(Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)
It’s a lovely spring day in Columbus, Ohio and the streets of the Arena District are teeming with fans eager to find out, can Keith Jardine really continue his streak of ruining every good plan the UFC has, or will "Rampage" Jackson save him from the ethical quandary of a potential future title shot against his dear friend Rashad Evans? We’ll be liveblogging all the action as it unfolds, so stick with us. And when I say stick with us I really mean it. God help me, if I find out you’re two-timing us with some other liveblog there will be hell to pay.
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Nelson catches one of Riley’s kicks, then Riley returns the favor and puts Nelson on his back. Nelson is back up without incurring much damage. He makes an attempt at catching another Riley kick and then blasts him with a big right hand that drops him. As Riley attempts to get up Nelson lands another hard right. Riley goes to open guard and the ref, some guy named Rick Fike (!?), jumps in and stops it incredibly prematurely.
Riley is immediately on his feet and protesting. Seems like he’s perfectly capable of saying ‘What the fuck is your problem?’ and in case the ref didn’t hear him, the crowd expresses the same sentiment, chanting ‘Bullshit.’ Someone please get this ref out of there. In the post-fight interview, Joe Rogan refers to it as “a horrible stoppage.” That might even be putting it too lightly.
Shane Nelson def. Aaron Riley via TKO (strikes/referee incompetence) at 0:44 of round 1.
Frank Mir just strolled by. Was it my imagination, or was he limping just a little bit? No, probably just his natural swagger.
Brandon Vera vs. Mike Patt
Thank God, Yves Lavigne is working this bout.
Vera is punishing Patt with leg kicks right off the ba. A left gets through for Vera, then later hard right. Patt looks scared, like he’s waiting for Vera to go ahead and finish him. Another good ss raight left from Vera, who’s switching to southpaw when he feels like it, then back again. A damaging left leg kick from Vera puts Patt on his knees. Vera backs off and lets him up to take more punishment. Patt comes back with a right head kick that’s mostly blocked by Vera. Another leg kick from Vera and the pain is all over Patt’s face. Vera seems to be in no hurry to end things as the round comes to a close.
Dammit, Logan’s enthusiasm for her job is just infectious. This crowd loves her.
More kicks from Vera to start the second, including a particularly brutal body kick. Another kick to Patt’s left leg sends him hopping awkwardly backward, shaking his head as if to say, ‘Screw this.’ Another kick sweeps his legs from beneath him, but Vera makes him stand again. This is just mean. Yet another leg kick from Vera and Lavigne has finally seen enough. Now that’s a good stoppage, Fike. Patt definitely wanted no more of that mess.
Brandon Vera def. Mike Patt via TKO (ref stoppage) at 1:27 or round two.
In his post-fight interview Vera declares, “I’m back!”
Boetsch comes marching out to the score from “Conan the Barbarian.” How sweet is that? Totally sweet. I hope Arnold is here to enjoy this, because I’m loving it.
Boetsch starts fast with a big overhand right followed by a knee. Brilz tries to drop down for a takedown and Boetsch catches him with an uppercut. Brilz is already looking battered in the facial region. A kick from Boetsch leads to a takedown for Brilz, but Boetsch gets back to his feet without much difficulty. Brilz is letting his his hands go more frequently, but not landing much. Boetsch keeps peppering him and has drawn blood from the nose of Brilz. They finish the round with a decent exchange, which Boetsch continues to get the best of.
Brilz gets a clinch off a Superman punch attempt from Boetsch and then works for a takedown before quickly passing Boetsch’s guard and moving into side control. Boetsch is doing a good job of avoiding damage, but Brilz is controlling him well on the mat. Brilz postures up and lands some good body shots. He tries for a modified Peruvian necktie, but Boetsch defends and Brilz is forced to give up the choke. Boetsch is back to his feet with Brilz controlling him from behind and landing hard knees to his left thigh. Dan Miragliotta separates them for the last ten seconds of the round, but with little action resulting from it. Looks like we’re tied at one round apiece heading into the third.
