(Confidence is believing in yourself, cockiness is believing everyone else sucks)
Fair disclosure: if you’ve forgotten that the replay for UFC 120 is on tonight starting at 8:00 pm ET and you make a few wagers at the bar tonight and lose, don’t say we didn’t try to help you out.
For everyone else who is on the up-and-up and managed to avoid all of the spoilers today, we’re going to be liveblogging the replay after the jump.
Get your beverages and snacks ready and let’s get down to business.
Preliminary Bouts (Non-Televised)
Claude Patrick def. James Wilks by unanimous decision R3 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Rob Broughton def. Vinicius Quieroz by submission (rear naked choke) 1:43 R3
Paul Sass def. Mark Holst by submission (triangle choke) 4:45 R1
Spencer Fisher def. Curt Warburton by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Fabio Maldonado def. James McSweeney by TKO 0:48 R3
Main Card (Spike TV)
Cyrille Diabate vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Diabate throwing leg kicks and lands a questionable inside leg kick. The Swede connects with the first shot of note with a right hook left-right-left flurry. Working for position from the guard, Gustafsson can’t keep "The Snake" down. Diabate gets back to his feet in the scramble and Gustafsson clinches and works for a takedown against the cage. Rocking Diabate with a left hook and a right uppercut, the Frenchman is dropped momentarily and loses his mouthpiece during the subsequent exchange. Diabate backs Gustafsson and lands a short elbow, but is taken down in the process. Finishing off the round on top, Gustafsson lands a handful of punches that score but do little damage.
Diabate comes out strong, lands a right hand and clinches Gustafsson, but is slammed on his back for his efforts. Moving from half guard, Gustafsson tries to pass, but Diabate spins out and is in a bad "69" position and is effortlessly mounted by Gustafsson after a failed kimura attempt. Flattening out Diabate, Gustafsson gets both hooks in and tries a rear naked choke, but lets go to soften the kickboxer up with a few shots before sinking in a rear naked choke, which is too tight for Diabate to escape this time around.
Alexander Gustafsson def. Cyrille Diabate by submission (rear naked choke) - 2:41 R2
Cheick Kongo vs. Travis Browne
Browne swings and misses with a left right. Lots of feigning going on but not a lot of action. Both fighters are putting on a head fake clinic. Kongo decides to attack the lead leg of Browne with a pair of leg kicks, but neither fighter lands anything of note as of the 1:30 mark. The bout is looking more like a dance-off than a fight and the crowd is getting restless. Two minutes have passed and the fight is seeming more and more like a sparring session than a heavy weight tilt. Browne finally lands with a left hook, but doesn’t go for the kill, and seconds later connects with a left cross, but again backs off and allows Kongo to recover. Browne clinches and Kongo blocks the knees to the body and eventually breaks the hold. More moon-walking from Kongo and winging punches from Browne. They exchange body kicks, but both are blocked. Browne steps in with another winging right, but Kongo shrugs it off and pushes the Brit into the fence. Both men are breathing heavily through their open mouths and look thankful when the horn sounds to end the round.
Kongo cautiously works the lead leg of Browne and lands with a jab, and a knee flush to the junk, giving Browne time to recover from the blow and his lack of cardio. Browne immediately moves forward with another Tank Abbott-like combo that misses again and Kongo presses him into the cage. As the French man attempts a clinch, he’s thrown back on his ass, and it looks like he took a poke to the eye. Kongo presses the action now, forcing Browne into the cage, and he seems content to rest with his back propped against the fence. Kongo continues to land with knees to the thighs and the odd pitty-pat punch. The referee steps in and breaks up the hug-fest, and Browne swings for the fences again. More of the same. Kongo pushes Browne back into the same position against the fence and continues to tenderize his thighs with knees. This time Browne pushes Kongo into the fence, and eventually slams him on his back as the buzzer sounds to end the round.
Browne ducks under a jab and presses Kongo up against the cage again. Do these guys want to fight, or just give each other bro hugs? Kongo grabs the shorts again after being warned and referee Mark Goddard follows through and takes a point. Kongo lands with a body shot and presses up against Browne’s chest against the cage YET AGAIN. Browne is exhausted, struggling for breath, and Kongo seems equally as tired, throwing the odd knee to the thigh, before being broken up for the fourth time. Kongo’s leg kicks now seem like he’s kicking a can down the road, rather than trying to break Browne’s leg. Browne is stumbling around the cage like Lindsay Lohan after a night at the bars, yet Kongo doesn’t capitalize. I sense a couple, "Do you want to be a fucking fighter" speeches in these two guys’ futures. Another bout of hugging, another short grab, followed by a take-down by Browne. Man, this is a tough one to call.
After three rounds, the judges call the fight a 28-28 draw across the board, meaning Kongo fucked himself with the short grab, costing him the match.
Lots of shucking and jiving but not much action until Pyle strikes first, driving Hathaway into the cage, but the Englishman reverses and ends up on top. Pyle uses the cage to stand back up, and the pair spend the next 35 seconds shadow boxing and whiffing at air while they feel each other out some more. Pyle drops his head and avoids a right hook, and stuns Hathaway with an overhand right to the ear. Pyle connects with a short elbow and the two exchange shots but nothing dangerous. Hathaway seems tentative now, but the crowd starts chanting his name, and he lobs in with a pair of jabs but Pyle blocks. Failing a takedown attempt, Pyle trips Hathaway instead, and buries his head in his chest and goes to work scoring with strikes.
