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In the main event of UFC 127 tonight, a laidback vegan ragamuffin fights a bloodthirsty Hawaiian cannibal to determine some sort of vague No. 1 contender status for a welterweight title which could soon be very much in flux. Will Jon Fitch’s strategy of nonviolence win the day? Or will the night end with BJ Penn licking Fitch’s green, iron-deficient blood off his gloves? Either way, will it ultimately mean anything? There’s really only one way to find out: Sit somewhere thousands of miles from the show’s point of origin and follow this website’s second-hand textual analysis of the high definition moving pictures we’ll be watching on the TV. If that doesn’t work, well, try Twitter or something.
Also, imagine our pleasant surprise this afternoon when we discovered our ridiculously inclusive satellite package actually does carry the Ion Network. In light of that, we’ll probably be posting short-ish recaps of the three televised prelims beginning at 9 p.m. EST. When the PPV itself kicks off an hour later, we’ll be live with updates and uninterrupted snark for the duration. Thanks in advance for your attention in this matter …
Well, color us idiots already, as the night’s pair of dark matches both ended in upsets. We might as well keep the particulars to ourselves for now, as we have a feeling at least one of those bad boys is going to get some TV time, if the UFC has eight minutes to spare anywhere on tonight’s broadcast. If you didn’t watch the Facebooks fights, well, you can’t exactly call these spoilers, can you? Results: Tiequan Zhang def. Jason Reinhardt via submission (guillotine), 0:48, round one; Anthony Perosh def. Tom Blackledge via submission (rear naked), 2:45, round one. We’ll be back with you when the ION card begins. We’re dying to see how “Get Carter” ends …
A quick glance at the program guide for ION makes it look like it’s all Bobby De Niro all the time this weekend, as “City by the Sea” and “Goodfellas” will both be on heavy rotation for the next 72 hours or so. First though, this stuff …
Riki Fukuda vs. Nick Ring
Round 1: The two lefthanders set a decent pace early. Fukuda grabbed a double leg in the first minute, only to end up fending off arm bar/triangle attempts from Ring. After scrambling back to the feet, Ring seemed to craft a slight edge in the stand-up. Fukuda scored another takedown at the tail end of the round. Rogan says it’s “significant.” Not to me. 10-9 Ring.
Round 2: Fukuda does a bit better job countering Ring’s strikes in the second, but Ring is still kind of lighting him up with low kicks. Ring stuffs Fukuda’s first takedown attempt, but not the second with about two minutes gone. Ring scrambles up quickly though and lands a good knee to the body. Rogan remains convinced these takedowns are winning the fight for Fukuda. Gotta be honest, I’m not seeing it. That was a closer round, but Ring is still scoring more. 10-9 Ring.
Round 3: The highlights in between rounds are all Fukuda. Rogan says it’s “safe to say” he won the first two. Huh. Another takedown from Fukuda with 50 seconds gone. This time Fukuda moves to half guard quickly. Ring works back up with 3:15 on the clock. He gets tagged by a left though. Rogan is relentless in his opinion that Ring is way down on the cards. Another takedown from Fukuda with 2:30 left. He lands some punches from top position. A referee stand-up with 20 seconds left leads Rogan to say “Nick Ring just needs to throw wild head kicks right now.” That round was a clear 10-9 for Fukuda, but still, a very weird, one-sided call from the UFC broadcast team.
The judges agree with CP: Nick Ring def. Riki Fukuda (29-28 x 3). Rogan says, “that doesn’t make any sense.” Actually, that’s a great job by the judges.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. James Te Huna
Round 1: They’re really motoring through the action here. Te Huna quickly forces a clinch and gets Gustafsson down with a lateral drop. He passes immediately to side control. Gustafsson gets back to full guard with 3:25 left and pops up with 2:50 on the clock. Te Huna forces him against the fence, but Gustafsson nabs his own takedown with three minutes gone. He loses position trying an ill-advised kimura and a very tired Te Huna gets back to his feet. Gustafsson stuffs a takedown and takes Te Huna’s back. After a couple of tries at a rear naked choke, he gets it.
