(Well, now I’m going to have nightmares. That’s great. Thanks for nothing, Joe Rogan. PicProps: UFC.com)
Look, we’ve been trying to think of a good way to tell you this. In the end, maybe it’s best if we just come right out and say it: UFC 119 isn’t a great PPV card. Your main event features two guys just trying to cling to life in the heavyweight division, while the rest of the card is kind of … meh. Not saying it’s terrible, but if you wanted to save your money for, say, UFC 121 and just follow the live blog for this baby, we’d understand. We got you, player. That’s what we’re here for. And if you’re some big swinging dick who has money out the yaz (even in these tough economic times) and you’re ordering the thing, but for some reason still feel compelled to follow along online – maybe as a respite from how empty and shallow your life really is, maybe just to toss out sweet zingers in the comments section — that’s fine too. We don’t discriminate. Except against fat people. And the old.
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… and we’re off and running from Conseco Field House in Indy, where the crowd is already primed from seeing local boy Matt Mitrione take care of business during the SpikeTV prelims. A bright, bright orange Joe Rogan and a freshly dyed Mike Goldberg are cageside and ready to get this shit started. Rogan calls Mir-CroCop a must-win for both guys. He also says CroCop has made some adjustments since he first came to the UFC. Hmmm, we’ll see about that. Goldberg points out that there are not one, but two former champs on tonight’s card. That’s the glass-half-full view, I guess. Guillard vs. Stephens is up first.
Melvin Guillard vs. Jeremy Stephens
Two of tonight’s more ironic nicknames are on display here. The “Young Assassin” Guillard isn’t really so “young” anymore, while “Lil’ Heathen” actually has a giant Christian cross tattooed across his back. Also, as Chris Leben might say, neither of these guys is going to become an architect anytime soon, if you catch my drift.
Stephens rocks Guillard right out of the gate, though Melvin seems to recover quickly. Rogan says “Stephens sent Guillard a message of danger” with that punch. Melvin looks light on his feet. Tags Stephens with a nice little overhand right. They trade some low kicks. Melvin lands a nice one-two combo at the 2:30 mark. He’s having good luck leaping in with strikes and getting out before Stephens can counter. Stephens whiffs a big uppercut, left-hook combo. He lands a good right and a body kicks with 1:30 left. Stephens lands a couple of good leg kicks in the last minute of the round. Then a good counter left hook, though Melvin finishes with an attempted flurry.
Unless you think Stephens’ early big punch won the day, that’s a 10-9 round for Guillard.
Stephens opens up the second stanza with a good leg kick. Melvin offers a stiff body kick a minute in. Rogan remarks how low Melvin is hanging his hands, but so far Stephens hasn’t been able to catch up to him with his power shots. Melvin’s inside leg kick sneaks into Stephens’ groin, but Rogan implies Stephens is “taking a break here.” After the restart, Melvin gets poked in the eye. After THAT restart, Melvin gets kicked low. And that one looks like it hurts. He takes a while to collect himself, and we’re back at it. In the final minute, Stephens finally lands a counter hook and is scoring with his low kicks, but Melvin is still kind of picking him apart in my book. 10-9 Guillard.
The final round starts with more of the same. The crowd is starting to get restless here. Stephens keeps throwing those kicks, which have been his best strikes so far. Melvin keeps tapping him and then getting away. Melvin lands a good body shot at about the halfway point. Then a body kick. Stephens is starting to look frustrated that Melvin won’t brawl with him. This ain’t shaping up as the FOTN, but it’s a smart fight from Guillard. Stephens lands a good kick, then connects with a right during an exchange. Stephens backs him up with a body shot, but misses a flying knee with under a minute left. Another leg kick from Jeremy. Melvin lands a jumping kick, then a couple of punches before the bell. 10-9 Stephens.
The official decision comes back as a split win for Guillard. The scores went 29-28 for both guys then one judge at 30-27 for Melvin.
Evan Dunham vs. Sean Sherk
It’s Sherk’s first fight in 16 months. Dunham’s highlight reel is impressive to say the least. Dunham’s walkout music is “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. Sherk comes out in an Xtreme Couture shirt, which is a little strange since that’s Dunham’s gym. Man, some drunk chick is sitting way too close to the UFC boom mic. Every time they go to a crowd shot, I can hear her screeching.
