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UFC 82: Liveblog of a Champion

Guest Liveblogger Ben Fowlkes of The Fighting Life here, all set and ready to go for UFC 82. I’m looking forward to a good night of fights, which I’m warming up for by watching Dana White swear through the countdown show. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Click the “MORE” link and refresh the page every few minutes for round-by-round updates.

For me, the highlight of the countdown show is Dana White’s repeated assertion that there has never been a more exciting time in the heavyweight division. That, and Heath Herring‘s claim that he is the only fighter who has a “knockdown” in every fight. As if that means something. Sounds suspiciously like a baseball stat to me. You know, the whole I-lead-the-ball-club-in-night-game-triples kind of boast. Oh well.

Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson

I can’t argue with Jon Fitch’s music choice. Johnny Cash doing “Rusty Cage” has me pumped up.

Round 1

Wilson’s early strategy looks like a good one. Takedown defense will be a key for him against Fitch. Nice right hand from Wilson, followed by a knee and a high kick, but Fitch holds on and manages to get him down. Fitch is holding Wilson down, but the ref stands them up when he can’t advance position. This prompts Joe Rogan’s first cringeworthy comment of the night: “If a guy can hold you down and molest you for three rounds…”

And we’re not even out of the first round of the first fight.

The horn sounds with Fitch working modestly from Wilson’s guard. I give that round to Wilson.

Round 2

Wilson escapes the single-leg twice, but the second time he slips up and ends up on his back anyway. It’s like Fitch can just will people to the mat with his mind. Fitch moves to side control, but he’s not doing a whole lot of damage just yet. Mount for Fitch, could be the beginning of the end, but Wilson gets the half-guard. More of the same to end the round. Fitch is good at doing just enough not to get stood up.

Round 3

Nice shot of the ring girls, who seem to have added the peace sign to their arsenal, which includes blowing kisses and waving next to their faces.

Wilson knows he needs to stay up here, but he’s maybe a little too cautious as a result. Fitch starts to come on in the standup game now. The crowd’s getting restless, God knows why. Another takedown for Fitch, and a decision win for him is beginning to seem inevitable. Fitch’s ground-and-pound is looking better, but Wilson looks for a triangle that could do something but for the time ticking away.

Jon Fitch defeats Chris Wilson via unanimous decision. Sounds about right, but 30-27? Cecil Peoples, you so crazy.

Matt Serra gets booed when shown on screen (must be his shirt, which is available at fine Long Island clothiers everywhere), but Urijah Faber gets a rousing hand. Go figure.

We follow this up with a commercial for UFC 83, promising it will be the “biggest UFC event ever”…until the next one.

Rogan sits down with Mark Coleman to remark upon his induction into the UFC Hall of Fame, but wait! There’s an announcement! Coleman says he wants another fight, and he’ll get it against Brock Lesnar in Minnesota (Minnesota? Really?). All right. I guess Brock Lesnar has to get a win somehow, and Coleman has to pay his mortgage. Works out for everyone.

Evan Tanner vs. Yushin Okami

Rogan, on Tanner: “He was basically a traveler for the past two years. He traveled the country. He grew a beard.”

Round 1

A good left from Okami puts Tanner on his butt, but Tanner recovers well and takes Okami down briefly. Tanner seems to be cut already, reminding us all of his scar tissued past. Okami is moving well, striking from distance. First round is all his.

Round 2

Okami is controlling this fight, and Tanner’s timing looks off. That’s what two years of traveling and drinking and writing weirdly affecting MySpace blogs will do to you. Okami’s left is finding the mark more and more. A knee in the clinch from Okami and it’s lights out for Tanner. Okami punches him once more while he’s out, just cause.

Tough first night back for Tanner. Predictably so.

Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara

Am I the only one who never gets tired of the whole Roman legionnaire theme that Sakara is working with? The tattoos, the nickname, I love it.

You know what else I love, though, is Chris Leben coming out to 2Pac’s “Picture Me Rollin’”. Way to raise the bar, Leben.

Buffer, intro for Sakara: “This man is a boxer…” Really? Are we still doing that? They’re all mixed martial artists. The sooner we accept this, the better.

Round 1

Leben’s looking to brawl right off, but Sakara is circling well and not standing in front of him. Leben’s hands are way down and he’s winging his punches. Sakara is finding those openings, but Leben isn’t slowing down. Two big looping left hooks from Leben buckle Sakara’s legs, and Leben follows him to the ground to finish it.

Herb Dean moves in to stop it, and that’s the right decision. Sakara doesn’t like it, but he probably also doesn’t remember half of the punches he got hit with there at the end.

