(‘What if we got, like, a studio apartment together somewhere. We’d have so much fun! No? Nah, you’re right. I was just goofing.’ Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)
Atlanta, Georgia, are you ready to have your world rocked? Are you ready to have Mike Goldberg refer to you as ‘Hot-lanta’ at least three times, while Joe Rogan seizes any and every opportunity to point out the rubber guard? Well, you better be, because that’s what’s happening. I can hardly freaking wait.
We’ll be documenting all the zany action and half-cocked commentary as the night unfolds, cracking wise and making fairly obvious but mildly humorous observations all night long, so buckle in and get your commenting hat on. We’re dying to hear all your LOL’s and OMG’s. Maybe even the occasional WTF, although don’t get carried away. We’ve got a long night ahead of us. Hit refresh every so often, or get left behind.
Look, I’m not one to pick on people for fashion choices, but doesn’t Joe Rogan have more shirts than just the one with the diagonal stripes? It’s one thing for poor people like me to own only one dress shirt, but Rogan? You’re better than that, baby. You’re better than that.
Matt Brown comes out to “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which is sweet. The ‘Immortal’ tattoo on his stomach seems like he’s really testing fate, though. If Greek mythology taught me anything, it’s that hubris like that is the best way to bring the gods’ wrath down upon yourself. Also, if a golden rain is falling, get the hell indoors if you don’t want to end up pregnant.
Matt Brown vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Round 1: Kim is the aggressor early on, forcing Brown to cover up with some good punches and then taking Brown’s back. Kim locks up a rear-naked and Brown’s eyes look like they might pop out of his head. Kim is like a human backpack. Brown finally gets him off and puts him down, but Kim gets back up. After some mixed results in the clinch, Brown briefly has some choke options on the mat, before Kim jumps on his back once again. The round ends with Brown shaking him off and mounting very little offense of his own.
Round 2: A jumping knee from Kim results in him ending up on his back, but Brown is enough of a gentleman to let him back up. We’re back in the clinch, mostly at Brown’s insistence, since that seems to be the place where he’s not losing. Brown tries a spinning backfist from the top, then a hard right that Kim takes well. Brown is pushing the pace in this round, controlling the action even if he’s not as flashy as Kim was in the first. Brown gets Kim down and has an arm triangle from half-guard, but can’t advance beyond that before the round ends. Looks pretty even heading into the third.
Round 3: After a pause for Brown to get his mouthpiece situation straight, we’re back on. Excellent takedown from Kim, who goes straight to side control. But Brown works his way back up, making for a squandered opportunity for Kim. Great left hook from Kim, then another leg trip. Brown gets his guard back, but looks tired. Goldberg insists that Kim needs to score points, as if he isn’t already controlling the round. An elbow from Kim slices Brown open like a Christmas ham. Blood is streaming down his face as the round ends.
Looks to me like 2-1 Kim, the first and the third. The judges score it a split decision for Kim. Guess who scored it for Brown. Go on, guess. Did you say Cecil fucking Peoples? Of course you did. Just reinforces my belief that Kim deserved the victory.
Nathan Marquardt vs. Martin Kampmann
Kampmann is rocking the ‘Buy Guns Sell Guns’ shorts. Awesome. You have to love an ad for the website that makes you worry that the ATF will break your door down as soon as you log on.
Round 1: High kick from Marquardt after a feeling out period and Kampmann is in trouble. He’s covering up and backpedaling and Marquardt is bringing it. Kampmann eats a few through his defenses. Kampmann drops down and Marquardt pours it on until the ref waves it off. Quick and impressive finish for Nate the Great.
The text poll reveals a huge fan response in favor of Chuck Liddell, which is odd considering that they usually somehow end up being 51% to 49%. Better get your phone out, “Sugar” fans. By “Sugar” fans, I mean Rashad’s immediate family.
Palhares has some mean cauliflower ear coming down to the cage. Henderson can match that, though, plus he has Matt Lindland, who can go ugly for ugly with anyone on the planet. Even Palhares’ crazy caveman hairline can’t unseed him.
Round 1: Henderson dropping bombs early on, but Palhares scrambles out of trouble and back to his feet. Palhares tries a capoeira kick, then a takedown attempt that gets stuffed. If Palhares is depending on single-legs against a Greco-Roman champ, it could be a rough night. A right uppercut from Henderson drops Palhares. The Brazilian gets up and comes back with a good left hook followed by a sweet body kick. Palhares showing his resiliency, and ends the round on top of Henderson. It may even be enough to steal the round, though it shouldn’t be.
Round 2: Palhares picks up Henderson and slams him hard to start the second. Palhares looking for a heel hook/kneebar, but Hendo ain’t trying to hear it. Henderson looks for a half-assed d’arce, but then gets back to his bread and butter inside Palhares’ guard. The action slows toward the end of the round, with both guys looking like they’re resting. Henderson lands a good right after the stand-up, but that’s about it for for this frame.
