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UFC 89: A Proper Bloody Liveblog

(Gono brings some much needed style to the weigh-ins. Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)

Despite the best attempts of some jerks to ruin the results of tonight’s tape-delayed event, those of you who have managed to remain willfully ignorant will get to see it all unfold without the curse of omniscience that makes God’s days so utterly boring. Those of you who have had the outcome spoiled for you already, you’ll just get to see some fights. I’ve spent all afternoon trying to make sense of Michael Bisping‘s video blog (turns out “geezer” means something different in England) and getting myself all riled up on coffee and booze, so I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Let’s turn on some Spike TV, see the same video game ads over and over again, down some frosty beverages, and watch some fights. Just thank your lucky stars it’s free. Remember to refresh the page every so often. Giddyup.

…and the gladiator welcomes us to another fine evening of pugilism. Sure, some of you won’t be happen until you ruin Christmas for everybody, but here we are to enjoy ourselves nonetheless.

Bisping kicks things off in his pre-fight interview by vowing that Leben will not embarrass him in front of his family. Then Leben makes some completely untenable claims about the power of his left hand. Seems like everything’s in order here. Joe Rogan’s Evan Tanner tribute beard is as burly as advertised, and as much as I hate to admit it the added facial hair really lends him some Papa Hemingway-meets-Grizzly Adams gravitas. Well done, Joe.

Marcus Davis vs. Paul Kelly

Round 1
A tentative start, with neither man wanting to wade in there right off the bat. Now it’s halfway through the first, and still very little action. This is the same Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis, right? Just checking. Sweet little foot trip takedown for Davis into half-guard. The way this first round is going that could be enough to win it. Slick pass to side control, but Kelly turns into him and is back to his feet in the scramble. Some high kicks from Kelly but nothing lands as the first comes to a close. I score it 10-9 for Davis. Yawn.

Round 2
More cautious stand-up to start this round, but Kelly shoots in for a double-leg and gets it. Davis is using the cage to get to his feet and grabs a guillotine in the process. Kelly doesn’t defend, so Davis jumps to guard and squeezes for all he’s worth. Kelly is locked up and has to tap. Submission victory for a much more tactical Davis.

Marcus Davis def. Paul Kelly via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:16 of round two.

Davis says he needed to be careful in this fight (no kidding) and gives mad props to his scar tissue doctor, Frank Styles. Way to work, Frank. He also wins some of the UK fans back over by praising them and his new friend, Paul Kelly, then begs to go to Ireland. It’s an easier wish to grant than a title shot, and who could say no to that face?

Chris Lytle vs. Paul Taylor

Round 1
And we’re brawling! This is what we hoped for at the start of the last fight. Lytle and Taylor are slugging it out, with Lytle pressing the action despite his bad omen “Condom Depot” ass ad. Lytle flips Taylor down with a sweet little throw, but can’t keep him there. Taylor has some power in his strikes, though he’s having trouble getting off the cage in the clinch. Taylor lands a right hand in close that may have hurt Lytle just a touch, and that’s it for the first.

Round 2
They trade more leather to start this round, with Lytle landing a couple decent left hooks. Lytle gets it to the ground again and looks for a guillotine, unsuccessfully, while continuing to control the action. Lytle is starting to look a little winded after all these big punches. Taylor catches him in the pills with a kick and Lytle needs a moment to collect himself. It’s Taylor pressing Lytle against the fence at the close of the second. Fatigue could make the difference here if Lytle can’t collect himself between rounds.

Round 3
Taylor lands some good leg kicks on a very tired Lytle, but “Lights Out” comes back with another barrage of punches, pushing Taylor back against the cage. A takedown by Lytle may be enough to seal the decision. With thirty seconds left Taylor comes roaring back, landing some hard punches on a very resilient Lytle. A tough fight, but it’s hard not to think that having a little more gas in the tank could have made a tremendous difference for Lytle.

Chris Lytle def. Paul Taylor via unanimous decision.

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Luiz Cane

Round 1
Soku comes out banging with right leg and body kicks, apparently unhampered by whatever that knee brace is for. Cane had good defense, but he’s being overwhelmed early on by Soku’s explosive kicks and raw aggression. Soku is a little more flat-footed toward the end of the round and now Cane is starting to come on. Soku seems tired and content to wait out the round as the horn sounds.

Round 2
Cane kicks Soku in the junk; Rogan wants to see it again. Doesn’t he know there are special fetish websites for that stuff? Soku is much less active this round, as if he’s still disappointed he didn’t finish Cane in the first two minutes. Cane has him backed up against the cage but isn’t really going after him. A good knee from Cane catches Soku, and soon after Cane drops him with a left hand and follows with a flurry of punches on the ground. Soku is unresponsive and the ref steps in to stop it. Soku just seems glad it’s over.

Luiz Cane def. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou via TKO (strikes) at 4:15 of round two.

