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“UFC 127: Fitch vs Penn” Aftermath: Plans For Number One Contender Go Down The Drain In The Opposite Direction

(It turns out “No Rules, Just Right” is more of a slogan than actual Aussie law)

Strange walkout masks, chest hairrows, random laughter from the audience, a grudge match marred by an illegal knee, and a majority draw in the main event. UFC 127 “Fight for the Convicts 2” provided a night of entertaining bouts and more than its share bizarre moments. While the card might have lacked the star-power and championship fights of some larger events, the UFC loudly trumpeted its significance in deciding future title contenders and challengers alike. In the end little roadway was paved and talks of title runs were shelved for now.

The only thing certain at the top of the welterweight division is uncertainty. Leading up to this event Dana White announced that the winner of Fitch-Penn would advance to challenge the winner of GSP-Shields for the 170lb title. For much of the fight it looked like the same terror that ruled the lightweight division had found his way back to the Octagon. Penn followed up a hefty dose of cross-cage eye-fucking with an immediate shot off the opening bell. While his initial takedown attempt failed, he would out-wrestle the wrestler halfway through the first round and score a takedown. Once it hit the mat we saw shades of the “Old” BJ Penn, who quickly took Fitch’s back and worked for the same rear naked he’s employed in countless fights before. But Fitch proved just as tough to finish as always, and a reversal allowed him to land a little offense of his own on the ground. Round two saw a vintage Fitch try to wear on BJ against the cage. The two exchanged takedowns, with Penn again taking his back and threatening the choke before Fitch escaped to land some punches from the guard. Round 3 more closely resembled the fight many were expecting. Fitch followed up a solid punch with a takedown in the opening seconds of the round. BJ would kick him off shortly, only to be taken down again with just under four minutes left in the round. From BJ’s guard, Fitch was relentless with punches, giving BJ no room to adjust or counter for the remainder of the bout. That last round, scored 10-8 by two judges, would end this fight in a majority draw and add a little disarray to the welterweight picture.

A draw in itself is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s especially bitter when one of the judges gives you the fight. There’s a good reason there’s an odd number of judges, and that’s specifically to make draws an unlikely occurrence. In this instance, we have two judges in agreement that the bout had no decisive winner, while a third ruled in favor of one fighter. Is that not enough? Apparently not, and now we have a potential clusterfuck at the top of the welterweight division. The winner of tonight’s bout was supposed to challenge the winner of GSP-Shields for the belt. Now, not only do we not have a number one contender, but we may not have a rematch to determine one. Fitch seems adamant that simply not losing this fight was enough to earn a shot at the title, while BJ doesn’t even believe that a victory over Fitch would have earned him that honor. In his post fight convo with Joe Rogan and an interview with Ariel Helwani, Penn not only seems non-committal to a rematch, but doesn’t seem certain that he’ll return to competition period. Add into the mix that should GSP defeat Jake Shields, as most everyone expects him to do, he plans to vacate his title and the division for a superfight with Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Should Penn and Fitch fail to rematch and Shields fail to upset “Rush”, the welterweight division would be left without a champion and with no heir apparent to the throne.

There’s an old saying that when your work speaks for itself, let it. Michael Bisping would have been well served by that advice. Much of the attention tonight had been garnered by Jorge Rivera‘s well-documented, relentless mockery of “The Count”, and that disrespect quickly turned an innocent fight between two guys looking to knock the other unconscious into a heated grudge match between two guys looking to knock the other unconscious. Bisping surprisingly took the high road throughout most of the pre-fight hype, opting to leave the trash talk to Rivera and positioning himself as a true “professional” above such childish antics. Heading into the match, Bisping was the odds on favorite, with Rivera’s only real advantage coming in the form of knock-out power. There was no question that Bisping had the deeper skill set to draw from, as a few easily secured takedowns would attest. Unfortunately, that diverse arsenal also included an unforgivably deliberate knee to the head of a downed Rivera. Somehow Bisping riled up the crowd, earning applause for his cowardly attack. “The Conquistador” was clearly rocked by the illegal blow, but Rivera is a tough fighter and when you’ve demanded the spotlight with unmerciful shit talking there’s no way to quietly exit the stage. We’ll never know how well Rivera shook off that knee or what impact it played as he was dropped by a barrage of punches from Bisping in the second round. Knee aside, Bisping further endeared himself to fans by cursing out Rivera and spitting on his cornermen outside of the cage following his TKO victory. Rivera’s video tirade was clearly meant to hype the fight and it succeeded remarkably. Were the skits too harsh and did they go to far? Bisping certainly thought so. But “The Count” himself enjoys the trash talk game and the time for that is before you glove up. Bisping can talk about being an ambassador for the sport and conducting himself like an adult all he’d like, but his actions after the bout were embarrassing.

