(Creepiest job shadow ever. PicProps: UFC.com)
The fighters are locked and loaded. We can only assume that by now Evan Dunham has eased off the bender he no doubt went on after his beloved Ducks shit the bed in the BCS championship. Obviously, Melvin Guillard has found a suitably enormous wristwatch to complement his main event status. The troops have surely been drinking all day and we the audience have once again collectively decided to ignore the obvious irony of benefitting the survivors of traumatic brain injury with a show where the desired outcome often includes closed head trauma. In other words, as Bruce Buffer might say, it’s time.
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Here. We. Go. F2T2/2 kicks off with a video vignette telling us the UFC and the armed forces are “kindred spirits.” Imagine the sounds of dramatic trumpets and scenes of soldiers walking the horizon at sunset. Then we go to Rogan and Goldy cageside, per usual. Goldy’s rocking the seven-day growth goatee. He reminds us we’re here for a great cause and stumbles through his intro about troops “battling on the battle field.” Rogan is resplendent in his clavicle-print Affliction shirt. After a few words we segue into another vignette, this one a bit more informational about traumatic brain injury. So, we’re going to learn stuff tonight too.
Back in the arena Rogan dubs it a “sad state of affairs” that we have to hold these events to raise money for injured soldiers. Sorry for the political commentary, you guys, we know that stuff pisses you off. And we’re going to the cage, after this commercial break … and then another …
During the intros, it looks like Wiman and Miller are jawing at each other across the cage. Friendly banter, we assume. The first fight doesn’t kick off until 21 minutes after the hour, thanks to the copious words from our many, many sponsors. At the opening bell, Wiman comes out pushing forward and lands a hard leg kick. Miller responds with a crisp punching combination against the cage. Wiman gives an uppercut and gets a knee. Wiman controls the first half of the round, but Miller scores with another good knee to the gut. And another at 2:10. Miller looks for a clinch with just under two minutes to go and gets dumped on his backside by a Wiman takedown. The Handsome One controls the rest of the round from the top, landing some good strikes, including a double-fisted hammersmash. Nice, playa. 10-9 Wiman.
They scramble to the ground and right back up in the early part of round two. With 45 seconds gone they end up back on the ground, with Wiman on top. He lands some more nice shots, but Miller threatens with a sweep and gets to his feet with 3:20 left. Wiman continues with his aggressiveness and Miller falls back to the mat after a knee to the grille. Another two-handed hammerfist from Wiman. And some hard punches. Another round controlled from the top by Wiman. He’s certainly up 2-0 through the first 10 minutes.
Wiman starts with a stiff leg kick and then a combo he finishes with a high kick. A minute into the third, Miller tries to pull guard. Wiman flirts with a guillotine, but lets it go in favor of keeping his top position. More good shots, including a right hand that paintbrushes Miller’s head. Miller tries to snare a leg, but Wiman pulls it out and gets back on top. Miller goes to closed guard, attempting some strikes from his back. The final minute sees Wiman land a nice elbow and get back to his feet, where he continues to rain strikes on Miller’s dome. With 30 seconds left he gets Miller’s back, but can’t finish. Nonetheless, total domination from Wiman until the final bell. 10-9 Wiman.
Official decision: Matt Wiman def. Cole Miller 30-27 x 2, 29-28.
Wiman says he was nervous before the fight, thanks the lord, his wife, his buddies in the military and then says he left the TV on at his house so his animals could watch the bout. Huh. Following the fight Rogan interviews Vitor Belfort via tape delay. It’s a total snore. At one point, Vitor says something like: “Some people look at a wall and see the color white, while other people see shades of gray.” Shit is deep, yo. He’s going to do his best come Feb. 5, blah, blah, blah …
Following another legitimately heartbreaking video vignette about a Marine corps captain who suffered TBI, we transition to the cage for some heavyweight action.
Pat Barry vs. Joey Beltran
They touch gloves and Barry starts stalking, while Beltran bounces and circles. A minute in, Beltran clinches and Barry pushes him against the cage. Beltran rips a couple of body shots and tries to snatch a leg. Foot stomps and knees to the thigh don’t impress Mario Yamasaki, who restarts them at about the halfway point. Barry smacks him with a leg kick and gets out of the way of a wild combo from Beltran. Another leg kick from Barry. Beltran fires back with a good series of punches, at least a few of which land. With under a minute on the clock Beltran catches Barry with a knee to the junk (the second one of the fight) and so we take a break On the restart, Barry comes out hanging his hands at his waist. Not much more action before the bell. A chorus of boos from the crowd. Tough one to score. 10-9 Barry?
Barry’s still adjusting his cup just before the start of the second. He throws a high kick and still has his hands down. Another high kick, then a low kick. And another leg kick. Again. Beltran comes forward with another punching combo and clinches against the cage. Yamasaki restarts them with 2:15 left. Some punches and an inside leg kick from Beltran. Leg kick from Barry. Then a high kick that lands. In the last 1:30 Barry starts lighting him up with leg kicks and some punches. Beltran still coming forward, zombie style. Nice uppercut and head-snapping punches from Beltran before the bell. Did he steal that round? I say no. 10-9 Barry. But hell, it could be 2-0 Beltran just as easy.
Beltran wants to scrap to start the final stanza. Barry grazes his head with high kick 30 seconds in. Beltran continues to land punches and body shots with his never-say-die attack. Barry seems content to try to pick his shots. Not sure that’s the best strategy here. Beltran pins him against the cage and continues to pepper him with shots. Barry is bleeding from the face. Restart with 2 minutes left. A trio of leg kicks from Barry and then a punch that Beltran says got him in the eye. Yep, the replay shows Barry poked him while trying to push off. The doctor comes in to take a look, but says Beltran is OK. He’s squinting badly upon the restart and eats a couple more leg kicks. Barry stings him with a kick that crumples Beltran. Barry moves to mount along the cage, but chooses to stand back up. Another slapping kick to the face by Barry. Three more leg kicks. After the final bell, Beltran collapses from the kicks, but then gets up raising his hands in victory. This ought to be interesting …
Official decision: Pat Barry def. Joey Beltran by unanimous decision, 30-27, 29-28 x 2.