Patrick Cote, in an interview with Joe Rogan, says Anderson Silva has been beaten before and can be beaten again. It’s sound reasoning, but somehow fails to convince me that Cote will be the guy to hand Silva that next defeat. Even after he describes his training camp as “crazy.” Oh, Cote. You gotta tell yourself something, I guess.

Keith Jardine vs. Brandon Vera

Jardine does the Greg Jackson camp nipple pinch during the introductions. This thing isn’t going away, is it?

Round 1
Jardine gets a takedown right off the bat and Vera looks for a kimura, but no dice. Jardine is bleeding from the top of his very bald head. Jardine is working out of Vera’s guard, landing a couple decent blows before being stood up. In a weird stand-up exchange first Jardine and then Vera go down briefly. Hard to tell if one or both of them was a slip or whether they might have been genuinely stunned. Jardine has Vera down on all fours against the cage to end the round. He’s teeing off, but not exactly making the most of his opportunity and Vera lasts until the horn.

Round 2
Vera blocks a Jardine kick and gets him to the ground, but Jardine uses the fence to get back to his feet. The striking is more tentative in this round, though Vera lands some good body kicks. Jardine seems to have slowed, as has the pace overall, and the second frame comes to a close. Tough round to call, but I think Vera may have the edge.

Round 3
Both guys charge out to start the final round and Vera lands another good kick. Those could make the difference if he puts them to work here in the third. Good body kick from Vera and Jardine catches it but can’t do much with it. Some scattered boos from the fans, and Jardine changes things up by charging in for a takedown attempt. Vera defends, but Jardine clinches him from behind and lands a few decent shots. The action picks up in the last ten seconds, but the fans make their displeasure known even as Rogan and Goldberg insist that it was a battle. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Not a whole lot of action, and that makes it a difficult fight to call.

Keith Jardine def. Brandon Vera via split decision.

In the post-fight interview, Jardine and Rogan lament the boos that come along with a drunken crowd. As a drunken member of the TV audience, I resent that.

Chris Leben vs. Michael Bisping

Leben comes out to the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen.” I’m not sure why. Leben looks to be in better shape than we’ve ever seen before. Maybe I should quit drinking too. Just kidding.

Bisping tries to pump up the crowd a little during his entrance. The response isn’t as enthusiastic as one might expect.

Round 1
The crowd has woken up as we start the main event. Is that a soccer chant? Probably not. Leben is stalking Bisping to start the fight. Bisping is looking to stick and move. Leben keeps charging in and Bisping is doing a good job of landing strikes while circling away. Leben doesn’t seem exactly bothered by being hit in the face, but it certainly won’t help his looks any. A takedown from Bisping ends the round, and the first frame should go to “The Count.”

Round 2
More of the same to start the second. Leben is coming forward, though he’s still more patient and less of a brawler than usual, and Bisping circles away and picks away at him. A testicular kick from Leben halts the action briefly, but we’re back on once Bisping’s nuts recuperate. Leben spends the rest of the round chasing Bisping and eating sporadic punches for his trouble. He lands a good left with ten seconds left, but the round may still belong to Bisping.

Round 3
Leben’s right eye looks, for lack of a better word, gross. Undaunted, he comes right out and lands a heavy left anyway. Bisping returns to his jab, jab, circle philosophy, and regardless of whether you like it you have to admit it’s working. Leben backs him into the cage and lands a couple of glancing blows, but he can’t get Bisping to stand in front of him. Leben gets a takedown but Bisping gets back to his feet. As the fight comes to a close an obviously frustrated Leben put his head out there for Bisping to punch and kick, and the Brit obliges. I get the point he’s trying to make, but it’s not going to help his cause with the judges any.

Michael Bisping def. Chris Leben via unanimous decision.

As for the undercard, it went down like this:

Per Eklund def. Samy Schiavo via submission (rear naked choke) round three
Jim Miller def. David Baron via submission (rear naked choke) round three
Tery Etim def. Sam Stout via decision
David Bielkheden def. Jess Liaudin via decision
Shane Carwin def. Neil Wann via TKO (strikes) round one
Dan Hardy def. Akihiro Gono via split decision

That’s all for us. A fairly mediocre, but free night. Oh, good. Manswers is on. They’re covering how to make a weapon for under five bucks. I’m headed into the garage to sit in my car with the engine running. Sweet dreams.

