(Is it me, or did it just get way too real in here? Photo courtesy of UFC.com)
What happens when you get one fighter who has the nickname "The Bully" and another fighter who simply has the attitude of one together in the same building at the same time? It becomes a very bad night to be a geek and/or a poser in Fairfax, Virginia. That’s what. Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard are set to go at it in the main event of UFC Fight Night 20 tonight, and we’ll be bringing you all the live results and priceless commentary you can stand. Some of it will be spelled right, and at least 50% of the subjects and verbs will be in agreement, but other than that there’s really no telling what might happen.
Will we accidentally hit upon a brilliant idea for a screenplay? Will we suffer a crisis of conscience midway through an inappropriate joke about Mike Goldberg’s sister? Only one way to find out, and it’s by joining us after the jump and hitting refresh often. Things will get under way at around 9 p.m. EST, and it will be a laugh a minute after that. But only if you read very, very slowly. And are very, very easily amused.
…and we’re on the air. Looks like both Goldberg and Rogan are going with the Johnny Cash look tonight. Somebody’s going to have to change before they hit the club after this, otherwise they’re going to look like idiots. That would be a new experience for at least one of them.
A quick look at the crowd reveals one old guy in a suit who is waaaay out of the UFC’s target demographic, and one guy doing the Arsenio Hall fist-pump who is waaaay too typical of it.
Right off the bat we seem to be getting the kickboxing match that Blackburn promised us. Both guys are staying busy, but it’s Sadollah who lands the first big shot of the fight – a hard right hand that pushes Blackburn backwards. In Forrest Griffin fashion, Sadollah is finishing almost every combo with a leg kick, and doing so very effectively at the moment. Sadollah looks to be cut under his right eye, but there’s some blood on Blackburn’s face as well. Things are pretty even, but then a big shot from Sadollah wobbles Blackburn. Sadollah pushes forward and lands a hard elbow, then takes Blackburn down to ensure that the first round is his. Blackburn quickly recovers open guard and then gets back to his feet before the round ends.
Rogan says Blackburn is mixing up his attack more in the second round, and he says this fifteen seconds in to the round. Looks like both guys are feeling the effects of a busy first round, because much more of the action is taking place in the clinch so far. Blackburn counters a Sadollah leg kick with right hand and puts the TUF winner on his ass. A hard left elbow in close by Sadollah. Blackburn responds with a looping right a few moments later. Blackburn gets wobbled just a little bit in the final ten seconds, and in a round this close it might have cost him.
Sadollah hurts Blackburn with a big knee in the opening seconds of the round, and once again he takes Blackburn down instead of continuing the assault on the feet. Blackburn does a good job of defending off his back and keeping Sadollah from mounting him. Blackburn tries to kick him away and get up, but instead eats a right hand and lets Sadollah get to half-guard, where he works some elbows in tight. Sadollah very briefly gets the mount in the last ten seconds and then finishes with a flurry. This is Sadollah’s decision all the way, but of course we have to wait through another commercial break just to find out what we already know.
Amir Sadollah def. Brad Blackburn via unanimous decision.
Sadollah mumbles through his post-fight interview, ala Ricky Bobby. You can’t tell Mike Goldberg that Amir and Forrest Griffin weren’t separated at birth. Seriously, you can’t do it. If you even try he sticks his fingers in his ears, crawls under the nearest piece of furniture, and screams until you leave the room. It’s really not worth the effort.
Rogan talks with Randy Couture about his upcoming bout with Mark Coleman, claiming that the winner could be in line for a 205-pound title shot. Wait, seriously? You win two straight in that division and it’s like the roll out the red carpet for you.
Oh God, if I have to see that Magic Johnson Rent-a-Center commercial one more time…wait a minute. The more I see it, the more similarities I see between Magic and Tracy Jordan. It’s almost creepy. Great, now I can’t stop thinking about it.
Lawlor comes right out swinging leather and Simpson seems like he’d rather have this in the clinch, where a wrestler can breathe. Lawlor stings him with an uppercut and Simpson is hurt. His legs turn a little rubbery and Lawlor pours it on. Simpson is taking some huge shots, and while his equilibrium seems shot, he’s hanging in there. Lawlor mayhave worn himself down trying to finish Simpson, because his pace has slowed noticeably in the final two minutes. Simpson, who looked like he was headed for a nap, may actually survive this round. Without a doubt, Lawlor is up one round to none, but Simpson has to be glad just to be standing.
Simpson wisely looks for a takedown fairly early in the second, and Lawlor responds by threatening with a guillotine before being put down. Lawlor doesn’t stay down long before getting back to his feet and then staggering Simpson with a looping right that may have caught him behind the ear. They go back to the clinch and Lawlor looks for a standing guillotine, but can’t finish it. Simpson lands a couple hard shots in the last minute, backing Lawlor up, and he finishes on top inside another guillotine, but may have stolen the round with help from a fickle judge or two.
Simpson comes out looking for a fight-ending punch, but Lawlor stays out of range and counters with a couple of stinging counters. With that strategy failed, Simpson goes back to looking for the takedown. He scoops Lawlor up for a big slam, but can’t keep him down. Lawlor then puts Simpson down, though Simpson is getting the better of the scramble, perhaps due to superior conditioning. Lawlor is just surviving now, with Simpson the much fresher fighter. They get back to the clinch and Lawlor is just leaning on Simpson. A brief punching exchange in the final ten seconds and Lawlor lands a hard left, but doesn’t follow up. If Lawlor took the first round 10-8, which he really should have, we could actually be looking at a draw here. Regardless, one hell of a scrap. These boys could be looking at a bonus.
