– I wrote several times this week that despite some fans complaints that there were no title fights or no.1 contender bouts on the UFC 115 card that this should prove to be an entertaining event and I think that did prove to be the case. In fact I’d say it was one of the most enjoyable MMA events top-to-bottom that we’ve seen for some time.
– Needless to say it was sad to see Chuck Liddell succumb to another KO defeat, but as Dana White said in the aftermath of the event it was fitting that he went out all guns blazing. The truth is though that the overtly offensive style that made him famous will always leave him wide open to being caught, and with his chin having weakened over the years that’s a recipe for disaster.
As Liddell himself said in the build-up to the fight, “You Live by the sword, you die by the sword.”
– Credit to Liddell for getting in good shape for the fight though, and mixing up his kicks, punches and takedowns in the opening round before getting caught. Ideally the fight would have went another round or two as it was very enjoyable to watch the two go at it hammer and tongs.
– If he had been facing Tito Ortiz as originally planned instead of Franklin I think ‘The Iceman’ would have emerged with an impressive victory last night. It wasn’t to be though, and hopefully he’ll now realize that it is time to hang up the gloves.
– All credit to Rich Franklin for once again showing his warrior spirit by fighting on despite a broken arm to gain one of the biggest wins in his career and earning his first clean KO victory since demolishing Nate Quarry back at UFC 56 in 2005.
– He also appeared to be in good shape and took some very solid shots from Liddell so he’s certainly still a threat at the age of 35 and should have some entertaining headline bouts ahead of him.
– I really enjoyed the Mirko Cro Cop Vs Pat Barry fight. In the fight preview I questioned whether Cro Cop would have the heart to fight once started to land some heavy blows, but he proved he did by picking himself up of the floor twice in the opening round, and then getting stronger as the fight went on. Perhaps some of the old Cro Cop still exists after all.
– Some people today seem a bit upset by the two fighters smiling and embracing at one point in the fight. Personally I thought it was a priceless moment and a great sign of mutual respect between the two.
– Barry said going into the fight that this one wouldn’t go past the first round, and I think he burned himself out trying to ensure that. He also weighed in roughly 15lbs heavier than his last bout which didn’t help as the fight wore on.
– After the fight Barry went to the hospital and discovered that he’d not only broke his hand, but also his foot.
– There’s been some rumors today that Cro Cop may now retire, and certainly in the post fight press conference he dropped a hint that may be the case, stating that he would like to remain with the UFC, “whether I’m fighting or not.”
– Ben Rothwell Vs Gilbert Yvel was a curious encounter. I felt Rothwell made heavy weather of it and considering he had Yvel mounted several times during the fight, he really should have made a better stab at finishing him off. His groundwork was a little sloppy though which allowed Yvel to escape more than he should have been able to.
– Credit to Yvel for not giving up though, and some referees may well have stepped in to declare him the winner in the second round when he was bombarding Rothwell with punches from top position. ‘Big Ben’ showed he has a hell of a chin though as Yvel possesses brutal KO power.
– Martin Kampmann looked great as he dismantled Paulo Thiago over three rounds. The fight served as a reminder that he’s every bit as dangerous on the ground as he is on the feet, and after this performance he should reclaim his spot as one of the top contenders at 170lbs.
– As for Thiago, he still remains something of a mystery. For much of his tenure in the UFC I’ve felt that he’s flattered to deceive and that certainly looked to be the case last night. Defeating both Josh koscheck and Mike Swick is no easy task so he can’t be discounted, but he looked far from being a serious title contender this time round.
– Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald rightly were awarded the ‘Fight Of The Night’ honors and both walk away $85,000 richer as a result. It was a perfect showcase for what an MMA fight should look like, with exciting action throughout both on the ground and on the feet.
– I came away very impressed with MacDonald. He was very composed despite being the youngest fighter in the UFC at just 20 years of age, and seemed to be remarkably well rounded for one so young. There’s no doubt he’s going to be something special in years to come, and a defeat at this stage is all part of the learning process to becoming a better fighter.
– Condit also deserves respect for putting on another entertaining fight and after being dominated for much of the opening two rounds he showed tremendous heart to put everything he had into the final five minutes in order to turn the bout in his favor.
– I thought the very late stoppage was a little unfair on MacDonald, though he was taking a real beating by that stage. In an ideal world the fight would have gone to the judges scorecards where it would have been awarded as a draw with the final round going to Condit 10-8.
– Evan Dunham offered up another impressive performance against Tyson Griffin to move to 4-0 in the UFC. He looks to be well rounded enough to be a handful for anyone in the division, and after the fight he called for another tough opponent next to help move him into title contention.
– I still like Griffin as well though and he’s going to continue to be a thorn in the side of many fighters in the lightweight division.
– There’s no doubt that Yves Lavigne made a bad call stopping the Mac Danzig – Matt Wiman fight early. Danzig was clearly still conscious and it appears that Lavigne panicked when Wiman told him he though his opponent was unconscious.
Human error is inevitable in high pressure circumstance like this unfortunately, and no doubt the two fighters will get the chance to have a rematch at a later date.