Cagepotato Comments

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Bad mother F'er- October 18, 2008 at 11:28 pm
The whole card was weak and very boring. No wonder it was free. The Vera, Jardine fight was deserving of the "boring" chant and so was the Bisping, Leben fight. I don't see the show will be pulling in fans with such boring let down fights. In the Vera, Jardine fight, one looked scared as hell and the other looked glad of it. Who wants to watch two guys run from each other for 3 - 5 minute rounds. BORING, BORING, BORING. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA
Babcock- October 18, 2008 at 6:59 pm
Some thoughts: Chris lytle and Paul Taylor - great fight, Taylor won that shit tho. Soku, your fired! Vera, Your fired! Jardine, get a fucking raise dip shit.
The start of the bisping leben fight i really thought Leben had a chance and was gonna fight a smart fight, he started with some nice leg kicks and was cautious. Then after bisping landed a couple good shots on him its like he just said "fuck it! i like gettin hit in the face anyway!" and decided to let bisping do so. So it looks like Michael Bisping won the contest to see who is going to get raped by The Spider next! Congrats ya bloke!
Olie- October 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm
Bisping won the fight now doubt but he was VERY gassed. If Leben landed a decent punch I'm sure he could have won it in the 11th hour. When he took Bisping down, I was expecting Leben to start throwing some bombs down on 'The Count' especially as he wasn't even looking to guard his face.

Silva will KO Bisping. No doubt.
Anonymous- October 18, 2008 at 5:26 pm
bisping took no damage leben took damage. bisping won the end
FilmDrunk- October 18, 2008 at 5:12 pm
Definitely thought Vera beat Jardine. Weak.
Anonymous- October 18, 2008 at 4:54 pm
how the hell is that the starnes approach that bisping took? he was actually on the offensive, starnes was just running away like a pussy. and i do believe starnes lost, and bisping won. he was just using his speed to his advantage, that is what you do in fights you use your advantage to exploit their weakness.
J- October 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm
@ Craig.

5 inch reach advantage + back peddling the whole time = quicker feet , better jab? I don't think so , any one in the ufc could pull that off : but most would use that 5inches to get a knock out instead of letting the home town judges do it.
J- October 18, 2008 at 3:02 pm
When did starnes join and start training the bisping camp? Who's that other guy nobody wants to fight cuz he only backs up? machacada or something? the UFC should match him against bisping for the worlds most boring mma match ever or depending at how you look at it the most exciting track meet ever.

Bisping won due to strategy can't take that away from him but damn Leben made him look like a pussy , the last 15 seconds of the fight serve as case n point to that.
Hunkgolden- October 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm
Soko Vs. Houston A., itll be the most exciting 30sec of your life! & cause one of those scary black dudes need a win.
Craig- October 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm
i wasted a good half hour of my life watching Vera-Jardine and Bisping-Leben. Vera should be out of the ufc, period.


my only problem with bisping was he talked how he was sooo much better at all aspects of fighting then leben; yet he only showed two: 1. quicker feet 2. a better jab.
God's Outlaw- October 18, 2008 at 1:52 pm
I thought the fights were pretty good, especially for free. Not a big fan of the fight and flee technique but it worked and won "The Count" the fight. Bisping may have lost some of his fans. But not the fight.
KP- October 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm
Pretty much everyone at 185 has only the one place to go as you describe Pantera...and that is getting fucked up by isn't just Bisping. I haven't any new guys in the UFC that look like they could hold a finger to him, every time some up and comer is touted as the guy who is going to take his belt they lose to another guy that has already lost to Silva or to a guy who is nowhere near as good as Silva.

And as for Bisping being "unwilling" to fight, Silva used the exact same strategy in his fight against Leben...sticking and moving against an opponent who throws looping punches and only goes for the KO. Stop complaining that not everyone has the god damn KO power that Silva does, it is the reason he is the champ and that it is pretty much impossible to see him losing to anyone losing at 185 any time soon. Note, it is because Silva is the best, not because other guys suck. Bisping would have had to have landed a retardedly powerful shot to take Leben out...Terry Martin (an ex pro boxer) beat the living christ out of Leben and couldn't knock him out. It isn't an unwillingness to fight, it is just a realization that the only way to knock Leben out is to give him a better chance of beating not worth it for anyone.
Ninjay- October 18, 2008 at 12:59 pm
*Sigh* Some of you people annoy me with your caveman type approach to MMA.

How is it any different than any other sport? You know who you are fighting(playing), you study film and create a game plan to maximize your strengths and minimize your opponents. Bisping knew he was the better striker, not for power, but for accuracy and rate of attack. Let's face it, Bisping has never knoced anyone unconscious he has only won on referee stoppage(TKO). Leban has an iron chin and very heavy hands, so Bisping was just supposed to please all of you and get KO'd by standing in front of Leban and Brawling. You peope are the same idiots that complain when a wrestler sits and pounds on your favorite KO puncher. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is wins vs losses. Bisping won, get over it. Have any of you seen his other fights against people who didnt have knock out power like leban? He attacked all round every round. Bisping will get made to look like a kid against Silva....but thats a different story.
Darkside- October 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm
When Leben put both of his hands behind his back and stuck his face forward to let Bisping hit it...I think that pretty much summed up Bisping's lack of willingness to actually fight. I get the fact that he was afraid of Leben and didn't want to get KTFO, and Bisping did win the fight, but when you're actually paid, and paid good, to fight, maybe the Starnes approach isn't the best way to ensure some longevity in your career.
Pantera Mojo- October 18, 2008 at 7:34 am
First, all the fights were pretty sad.

