isn't going to be real excited to put him in a title fight (which would be against Cro Cop if he wins tonight and then beats Couture).
11:32 - I just became an Arlovski fan. During his post fight interview, the fans were booing, so he apologized for having such a boring fight and for fighting 15 minutes without knocking Werdum out (in a very thick Slavic accent).
Mirko Cro Cop Vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
11:40 - This one shouldn't be close. Cro Cop is the most dominant force we've seen in the UFC in quite some time. If you've seen the highlights of Cro Cop that are all over YouTube, you know that he has knockout power with both his punches and kicks. If Gonzaga gets caught with a shot from Cro Cop, this fight could be over quickly. Randy Couture picked Gonzaga to win, and Rogan thinks Gonzaga has a good shot. I'm not buying that. I think Cro Cop wins this in dominant fashion and is an early -500 favorite against Couture in August.
11:48 - Rogan on Cro Cop: "That's the most intimidating man to ever come out to Duran Duran music." Couture on Cro Cop: "His legs look like they're on a He-Man figurine." Now that's good announcing.
11:57 - WOW! That is the last thing I expected to happen. Gonzaga knocked out Cro Cop with a head kick! Gonzaga had Cro Cop on the ground and did quite a bit of damage with elbows. Gonzaga was clearly winning the round when Herb Dean stood them up. I thought at that point Cro Cop was in pretty good shape. Gonzaga landed a perfect head kick, and Cro Cop just crumpled. He was out before he hit the ground. Wow. That is definitely going to end up on the next "UFC Best Knockouts" show. Rogan pointed out that Cro Cop's knee and ankle twisted funny going down, so he may have a more serious injury. The Gonzaga - Couture fight isn't nearly as sexy as Cro Cop - Couture would be, but it should be a great fight. This might set up a Cro Cop - Arlovski fight, which would be fun to watch. Wow. Before the fight, I was thinking how cool Cro Cop's Zvonimir Security t-shirts looked and was debating whether or not I wanted to buy one. I think I'll hold off for now.
12:04 - That'll do it for my first live blog. It was fun, hopefully you all enjoyed it.
Here's the video of Gonzaga's knockout kick. Unbelievable.
YouTube took down the knockout video. Here's the whole fight from a YouTube ripoff site.
UFC 70 Crocop vs Gonzaga on Vimeo