Aaron Simpson def. Tom Lawlor via split decision.
The crowd doesn’t like the call, but Rogan points out that Simpson doesn’t deserve the boos for fighting his heart out. At the same time, how you don’t give Lawlor a 10-8 first round? What does a guy have to do to get a 10-8? Does anyone even know?
Rogan takes a minute to interview the guys from new Spike series "Blue Mountain State," and no, he’s not going to go to the trouble of memorizing any of these questions. Instead Rogan reads them off a piece of a paper in clear view of the camera. We couldn’t even get him some cue cards? I guess this way is more, I don’t know, honest. But still.
Escudero doesn’t seem as intent on knocking out Dunham as he was Cole Miller, because he follows a right hand with a half-hearted takedown attempt, but Dunham isn’t having it. Dunham is doing a good job of using his range, and normally I wouldn’t say this, but he should consider getting some sun. Dude is pale. Doesn’t he live in Vegas, for crying out loud? You get a sunburn walking to your car in the morning. Escudero rocks Dunham with a right hand and follows up with more of the same, dropping Dunham and then falling into his guard. Dunham survives for the moment, and holds on through an Escudero guillotine attempt from the top. Dunham actually manages to end the round by putting Escudero down, though not nearly so violently, and it’s Escudero’s round all the way.
Dunham seems to be more comfortable in the stand-up to start this round, which is mildly amazing considering how badly he got rocked in the first Dunham gets to the clinch and uses a leg trip to put Escudero on his back. That doesn’t happen all that often. Dunham starts dropping some heavy punches that are finding their mark, but Escudero doesn’t seem quite as concerned as maybe he should be. Dunham makes a sweet transition to take Efrain’s back in the last minute. Dunham can’t get the rear naked choke, so he settles for punishing Escudero with punches from behind just to make sure no idiot judge takes the round away from him.
Escudero jumps right into a guillotine choke, but Dunham defends well, gets up and eventually puts Escudero down. Dunham moves for his back and, as Escudero tries to escape, makes a beautiful move for a triangle choke. When he can’t seal that up he transitions to an armbar, and it looks tight. Escudero is trying to tough it out, but I’m feeling a Razak Al-Hasan situation coming on. Finally, he taps, but perhaps not before serious damage was done to his arm.
Evan Dunham def. Efrain Escudero via submission (armbar) at 1:53 of round 3.
After the break Rogan tells us that Escudero has left the Octagon, likely with a broken arm. That could be premature, and Rogan doesn’t have a PhD in anything except perhaps bong repair, but that was bad.
Gray Maynard vs. Nate Diaz
Man, for a guy with pretty scrawny biceps, Diaz loves to flex them bad boys. Maynard, on the other hand, just loves getting that cash 4 gold, son. It’s amazing. You send them your broken or unwanted gold, and they send you money!
Diaz clearly has more range on the feet, and he’s trying to use that by reaching out and grabbing Maynard’s lead hand. Maynard is bobbing and weaving to get inside, but almost immediately he’s cut over his right eye, maybe from a clash of heads during the aforementioned bobbing and weaving. Maynard lands a good uppercut, but Diaz looks unfazed. The trash talk has already begun, with Diaz imploring Maynard to come on and Maynard calling Diaz a bitch, according to Joe Rogan. Now it’s a Diaz joint. First round comes to a close, and it’s tough to call. Diaz may get it with the judges based purely on the cut.
Maynard fakes a shot and lands a punch, which works perfectly by exploiting Diaz’s fear of the takedown. Diaz looks for a takedown in the clinch, but that ain’t going to happen. Maynard gets Diaz coming towards him and hammers him with a right hook that clearly hurts Diaz. Maynard lands a left hook, then drops Diaz with a knee to the chin. After letting him up, Maynard continues smack Diaz almost at will, while also staying out of range of Diaz’s looping punches. Diaz is trying to mean mug near the end of the round, but he can’t be feeling good right now.
Randy Couture, ever the sage, implores Maynard to stop playing with him in between rounds.
“That’s his game. That’s not your game.” See? That’s why you bring Randy along. He’s the dad you didn’t have, probably because he divorced your mom and then two other women.
Diaz gets off to a good start in the final round, landing a head kick and finding a home for his punches, putting Maynard off balance for the first time in the fight. Of course, he celebrates this by taunting Maynard, because that’s what Nate do. The cut over Maynard’s eye is bleeding more now, perhaps into his eye. Suddenly he doesn’t look so comfortable. A lunging right from Maynard stuns Diaz and leaves him reaching for a hopeless takedown. Now it’s Maynard coming on, and it may be enough to reclaim the round. Either way, Maynard should get the decision, but it’s by no means a sure thing.
Gray Maynard def. Nate Diaz via split decision.
Since this broadcast is already running over, looks like we’re not going to get any post-fight interviews. God, I hate when there’s no falling action. Check you tomorrow, Potato Nation. We’ve got plenty to discuss.