(I don’t care what they’re arguing about. I’m always going to side with the guy who’s not wearing bikini briefs. / Photo courtesy of Esther Lin’s UFC 155 weigh-in set on MMAFighting.com)
As an appetizer to tonight’s UFC 155 pay-per-view blowout, the UFC has slated four promising preliminary matchups on FX, featuring battle-tested sluggers (Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner, Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland) and streaking rising stars (Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth, Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury), all looking to close out 2012 with a bang, bro.
Handling the liveblog for this leg of our journey will be Anthony Gannon, who will be jotting down round-by-round results after the jump beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and if you’re watching along with us, shoot us your own thoughts in the comments section.
Sup, Potatoheads! Let’s start this New Year’s show off proper with some kick-ass undercard fights, and a little NYE nostalgia. Seems like just yesterday we were dreaming of partying like it was 1999. Remmeber 99? Gas was like a buck a gallon, Jessica Biel was really starting to fill out as Mary Camden on 7th Heaven, and the government was running budget surpluses.
Here we are about to enter 2013, gas is pushing $4, Jessica Biel just married one of the Backstreet Boys or something like that, and everyone’s taxes are going up. Happy Fuckin’ New Year.
In 1999 my friends and I went to Manhattan for NYE and had a night they make movies about. This year we’ll be in someone’s basement, avoiding the women, playing darts, and talking about mortgage rates and fiscal cliffs.
This is why I so enjoy this MMA shit though. It gives me a chance to relive my misspent youth without the crap that comes with that: being broke, getting arrested for sticking your bare ass out of car windows, waking up next to women who’re only slightly more attractive than Butterbean, or worse yet, waking up nude in a field beside a South Carolina trailer park with little recollection of the horrific events that led to such a scenario.
But for the next five hours I’m free again, back to that wonderful, carefree existence. During this short mental vacation, my girlfriend is not allowed to harass me with unimportant tasks. She is permitted to sit and watch, and may speak, although phrases like, “Why doesn’t he just kick him in the head?” are banned, the consequences clearly defined and necessarily harsh. I can get piss drunk if I wish, and if I wanna take my ass out, dammit I’ll take my ass out, just in the house with the curtains down. And usually by the co-main event I’m engaged in a bitter struggle for household supremacy with the cat. It begins with a few innocuous leg-kicks and ends with me on the floor after missing one and bashing my shin against something very hard.
But Goddammit I love every minute of the foolishness. So let’s do this shit, and thoroughly enjoy the final event of 2012.
From the Facebook portion of the event:
John Moraga beat Chris Cariaso with a nasty ass hybrid guillotine/d’arce/front headlock choke.
Max Holloway took a split decision over Leonard Garcia.
And the Duffman knocked the shit out of Phil De Fries in the first round.
The FX broadcast kicks off sans Mike Goldberg, and for as much shit as I’ve talked about Goldy over the years, he’s missed. It’s just weird to see Jon Anik standing next to Rogan. He even looks like Rogan a little, just a dorky version. He’s a good commentator though, so I guess I’ll give him a break.
First up is Michael Johnson vs Myles Jury
Since dropping the TUF Finale to Jonathan Brookins a couple years back, Johnson has found some nice success in the Octagon, posting a 4-1 record with his only blemish being a loss to Paul Sass’ inverted heal hook, which was so awesome it gave Rogan a boner so massive rumor has it he ruptured his dorsal vein due to an overflow of blood. Johnson is coming off a sweet KO over Danny Castillo.
Aside from having a cool-ass name we don’t know much about Myles “Fury” Jury. Sure he competed on The Ultimate Fighter, but let’s be honest here, the show isn’t exactly the greatest barometer to measure talent anymore. On a positive note, Jury is 10-0 – all by violent stoppage. On the negative side, not one of those guys has a Wikipedia page, and that shit means something.
Round 1: Johnson opens with a missed leg kick. Jury with a front kick, off mark. Johnson lands a leg kick, then misses a left by a mile. They’re just kind of measuring each other, no one throwing much. Jury lands a takedown, in half guard trying to escape. And he does, but Johnson escapes, now Jury is working for Johnson’s back. He’s got one hook in, and is pounding Johnson in the side of the head. Oh, nice elbow. Johnson is doing absolutely nothing to escape. But now he does, well not escape, but he’s not getting blasted in the dome anymore. Now he’s on his back, Jury is in half guard working for a Kimura. He let it go, and goes back to blasting Johnson. And Jury moves to side control, and now full mount. Now he’s got the back, working for a choke. Johnson saved by the bell. Jury 10-9
Round 2: Jury with a leg kick to start things off. Johnson continues to miss just about everything he throws. Now he lands a decent left. Oh, Jury with a head kick, has little effect on Johnson. Jury with a kick, Johnson counters with a right hook. Jury goes in for a takedown, Johnson backs him up with a shot to the chops. Leg kick by Jury. Answered by Johnson, but jury catches it and scores another takedown. Not good for Johnson. He’s got nothing for jury down there. Jury is in full guard, working some elbows, nothing too devestating. Johnson is just holding on for dear life, not doing much to get up or escape, or anything for that matter. Rogan comments on how the guard is a weak spot in MMA, and Johnson is proof of that. Weak round, but an easy 10-9 for jury.
