(“So then I said, ‘Hey Tim, Dana told me if you beat Rizzo he might let you back in the UFC.’ Man, you should’ve seen his face. I think the poor fucker believed me.” PicProps: CombatLifestyle)
I went to Detroit once. During the summer of 1998 my band played at a bar called the Old Miami in the city’s Cass Corridor neighborhood. It was the kind of place where Vietnam veterans hung their actual purple hearts on the wall and tacked up fading snapshots of fallen fellow soldiers with the letters “KIA” scrawled above their heads in ballpoint pen. I kept expecting Dennis Hopper to wander in and say something like, “This is a heavy scene, man.” In fact, the whole town was like a living embodiment of every Bruce Springsteen song ever written. It was kind of cool, in an anthropological sort of way. Needless to say, the middle-aged ex-grunts who hung out at that bar didn’t seem to appreciate our particular brand of balls-to-the-wall, angsty hardcore music. Weird, I know.
I imagine not much has changed. In a lot of ways, war-torn old Detroit is the perfect setting for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to stage a comeback fight. Both are getting on in years and still carry an aura of unpredictable violence despite the fact that their best days are probably behind them. I don’t even know what city Machida is like. Where do they drink the most piss? Santa Barbara? Probably Santa Barbara. Anyway, we’ll be going live at 10 p.m. Eastern. As always, be sure to hit refresh early and often to keep up with the latest happenings.
Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan are cageside in Auburn Hills, both of them dressed in black like the groomsmen in some aging rock n’ roller’s second wedding. I think we’re all still a little bit in shock from watching Dennis Hallman TKO Karo Parisyan in the first round on the undercard. So, Hallman goes on TV and says 50 percent of fighters are on steroids and then he comes out and looks like a whole new man in two straight UFC wins, huh? Pretty weird. Joe and Goldy are both duly pumped for tonight’s action. Joe says Rampage is in phenomenal condition and Goldberg notes that “he is angry.” Rogan calls Hughes vs. Penn “the most important rivalry in the history of MMA.” Wow. Sorry Randy and Chuck. Or Fedor and CroCop. Or Fedor and Nogueira. So with the dubious introductory claims in the books, we’re ready to get rolling.
George comes out showing a lot of head movement and both guys swing punches early. Lauzon lands a couple of rights. George grabs a single, but Lauzon shucks him off. Lauzon is getting the better of the striking. With 3:15 on the clock, George grabs a double and pushes Lauzon against the fence. Gets a couple of elbows in his ear for his trouble. At the halfway point, they move back to center. George lands a right hand. George pulls guard with two minutes left, which leads to a fast-paced scramble that ends with Lauzon on top. Lauzon stands and George wrestles him down again with 50 seconds on the clock. George tries to GnP and flirts with an arm bar that allows Lauzon to get back on top, landing strikes at the horn.
George looks a little bit more aggressive with his strikes in the early going of the second. Rogan notes that Lauzon has slowed a bit. George tries a single that he can’t get, but Lauzon doesn’t have much to offer here early. G-Sot gets him down with 3:15 left. George moves immediately to north-south and goes for the kimura. He switches back and forth with an arm bar before eventually settling on the kimura on the opposite arm. Lauzon taps.
George Sotiropoulos def. Joe Lauzon via submission (kimura).
The broadcast shows scenes of Rampage showing up at the arena with Mike Dolce and Lance Gibson in tow. Jackson’s wearing a jacket with a hoodie underneath. Machida looks like a junior varsity football coach during his arrival, wearing a warm-up suit and ballcap. A promo for Koscheck vs. St. Pierre features “Run this Town” by Jay-Z. Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch is next.
Tim Boetsch vs. Phil Davis
The first 30 seconds is a bit of a feeling-out process, though both guys try high kicks. Boetsch lands an inside leg kick. Davis comes back with a 1-2 and a kick. Boetsch catches a kick and lands a punch behind the ear with just over three minutes left. Davis pushes Boetsch off the fence and gets a trip takedown with 2:30 left and immediately thinks about an arm triangle, though he can’t get it. Some shots to the body from Davis in Boetsch’s half guard. Grinding that elbow across the face. Boetsch replaces his guard with 45 seconds left but it makes no difference. With 20 seconds on the clock, Boetsch pops up but Davis clinches him against the fence until the bell. 10-9 Davis.
Davis tosses out that high kick again and goes right back into the clinch against the chain link inside the first minute. Detroit thinks that’s bullshit and lets both guys hear it with the boos. The fight hits the mat and Boetsch locks up a guillotine choke. He can’t finish it though, because Davis is too far out to the side in half guard. Davis pops his head out and passes to side control. He works immediately for the kimura. Davis uses a very unorthodox grip, reaching one arm all the way around Boetsch’s back and pulling up on it. Rogan calls it a “police move” but Boetsch taps nonetheless.