They touch ’em up and Dunham looks about twice Sherk’s size. Dunham tags him with a two-punch combo. Sherk’s T-Rex arms could be a problem here. He shoots for a takedown just after the one minute mark and Dunham catches him in a deep guillotine, but Sherk battles out of it. They’re in Dunham’s guard against the cage. Sherk lands some shots from there and slips into half guard. Dunham manages to stand up and Sherk hits him with an uppercut. Sherk picks him up and slams him back down. Dunham stands back up with 1:45 left. Dunham puts him in another choke that makes Goldberg scream “It’s all over!” but it’s not. Sherk gets back on top and busts Dunham open with an elbow. The kid is spurting blood and the ref calls time to take a look at the cut. He’s OK and they restart on the feet with eight seconds left. 10-9 Sherk.
Somebody in Dunham’s corner says “Oh shit!” when they see the huge gash above his right eye. But he’s going to continue.
Both guys trade hooks in the early going and Sherk digs for another takedown against the cage. He gets it, but Dunham catches him in another guillotine that causes Rogan to yell “Sean Sherk is limp!” but Sherk pops out of it. Dunham gets back up. They flirt with another choke, but Sherk slips out again. Dunham lands a couple hammerfists while Sherk keeps going for the takedown. It’s totally fucking blowing Rogan’s mind that Sherk keeps giving up his neck. With less than two minutes left, they move back to the center. Dunham touches him with a couple punches. And a couple more, then barely misses a knee. Then a high kick. During the last minute, they flurry against the fence. Dunham might be stealing this round. Then a flying knee before the bell. Close round, but I’m saying 10-9 Dunham.
Dunham comes out blasting and hurts Sherk with a high kick. Sherk weathers it and forces the fight back against the fence. Dunham sticks a couple elbows in his ear, but Sherk gets it back to the mat with 3:30 left. Dunham pops right back up, but Sherk is relentless digging for the takedown. They move back to center with 2:45 left. Good right hook from Dunham. After a brief striking exchange, Sherk goes back to the fence. Dunham flirts with another guillotine, but they break with 1:35 left. Dunham is getting the better of the stand-up. Then rocks him with a pair of knees inside the final minute. They end it with a crazy back-and-forth flurry. I gotta give it to Dunham. 10-9. Good fight, right there.
Dunham yells “I love this sport! Love it!” while we’re waiting for the decision. It’s another split, but this time the winner is Sean Sherk. The crowd boos. That kind of sucks, because it’s not Sherk’s fault, obviously. Then they cheer Dunham, who frankly doesn’t seem like the sharpest knife in the drawer during his postfight with Rogan.
Matt Serra vs. Chris Lytle
Lytle gets a huge ovation from the hometown crowd. He also appears to have G. Gordon Liddy in his corner. Serra comes out to the theme from “Rocky” and they boo the shit out of it in Indianapolis. Man, Ray Longo. Possibly the worst personal appearance in all of MMA.
Borderline bro-grabs in the ring as we start, but then they start swinging for the fences right off the bat. Serra is trying to stay low, which looks odds since he looks like a midget in there to begin with. Lytle is punching Serra in the face, while Serra punches Lytle in the body. A couple of nice right hands by Serra at the halfway mark, but Lytle is landing more. The pace slows a bit through the middle of the round. Serra’s face looks pretty red. Nice right by Lytle in the last minute, but Serra pushes forward with his own combo. Another right by Lytle, then a jab in the last 10 seconds. 10-9 Lytle.
They start teeing off again as the second round begins, and Serra gets wobbled. He battles back to land some of his own, though. Nobody is trying any kicks, which you know drives Rogan crazy. Lytle continues to hit Serra with the right hand at will. Serra keeps wading forward tossing out ponderous punches. Lytle lands a big combo to the body, then the head. Serra doesn’t really seem fazed. In the last two minutes, Lytle is just blasting him in the face. Serra tries to battle back, but Lytle stymies him with another punch. Good jab by Lytle and a right hook in the last minute. He looks to have Serra in trouble with winging shots in the last 30 seconds, but somehow Serra makes it to the bell. 10-9 Lytle.
Serra’s face is busted up between rounds.
More of the same in the final round. Lytle slips and Serra rushes in, but catches an uppercut for his trouble. Serra finally looks for a takedown, but Lytle shrugs it off. A couple of kicks from Serra and that at least eases Rogan’s mind. Lytle keeps landing the jab, right hook. He catches a kick and follows it with a looping right. Good leg kick by Serra. Lytle just keeps at it, though. Serra looks game to the end, if pretty tired. A couple of good body shots by Serra, then a try at a high kick in the final 30 seconds. 10-9 Lytle.
The judges confirm it: Chris Lytle def. Matt Serra by unanimous decision.
Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Bader looks primed, if a little nervous. One of his cornermen makes a face like he’s legitimately concerned for his safety while the ringside officials spread Vaseline on his face. It’s cool, my man, they do that to all the fighters. Roger Nog comes out to Method Man and Redman. I’m betting he didn’t pick that himself.