Leben describes his performance as “slanging and banging”, adding, “That’s just action, that’s all that is.” Leave it to Leben to make the post-fight interview seem worthwhile.

Cheick Kongo vs. Heath Herring

I have to say I love Heath Herring’s entrance, but he has a reputation for — as they used to say about The Ultimate Warrior — “generating a lot of excitement…prior to the bell.”

Kongo looks subdued but terrifying, as usual.

Round 1

Herring comes charging out and connects with a right. Nice use of the old gong and rush by Herring. Kongo rebounds with a takedown and we see some his improved ground game. They exchange a few sweeps and takedowns, though Kongo seems in control. He gets Herring’s back at one point and inexplicably gives it right up. The first round goes to Kongo on my scorecard.

Round 2

Herring tries to start fast again, but Kongo has wised up and puts him on his back. An upkick from Herring, and Kongo decides to stand over him and toy with Herring for reasons unknown. After a restart Kongo puts Herring down again, but gets reversed. Herring grinds away at Kongo with knees from North-South, and Kongo may be gassed because he seems content to wait out the round. Herring stole that round due to Kongo’s inactivity and lackadaisical attitude.

Round 3

Herring knocks Kongo down with a kick to the body, but he manages to scramble. They get back to the ground and Herring again gets North-South, pounding Kongo with knees. Kongo doesn’t seem to understand that he needs to get up if he doesn’t want to lose this by decision. As much as this fight has shown an improved ground game from Kongo, it’s also showcased some poor decision-making from the French fighter.

Heath Herring wins by split decision. It’s the right call, but a split decision? Guess who was the lone judge was who scored it for Kongo? That’s right. Cecil Peoples rides again.

Herring says he’s disappointed it wasn’t a standup battle, claims he didn’t train on the ground at all. That’s a strange thing to say, but not as strange as Herring’s public plea for a Budweiser-sponsored “Crazy Horse Beer Tour” in Iraq. I gotta be honest, I don’t see it happening, Heath.

Main event time.

Goldberg, on Henderson: “This man right here defines cagefighter.”

I don’t know about that, but Hendo’s entrance definitely defines old school awesomeness. They’re even showing off the Pride belt, as if it’s still relevant. If Silva wins, will he get it? You see my point.

Silva comes out to DMX. Rogan wastes no time trotting out the “ballet of violence” phrase, while Goldberg resorts to the old stand-by, immovable object versus the unstoppable force. Let’s just get to the fighting.

Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson

Round 1

Silva is doing a good job of keeping the distance with his kicks, but Dan isn’t rushing anything. A nice front kick from Silva slips through Hendo’s defenses. A body lock by Henderson and down goes Silva. Right away Henderson adopts some big brother tactics, covering Silva’s mouth and hammer-fisting him in the ear. Silva tries to scramble away and Henderson ends up in his guard as the first round comes to a close.

Round 2

Silva opens up his stand-up game in this round, trying to bait Henderson into trading with him. Henderson goes for a takedown and settles for trying to pull guard. He gets up into a body lock, but Silva is stinging Henderson now with knees and big punches. Henderson hangs on somehow, but Silva keeps the pressure on. He takes Henderson’s back, pounding away at him and securing a body triangle. Henderson tries to roll out but Silva locks up a rear naked choke. The seconds are ticking away, but Henderson can’t hold on. He’s forced to tap with just eight seconds left.

Anderson Silva retains his title in an impressive display of all around dominance. It’s hard not to think of Silva as the pound-for-pound best in the world after that display.

That’s it for me, fight fans. A good night of fights for the UFC, and I hope you enjoyed the live blog.

Cagepotato Comments

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bmwtech- March 1, 2008 at 11:34 pm
Anderson Silva IS the best middlewight in a long time, just an opinion.
Grant- March 1, 2008 at 10:23 pm
psh, silva is weak. id like to see him take on eddy gordo. now that's a fight!
Steve-O- March 1, 2008 at 8:46 pm
back again suckas.....MMA FAN, eat a dick. there's only one guy you listed that would even make it out of the first round with silva, and that's good ol' frankie shamrock. and i don't even think he'll win, he just has the best chance of any other middleweight in the world. frank trigg is pretty damn good and i'd like to see that as well, but he'd lose no doubt.

as far as the rest of your prospects...are you serious? lawler? lindland? a couple unmentionables...and miller? haha, trigg cancels out miller any day of the week, we'll bring in nick diaz to take care of lawler, and maybe we can dig lindland up from his grave and get him to fight again...but i'm sure he'll just lay there like the dead guy he is anyway.

