What: UFC 127When: February 26th, 2011 Where: Acer Arena, Sydney, Australia
Te Huna vs. Gustafsson Sweden's own Alexander Gustafsson made it onto the Ion broadcast of the prelims, and did not squander the opportunity as he put on quite the performance and defeated James Te Huna by rear naked choke towards the end of the last round. I saw Gustafsson fight in the Swedish MMA organization The Zone two years ago, and he has come a long way towards becoming a complete mixed martial artist. I see great things ahead for The Mauler!
Lytle vs. Ebersole Brian Ebersole took on the rugged tough Chris Lytle, as a late replacement for Carlos Condit. He came out with a big arrow shaved on his chest, pointing towards his chin, and began the match with a cartwheel kick of some sort. The very experienced Ebersole (46-14-1 going into the event) got a chance to shine and took it, as he was one of the more memorable things on this Saturday's fight card. I can't wait to see more of him in the UFC; he makes fighting very fun to watch despite not constantly brutally KO'ing his opponent or breaking their limbs.
Sotiropoulos vs. Siver Hugely surprising was Russian/German Dennis Siver's unanimous decision victory over highly touted Aussie George Sotiropoulos, the foundation of which came through his fantastic balance and takedown defense and was cemented through his very good striking.
Bisping vs. Rivera The biggest news coming out of the event, however and unfortunately, were the actions of Michael Bisping, both during and after his fight against Jorge Rivera. The backstory: Rivera had produced several YouTube videos hyping the fight, in which Rivera made fun of Bisping and his British origin. This did not sit well with the Brit (obviously), and he was very agitated at the weigh-ins, yelling insults and pointing his finger in Rivera’s face.
During the first round of the fight, after showing his superior striking ability, Bisping delivered an illegal knee when his opponent was on all fours, almost earning him a DQ on the spot. But El Conquistador fought on and made it to the second round, when he was taken out by Bisping’s relentless assault. Was this illegal knee also intentional? Bisping claims it wasn't, but given he was extremely upset before the fight, it's at least a little bit suspicious. I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I'm just that type of person. Be that as it may, the controversy continued after the referee stopped the contest, when Bisping confronted the dizzy Rivera and demanded an apology, but not before he went over to the opposing corner and spat (!) at or on the floor, depending on who you choose to believe. Boxing coach Matt Phinney portrayed Bisping in the aforementioned videos.
Michael Bisping is now facing disciplinary actions from the UFC, although I find it very hard to imagine what those might be. Suspension is out of the question, since fighters take 2-3 months off between fights anyway (in a best case scenario, no less). A longer suspension would be unbelievably ridiculous given the suspension handed down to Chael Sonnen for failing a doping test lasted only six months. A fine would be the most likely way to go, but even that seems silly under the circumstances. It was a loogie, possibly at a corner man who had gone out of his way to enrage and upset The Count for months before the fight. It's not like he sucker punched someone or head butted them in rage. These are fighters we are dealing with here, not accountants or florists. They punch and kick people in the head for a living; how can we be upset about a tantrum after a fight? Incidentally, Bisping and Rivera share the same birthday (February 28th), so you'd assume they'd have at least a little love towards each other two days before the actual day.
Penn vs. Fitch For two rounds, BJ Penn was successful in his quest to upset Jon Fitch by utilizing the takedowns and clinch trademarks of his opponent, keeping Fitch on the guessing end of things with this unexpected game plan. Then, in Round 3, it was all Jon Fitch, as he took BJ down in the first couple of seconds and basically pinned him to the floor, relentlessly ground-and-pounding the Hawaiian for almost five minutes. If you give the first two rounds to BJ 10-9 and the third to Fitch 10-8 (which wouldn't be totally out of the question), it ends in a draw. Two judges saw it this way and one saw it 29-28 Jon Fitch, which resulted in a majority draw. A highly unusual result!
As much as I love BJ, I wouldn't have been surprised if Fitch got the nod as the Second Round probably was competitive enough to be scored either way. But Matt Hughes, whom BJ fought thrice and beat twice (last one as late as November 2010), scored the fight for BJ, according to his blog at Matt-Hughes.com. (On the other hand, he ends his blog every week with a Bible quote, so I don't know how much stock I would put in his opinion.) Still, he is a UFC Hall of Famer who has had a fantastic MMA career and is one of the all-time greats, so he should know what he's talking about.
Be that as it may, we still don't have a No. 1 contender in the Welterweight division after April's showdown between GSP and Jake Shields. But we got a super fun card with a lot of entertainment and excitement, and who can ask for more than that?
** Oscar Dronjak's (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 1 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak's (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 2 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak's (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 3 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak's (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 4 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak's (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 5 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak's (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 6 by clicking here.
** Oscar Dronjak's (HammerFall) MMA Hammer of Justice, Part 7 by clicking here.
** HammerFall's new album, Infected, is out June 7th, 2011 on Nuclear Blast Records.