(Above: "…and I’m gonna wear one of those stupid jester-hats in the Octagon. And you’re not going to do a damn thing about it."
Below: Jon Jones knows that the best way to deal with a bully is to ignore him, Michihiro Omigawa does that ridiculous duck-face thing, and Miguel Torres and Antonio Banuelos face off for the unofficial Mexican Bantamweight Championship. All photos courtesy of the UFC 126: Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com)
Fuck football. Unless you were cursed enough to grow up in Green Bay, or you’re a supporter of dudes who get accused of rape a lot, you know as well as I do that this weekend belongs to cage-fighting. And if you don’t, you can piss off right now. Seriously. The rest of us will wait.
Now then. Tonight’s ultra-stacked lineup features the longest-reigning champion in UFC history defending his middleweight title for the eighth time against a power-punching dynamo who used to be a UFC champion himself, seven years and one weight-class ago. Supporting the main event will be a scrap between two Octagon icons and former belt-holders (Franklin vs. Griffin), a fight that could produce the future of the 205-pound division (Jones vs. Bader), Miguel Torres’s breathtaking mullet, and the UFC debuts of some exciting imported talent from Japan.
Live UFC 126 results will be stacking up after the jump, beginning with a quick recap of the Yamamoto/Johnson Facebook match at 8:25 p.m. ET, leading into the Spike TV prelims broadcast at 9 p.m., and finally the pay-per-view broadcast at 10 p.m. So we’ve got a long night of fighting in front of us — but hey, nobody ever said being an MMA fan would be easy.
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto vs. Demetrious Johnson
Damn, this Facebook feed thing actually worked. Kid’s got some real fancy shorts on.
Round 1: Yamamoto and Johnson spend some time measuring their distance, with each taking turns dashing in with strikes. Johnson puts Yamamoto on his back briefly with a takedown. He does it again; Kid works his way up, but Johnson makes him pay with strikes on the way up. Another takedown from Mighty Mouse and some light G ‘n’ P to end the round. 10-9 Johnson.
Round 2: Yamamoto manages to flip Johnson to the mat, but DJ is up. He slips to the mat landing a head kick on Kid. Then, a solid roundhouse to the balls. Johnson with a slick takedown when the action resumes, but Kid acrobatically reverses to his feet. Johnson lands some leather in a flurry. Another quick takedown from Johnson. Kid pops up, gets taken down again, then reverses and knees Johnson in the dome while he’s down. Kid apologizes, Johnson says it’s all good, and the round ends. Another 10-9 for the Mouse.
Round 3: Johnson has a nice little lump near his right eye, which he checks before the final round starts. Yamamoto doing a little better at defending Johnson’s shot. Johnson dashes for a single-leg, transitions for a guillotine, but loses it. Johnson wobbles Kid with punches and deposits him on the mat once again. Kid gets to his feet…for about 20 seconds. Johnson nails another takedown and rides it out to the bell. Should be a 30-27 shutout.
Johnson def. Yamamoto via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28). I’d be curious to learn which judge gave Kid a round, and which round it was. Anyway. Bro, turn on Spike…
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Chad Mendes
Round 1: Mendes opens with a leg kick, follows it up with a punch combo. Omigawa keeping his hands a little low. Mendes swinging for the fences. Mendes shoots from long distance, but Omigawa defends. Mendes lands a right, and a sharp leg kick. Mendes tries the overhand right. He tries to scoop up a kick from Omigawa and dump him, but Omigawa stays up. Mendes with a hard right. Mendes with an inside leg kick, then his first successful takedown. Omigawa throws some ‘bows off his bacl. He goes for an armbar, but Mendes pulls out. Omigawa gets to his feet. Another inside leg kick from Mendes. There’s the bell. Mende$ takes the opening frame, 10-9.
Round 2: Omigawa lands the jab, but gets countered with a cross and knocked to the mat. Mendes swarms on top. He gets some distance and lands some nasty punches from the top. Omigawa briefly threatens a leg lock before getting to his feet. Omigawa’s nose is bloodied. Mendes lands a hook to the body, then goes upstairs. Nice snapping cross from Mendes. They trade shots. Mendes locks on for a takedown attempt, but Omigawa stays upright. Mendes puts Omigawa’s back again the fence. Omigawa works his way out. A pair of leg kicks from Mendes. Omigawa charges forward and lands a couple punches. Mendes drops low and Omigawa slugs him in the ribs with elbows. They’re up. Mendes lands a flying knee. He catches Omigawa around the waist and takes him hard to the mat. Mendes gets in a couple elbows as the round ends. I’d call it another 10-9 for Team Alpha Male.