Terry Soudoukfuckpride was awesome at 1st, then ran out off gas. Overpaid African black dude.

Vera: Cound of won, but your a punk, with no sack! Drop down to MW and get your ass kicked again. BYE FAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bisping: No where to go, but getting fucked up by Silva.

Leben: No where to go, but getting fucked up by Franklin.

Davis: No where to go, but getting fucked up by Fitch.

Carwin: No where to go, Until your the CHAMP.

Chris: Win some money and retired. In about 3 years.

Dean: Open some gyms and get paid. You will never be the champ, just a chump.

I know I misses some dudes, but FUCK THEM.

Peace, long live Dime and Rhoads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OrMMA- October 18, 2008 at 7:23 am
I just want to see Shane Carwin and his 1st round TKO AGAIN. hopefully they will post them for free on or maybe spike, but the guy was amazing to watch in his other fights. I'm just one of the many supports hoping he gets a legitimate fight on the main card next time around. I think impressive Ko's in the 1st round deserve that if a couple power punches let Brock fight Randy.
grilly- October 18, 2008 at 7:18 am
they were soccer chants, they where coming from my section of the crowd. The reason it was a drunken crowd was that all the food had gone by the time the main fights had started but they still selling alcohol.

when gono did his little dance routine on the way to the cage the whole crowd loved him and supported him after that, more than hardy to some degree.

the reason I think Sokoudjou lost was cause I think he was thinking about the new phone he brought that afternoon lolol, me and mate saw him coming out of carphone warehouse about 3pm
Pantera Mojo- October 18, 2008 at 7:07 am
Waste of tme, show a vid of the undercards.
the REAL count- October 18, 2008 at 5:36 am
Fuck michael bisping, ha ha ha! he does not even sleep in a coffin ha ha ha! And he dances around the ring like a kalib starnes fanclub member ha ha ha!
Chri534- October 18, 2008 at 4:54 am
Aren't decisions supposed to be based on four criteria: Striking, Grappling, Octagon Control, and Aggression?

Quick search results:

I don't really feel like he got "beat up". His face took more visible punishment than Bisping, but Leben never looked hurt and Bisping never looked like he wanted to fight.

You can try to make the argument that he didn't want to get in a brawl with the brawler, but he was pretty much avoiding a fight altogether. If you want to see a good game plan for effectively avoiding a "brawl with a brawler" look at Florian vs. Huerta.
Jonny5- October 18, 2008 at 4:48 am
Well what can you say? Two top ten light heavyweights either of whos fight would probably have been the main event not been for the card being in England. Freeness totally added to this cards value, as it was a totally good way to show off a couple top ten lhw and showcase and/or test some other up and comers. As for those lhw fights Jardine once again showed he deserves being on anyones top ten lhw lists, sokoudjou maybe not so much? As for the main event Tuf winner and local UK hero is the first time I have EVER heard a fighter say in a post fight interview that they planned on winning a unanimous decision. wow. Bisping thanks for ALL the honest comments in your post fight interview. Most fighters would have least went with something like "we knew he had ko power so we wanted to keep me moving and using my strikes....blahblah...I want to apologize to my fans for not being able to get a finish" and then congratulate his oppponent on being tough. Nope not bisping he tells his fans wwhats up.
Brandon- October 18, 2008 at 4:47 am

Yes, I do. I don't care how much Leben chases Bisping around, Bisping must have landed 5x the amount of strikes then Leben. Leben's face was messed up by the end too. Bisping tooled Leben now get over it.
Nah- October 18, 2008 at 4:41 am
Bisping won the fight. Aggression doesn't make up for getting beat up for 3 rounds. I had Leben to win however.
Chri534- October 18, 2008 at 4:30 am
Something I forgot to add...Picture this fight going down in Portland, Oregon. Do you see the decision still going the same way?
Chri534- October 18, 2008 at 4:19 am
I think the biggest thing that pisses me off is the Bisping vs. Leben fight. I chose Leben as the winner after the fight based on octagon control and aggression. He spent the entire fight trying to engage while Bisping spent the entire fight jabbing and trying to keep distance. Bisping even said after the fight that he planned to stay back, throw jabs so he could win a decision. I hope Dana has the same opinion as me, because that fight should be treated as a loss for Bisping and a win for Leben. "Bispinging it" (a better term should be made? I gave up quickly) should be considered worse than the "lay n pray".

Honestly, picture a fight between Bisping and Bisping's just two guys circling each other trying to land one more jab than the other guy.

...Fucking sad.