Both fighters seem a tad bit winded as they start the round. Hathaway seems more stationary as Pyle keeps just outside of his range, and steps to the side, utilizing his lateral movement to stay out of danger. After another failed takedown attempt, Pyle stands up and connects with a right left and is taken into the cage by Hathaway. As Pyle pushes off the fence and breaks away from the clinch he eats a hook. Hathaway seems to be the aggressor now, picking apart Pyle with jabs, but no combinations. Pyle clinches again and takes Hathaway down, landing in side control, bouncing his head off the canvas with a solid elbow, Pyle works for a crucifix, but instead settles for an inverted triangle, pinning Hathaway arm and punishing him with short left strikes. Hathaway is vulnerable and can do little to stop the onslaught of punches by Pyle. Surprisingly, the referee doesn’t warn him to protect himself. Somewhere Roy Nelson is screaming at his television set. The round ends as a purple-faced Hathaway scurries back to his corner.
Pyle pins Hathaway against the cage and works for the single, and takes a few shots in the back of the head before dropping Hathaway on his ass, but he gets back up. Pyle throws him back onto the mat with a hip toss and then lays down in his guard. Hathaway seems indecisive about whether he wants to attempt a submission, or throw elbows from his back, or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t know what the hell to do from the position. Pyle, working from half-guard can’t get his leg out and falls back into guard. Hathaway explodes and shrimps backwards towards the fence, but runs out of real estate, and Pyle takes advantage pinning him sideways in the corner. Hathaway looks like a fish out of water on his back. He just can’t seem to get out from underneath Pyle. The round ends much like the majority of the fight went, with Pyle in the dominant position, and Hathaway looking frustrated.
Mike Pyle def. John Hathaway by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Hardy seems a tad bit too loose, while Condit looks focused. Not touch of the gloves, no surprise. Hardy moving around like he’s going to plant and kick, but Condit throws a head kick that misses. Both fighters feint and circle, but neither wants to commit. Hardy is telegraphing his punches with his footwork. Hardy lands a pair of body kicks, which Condit answers with an inside leg kick. The Outlaw is stalking now, but Condit is circling out of danger. A quick exchange, and Hardy smiles. Hardy’s elbows seem a bit high, exposing him to body shots and front kicks, but Condit instead, connects with a spinning elbow, and eats a pair of lefts shortly afterwards. Hardy throws a weak head kick, and is backed up by a Condit jab. Both fighters drop their heads and start swinging. Both connect but it’s Condit who drops Hardy and immediately pounces, finishing the fight with a ground and pound KO.
Carlos Condit def. Dan Hardy by KO 4:27 R1
Akiyama wades in with an overhand right, and Bisping looks stunned. He doesn’t pounce, and Bisping is able to recover. Bisping lands a short hook and follows up with an inside leg kick. Akiyama blocks a head kick, and eats a left hook. Bisping seems tentative. Akiyama gets through with a jab. Sexyama seems a lot more composed. Bisping, on the other hand, seems herky jerky. Bisping gets the takedown, but Akiyama quickly regains his feet. Akiyama signals to the ref that he took a kick to the cup, but the official allows action to continue, and Akiyama eats two punches while he protests. Akiyama returns the favor, and grazes Bisping’s Prince Albert in a can. Neither fighter is able to land anything effective in the last two minutes, but Akiyama nearly catches Bisping’s chin with a spinning backfist that prompts the Brit to smile, high five and give the Korean fighter a thumbs up. I’m surprised Joe Rogan didn’t point out that Bisping must be hurt.
Touch of gloves and Akiyama jabs and just misses with an overhand right. He’s looking to finish. Bisping seems the more technical fighter, but he’s also the more reserved. He’s mixing up leg kicks and punches effectively. An eye poke stops action for a moment, but Bisping shakes it off and continues. You wouldn’t know Akiyama is a black belt in judo, since all he wants to do is box, even though his standup hasn’t been effective yet in this bout. Bisping shoots, but Akiyama’s hips are too strong and the judoka stands up and connects with another jab. He finally attempts a toss, but doesn’t commit, and telegraphs the move by dropping his head. Akiyama snaps Bisping’s head with a cross, and ducks out of the path of a spinning backfist by Bisping. Akiyama sneaks a body kick through, but Bisping continues to land light jabs and leg kicks. Two strong jabs land, but Akiyama backs away. Bisping’s obviously winning, but there’s no way at this point he would last more than two rounds with Anderson Silva, as he continually gets rocked and punches like he’s hitting a heavy bag. The round ends without much fanfare.
Bisping’s MO seems to be keep moving and try not to get KTFO. He finally throws a power shot that connects and a headkick that grazes the top of Akiyama’s sexy hair cut. Akiyama seems pissed now and throws a couple power shots of his own, before getting squared. He recovers and comes out aggressively, eating a knee to the body, but realizing he needs to finish this fight if he wants to win. Moving forward Korean Zombie-style, Akiyama grabs a leg after a body kick and lands with a handful of punches in spite of Bisping returning fire on him the whole time. Akiyama seems reserved to take one to give one, realizing that Bisping’s power is negligible. Bisping is much more effective at throwing a combination and getting out before Akiyama tags him. Point-fighting at it’s finest. The round ends with much of the same: Bisping doubling-up combos to Akiyama’s single strikes.
Michael Bisping def. Yoshihiro Akiyama by unanimous
decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)