Brilz clinches against the cage and gets a takedown that only keeps Boetsch down for a moment. Not wanting to exchange punches, Brilz goes back to the clinch almost immediately. They separate and Boetsch lands a hard knee as Brilz comes in for another clinch, but he keeps after it and gets Boetsch down again, nearly securing a rear naked choke in the process. Boetsch gets back to his feet and lands a few punches before being taken down yet again. Brilz gets the mount with less than a minute left in the fight and opens up a cut over Boetsch’s left eye with an elbow. The horn sounds and it looks like Brilz will take this decision. He sure thinks so, because he’s high-fiving his coaches and smiling like Keith Jardine after an ice cream sandwich.
Jason Brilz def. Tim Boetsch via unanimous decision.
Brilz mumbles his way through the most boring post-fight interview in recent memory. Rogan is forced to pick up his own intensity to compensate, and he does it. Because he’s a professional.
“UFC Undisputed” shows us a video game preview of the main event in the arena. The “Undisputed” people seem to think Jardine’s kicks will make a difference, and also that Rampage will powerbomb Jardine at some point. Is that really in the game? Because I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it in an MMA bout. Not that I wouldn’t want to.
Day comes out to some old Pearl Jam grunge ballad. Interesting choice? To make up for it he screams out a greeting upon entering the Octagon. He seems to be sporting the Miguel Torres mullet, and with Torres working his corner, no less.
Oh shit, Rick Fike is working this bout! The crowd showers him with boos upon mention of his name.
Grove appears to have some small bandage on his rib to start the fight. Day comes right at him and backs him against the cage, roughing him up in the clinch. Grove shoots out a straight right that drops Day, stiffening his legs. He follows with several hard elbows to the side of Day’s head and Day is out cold. Fike lets him take another one, having learned his lesson about early stoppages. Grove celebrates with a Tito Ortiz gravedigger routine.
Kendall Grove def. Jason Day via TKO (strikes) 1:32 of round 1.
“I thought I was going to lose my job,” Grove says in his interview. “But I guess not.”
Like Vera, he also declares that he is (fucking) back.
Madigan comes out to some Bob Marley. Not so much mellow stoner Marley, but semi-pumped up political Marley. I’m into it. McCrory comes out looking lovably nerdy, as usual. That guy. Someone take his glasses off so he can go fight professionally now.
McCrory presses Madigan against the cage and gets a single-leg right away, going to work in Madigan’s guard. He passes to side control and tries some short elbows from the top, with little effect. Madigan regains guard and McCrory stands up to deliver a couple hard punches. Yves Lavigne calls for them to work, and you don’t want to piss off Yves. McCrory passes and mounts, looking for a triangle from the top. Madigan defends well but can’t get off his back. McCrory mounts again and brings down a torrent of strikes. Madigan is bloodied up and he finally taps. To strikes. You know what B.J. Penn would say.
Tamdan McCrory def. Ryan Madigan via TKO (strikes) at 3:35 of round 1.
It’s officially ruled a TKO since Lavigne stepped in before the tap. McCrory proceeds to give one of the greatest post-fight interviews I’ve ever heard, swearing, then apologizing for swearing, then swearing some more. He also wants us to know that Dana White picked his music. He wanted “Thunderhorse.” Because he rode in on his “fucking Thunderhorse” and handled business. But Dana wouldn’t allow it, because he hates fun. How can you not love "The Barn Cat"?
Maynard vows to knock out Jim Miller. The way he says it sounds more like a hope than a promise, but as long as it’s not another lay-and-pray affair you can’t really complain. You can, however, lay back and enjoy Gray’s entrance music: Tupac and Snoop Dogg. The clean version, but still.