Round 3: Jury fails on a takedown. Johnson looking to be more aggressive, but Jury ties him up and pushes him against the cage, lands a trip takedown. Nice elbow to the side of the head. Johnson gets to half guard. Jury advances to side control, working some ground and pound. Back to half guard. Big elbow by Jury, and another. Jury is on top just pounding away at Johnson’s head. Johnson looks like he took a lude. Jury still on top working that ground and pound. He’s very active from top position, but isn’t able to do much damage. He is dominating though. The round ends, and easy decision win for Myles Jury.
The judges decision is in and it’s 30-27 across the board. Nice win for Jury.
Melvin “Fuck All That Jiu Jitsu” Guillard vs Jamie “Don’t Call It A Comeback” Varner is next
After a fairly brutal career deviation that saw him get cut from the WEC, then lose to former gay porn star (not that there’s anything wrong with that) Dakota Cochrane, Jamie Varner scored a couple of impressive wins on the regional circuit and was offered a contract by the UFC. He derailed the Edson Barboza hype train by first round ass-whoopin’, then partook in a thrilling battle with Joe Lauzon, and even though he lost due to an ill-conceived takedown, Varner was impressive, and showed that he is not to be taken lightly.
Mel is an interesting case. Long considered one of the most athletically gifted lightweights in the world, he’s always failed to get over that final rung to glory. The unfortunate recipient of three losses in his last four fights, Mel desperately needs a W here. He has the ability to knock any fool out, no doubt, but unlike himself, he’s facing an opponent who doesn’t wither and die when faced with the slightest tad of adversity.
Round 1: Hard leg kick by Mel. Varner missesd a left, eats two more leg kicks. Mel with a jab to the forehead of Varner. Mel is fighting a measured strategy. Varner is trying to figure out how to get inside without getting his head knocked off. Mel with another jab. And another hard leg kick. And another. Varner misses badly with an overhand right. Varner throws a three shot combo, and one looks like it connected pretty well. Mel thwarts a takedown attempt. Varner with a big right, then connected with a good body shot. Then blasts Mel with a good one to the head, takes Mel down but the round ends. Varner finished strong, probably stole the round 10-9
Round 2: Mel opens with a jab, Varner answers with another shot. Varner sticks a takedown, Mel looking to cage walk back up, but Varner is controlling him nicely, lands a few good ones too. Now Mel flips Varner’s ass to the ground. Both are back up. They trade shots. Mel with another leg kick, follows with a high kick that lands. Mel sticks a jab, Varner misses a left, then lands a very nice combo. Mel has his high kick blocked. Varner with another takedown. Mel is back up, and they separate. Mel goes hard to the body. Varner lands a big right. Oh nasty body kick by Mel, eats a serious one to the pills. Mel’s looking pretty miserable down there. He’s okay and they’re ready to go again. Varner charges forward, Mel gets out of the way, and lands a knee to the guts. Jumping knee to end the round for Mel. Tough round to score, I’ll give it to Guillard 10-9
Round 3: Varner shoots, Mel defends. Mel with a hard kick to the body. Varner blocks, but that shit looked liek it hurt. Varner gets the takedown, but Mel is against the cage looking to get up. Varner goes for a Pruvian necktie, but Mel escapes and reverses. He’s on top looking to work some ground and pound. Varner’s shin is bleeding. Yuck. Mel goes to the body, Varner responds with a another takedown. He can’t figure out a way to keep Mel down. And he’s up. Varner ducks a punch and lands a takedown, this time nowhere near the cage. Oh shit, Mel goes for an armbar, and now he’s on top. Wow, a sit out, and now Varner is on top again. He’s got a minute to do some damage. He’s doing nothing. Mel kicks him off and gets up. Mel with a left hook. Varner picks him up and slams Mel backward on his head. Crazy ending. I’ll give that last one to Varner 10-9
The decision is in, and it’s 30-27 (Varner), 30-27 (Guillard), and 30-27 for a bizarre split decision to Jamie Varner.
Erik Perez vs Byron Bloodworth is next
In his first fight outside the south-eastern MMA scene, Bloodworth was decimated by Mike Easton after missing weight by three pounds. So not only did he get his ass whooped, but he had to pay the guy who provided said whooping 20% of his earnings, which considering his meager purse of $4000 amounted to $800. Then he was forced from a second fight due to injury. Bloodworth hasn’t fought in over a year, and earned only $3200 in that time (from fighting anyway). By comparison, the official poverty line for a single person in America is a little over $11,000 a year. So this pitiable bastard earned about $8000 less than the poorest person you know. DAYUM! For that alone I have to root for him to not only win, but get the Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night, Knockout of the Night, and “locker room” bonuses. What, it’s possible.
