Before the UFC 162 pay-per-view card kicks off, how ’bout we warm up with some fights on free TV? Tonight’s FX Prelims broadcast features a crowd-pleasing lineup of sluggers, including Chris Leben, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Edson Barboza, and the first post-TUF Smashes appearance of Norman Parke.
Handling liveblog duties for this leg of the “Silva vs. Weidman” fight card is none other than Matt Saccaro, who will be stacking 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 please toss your own analysis and witticisms into the comments section. Thanks for being here.
The UFC always tries to make the “4th of July” card worth the $60 fans have to pay for it. This time, they succeeded. The main card is studded with talent. The FX preliminaries have some gems too. Fighters like Chris Leben, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Edson Barboza will be trying to rekindle their flames on FX. Hopefully, they’ll also be providing us with fights so exciting that we forget about all the shitty commercials we have to endure throughout the broadcast. Seriously though, if I have to hear Kid Rock talk about the sound of his freedom one more time…
Anyway, the violent festivities are about to start soon, so let’s quickly recap what happened on the Facebook prelims:
Mike Pierce defeated David Mitchell via TKO. The first round was so boring that all 11 people in the audience were booing.
Brian Melancon defeated Seth Baczynski via TKO. This TKO was an interesting one as it came quite literally at the bell. The bell sounded and then viewers saw a starched, lifeless Baczynski that was clearly going to be unable to answer the bell for the second round.
Now, the commercials are finally over and the first pairing of fighters is now entering the cage for the FX portion of the fight card. We have Edson Barboza vs. Rafaello Oliveira—Brazilian Muay Thai stud and former Next Big Thing™ vs. Generic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with a 1-2 record in the UFC who’s coming off a year-long absence from the cage.
This is Barboza’s biggest test since getting upset by Jamie Varner back in 2012. Since then, Barboza has only fought once, defeating the unheralded, unheard of Lucas Martins in under three minutes.
Oliveira is coming off his only UFC win, a unanimous decision over the fighter with the toughest name to spell in the history of the UFC, Yoislandy Izquierdo. Prior to that win, Oliveira lost via TKO to Yves Edwards and via Submission to Gleison Tibau.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it seems like Barboza is “supposed” to win this fight. He’s younger, more talented, and his spectacular highlight reel and skillset makes him more marketable. The fight is about to start now so I’ll put away my tinfoil hat…
Round 1: They touch gloves to start the fight. Barboza lands a leg kick. Oliveira lands a left hook. Oliveira tries a body shot and misses. Barboza hits two more hard leg kicks in succession. Then he lands a huge body kick. The thud echoed throughout the arena. Barboza lands a left to the body and Oliveira shoots in pathetically. Barboza lands two more vicious leg kicks. Oliveiria is a deer in the headlights and Barboza is a mack truck. Oliveira attempts a single leg and fails, only to eat another kick to the body. Oliveira lands a right hand, then shoots and again fails. Barboza hits a spinning back kick. After a period of inactivity, Barboza hits yet another leg kick. Maybe we’ll see a Paul Varelans vs. Marco Ruas? Oliveira fails to takedown Barboza AGAIN. Barboza lands a millionth hard leg-kick, Oliveira fails his millionth takedown attempt in response. A minute left in the round now. A mouse is forming on Oliveira’s right cheek. Oliveira is limping now too, from all the leg kicks. He’s going to be in trouble in the second round. The bell sounds the end of round one. We score it 10-9, Barboza.
Round 2: An ineffective flurry from both fighters starts the round. Barboza hits a nice sweep when he catches a kick from Oliveira. Oliveira manages to take Barboza down off a leg kick but Barboza gets back to his feet very quickly. Another leg kick buckles Oliveira, and then another right after. Oliveira is moving like a wounded animal. A leg kick floors Oliveira this time. He’s limping really badly. This is brutal. Barboza hits another leg kick and Oliveira falls to the mat. Herb Dean mercifully stops the fight. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg are having an orgasm over the fact that Barboza is the first guy to win two fights with a TKO via leg kicks.
Result: Edson Barboza def. Rafaello Oliveira via TKO (leg kicks) at 1:44 of round 2.
Next up is a scrap between disgraced heavyweights Gabriel Gonzaga and Dave Herman.
For a brief time, the MMA world thought that Gonzaga was “back.” He ran through one of Junior Dos Santos’ training partners and then submitted Ben Rothwell (remember when people thought Rothwell was HW champ material back in the IFL days? Good times). But after that, Travis Browne smashed Gonzaga’s head in with a brutal series of elbows. The fight lasted only a minute.