Round 3: Omigawa has a horrible cut over his left eye, from one of the elbows at the end of the last round. Mendes takes aim at it right away. Omigawa comes out a little more aggressive, but Mendes teeps him away. Mendes shoots, Omigawa stuffs. Omigawa tries for a guillotine, Mendes rolls out and scrambles on top. Omigawa punching and elbowing off his back. Mendes trying to slip in a punch here and there, but Omigawa doing well to control the damage. Nice hammerfist from Mendes. Omigawa manages to get to his feet, and they start boxing. Mendes lands a right to Omigawa’s temple. Omigawa gives it back, snapping the jab. Mendes shoots and gets the takedown with a minute left. He blasts an elbow into Omigawa’s face. And another big punch. He gets some space and puts a couple more shots into Omigawa’s grill as the fight ends. Bad night for the Japanese.
Mendes def. Omigawa via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Ricardo Romero
I think this happened earlier in the night, so it must have been a quick one…
Round 1: They clinch up and Kingsbury starts Donkey-Konging Romero with knees and punches. Romero slumps to the mat and Kingsbury whales on him until Steve Mazzagatti dives in to stop the fight. Romero grabs his ribs in obvious discomfort. That was a freakin’ blitzkrieg.
Kingsbury def. Romero via TKO, 0:21 of round 1.
Round 1: Kelly opts to slug Cerrone in the head rather than touch gloves. Cerrone’s reflexes are quick, though. He shoots in and takes Kelly to the mat. Cerrone pulls out of a guillotine attempt and moves to side control. Kelly works his way out and to his feet. Kelly throws a flying knee, then slugs Cowboy with a right hand when he lands. Cerrone uses his reach, landing punches and a leg kick the outside. Kelly talking a little smack in the cage. Kelly lands a kick to the ribs, and a left hook. Cerrone with a sharp body kick. Kelly lands the hook. And another one, that snaps Cerrone’s head back. Cerrone tries a leg kick and gets countered. Cerrone lands a head kick. Kelly tries a superman punch, Cerrone scoops him up and puts him on his back. Kelly locking down Cerrone’s arms. Cerrone tries to get in some knees and an elbow. Kelly has a big gash from the elbow. Damn, that thing is messy. The round ends. Cerrone may have stolen it because of the damage, but Kelly was controlling most of it.
Round 2: Both guys are busy off the bell with kickboxing. Kelly stalking forward, lands a hook. Cerrone lands a leg kick but gets countered. Cerrone goes to the leg again. Kelly lands some punches, and Cerrone takes him to the mat again. Cerrone in half-guard. He transitions to mount and starts slugging. Kelly rolls to avoid being knocked out, and Cerrone takes his back. Cerrone softens him up with some punches to the temple before sneaking the arm under Kelly’s chin and sinking it completely. There’s no escaping that thing. Kelly taps. It was a tough challenge, but a great result for Cerrone’s UFC debut.
Cerrone def. Kelly via submission (rear-naked choke), 3:48 of round 2. Kelly shows up during the post-fight interview to apologize for his surprise-attack in the beginning of the fight. I think. I can’t understand a word that dude says.
Time for the PPV…
Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos
Banuelos comes out lip-synchin’ and skankin’ to "Time Bomb" by Rancid. Man, he really loves this song. His entrance is one long Clay Guida impression, minus the hair. And the Mariachi music means it’s time for the former WEC 135 champ to arrive. Torres has six inches in height and 13 inches in reach on his pint-size opponent.
Round 1: Torres has his left arm way out, pawing at Banuelos. He lands the leg kick. And again. And one more time, but he gets countered with a hook. Torres jabs, and lands a body kick. Torres working that jab very effectively. He snaps a nice 1-2, but the crowd is getting antsy. Another jab. Banuelos is having trouble getting inside. Banuelos grabs a kick and dumps Torres down, but decides not to follow him to the mat. Nice right straight from Torres. He lands it again, then the jab. Torres is winning this fight via reach. But Banuelos commits to a high kick, and lands a big hook afterwards. Torres sticks the jab. That’s it. The crowd boos loudly. 10-9 Torres.
Round 2: Torres jabs. Banuelos returns a pair of leg kicks. He lands a counter punch, but Torres fires back with a body kick. Leg kick Torres…but it lands low, I guess, and Banuelos takes a half-lap around the cage before re-entering. Torres tries a flying double-kick. Torres continues to pot-shot Banuelos with jabs. More jabs. The old Miguel Torres is gone, folks. Banuelos swings desperately, hits nothing. Torres counters. Banuelos is bloodied. Jab, leg kick, body kick from Torres. Banuelos dashes in and lands a pair of power punches, but takes two or three strikes in return. Round over, 10-9 Torres again.