Maynard looks content to exchange punches early on, but it’s Miller who forces the clinch against the cage. They break and move back to the center of the Octagon for some tentative striking, feeling one another out. Good body shot from Maynard, but Miller answers with a kick to the ribs. Single-leg attempt from Miller. Then another. Did these two drink that potion from that 80’s movie with Kirk Cameron that makes people trade places? Miller is bleeding from his nose and it’s Maynard who’s pushing forward to force the exchanges. Maynard tags Miller with a couple of good shots near the end of the round, and the first frame belongs to “The Bully.”
Miller is looking battered to start the second. His corner calls for a four-punch combo, but it’s Maynard who’s landing the punches at this point. An inside leg kick catches Maynard low, but he’s not too worried. He slips a straight right through Miler’s defenses and then follows with some body shots. Miller’s face is a mess, and Maynard looks fresh as a daisy. Miller tries another single-leg and Maynard defends easily, flipping Miller onto his back before bringing him back to his feet for more punishment. Out of nowhere, Gray Maynard has become a pretty formidable striker. This does not seem like the fight Miller (or the rest of us) was expecting. Miller tries to pick up the pace at the end of the round, but can’t hurt Maynard.
Miller’s corner was fired up between rounds, though Miller himself seems less so. Miller glances a left off Maynard’s forehead and then misses with a high kick. Maynard is fighting a smart fight, engaging on his own terms and winning the exchanges. The crowd takes to booing for some reason. Freaking Ohioans. Ohio-ites? Nevermind. A good body kick from Miller sends sweat flying. We see a brief glimpse of the ground battle we were expecting, and Miller almost snags a kneebar but comes up short. Maynard lands a few short lefts in Miller’s half-guard, in total control here in the final minute. The round ends and the look on Miller’s bloody, swollen face tells the whole story.
Gray Maynard def. Jim Miller via unanimous decision. 30-27 x 3.
Maynard brings in his boxing coach, Gil Martinez, to do his talking for him during the replay. Not a bad idea. At least the trainer isn’t completely out of breath and high on adrenaline. Maybe everyone should do this.
Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz
The Octagon girls are loving Munoz’s music choice. And you know, if they’re happy, I’m happy. Matt Hamill comes out to “Hang on, Sloopy.” This apparently has some significance for the Ohio crowd. Yahoo’s Maggie Hendricks sees the confused look on my face and fills me in. The song is a staple at Ohio State football games. So there you go. Should I be embarassed that she knows more about college football than I do? Probably, but I’m not.
Hamill comes jogging after Munoz and easily defends the first takedown attempt. Another shot from Munoz is slightly more effective, but only very slightly. Munoz lands some uppercuts and Hamill responds with his usual pawing left, right uppercut combo. Munoz is pressing the action now and though Hamill is covering up well he may be in danger of losing the round if this continues. A right head kick from Hamill catches Munoz flush and he is out. Munoz crumples to the mat and Hamill follows with a couple of unnecessary punches to the sleeping fighter’s face. Replay confirms: shin on head = trouble.
Matt Hamill def. Mark Munoz via KO (kick) 3:53 of round 1.
Munoz is still down. The medics are in the Octagon attending to him and they’ve brought the stretcher out. That’s rarely a good sign. Let’s hope it’s precautionary.
Okay, Munoz just walked out under his own power wearing a neck brace.
Brown comes out to an especially twangy country song. Not my thing, but it fits him because its message is excessively violent.
I don’t see Serra in Sell’s corner, which is a shame. I was hoping to hear about how Drago had been there a thousand times before.
Brown gets us started with a series of head kicks right off the bat. Yeah, it’s going to be that kind of fight. A right hand drops Sell, and Lavigne appears ready to stop it, but then changes his mind. Brown obliges him, beating on Sell some more with punches and knees. He drops Sell again, but Sell hangs tough. Brown is berating Lavigne in the Octagon, practically demanding he stop the fight. Sell continues to rise and fall, staggering around the Octagon. Finally Brown just pushes him over and adds a couple perfunctory punches to force Lavigne to get in there and earn his money. Bizarre.