Dave Herman has lost three in a row. How he still has a job is a bit of a mystery. Maybe the heavyweight division is just really thin and Joe Silva doesn’t want to part with a warm body that can fill a card? Maybe Herman is friends with somebody important? Maybe he has nude pics of Dana? We’re not sure.
Herman is 1-3 in the UFC going into this fight and is on a three-fight losing streak. He lost to Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, and Big Nog. The last loss to Big Nog was the most embarrassing of them all since Herman had infamously proclaimed that BJJ didn’t work…only to be submitted via arm bar.
Round 1: They touch gloves. Herman lands two front kicks. Gonzaga counters a leg kick with a massive overhand right that floors Herman. He follows up with a few punches and referee Kim Winslow stops the fight. Herman looks pretty pissed. Stoppage MIGHT have been a bit early, actually. Regardless, the fight is over.
Gabriel Gonzaga def. Dave Herman via TKO (punches) at 0:17 of round 1.
Now that that fight is over, we have our first (and only) piss-break match of the FX prelims: Norman Parke vs. Kazuki Tokudome:
This is a win-win fight for the UFC. They have an Irish guy on a winning streak taking on a Japanese guy on a winning streak. No matter who wins, they get a guy they can market overseas that has a healthy winning streak (even if the streak might not be over the best competition but hey, the MMA media won’t question it).
Now, I called this a piss-break match and that really isn’t fair, I guess. Both of these fighters are talented and, at age 26, could have a bright future. It’s just that, compared to some of the other names on the prelims, these guys aren’t as known—which means that casuals and even some hardcores might tune out during this match.
Well, CagePotato will never tune out. So feel free to smoke or take a piss and then read the liveblog for the results, which are…
Round 1: They touch gloves. Parke lands a nice left hand. Parke misses a head kick. Tokudome lands a weak leg kick. Parke swings big with a right hand and misses by a mile. Parke lands two stiff jabs and Tokudome just eats them. Parke follows up with a big left over the top. Parke misses an Anderson Silva-front kick. Tokudome eats another big left. Tokudome has no footwork and no head movement. He continues to stand in front of Parke. Tokudome throws some ineffective punches and eats some counters. Tokudome comes forward and lands a left, and then eats a counter left. They clinch and Tokudome winds up pinned against the cage. Parke grabs a leg and drags Tokudome to the mat. Tokudome gets up but Parke takes his back during the transition. Park attempts a takedown and is reversed, he’s now on his back with Tokudome in his guard. There’s not much action save for some soft punches from both fighters. Parke tries a Kimura and gives up on it shortly after. Tokudome still can’t pass Parke’s guard. Parke gets up to his feet from guard and simply pushes Tokudome over. He passes Tokudome’s guard and the round ends. Pretty close round but I give it to Parke, 10-9.
Round 2: Tokudome lands a weak leg kick, countered by a right hand. The two fighters exchange half-strength flurries that both miss. Tokudome lands a combo of light punches. Parke lands a big left hand, Tokudome flees, and then Parke lands another. Parke is landing some big punches now. They both slow down. Parke backs off and takes a deep breath. Parke keeps spamming big lefts. The two men clinch briefly and then break up. Parke throws more haymakers, but this time Tokudome counters a few. Parke lands another straight left. Tokudome misses a massive hook. Parke ducks under it and lands a single-leg. He has Tokudome sitting against the fence. There isn’t much action now. Tokudome manages to get back to his feet. Parke still has an underhook but can’t do anything with it. Tokudome separates and lands a sweet flying knee, but it’s all for naught since Parke takes him down off of it and then gets mount. Tokudome powers his way out of mount and then attempts his own takedown, which fails. The two men get back to their feet and exchange strikes until the round ends. 10-9 Parke.
Round 3: A series of strikes from both fighters doesn’t go anywhere. Tokudome takes the center of the cage and has Parke scurrying away. Parke attempts a single which backs Tokudome into the cage. Tokudome gets a takedown, which is reversed. Parke has Tokudome in a front headlock now. Tokudome gets Parke against the cage, who quickly spins around and reverses the position. Tokudome lands some short, strong elbows but Parke is unfazed. Parke takes Tokudome’s back and attempts a takedown, which is successful but Tokudome reverses. He winds on top of Parke, in Parke’s guard. Parke rises to his feet very quickly. Both fighters are breathing with their mouths wide open now. Tokudome lands a head kick which momentarily stuns Parke. Tokudome capitalizes on this, scoring a takedown on Parke, who is only on the ground for a few seconds before rising to his feet. They’re both clinched against the cage now. They separate. There’s a minute left now. Parke lands some more punches on Tokudome’s stationary head. Tokudome lands an uppercut. Parke goes for a single leg which he can’t complete. They’re both against the cage now and it looks like the round is going to end there. It does, but not before Parke gets Tokudome down for a split second. This was the toughest round to score. I say 10-9, Tokudome.