but i truly am sorry to say MMA FAN, that i do agree with you on one thing. i don't wanna see the spider move up, there's just no point. he walks around around 200lbs, when these guys walk about at 220+....let's be serious, the only reason why lindland is still around is because he's the only one stupid enough to pull that crap on a regular basis.
Anonymous- March 1, 2008 at 8:34 pm
KILLEDDDDD- March 1, 2008 at 7:07 pm
Hey 'Sigh' racist much? Anderson silva is the best pound for pound fighter in the world, so i dont know why your trippin balls over it. But keep praying buddy i dont think hes going to lose anytime soon. NICE TRY HENDO, NICE TRY we know those knees hurt!! :)
Sigh...- March 1, 2008 at 6:40 pm
Fuck you, fuck the ufc and last but not least fuck anderson silva. I pray for the day someone knocks that black bastard out. I dont mean a regular ko... a ko that will scramble his brain and make him not able to fight anymore.

and fuck you hendo for not defending your neck... seconds away from the 3rd round. Jackass.
MMA FAN- March 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm
@Surf: Actually, Anderson Silva should stay right where he is and Dana White's next stop should be Lorenzo's piggy bank. There are other middleweights out there that can be had for a very reasonable price. (Robbie Lawler, Matt Lindland, Kazuo Misaki, Denis Kang, Frank Shamrock, Frank Trigg, Jason Miller...)

And how well you do fighting up doesn't say anything about your skill except how well you handle larger fighters - which isn't terribly interesting unless you're a fan of Japanese MMA freak shows: "Watch this little person take on a sumo wrestler!" "Can Giant Silva beat a polar bear?" Who cares.

There's plenty of competition available without resorting to freak shows.
MMA FAN- March 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm
Sounded like a good night of MMA. It looks to me like every one of the undercard should have been televised. The UFC is dropping the ball . I hope Sanchez, Kosh, Andre and the rest of the under take there game some where else. Fuck Dana and UFC. It would be great if Elite or another widly televised league gets these guys.
alan- March 1, 2008 at 1:20 pm
Anyone know what happent with the pre fights? sanchez vs bleikheden?
Olie- March 1, 2008 at 9:25 am
Anyone got links to the fights?
Surf- March 1, 2008 at 6:37 am
Next stop for Anderson Silva should be the light heavy division. He's got no competition left in his weight class. It would be a shame to let a man of his fighting caliber sit and go stale atop an already conquered mountain. You can climb everest twice but can you really say it was worth the effort after the second or third time?

Let him move up to the LH division and prove his worth against some great strikers like Wanderlei Silva or Chuck Liddell. Or how about letting guys like Rampage have a go at him. If you honestly think that he can find feasable comp as a middleweight for the foreseeable future, then you have just fooled yourself. They brought in Nate Marquardt (like as if he was some sort of fearsome headhunter) and that didn't pan out well. We all just witnessed what happened to Dan-o and his game plan. So what do you think they should do? Let Bisping beat Franklin and consider him a threat to "Da Spider"?

Push him out of his class and see if moving up will give him the chance to lay proof to the claim that he is the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world (which really means the just UFC, not the WHOLE world).
Noah- March 1, 2008 at 5:35 am
Silva has ridiculous skills, that is almost sickenig how quickly he finished Hendo, and Hendo is one of the toughes guys out there. Who the hell can beat Silva? I don't think he's going down any time soon.
Than- March 1, 2008 at 5:20 am
Yeah baby! Silva wins again, this dude is unstoppable.
NipGrip- March 1, 2008 at 5:18 am
hahah Silva wins! Who's next they ask? Why, I say they give good ole' Rich "Ace Ventura" Franklin another go. Third time's a charm!
Asian- March 1, 2008 at 5:14 am
Asian- March 1, 2008 at 4:43 am
Heath Baby!
wax- March 1, 2008 at 4:22 am
heath sucks
wax- March 1, 2008 at 4:13 am
henderson 3rd round stoppage
Asian- March 1, 2008 at 3:49 am
Sick knee by Yushin.
mybodymyweapon- March 1, 2008 at 3:41 am
well he is a hall of famer and brock only has 2 fights...still think in a ground and pound brock is tough to defeat if your not looking to submit him i dont think coleman has a chance
coldbeer78- March 1, 2008 at 3:37 am
I think Coleman could bust him up
mybodymyweapon- March 1, 2008 at 3:35 am
yea in 5 months
mybodymyweapon- March 1, 2008 at 3:34 am
chris wilson looked pretty good actually surprised at how well he did against fitch
coldbeer78- March 1, 2008 at 3:34 am
Is that supposed to take place ?
mybodymyweapon- March 1, 2008 at 3:33 am
colman is gonna get killed