Phil Davis def. Tim Boetsch via submission (kimura).
Looks like we’re already rolling out undercard fights …
Paul Kelly vs. TJ O’Brien
O’Brien lands a couple of leg kicks, but Kelly comes back and blasts him in the face with a punch. Kelly lands a couple of nice hooks, then drops O’Brien with a punch, but refuses to follow him down to the mat. He clearly knows about O’Brien’s proclivity for the triangle choke. A couple more kicks from O’Brien once he’s back on his feet. Man, it’s practically all kicks from the much taller O’Brien. He tries a flying knee with about 1:15 left and gets taken down, but Kelly backs out of the guard before too long. It ends with them both on the feet, but with little action. 10-9 Kelly.
After a bit more circling, Kelly knocks O’Brien down with a left hook. He tries to follow it up with some ground and pound, but O’Brien starts looking for the triangle choke and eventually works back to his feet. A takedown attempt from the clinch goes terribly for Kelly and he winds up on the bottom. O’Brien can’t keep him there though, and Kelly gets back in the dominant position. He locks up a crucifix and blasts O’Brien in the face for, oh, about a minute. Then he switches to elbows. Seriously, just an avalanche of short shots from Kelly until the referee has no choice but to stop it.
Paul Kelly def. TJ O’Brien via TKO (punches), round 2.
Maiquel Falcao vs. Gerald Harris
Both Harris and Falcao are about as ripped as it gets. Falcao comes out looking to stalk him down, but Harris pops the jab to keep him at bay. Boos from the crowd as both guys start slow. Take it easy, Detroit. Harris has a very awkward stand-up style, reaching the lead hand to test the distance. A stinging body kick by Falcao at the midway point of the round. Falcao comes forward with a lightning fast punching combo and a knee that puts Harris on the mat with 1:30 left. Falcao follows him down into half guard and rains some strikes. Harris rolls and Falcao briefly tries a rear naked choke. Harris rolls out and slams him down, but Falcao locks up the rear naked choke again. He has Harris dead to rights in the choke with 10 seconds left, but Harris survives to the bell. Barely. 10-9 Falcao.
Falcao lands a hard straight right at the opening bell. He gets Harris back down against the fence and takes his back. Falcao gets his hooks in and goes back to working for the rear naked. Harris manages to spin out of it and tries for his own unsuccessful takedown against the cage. They work back to the middle and Falcao sprawls out of another shot by Harris. Harris eventually slams him, but Falcao pops right back up. Falcao tags him with a head kick and Harris digs again for a single leg. Falcao pummels back to his feet in the final 10 seconds and the horn sounds. 10-9 Falcao.
Harris is still doing his weird, pawing stand-up style to begin the third, even though it’s had sort of disastrous consequences thus far. Nothing but circling for the first two minutes. Harris continues to try to work the jab. Apparently, he feels no urgency here. It’s boo central from the crowd. Falcao hits him with an inside leg kick with 2:20 left. Harris wings an uppercut that is not close. He comes forward with a couple of combos, but nothing lands. Harris ducks for a double with 55 seconds left, Falcao avoids it. In the last 30 seconds, Falcao suddenly starts taunting Harris and throwing strikes, but it’s too late to do anything. It ends in lackluster fashion. Who won that round? Who cares.
Maiquel Falcao def. Gerald Harris by unanimous decision.
The UFC airs a promo for new featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Dana White hands him the belt inside the Octagon via tape delay. Aldo is wearing a sweet Blues Brothers suit. They’re really making a big deal out of Aldo leading up to his UFC debut. Hope he doesn’t lose to Josh Grispi …
Hughes is rocking mossy oak cammo shorts. In a word: Terrible. Penn looks fired up, as usual. He comes out aggressive and catches Hughes early with a couple of punches. He socks him with a right hand that drops Country Breakfast to the mat and then swarms him with punches. Hughes is out cold. That’s a wrap.
BJ Penn def. Matt Hughes via TKO, round 1,
Hughes asks “What happened?” after he gets back to his feet. Penn is so pumped he runs out of the Octagon and then runs back. Penn announces his love for pretty much everybody on the planet during his postfight interview. Hughes seems really sad during his, saying this was a huge fight for him, that he had a “perfect training camp” and he doesn’t know what’s next for him. Man, never thought I’d feel empathy for Matt Hughes, but now I do.
They show Hallman vs. Parisyan from the undercard, but I’m going to go ahead and assume you saw it on SpikeTV. If you didn’t: Karo came out looking pretty doughy and like he was wearing jean shorts. Hallman stopped him via strikes.
