The UFC’s first ever 5 round non-title affair started off on a rather eerie note last night, as Chris Leben crept toward the octagon accompanied by the song that did for Donnie Darko what “Lux Aeterna” did for Requiem for a Dream. And perhaps the haunting ballad was a sign of things to come, as it took just 2 rounds for Mark Munoz to make Leben hide his head and drown his sorrow like there was no tomorrow, no tomorrow. We can only hope now that Leben doesn’t decide to go joyriding after drowning said sorrows.
Leading up to the fight, many pundits out there believed that Munoz’s wrestling and clinch game would be a deciding factor, but for most of the first round, Early 90′s Scott Weiland was able to keep Munoz at bay, even managing to secure a couple takedowns of his own. But as the second round got under way, it was clear that Leben was much worse for the wear, throwing increasingly slower and sloppier combinations and allowing “The Filipino Wrecking” Machine to unleash some of the vicious ground-and-pound that has become his M.O. And then, in perhaps the most shocking turn of events in Leben’s career, he quit. Think about that for a second. A man who has earned his reputation from absorbing near Noguerian levels of punishment (I said near) decided that he had had enough. A mad world indeed.
Now, I’m not going to argue over how bad the cut was, or whether or not the doctors would have allowed Leben to continue for that much longer, but I must say that I never thought I would see the day that the granite-skulled TUF 1 alum would go out on anything but his shield. I’m also not going to over analyze the fact that Munoz called out Anderson Silva in his post-fight interview, because I’m pretty sure even Munoz didn’t think that one out. Take a number, bro.
And if, like myself, you were unconvinced that Renan “Barao” was for real, well then kids, sit and listen, sit and listen. Backing up the hype of his 26-1 record, Barao looked like a man possessed in his bantamweight contest with Brad Pickett, unleashing beautiful combinations at every turn before dropping the Brit with a knee and leaping like a goddamn spider monkey into a rear-naked choke to spoil Pickett’s UFC debut in just over 4 minutes of the first round. A disappointing start to Pickett’s UFC career, but I imagine the $70,000 Fight of the Night check he received helped mend some of his wounds.
In other action, Thiago Alves battered UFC newcomer Papy Abedi with strikes before dropping the Swede and securing a first round rear-naked choke victory. I find it kind of funny (I find it kind of sad) that this is the first time we’ve seen Alves utilize the skills that earned him a brown belt in BJJ, but I guess there’s a time and a place for everything. Let’s hope Abedi, on the other hand, gets another chance to showcase his skills inside the octagon, because the man has potential if nothing else.
After more than a year on the shelf since his armbar loss to Rafael Dos Anjos back at UFC 112, Terry Etim showed up bright and early for the daily races, putting away Edward Faaloloto with a guillotine choke in just 17 seconds. Etim walked away with not only the victory, but a $70,000 Submission of the Night award as well. Considering the time it took him to earn it, Etim may have made more money per second than James Toney did when he was schooled by Randy Couture at UFC 118. I’m not going to do the math, because my religion prohibits it on weekends. All hail Zorp.
But even Etim’s victory was not the most impressive of the night. UFC 138 was just as much Che Mills’ coming out party (not that kind) as it was for anyone else. The Gloucester, England native needed just 40 seconds to uncork a Muay Thai ass whooping on Chris Cope that he won’t soon forget. Scratch that, I’m pretty sure Cope won’t remember a damn thing until he sees the fight replay in a couple days. Mills’ brutal series of knees earned him Knockout of the Night honors and household recognition for at least a couple weeks. Not bad for a night’s work. Full results from the event are below.
Mark Munoz def. Chris Leben via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of round two
Renan Barao def. Brad Pickett via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:09 of round one
Thiago Alves def. Papy Abedi via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:32 of round one
Anthony Perosh def. Cyrille Diabate via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:09 of round two
Terry Etim def. Edward Faaloloto via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:17 of round one
John Maguire def. Justin Edwards via unanimous decision
Philip De Fries def. Rob Broughton via unanimous decision
Michihiro Omigawa def. Jason Young via unanimous decision
Che Mills def. Chris Cope via TKO (strikes) at 0:40 of round one
Chris Cariaso def. Vaughan Lee via split decision