Alexander Gustafsson def. James Te Huna by submission (rear naked choke), 4:27, round one.
Round 1: Fisher looks like he wants to start fast and comes out trying to stalk Pearson down. Pearson is moving well however and pops him with a couple of solid counters. Fisher does a bit of Diaz-style “what’s up” taunting and then completes a takedown about halfway through the round. Pearson threatens with an arm bar and Fisher has to let him back up. They spend the rest of the round trading shots, but I got Pearson being slightly sharper and doing a good job foiling Fisher’s gameplan. 10-9 Pearson.
Round 2: Fisher lands a series of nice strikes at the opening bell. Pearson plunks him with a body kick. Then a couple of solid leg kicks from the Brit. Fisher comes back with a pair of straight rights. Double lefts from Fisher land on the button after an inside leg kick from Pearson. Pearson clinches for a takedown, but can’t get it with 1:30 remaining. Pearson lands a good right and starts to open up his attack a bit in the final minute. Close round. 10-9 Pearson.
Round 3: This one could well be up for grabs. Pearson shoots in on a double early in the round and eventually finishes it with a trip. He can’t keep Fisher down, though. Rogan is STILL talking about the Nick Ring fight. Meanwhile, Pearson lands a stinging left hook. Immediately after, Fisher stuffs a takedown attempt. Fisher goes back to his straight left, which lands nicely. Pearson comes back with a combo, though. Then a snapping uppercut. And a body kick. Pearson catches a kick and puts Fisher on his back with a minute remaining, but Fisher gets up with a quickness. Another takedown from Pearson. That one pretty much puts this one in the books. 10-9 Pearson.
It’s unanimous: Ross Pearson def. Spencer Fisher by decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2).
They close the prelims with Dana White and Joe Rogan both shouting stuff into their microphones about how awesome the for-pay portion of the show is going to be. Alright, they convinced me, let’s do this thing. It’s PPV time.
Chris Camozzi vs. Kyle Noke
Decked out in neon green Muscle Pharm gear, Camozzi comes out to Mobb Deep. Nice old school choice, playa. Oh shit! Noke comes out to Men at Work. Consider yourself one-upped, Camozzi. Uh, Noke is also wearing something that looks like a gas mask and a “Training Mask” beanie. So that’s weird.
Round 1: The crowd is hyped for Noke’s return. He fires a straight right immediately and follows it with an inside leg kick. Camozzi can kick the leg too, and does. Then a nice combo to the body by Camozzi. Noke takes advantage of a scramble on the feet to trip him to the ground straight into the mount. Camozzi tries to buck, so Noke spins onto his back and taps him out with a rear naked choke. Just like that.
Kyle Noke def. Chris Camozzi by submission (rear naked choke), 1:35, round one.
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole
The weird walk-in fashion statements continue as Ebersole comes out wearing black training headgear with a white dove printed on the forehead. Tom Petty is his tune. It’s great music for people who don’t like music. Lytle plays it straight with a black Tapout warmup suit and a gigantic red Tapout hat.
Round 1: Ebersole appears to have his chest hair shaved into an arrow pointing at his head, and he opens up with a cartwheel kick. It does not land. Lytle tries to sling some heavy leather. Then rips a body shot. He catches a kick and tags Ebersole one more time. Ebersole snatches a single leg with about three minutes left. Lytle tries for an arm-in guillotine, which ends up allowing him to get on top in side control. After another guillotine attempt from Lytle, they work back to the feet … only to have Lytle grab a third guillotine try. Then he rolls for a knee bar. Lytle ends up getting cut as Ebersole throws some shoulder strikes, but the UFC vet is kind of acting like he can do whatever in there. 10-9 Lytle.