Bader looks like he might come out aggressively, probing with his jab. He lands a right. He’s stalking Nog around the ring. Pretty slow first couple of minutes, actually. Both guys are missing with their shots. Bader gets a takedown with 2:52 left and immediately lands some vicious ground and pound. Nog looks to be in trouble, but finally gets Bader locked down in his guard. Bader lands some short elbows. Then a series of punches to the body. Nog scrambles to his feet with a minute left. Nog lands a body kick. Fends off a takedown attempt with 30 seconds left and lands a pretty big right hook. Then a left. Bader might’ve been hurt in the late stages, but he took the round. 10-9.
Bader lands a low kick to start the second. Nog lands a left and a low kick of his own. Bader runs in with a right hand. Nog connects with a good right. Bader with a body kick. Tries for a takedown, but Nog shakes him off. Bader misses with a right hand … and then we lost the Satellite signal on the television … this is not good … stand by …
And we’re back at the beginning of round three. Sorry about that …
Bader gets poked in the eye in the early going, but says he’s OK. He comes back out and throws a kick and right hand. Nog stuff a takedown. Bader lands two good hooks, but Nog fends off another couple of takedown tries. Nog lands a knee to the body and a cracking right hand. Bader succeeds in taking him down with just over three minutes left, but Nog works right back to his feet. Nog lands a good 1-2 combo. Bader looks tired, but lands an uppercut. Nog continues to hit him with the jab. Bader comes back with a combo. Good left hand from Bader with 1:20 left. Nog fires back with a left. Then a knee, but Bader uses it to take him down with 45 seconds left. And that’s where they end it. That looked like a 10-9er for Bader to me.
The judges agree: Ryan Bader def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by unanimous decision. 30-27 across the board.
Frank Mir vs. Mirko CroCop
Aside from Dean Lister, CroCop’s entourage is as Croatian as it gets. Mirko appears to genuinely enjoy slapping five with the Hoosiers in the crowd. CroCop has zero sponsorships on his trunks. C’mon Condom Depot, show a brother some love. Mir’s walkout shirt is a disgrace to shirts everywhere. Speaking of disgraces, alleged rapist Mike Whitehead is in Mir’s crew. Seriously, if Whitehead has a barbecue at his place after this, do NOT go.
Mir looks like he might try to stalk him down on the feet. Mirko flicks out some punching combos early. After a minute, Mir muscles him against the cage, but Mirko avoids the takedown, at least for now. Whoops, Mir gets kneed in the groin and drops to the canvas immediately. CroCop looks really sorry about it and keeps trying to apologize. Mir takes a minute to walk it off. On the restart, Mir throws a couple of wild hooks that miss. At 2:46, Mirko whiffs a high kick. Back against the cage at two minutes, where Mir lands an elbow. Mir is really leaning on him against the chain link, but they break with 1:30 left. Inside leg kick from Mir and pushes CroCop back to the fence. A restart by Herb Dean with 30 seconds left. Leg kick by CroCop. Mir lands a solid left before the bell. 10-9 Mir.
CroCop throws a left that lands on Mir’s arm pit early. Inside leg kick from Mir. Mirko connects with a straight left. Mir gets a body lock with 3:30 left, but can’t get CroCop down. He does manage to push CroCop against the fence. At 2:54, Herb Dean has seen enough. Rogan says this fight has “that weird feeling of a sparring match.” Ouch. Mir pushes forward with punches and presses CroCop to the perimeter again. Another restart with one minute left. Jab by CroCop, then a low kick. It’s pretty tedious and Mir drops his hands to his waist. CroCop tries a high kick and Mir smiles at him. 10-9 Mir.
Mir is still bouncing on his toes as we start this round. The boos are really raining down. CroCop shrugs off a clinch attempt by Mir. Mir tries a trip takedown, but it doesn’t pan out. Mir lands a couple of body shots. Left hook by CroCop, which may have been his best punch so far. They push against the fence and actually stop for a second to talk to each other. That was weird. Another restart at 1:48. Rogan is begging someone to do something in this fight. With 58 seconds on the clock, Mir lands a knee to CroCop’s chin and drops him. He follows it up with two punches and forces the stoppage.
Frank Mir def. Mirko CroCop by TKO, round three.
In an odd exchange, CroCop can be heard asking Mir “What happened?” after it’s all over. Mir actually does a good job explaining it to him. My friends, that was one bad fight.
Apologies for the earlier technical difficulties. That’s it for me tonight. I’m out.