Goldberg conducts an interview with The Rock regarding his upcoming movie “Faster.” The Rock recites what sounds like some prepared material that relates his character to what UFC fighters do every day. The tagline for the movie is: If you’re on his list, you’re already dead. Yeah, that sucks but you know what? I’m still going to see “Faster.” Why? Because I’m a sucker like that. And because I love shitty movies.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida
Rampage comes out to the “Pride” theme, which is awesome. He looks a little nervous during the introductions, though. Machida appears placid and focused. Rampage takes the center of the Octagon right off the bat, while Machida circles around the cage. Machida lands a leg kick. And another. And another. Two minutes in and that’s the only offense so far. Machida tries another kick and Jackson throws a punching combo that comes up empty. At the midway point, Rampage ties Machida up against the cage and stomps the foot a couple times. He lands a good uppercut on the way out. Machida lands a knee and gets countered with a right. With 1:30 left, Rampage pushes him against the fence again, but doesn’t do much with it. They clinch again just before the bell. Tough round to score. 10-9 Rampage?
Machida opens with a knee. Rampage catches him with a right hand, though and they go back against the cage. Machida complains of a low blow and they take a brief break. On the restart, Rampage ties him up again, but gets reversed against the fence. Rampage takes him down with 3:10 on the clock, but Machida works quickly up. Now Machida forces a clinch. Rampage lands a knee. Machida tries a high kick after they break. Another uppercut by Rampage. Machida starting to look a bit tired here. But he lands a low kick. Yet another clinch with just under a minute to go. Machida tries a trip takedown, but can’t get it. They scramble through some punches at the bell and Machida throw a high kick that lands a bit late. Another impossible to score. 10-9 Rampage?
Machida throws a probing jab early in the third, before suddenly lashing out with some strikes that stun Rampage. Jackson fires back with some strikes, but Machida succeeds in taking him down. Machida lands in half guard. He passes to side control with 1:40 on the clock and moves to mount with 1:28 left. Lands a couple of elbows and then postures up for punches and grabs an arm. Rampage picks him up for a slam and Machida lets it go. They’re back to their feet with 30 seconds left. Machida clinches against the cage and takes Rampage’s back. He rolls for a leg lock, but can’t get it. And it’s over. That round was definitely 10-9 Machida.
Official decision: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson def. Lyoto Machida by split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29).
Rampage does his whole Rampage thing during the postfight, saying he thinks Lyoto "whooped his ass" and thinks they should have an immediate rematch. Lyoto is fittingly boring in his postfight. Huh. Not a great fight, but I’m surprised that Rampage afforded himself so well.
More undercard action: Edson Barboza vs. Mike Lullo
Barboza comes out whipping leg kicks. Lullo tries a shot, but Barboza sprawls out of it and then slams Lullo to the mat. He moves immediately to half guard, but Lullo forces it back to the feet. Another leg kick from Barboza. Damn, those are hard. Barboza gets a takedown and Lullo moves to rubber guard. Lullo looks for a gogoplata, but succeeds only in forcing a stalemate with Barboza on top of him. With 1:20 left, Barboza manages to get back to his feet. More nasty leg kicks from Barboza. With 30 seconds left he drops Lullo to the mat with a low kick. And then adds a other one before the bell. 10-9 Barboza.
Barboza lands a left and then goes back to the leg kicks. Lullo shoots for a takedown, but is unsuccessful. Barboza lands a punch to the head, then a kick to the body. Then a knee to the body. Barboza scores a takedown and Lullo goes back to rubber guard. Lullo lands a few elbows from the bottom. Barboza backs out again. Another leg kick. Another. Lullo can barely stand on the leg. Barboza lands two more leg kicks and an uppercut. Then another kick. Lullo pulls guard against the fence. It’s awesome to listen to Rogan describe all of Eddie Bravo’s ridiculous names for move from the rubber guard while Lullo tries unsuccessfully to pull them off. Barboza backs out again and throws three more leg kicks. The last one drops Lullo to the mat and he can barely stand. Luckily, the bell sounds. 10-9 Barboza.
The first leg kick stumbles Lullo and the second one knocks him down. After it becomes clear Lullo can no longer stand up, the referee calls a stop to the action.
Edson Barboza def. Mike Lullo by TKO (leg kicks), round 3.
That’s it, folks. The broadcast leaves us with Rogan explaining how it’s impossible to know who really won the Machida-Rampage fight. So they better do it again. I guess. Anyway, we’re out. Rogan and Goldy say they’ll see us in two weeks in Vegas … Not if we see them first … right? … right?