Matt Brown def. Pete Sell via TKO (strikes) at 1:32 of round 1.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned once or twice, I’m pumped for this one. Gonzaga makes me more so by coming out to Danzig’s “Mother.” It just doesn’t get old no matter how many times I hear it.
Gonzaga lands the first damaging blow of the fight, a right hand the stuns Carwin. He follows up with a takedown, though Carwin is up quickly. A right from Carwin catches Gonzaga on the chin and he’s down. Carwin follows with more blows from those monstrous fists of his and this one is over. Gonzaga is totally out and Carwin is running around the Octagon, pumping up the crowd.
Shane Carwin def. Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO (punches) at 1:09 of round 1.
What’s that sound off in the distance? Sounds like a train. A hype train. And it’s pulling into the station. Somebody go ask Goldstein if he still doesn’t think Carwin deserves a title shot.
While we’re waiting for the main event, you checked out our Facebook page yet? No? Boy…better get your ass over there and be friends with us.
Quinton Jackson vs. Keith Jardine
I’m digging Jardine’s unconventional music choice. Kind of like his unconventional striking: hard to define but effective. See what I did there? I pointed out how one thing was like another, different thing. I’m a writer.
Rampage’s mean face is still the best in the business. Uh-oh, “Stitch” just put Vaseline on Rampage’s face and then patted him lightly on the back with the same hand. Sound the alarms and call B.J. Penn’s video editor.
What was that from Buffer? A quick plot synopsis of the new “Crank” movie? We’re doing that now? Jesus, I don’t like where this is going.
Rampage moves in for the clinch right away after ducking a Jardine right. And the fans are already booing. I blame the MTV for their short attention spans. Jardine is officially out of the first minute, and we all know how his record improves when that happens. Jardine is on the move constantly, not wanting to stand in front of Rampage. Jardine clinches and pushes Rampage against the cage. Jardine punches and moves away. Jardine paws with a left and throws an overhand right, while Rampage complains his was poked in the eye. Body kick from Jardine is caught by Rampage and he lands a couple of rights to five Jardine something to think about. The round ends with Rampage attacking and Jardine sticking and moving. Tough round to score, though I give it to ‘Page based on Octagon control, my favorite criteria.
Leg kick from Rampage and a body kick from Jardine. The Dean of Mean is getting more aggressive now, and he catches a left hook for his trouble. Another left hook pushes Jardine back, and then another drops him. Rampage pours own the ground and pound, but Jardine weathers it and gets back to his feet. Looks like his chin is better than advertised so far. Takedown from Rampage and he moves to side control, but Jardine gets back to his feet, looking tired with his hands on his hips. A low kick halts the action briefly, but after the restart Jardine comes after Jackson with his first significant offense of the fight. Jackson is covering up, then recovers and goes on the attack himself to end the round. 10-9 Rampage on my card. Two rounds to none.
Jardine has his hands low and it’s resulting in him getting tagged too easily to start the third. Rampage lands a body kick and takes a right hand to the face. A double-leg from Rampage puts Jardine on his back, but he doesn’t stay there for long before getting back to his feet. Jardine looks very tired, and his hands are staying near his waist, which is not the best place for them right now. Straight right from Jardine pops Rampage’s head back. With less than two minutes remaining, Jardine doesn’t have the sense of urgency about finishing this that a man behind on the scorecards ought to. He tries a double-leg, but no dice. Under a minute now, Rampage is blasting Jardine with straight rights and left hooks, but Jardine hangs tough. A final left hook floors Jardine one more time before the horn sounds.
Looks like a clear-cut decision for Rampage from where I’m sitting.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson def. Keith Jardine via unanimous decision. Great fight.
Rashad Evans enters the Octagon to console his teammate. Rampage says he didn’t expect Jardine to be so tough, and admits he never stuck to his game plan to begin with. Evans comes over for a staredown and seventh-grade style ‘I’m going to beat you up/No you’re not’ exchange.
“There’s going to be some black on black crime,” says Rampage. Consider this fight officially hyped.
That’s all for me. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Good night, Columbus.