However, not probable. Bloodworth is facing Erik Perez, who earned a verbal submission victory in his UFC debut, and a 0:17 knockout in his encore. Yep, it’s safe to say this guy is a stone cold killer.
But never underestimate a guy who’s fighting to avoid literal starvation. Hey, it worked for Pat Barry when he was living on ketchup and rice. I know what you’re thinking. Ketchup aint cheap, right, how the hell can Bloodworth afford ketchup? Damn straight it aint cheap, especially any brand that isn’t spelled ‘catsup,’ but Burger King was foolish enough years back to provide those do-it-yourself dispensers. All you gotta do is roll in there to take a piss, and when no one’s looking squirt a bunch of that crimson gold into the baggy you found on the street. And shit, you can even use the free soap provided by a BK bathroom to wash that jammy out. See, who says fast food restaurants are public health hazards/slave mills that provide no public worth whatsoever? Then you got ketchup and rice for the week, and that’s some good livin’.
Round 1: Byron opens with a huge overhand right. Perez ties him up against the cage, Byron reverses, and now Perez reverses, delivering some body shots. Perez with a knee. And another one that drops Byron, damn! Perez descends, and is on top pounding away, but Byron is surviving, and he establishes guard. Perez goes to the head, then to the body, now he’s dropping elbows. Byron defending well. Perez working that body nicely with punches and elbows. Now he’s dropping them to the head. Perez is relentless. He just landed a good one, Byron turns to his side, and Perez finishes him. This kid is a killer, man.
The official decison is in, and it’s a TKO at 03:50 of round one. That’s three fights in the UFC for Perez, three first round stoppages. Not bad. Perez has that stupid mask on for his interview, and so does his entire corner.
Brad Pickett and Eddie Wineland are up
Serious tussle here. Don’t let the stupid hat fool you, Pickett is an animal. His only UFC loss was to Renan Barao, and there aint no shame in that game. Barao has forgotten more about dispensing pain that you or I will ever know. Pickett likes to bang it out, but he’s got a pretty underrated submission game as well. And to hell with you if you missed my Lethal Weapon reference.
Wineland is also a savage. He followed up two tough UFC opening losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez with a spectacular knockout of Scott Jorgensen. Let’s see what he’s got here.
Round 1: Pickett with a leg kick to start. Wineland responds in kind. Pickett charges in with a left hook. Wineland misses a big uppercut, but then lands a good right, and another. Pickett responds with a right of his own. Rogan comments that Wineland is doing everything they tell you not to do in a boxing class. But then he drops Pickett. He’s up though, and looks okay. Wineland goes to the body, Pickett misses a hook. Wineland is throwing bombs. Aint gotta have much technique if one of those lands. Damn, he drops Pickett again, twice, but he’s back up. Pickett shoots, fails. Pickett with a left, then a leg kick. Wineland throws a few, good head movement by Pickett. He needs a little more of that. Wineland lands two more than stun Pickett, then he goes to the body. Pickett jumps forward with a big Rocky type hook, missed badly. The round ends, gotta say 10-9 for Wineland
Round 2: Wineland tags Pickett with a left, Pickett answers with a good shot of his own. Wineland tags him again, and again with a left hook. Pickett with a leg kick, he’s having a hard time finding Wineland’s face. But he goes to the body, nice. Wineland with a jab, blocks Pickett’s counter right. Huge exchange, both just skim the other. Good left hook by Wineland. And a short right. Non stop kickboxing match and the fans are booing. Big hook by Pickett, and Wineland is bleeding from his eye. Wineland lands a nice straight right to close out the round. 10-9 Wineland
Round 3: Pickett with a jab, then a knee that maybe brushes Wineland’s gut. Pickett is charging forward, Wineland moving very well, getting out of the way of mostly everything. Oh nice one two combo from Wineland. Pickett lands a very solid right, doesn’t seem to faze Wineland much. Nice leg kick by Pickett. Wineland lands like three jabs in a row. And a jab by Pickett. Wineland lands a solid right, then misses a left. Pickett misses an uppercut, then sticks a low kick. They trade straight shots. Oh hard to the body by Pickett, then whiffs a big left. Wineland to the body. Pickett staying aggressive, but Wineland is countering him nicely. The bell sounds, and this one goes to Eddie Wineland.
The decision is in, and it’s 30-27 (Wineland), 29-28 (Pickett), and 30-27 for Wineland.
That’s it for me, folks. Let the tomfoolery commence. Thanks for chillin’, and stick around for the main card.