Round 3: Jab jab jab, all day. Banuelos rushes in, but Torres dodges. More boos from the crowd. Torres gets a body kick in. Jab, then jab cross from Torres. Banuelos can’t make anything happen. Torres again with the jab. And again and again. "The jab has definitely been established," Goldberg deadpans. Banuelos misses the overhand right and gets popped in the face. Jab. Torres with an uppercut and jab. Banuelos throws a spin kick, then charges at Torres in the last ten seconds. He lands a nice knee and fires every punch in his arsenal with Torres backed up against the cage, but does not find the miracle knockout blow he’s looking for. That’s the fight.
Torres def. Banuelos via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Not exactly a star-making performance for Miguel’s UFC debut. Maybe he’ll do better against an opponent who actually has the ability to touch him.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Rocha comes out to "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. Seriously. And it’s not a Petruzelli/Lawlor-esque joke, either. That’s the song he picked to get him fired up. He shows off his "UFC Is My Life" tattoo to the camera. Oh boy. Well, he can easily have that changed to "UFC Was My Life" if he loses his contract. Referee Kim Winslow back in the house.
Round 1: Ellenberger lands a jab and immediately scores a takedown, but Rocha is crafty enough to reverse it on the mat and stand. They clinch near the cage. Ellenberger trips Rocha down, but Rocha is up soon. Rocha gets Ellenberger to the mat, jumps to side control, north-south, then side control on the other side. Not sure what this dude has in mind, but it can’t be good for Ellenberger. Back to north-south. Back to side control. Then north-south. If this was a grappling competition, he’d be piling up the points. But he’s not, and the crowd is like "WTF?" Ellenberger tries to escape, and is briefly mounted. Rocha back on top in north-south, looking for a leg lock. Ellenberger grabs a guillotine and uses it to get back to his feet. Rocha escapes. He had his chance on the ground, but didn’t really capitalize. Rocha with a spinning backfist into a flying roundhouse, but slips to the mat. Ellenberger slugs him with shots to the top, but Rocha grabs his arm and nearly finishes him via kimura. Unfortuantely, he runs out of time.
Round 2: Ellenberger shoots forward, clinches and gets in a series of knees to Rocha’s head. Ellenberger briefly gets the fight to the mat and slugs Rocha in the noggin, as Rocha turtles on his knees. Rocha wisely gets to his feet. Rocha tries some high kicks. Ellenberger fires a flying knee. Rocha with a leg kick. Ellenberger scores with a left hook. Rocha tries a jumping knee as Ellenberger approaches. Body kick Rocha. Ellenberger shoots and scores a takedown with 30 seconds left. Rocha works for a triangle, but runs out of time once again.
Round 3: They clash with strikes. Rocha lands three inside leg kicks. Ellenberger pours on the punches, and tries to shoot, but Rocha sprawls down. Ellenberger shoves him to the mat, but lets him back up. Ellenberger lands his right straight, dead-on. Ellenberger shoots from too far away, Rocha easily defends. Ellenberger clinches and scores with two knees, taking one in return. Rocha falls after landing a head kick, Ellenberger lets him up. Rocha with a leg kick. Ellenberger returns punches. Ellenberger scores a takedown with just just under 40 seconds to go. It won’t be enough time for Rocha to sink a submission. Story of his life. Ellenberger throws down a big punch as the fight ends.
Ellenberger def. Rocha via split decision (30-27 Rocha, 29-28 Ellenberger x 2). Rogan wants the name of the judge who scored it a shutout for Rocha. Two slow fights have taken the heart out of this crowd. It’s time for the big names to turn this thing around.
Ryan Bader vs. Jon Jones
Just like in his first UFC fight, Jones comes out wearing his Union Endicott Tigers jacket, repping his high school. Rogan thinks he looks nervous. He pauses at the cage entrance to pray, then steps in and does a cartwheel. Jones will enjoy a 10.5 inch reach advantage. Damn, son. Mr. Fantastic over here.
Round 1: Bader comes in fast and fires a hard overhand right. Jones thinks about a flying knee, but decides to shoot instead. He takes Bader down but lands in a guillotine. Jones pulls out, and goes from side control to north-south. Jones looking for a north-south choke. Bader is stuck, but Jones can’t quite finish it. Bader escapes, and works to his feet. Bader launches a left hook. Jones throws a straight to the body. He tries a left head kick. Bader shoots, Jones stuffs it and gets on top. Jones with a couple shots to the ribs. Bader tries to explode up and Jones *leapfrogs* him, grabs onto his back and puts him back down. Pretty sweet. Jones with some elbows to the body. The round ends. 10-9 Jones.