Round 2: Ebersole opens with a body kick. Lytle is throwing punching combos from out of his back pocket. Nice overhand right lands by Lytle. Ebersole has a very strange style. Lytle nails him with a body shot, but Ebersole counters with a right. Lytle is just trying to hit him with bombs. Ebersole almost has a takedown with two minutes left and then drops Lytle with a knee in the ensuing scramble. Somehow Lytle manages to weather the storm, but gets blasted with a standing elbow in the last minute. Then a slamming takedown by Ebersole. Damn, that turned around quickly. 10-9 Ebersole.
Round 3: Ebersole tries the cartwheel kick again to open the third. Lytle goes back to winging insane bombs right off the bat. After appearing to stuff a takedown, Lytle tries for a kimura and a guillotine again. Looks like he almost has it with two minutes gone, but can’t get it. That sequence let Ebersole get on top, but Lytle stands up at the halfway point. Lytle is huffing and puffing. Ebersole pushes him up against the fence for the next minute until we get a restart to replace Ebersole’s mouthpiece. Lytle winds up on the bottom again trying to pull off a standing kimura with 30 seconds left. He eats an elbow. Lytle tries a kneebar, but Ebersole is gonna win this fight. 10-9 Ebersole.
Brian Ebersole def. Chris Lytle by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
They’re gonna show Tiequan Zhang vs. Jason Reinhardt from the prelims. Both guys came out throwing big punches, then Zhang pulled guard and tapped him with a guillotine in just 48 seconds.
Siver comes out singing along with Papa Roach, but with no weird accessories. Rogan says “Siver is on fire right now!” because of his recent wins over Spencer Fisher and Andre Winner. That might be a bit of an overstatement. Sotiropoulos gets the crowd tuned up with some AC/DC and Goldy refers to him as “Australia’s best mixed martial artist.” Sure, why not?
Round 1: Siver throws a couple of kicks early, to no avail. He avoids G-Sot’s first try at a single. Nice body shot from George. Siver really wants to land one of those kicks. Sotiropoulos gets a hold of a foot, but Siver shows nice balance in getting away again. At the halfway point, G-Sot gets in deep on a double, but Siver stuffs it like it ain’t no thang. First spinning back kick attempt comes at 1:50. Siver clips him with a punch, then drops G-Sot with a left hook at 1:30. Siver lets him just to knock him down with another punch. Siver tries to swarm him on the ground, then lets him up again with one minute left. Sotiropoulos survives. 10-9 Siver.
Round 2: Sotiropoulos wants to be aggressive on his feet to open the second. He’s gauging the distance with his jab and circling. Siver lands an overhand right. Siver lands a good leg kick. With 3:05 left Sotiropoulos gets in on another double leg takedown attempt, but Siver muscles him off. Then a single and Siver just shoves him away. Inside leg kick from Siver. They trade punches with 90 seconds left. Some decent looking striking from Sotiropoulos in the final minute, but he absolutely can not get Siver onto the mat. Closer round. 10-9 Sotiropoulos?
Round 3: G-Sot snapping the jab early in the third. Gets a hold of a leg, but no dice. Unbelievable, the way Siver is just shrugging him off. Inside leg kick from Siver. Good jab from Sotiropoulos, who continues to try to catch Siver’s kicks, but can’t do anything with it when he does. Another snubbed takedown attempt. Siver scores to the body. Then plunks him with a jab with two minutes left. Siver hits him with that spinning back kick which momentarily seems to hurt Sotiropoulos. In the last minute, they strike it out with nobody really doing anything special. I got Siver here. 10-9 Siver.
You want chaos at lightweight? You got it. Dennis Siver def. George Sotiropoulos by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-28, 30-27).
Rivera’s got that Kanye soundtrack to his walk-out, wearing a white Alchemist Tee. Bisping comes out to Blur, like always. Doing that walk, like always. Being insufferable, like always. Bisping comes across the Octagon to get some final words in to Rivera, who just look at him stone-faced. Bisping also has a big picture of himself on the banner in his corner. Classy.