In other action, Dennis Siver put an end to the “meteoric rise” of George Sotiropoulis. G-Sot headed into the bout with a 7-0 UFC record and the cheers of a nation behind him. The BJJ wizard hoped to be on his way toward title contention with another victory last night, but even in the land down under the fights start on their feet and it would be the takedown defense of Siver that would dictate the fight. Sotiropoulis would try hard and often to take the fight to the mat, but his lack of wrestling skills and Siver’s power wouldn’t allow it. The Aussie caught numerous kicks and fought for the takedown, but Siver easily tossed him aside and kept the fight in his domain. George fought well, even taking round 2, but he couldn’t out match the German kickboxer on the feet. This was a big win for Siver and it will be interesting to see how the UFC matches him up for his next fight. Sotiropoulis is a tough competitor and will be back, hopefully after rounding out his ground game with some elite wrestlers.

The FOTN bonus landed predictably in the laps of Lytle and Ebersole. Lytle brought his fans-first style to the cage, but he came up short against UFC newcomer Brian Ebersole. From the wicked chest hair he sported in the Octagon to the cartwheel kick with which he opened the fight, Ebersole is one strange bird. A veteran fighter in his own right, Ebersole was not the least bit intimidated by Lytle. He was relaxed and confident, even playful at times, and showed great submission defense as he worked his way out of a few guillotine attempts. The weird double punches and awkward shots wore on Lytle, who ate a big knee in the second round and seemed to fade in the third. Ebersole came up big with a decision win in his first step up in the majors, and on short notice no less.

As for the night’s other bonuses: Mark Hunt won his first MMA bout since 2006 and took home the Knock Out of the Night bonus for his walk-off KO of Chris Tuchscherer in their battle of the bulge. Kyle Noke pocketed a cool $75k for his 1:35 second tap out of Chris Camozzi via rear naked choke.

- Chris Colemon

Cagepotato Comments

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SupermanPunch- February 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm
in response to: Mir please break Brocks neck

who said anything about race here? your explanation made sense.
no need to assume the race card was being played.

u relax!
KarmaAteMyCat- February 28, 2011 at 7:40 am
@Coldbeer, Thats never going to happen stop wasting your breath.

@Violent, I know I have FightMetric on twitter,facebook and as my opposite browsers homepage. People just need a reason to bitch and to be honest I'm not at all surprised consider how barren buffalo wild wings was when I was watching the PPV I might have been one of 15 people watching the PPV?

Oh and side note: You haters have been on Bj's nutts for so long you are beginning to look like lumps that he might want to get checked out by a doctor.
ArmFarmer- February 28, 2011 at 6:05 am

You realize you defeated your own argument with those examples right? Why would you use Lesnar and Silva to justify your arguments that fights should be stopped, when it turned out that neither of those guys were hurt, and both submitted their opponents after defending their opponents attacks? By your logic the first person to swing the momentum in their favor should win and we would never see great back and forth battles or incredible come backs. You're basically trying to make the sport suck...
Violent By Design- February 28, 2011 at 3:49 am
I agree Karma, I hate it how biased the BJ Penn fan boys are... Round 1 was a clear win to BJ 10-9. Round 2 was fairly close, but Fitch won it 10-9. Round 3 was utter rape by Fitch 10-8.

Fan boys care to disagree? According to FightMetric, Fitch outstruck BJ 149-2, and landed 3 takedowns in Round 3, now tell me how that isn't a 10-8 round...
Dagnut- February 28, 2011 at 12:51 am
I think the draw was the right and metaphorically summed up were both fighters are fact a full card of fights and not one contender.
torxxx- February 28, 2011 at 12:24 am
that was a good stfu love tap from bisping. Rivera shouldnt have talked so much shit before the fight and the knee might not have happened.

He lost a point for it, thats what they've done to every other fighter thats done it before him, so what makes him so special for you guys to say he shoulda gottan dq'd?
Redping- February 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm
oh and i like that every mma site pretends their way of thinking is so obvious, BE's 'it was clear to anyone with eyes last night, that Jon Fitch won the fight'. Apparently they're scoring a 10-7 for pillow punches that make Chael seem like Overeem
Redping- February 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm
I think somebody needs to explain to doctors that they didn't get a medical degree to LET THE FIGHTER DECIDE, they are supposed to make the fucking call. Saying' do you want to fight' to rivera was so depressing, because he was clearly seriously effected by an illegal strike. He might as well have said, 'are you a pussy and do you want to back out of this fight and get called a pussy?'