Result: Norman Parke def. Kazuki Tokudome via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
And now, the preliminary bout we’ve all been waiting for—even if you weren’t anticipating it more than the others, you have been waiting for it so technically the statement is accurate—Chris Leben vs. Andrew Craig.
Leben is arguably in the darkest part of his career. He’s 1-3 in his last four and is coming off two losses, most recently to Derek Brunson back in December. But before that, he lost to Mark Munoz and then tested positive for oxycontin. This offense earned him a yearlong suspension.
Leben’s only win in the last two years is over a decrepit Wanderlei Silva. A loss tonight could be damning for Leben.
Craig is 8-1. He’s coming off a loss to Ronny Markes.
Was this fight made to get Leben back on track? After all, Leben has over three times as many fights as Craig. I guess we’ll have to watch.
Round 1: No touch of gloves to star the fight. Leben rushes in sloppily and goes for a single leg. Weird. He hits some foot stomps and keeps Craig against the fence. He hasn’t given up on the takedown yet. He has an underhook and keeps working the foot stomps. Craig gets a Thai plumb and lands a nice knee. Leben gets Craig against the cage again and this time gets Craig onto the mat but only briefly. Craig attempts a knee but it’s blocked. Leben throws a really ugly, lazy leg kick and then almost falls down. Leben throws a body kick and lands a left hook. He rushes in and Craig lands a knee to the body. That doesn’t stop Leben though, who again pushes Craig against the cage. They separate and Craig lands a right hand to Leben’s face. Leben lands a knee to the body and they separate. Craig lands an inside leg kick and then attempts a leg kick. A left-right combo fazes Leben for a bit who attempts a clinch but is shrugged off. Leben looks tired. He tries an off-balance leg kick which misses badly. He goes for a single leg again and fails. He grabs a body lock on Craig and gets him to one knee but then Craig rises. They’re clinched and then they separate. On the separation, both men throw like they’re in a bar fight but nothing comes of it. They reset in the center of the cage. Craig tries a double leg but Leben stuffs it. The round ends shortly after. That one was close but I give it to Leben 10-9.
Round 2: Goldy shills for Fox Sports 1 before the round starts. Both fighters start the round with big punches that miss. Leben, again, presses Craig against the cage and keeps attempting takedowns that go nowhere. Leben tries some more foot stomps but nothing. He grabs a leg again, but still nothing. Craig gets a Thai plumb and hits a big knee to the face but Leben isn’t hurt. Leben continues to press forward and Craig can’t get away; he’s stuck against the cage again. This time though, he manages to reverse the position and push Leben against the fence. He transitions to a Thai clinch and lands another knee before Leben escapes. They reset and Craig lands an elbow. Leben continues his wall-and-stall strategy. He lands a knee to Craig’s body and then Craig escapes off the fence. Leben throws a leg kick. Craig lands a left hook. Leben misses another leg kick and Craig lands a leg kick. Craig initiates a clinch this time and gets Leben against the fence, who reverses Craig. This is like the 20th time we’ve been in this position during this fight. Rogan is commenting about how Leben is the more aggressive fighter but Craig is landing more. Leben clinches again and lands some body shots. Leben throws some big shots which are blocked. The round ends. Tough round to score, as Rogan said. 10-9, Craig.
Round 3: Craig seems much fresher but that doesn’t stop him from letting Leben come forwards and try to bully him. Both fighters throw a flurry of messy strikes. Craig lands a few which floor Leben. Craig keeps landing follow-up strikes but Yves Lavigne doesn’t stop the fight. Leben gets back to his fight and is now pressed up against the cage. His face is red and he looks exhausted. They separate and Craig lands two uppercuts. Leben clinches and, for the 100th time, pushes Craig against the fence and does nothing there save for some light strikes. Leben stalks Craig, who shoves Leben to the floor when Leben attempts to clinch. Craig is in Leben’s guard now. He passes to half guard. Leben gets to his feet after thinking about a Kimura. Craig takes a deep breath. Despite this though, Craig is still visibly the fresher fighter. Craig successfully attempts a double leg. He’s in Leben’s guard now. Both fighters are throwing light punches. Craig passes into half guard. Thirty seconds left. Leben wall-walks his way up and both fighters separate but not for long. Craig takes Leben down again and time expires. I give it to Craig, 10-9.
Result: Andrew Craig def. Chris Leben via split decision (29-28 Craig, 29-28, Leben, 30-27 Craig).
That does it for the UFC 162 FX prelims. Be sure to continue following the action at our main card live blog!