Round 1: Rivera opens with a couple of 1-2 combos, but doesn’t land. Nice right by Rivera lands. Bisping gets a takedown against the cage with four minutes left, but Rivera works up. Another right hand from Rivera and he tells Bisping to bring it on. Another right from Rivera. Inside leg kick and jab from Bisping. The Brit scores with another takedown with just under three minutes left. Bisping tags him with a couple of shots and then nails Rivera with a obviously illegal knee as Rivera tried to stand up. Rivera stays down on the canvas for a long time. Once he stands up, he says he can still go, though he looks a little out of it. Minus one point for Bisping and we’re off again. Rivera looks a little wild in his aggression as we restart. Bisping takes him down again with 45 seconds left. Rivera works up, but eats some shots. They’re still talking as they go to their corners. 9-9, with the deduction.
Round 2: Rivera hurts Bisping with a punch in the early going. It produces some swelling over his left eye. Bisping rebounds to blast him with a straight right that has Rivera in trouble. Bisping mixes in some knees and punches as Rivera covers up. As Rivera sinks to one knee, the ref moves in to stop it. Bisping runs over to Rivera’s corner to taunt them, then comes back across to taunt Rivera more as he gets off the canvas. Rivera tries to say something to him, but Bisping ain’t having it.
Michael Bisping def. Jorge Rivera via TKO (strikes), 1:54, round two.
Speaking with Joe Rogan in the cage, Bisping apologizes for his postfight outburst so, you know, it’s cool. Goldy says something about Bisping being “very classy” in his interview with Rogan. That’s a laugh.
Jon Fitch vs. B.J. Penn
Fitch comes out to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Rusty Cage,” doing that sneer thing he does with his mouthpiece. BJ comes out to his standard Hawaiian folk music. He looks, naturally, like a goddamned psychopath.
Round 1: Penn comes out like a shot and pushes Fitch against the fence. He’s flipping the script, trying to take Fitch down. They trade some knees and after a minute Fitch reverses position. Fitch fires off some punches and shoots low. He can’t get BJ down and Penn ends up reversing position and takes Fitch down. Penn takes his back with 2:20 left and locks up a body triangle. Fitch manages to spin into BJ’s guard with a minute left. Penn kicks him off and stands. Fitch pushes him into the cage, but can’t do anything. I’m calling it for Penn, though it could be a tough one to score. 10-9 Penn.
Round 2: At the outset, Fitch throws a high kick that sort of lands. Penn fires back with a flying knee that only allows Fitch to take him down. Penn works back to his feet with 4:10 left, but with Fitch leaning on him against the cage. Fitch goes low for a takedown and BJ puts a couple elbows in his ear. Then he fires off a short elbow that has Fitch cut. BJ reverses position against the fence. Fitch’s nose is spitting blood. With two minutes left they go back to center and Penn takes Fitch down again. And takes his back again. Fitch spins out again, just like round one. This time Fitch lands some better punches and elbows on the ground. Tough round to score, but I bet the judges give it to Fitch. 10-9.
Round 3: Fitch lands a right hand to open the final round and gets BJ down. Penn kicks him off and stands up only to be taken down again. BJ back up, but Fitch is on him, working him back down and lands some strikes. The rest of the round is all Fitch beating Penn up on the ground against the fence. Fitch’s pace is relentless with his strikes. Pretty impressive with his constant pressure and attacks, actually. 10-9 Fitch.
The judges score it a majority draw (29-28 Fitch, 28-28, 28-28).
Well, that pretty much sucks. Fitch sounds pretty much pissed off in his postfight that he won’t be getting a title fight after this. Penn gives one word answers to Rogan’s questions, explaining he thought he was going to lose. Looks like we’ll likely see these two guys do it again, for better or worse.
They’re gonna do some more prelims, but I’m out.