Round 2: Jones was warned for 10-6 elbows at the end of the first round. Not this shit again. Jones lands a couple punches from distance. He throws a flying left roundhouse. Jones tries a superman elbow but gets countered hard by Bader. Bader swings for the fences but misses. Slick 1-2-leg kick combo from Jones. Leg kick Jones. And again. And one more time. Bader shoots but Jones dodges. Jones with a body kick. Bader catches it and sort of falls to the mat. Hmm. Jones on top in half guard, working for a guillotine choke. Aaaaand he gets it. Bader taps very quickly.
Jones def. Bader via submission (guillotine), 4:20 of round 2. Holy shit, Joe Rogan breaks the news that Rashad Evans injured his knee and the UFC wants Jon Jones to face Shogun Rua for the light-heavyweight title. Jones reacts like he just won the lottery. Shogun comes into the cage to say yeah, whatever, he’ll fight anyone. Wow.
Rich Franklin vs. Forrest Griffin
Round 1: Rich goes for a leg kick, Forrest kicks high. Griffin catches a kick and takes Franklin down. Griffin with some punches to the body. Griffin very active on top, slugging to the head now, and trying to pass out of guard. Franklin keeps him in place. Griffin with more hard shots from the top. He’s relentless with those punches. Franklin is stuck on his back. He eats another shot. Griffin grinds down with elbows. Rich can’t get anything going. There’s the horn. I’d call it a 10-8 for Forrest. That’s a big hole for Franklin to dig out of.
Round 2: Griffin with a body kick, Franklin returns punches. Griffin with another body kick. They trade punches. Franklin kicks to the body. Griffin kicks high, then catches a kick from Franklin and drags him to the mat. Griffin ends up on Franklin’s back. Franklin gets to his feet, Griffin drags him back down. Franklin up again, then separates. Franklin lands a 1-2. Griffin brushes him back with a high kick. Franklin lands a straight left as Griffin kicks. Franklin stumbles back after taking a left hook. Griffin tries to finish him with a high kick, but Franklin escapes. Griffin lands with punches. Good body kick from Franklin. He gets the better of a punch exchange. Much better round for Franklin, but it was still close.
Round 3: They get into a punching exchange, and Franklin lands a stiff body kick. They clinch up and Griffin flips Franklin down momentarily. Griffin fires another high kick. He lands one to the body. Leg kick Griffin. Franklin gets in a right hook. Griffin scores with a body kick. Then a teep. Franklin with a sharp jab. Forrest shoots and gets Franklin to the mat. Franklin muscles his way up and reverses on top of Forrest. Forrest does the same thing. They get back up. Franklin clinches and slugs Griffin with a right. They separate and slug it out. Griffin lands a teep. And they’re done.
Griffin def. Franklin via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3). Griffin says he was rusty after the layoff, and his camp didn’t go that well. Before the decision was announced, Franklin seemed to be telling Griffin that his left arm was injured during the fight.
Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
Silva’s young son, who has been shadowing him at the press events all week, is also walking out with him right now. And my God, there’s Steven Seagal at the prep-point, about to witness the fruits of his labor. They embrace. Silva gets in the cage, rubs some of the vaseline off his face and spreads it around his torso. Hey, if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’. The crowd support definitely seems to be with Belfort during the introductions. Anderson bows to Belfort after the instructions are given. And we’re off…
Round 1: Silva slowly stalks around the perimeter of the cage. Belfort waiting to make his move. And the crowd starts booing already. Belfort makes first contact with a leg kick. Silva moves forward…then starts pop-locking or voguing or something. It begins. Belfort touches him with a left hand. Silva kicks, Belfort ducks under it and takes Silva down for a moment. Silva’s back up, and fires a smooth front kick to Belfort’s chin that puts his lights out. He drops to the mat almost in slow motion. Silva follows up with punches on the mat, but it’s already over. Damn, Belfort was really not expecting that.
Silva def. Belfort via KO, 3:25 of round 1. Toughest test of Silva’s career? Not really. Silva lays his belt down at Belfort’s feet as a show of respect. Silva thanks every instructor he’s ever had in his life, and says that Vitor should be respected because he was a champion before Silva even started fighting. Anyway, it’s another clip in the Spider’s highlight reel.
And we get Paul Taylor vs. Gabe Ruediger from the prelims. Taylor using Ruediger for target practice right from the beginning, with some occasional clinching on the fence. Taylor swarms to open round two, pretty much landing at will. Taylor explodes in a flurry, knocking Gabe out with a head kick, and punching him on the mat until Kim Winslow has to shove him off. Taylor def. Ruediger via KO, 1:42 of round 2.
They’re replaying Cerrone/Kelly. FYI, in the first fight of the night, Mike Pierce defeated Kenny Robertson via TKO, 0:29 of round 2. Not sure if they’ll have time to show that one, but now you know. Sweet dreams, Potato Nation.