Round 3: Palhares dives in and looks like Eddie from Tekken with another kick that barely misses the mark. Henderson works the jab, keeping Palhares off-balance. Action slows to a crawl, and the fans let them know about it. They seem to be a little boo-happy here in Atlanta. Even more so than normal for a UFC crowd. Palhares shoots in, gets stuffed, then Henderson steps back. Looks like Hendo is in control here. Big right on the ground puts an exclamation point on it. Now we just have to wait for all the judges who aren’t named Cecil Peoples to give the fight to Henderson.
Henderson gets the unanimous decision, but looks pissed off that he managed to lose a round on the scorecards somehow. He huffs and puffs through the post-fight interview, further reinforcing the point that this is not the time to force these guys to talk.
Oh hey, the cameras can magically see Randy Couture again. He’s got the distressed sports coat (Affliction, perhaps?) with the t-shirt combo. Rogan can barely contain his excitement.
Tim Boetsch vs. Michael Patt
If I’m not mistaken, Boetsch has walked out to the theme music from “Conan the Barbarian.” I am now a Boetsch fan for life. Krom laughs at your futile opposition.
Patt has the “Jesus Didn’t Tap” insignia. Krom is not impressed.
Round 1: They trade some tentative strikes on the feet, and then Boetsch drops Patt with a big right. A flurry on the ground finishes it off. Patt acts like he wants to keep fighting, as he is practically required to do.
Wow. Matt Hamill is 31. I had no idea. And Jorge Gurgel looks like an alternate universe David Bowie with his longer hair. I probably did have an idea about that.
Round 1: Franklin is working his leg kicks as Hamill circles away. Good uppercut from Hamill, but just misses. The next one lands though and knocks Franklin back a bit. Hamill seems content to fight on the feet, which is somewhat surprising. Franklin appears to be bleeding from his right eye. And there’s a takedown from Hamill, but Franklin transitions to an armbar. Hamill defends, Franklin gets back to his feet, and this one is tough to score as the first round ends.
Franklin’s cut looks pretty bad. His corner stuffs feta cheese into it to stop the bleeding. Unorthodox? Sure. But let’s see how it plays out.
Round 2: Something weird is happening with Franklin’s eye, perhaps involving “a big chunk of skin,” according to Joe Rogan. We restart and Franklin seems to be finding his stride, landing some good kicks and moving away from Hamill. As soon as I write that, Franklin kicks him in the pills. Directly in the pills. Franklin’s body kicks are punishing Hamill. He’s reaching for half-hearted takedowns, but without committing. Hamill looks demoralized as we end the second.
Round 3: Franklin gives his best Ace Ventura smile as we start the last round. A body kick from Franklin crumples Hamill to the mat. He is clearly hurt. Franklin moves in with a few unnecessary punches, and the ref stops it. Liver shot. Somewhere Bas Rutten is smiling.
Peep the Chuck Liddell stats. All that’s missing is stuff like: bangs 80% of the chicks he meets in clubs. Now that stat I would believe.
Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell
Keith Jardine is with “Sugar,” sporting his sweet Mean 1 t-shirt. Then Rashad knuckle-walks into the Octagon, just to erase any goodwill he might have accidentally garnered.
For Chuck’s entrance we follow him in from the parking lot. I swear, the view you get of the backstage region is almost enough to draw up your own blueprints. Okay, maybe not.
Evans tweaks his own nipples like he’s trying to find a station on an old-timey radio during the introductions. It might seem a little strange, but what can you say, some people got to get up to get down. I don’t judge (I totally judge).
Round 1: Liddell is pressing slowly forward, backing Evans up against the cage and probing with a two-punch combo. Evans is shucking and jiving, but Liddell lands a good right that stings him. Evans finds some mild success with the jab. Liddell seems unconcerned with his hands hanging low, as if he learned nothing from the Rampage fight. Liddell traps him against the fence, but is unable to capitalize as Evans slides out. Liddell has a cut under his eye as the round comes to close with “The Iceman” slipping in a late high kick. Looks like round one belongs to Liddell.
Round 2: Evans is getting frantic with his counter-punching, but managing to land at the same time. Liddell backs Evans against the fence and “Sugar” comes back with a huge right hand that drops Liddell. He is out cold. The replay shows a punch that comes out of Evans’ back pocket, finding Liddell’s chin which is completely unprotected. Apparently he learned nothing from his loss to Rampage.
Jason MacDonald vs. Jason Lambert
Round 1: MacDonald shoots for the takedown and Lambert looks for a guillotine, to no avail. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still wondering why Liddell hasn’t learned to keep his damn hands up. Meanwhile, MacDonald is grinding away. Lambert locks in a tight guillotine, but MacDonald toughs it out to end the round.
Round 2: MacDonald is done fucking with Lambert. From the mount to the back to the choke. Position, transition, submission, ya’ll. A solid victory after an early scare for “The Athlete.”
To sum up, Rogan says of Evans’ KO, “That’s the game you play when you throw bones at one another.”
Hey, he said it all when he said it. That’s it for me. I’m going to bed, but you can believe I’ll keep my hands up even in my sleep after what I’ve seen tonight.