So of course, he went back in. I don't know how anyone could say bisping was winning because the fight hadn't started, Bisping failed at a couple of attempts to get it to the mat, cheated by HOLDING THE FENCE, and then IMMEDIATELY ILLEGAL STRUCK. Rivera yelled 'come on, you want to fuck with me' or something, literally 30 seconds befor the knee. He was NOT THE SAME MAN afterwards, and that should be the grounds for stopping the fight. Losing a point from the judges FUCKING FUKUDA/YOU over, really isn't much compensation to a guy who got intentionally kicked in the groin/face. Is this how we're going to treat Chiek Kongo when he cheats in his next fight? 'oh, wait for the guy to recover, and then pretend you have knockout power'

also jesus christ @ Bisping not even knocking somebody out with the strongest, most dangerous strike of all time. He's officially the worst striker ever
coldbeer78- February 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm
Shut up already, Karma.
Prometheus- February 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm
Too bad he didn't die.
Mir please break Brocks neck- February 27, 2011 at 8:32 pm
To: SupermanPunch

JJones was DQ'd because Matt Hammil couldnt continue. Jorge Rivera AGREED to continue fighting. He played 'dead duck' long enough.... I seriously though he was going to say he 'couldnt continue'. But he did and AGREED....

THATS WHY Bisbing wasnt disqualified.

This wasnt a racist thing.


KarmaAteMyCat- February 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm
Reversals are considered take-downs to a degree and follow up under the control/aggression part of the scoring I believe.

It really doesn't matter how you cut it up because at the end of the night even penn new he didn't do enough to pull that fight. He lost round three 10-8 and in my opinion could have lost round 2 10-9 like the third judge said its whatever though.
ccman- February 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm
After watching mayhem sheilds I quit counting them at all unless it was followed by something impressive..... and even them I only count the impressive act.
mt59801- February 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm
anybody in the pro-penn camp counting reversals?? I can see scoring the takedowns for penn but how do you score the reversals?
ccman- February 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm
NATION HOLLERRRrrrr. (I'm white)

Exactly karma. If 10-7 is a stoppage, 10-8 has to be damn close to it. That isn't rd3. Appreciate the spirited debate, but of the fights I have seen get 10-8, fitch didn't qualify.
And for the record, I bet fitch, told sparrow 2 hours before not to bet on penn. He looked small. That makes me a 'fanboy', whatever. I call it how I see it.
KarmaAteMyCat- February 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Damn right you gotta love the NATION! HOLLA!
CungwantsCookies- February 27, 2011 at 7:21 pm
@karma, maybe you could post on mma-coreDOTcom?
FaH Q NL15- February 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm
+1 to RSparrow's drop of the rulebook knowledge. Thanks for postin that shit man. Gotta love the Nation
KarmaAteMyCat- February 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm

those are normally the fights you see stopped by the ref.
Arastmaus- February 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm
You don't smack talk someone's family. Trash the fighter all you want, but never their family. George Rivera is a bitch.
ccman- February 27, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Has anyone here ever seen a 10-7 round?
Kimbos Bread- February 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm
KarmaAteMyCat- February 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm

thus the third round was a 10-8 and justifiably so.
bitteralex- February 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm
yea.. i believe bisping should have been DQ'ed for that blatant illegal knee... he knew exactly what he was doing i think... if you ask me, i really don't think he would have cared if he got DQ'ed.. he just wanted to beat up rivera... because lets face it... a win over rivera does nothing for him and a DQ over him really doesn't do too much either

that being said, I truly believe that rivera was hurt before the knee came (and, grudgingly, so did my buddies who were watching it who are ardent bisping haters).. but that doesn't excuse the knee.. the fight should have been stopped... rivera was pretty glass eyed when talking to the doc..

i didn't appreciate the spitting on rivera's cornermen.. that was unnecessary... but I did hear bisping demand rivera to apologize after the fight... so i'm assuming the koala joke really crossed the line with bisping... and i get that...

all in all, it felt great that bisping won... rivera got what he deserved imo
RSparrow- February 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm
It really brings into question what is the BEST way to score a fight? In Japan, they were judging the winner of the fight by who they thought genuinely won, the fighter who took the least amount of damage. If the Penn fight would have been judged accordingly, it would be hard to say they wouldn't give that fight to Fitch. Based on the rules above, isn't kind of silly to say that the only difference between a 10-7, and 10-8 is words "overwhelmingly dominate", versus "totally dominate".