An emotional Barry reads from his deceased father’s military dog tag during his postfight interview. It’s actually very touching. On the subject of Beltran, he says: “I kicked him in the face 300 times and I think I beat his leg to death, but he was going to keep coming … that dude is a monster, man.” Then he quips: “Hey, Matt Mitrione, you’re fired.” OK, that’s funny.
After another video catching up with one of the soldiers featured in the first Fight for the Troops, it’s time for the featherweights …
In true featherweight fashion, they start fast. Roop is trying to keep Hominick at bay with his reach, whipping kicks and punches. That lasts about 40 seconds before Hominick drops him with a picture-perfect right. Hominick invites him back up. Hominick puts Roop in serious trouble with three more rights and then drops him with a left. The ref moves in to call the stoppage. It’s the right call, but then the ref allows Roop to get up and stumble across the cage to congratulate Hominick. Rogan is outraged by the referee’s lack of concern for Roop. Eh, it’s whatever.
Mark Hominick def. George Roop via TKO (punches), 1:28, round 1.
The crowd boos the aftermath. They probably didn’t agree with the stoppage, but on TV it was clear that Roop was done like dinner. The replay shows him stumbling across the cage like a noontime drunk. Hominick is polite, well-spoken and, you know, Canadian during his interview. He’s up next for Jose Aldo.
A taped interview between Rogan and Anderson Silva airs to complement his earlier talk with Belfort. This one is even worse than the first. Silva switches back and forth between English and Portuguese. The translator refers to his opponent as “Victor.” Rogan asks him a halfway decent question about whether he’s “excited” to finally face “an elite striker.” Silva totally does not answer it, instead just talking in the vaguest possible way about how much he’s looking forward to this. At least the interview is mercifully short.
Another TBI vignette. This one is the most heart wrenching yet. After an interview with one of the organizers of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, we’re cued up for Mitrione vs. Hague.
Matt Mitrione vs. Tim Hague
Mitrione shakes off Hague’s attempt to touch gloves and rips an inside leg kick. Then another. Hague tries a head kick and Meathead just grins at him. Hague catches a kick and drives into the cage, but can only keep the fight there for a minute or so before Mitrione reverses position and moves back to center. Mitrione tags him with a punch and sends Hague stumbling to the canvas. Might have been a bit of a slip and Mitrione lets him up. Hague looks a bit gunshy as Mitrione barely misses a high kick. Mitrione drops Hague with a straight left and follows it up with punches on the mat. That’s it folks, as Dan Mirgliotta steps in to stop the fight.
Matt Mitrione def. Tim Hague via TKO (punches), round 1, 2:59.
Mitrione says he might have broken his hand with the first left that dropped Hague. He also says he wants to be tested by bigger and better heavyweights. “Pat Barry,” he says. “C’mon, man!” He pimps the Intrepid Fallen Heroes fund and then says: “The other thing I’d like to say? I’d like to thank my hands for being so damn good. Amen.”
And after even more commercials it’s main event time … sort of … we have a few more bills to pay first …
Melvin Guillard vs. Evan Dunham
Both guys look active and light on their feet in the opening moments. Dunham lands a body kick and Melvin stings him with a punch. Dunham gets an early takedown, but Guillard gets his back against the cage immediately. He quickly works to his feet and lands a few more strikes. Dunham looks a bit taken-a-back by the speed of Guillard early. At the halfway point, Guillard drops Dunham with a right. Dunham tries to wrangle a takedown, but can’t get it. Guillard hits him with a flurry and then a knee that puts him on queer street. Then another knee. Dunham slumps to the canvas and accepts an obviously illegal knee from Guillard just as Mario Yamasaki moves in to stop it.
Melvin Guillard def. Evan Dunham via TKO (strikes), round 1, 2:58.
In his postfight, Melvin says he wants a title shot. He says he’s going to go undefeated in 2011 and get it. It’s good to have goals. Damn though, he looked good there.
They’re lining up McKenzie vs. Edwards from the undercard …
Cody McKenzie vs. Yves Edwards
McKenzie comes out aggressively, throwing a kick and immediately looking for a takedown. He can’t get it. Edwards gets up, but it’s not long before McKenzie is at it again. Another failed takedown attempt. They trade low kicks. Edwards pops him with a couple of punches and McKenzie smiles. At the midway point in the round, McKenzie dives for another takedown but no dice. Edwards hits him with an uppercut. Then a pair of leg kicks. McKenzie just keeps flailing forward. McKenzie tries to pull guard, but Edwards moves into mount. McKenzie scrambles out of it and tries to take Edwards’ back with weird attempt at a body triangle from the back. Edwards gets back to his feet. 10-9 Edwards.
They trade jabs at the opening bell, then Edwards unleashes a wicked combination on McKenzie. The Spokane native doesn’t seem to mind. McKenzie shoots a single and gets Edwards down and takes his back. McKenzie gets one hook in. Edwards rolls over and gives up mount. McKenzie moves to side control in a scramble. McKenzie unleashes a torrent of good punches and takes the back again. Edwards finally shakes him off, only to get dragged down again. Edwards manages to get on top and moves to mount. McKenzie gives up his back and Edwards quickly locks on a rear naked choke. McKenzie does not tap and gets choked unconscious.
Yves Edwards def. Cody McKenzie via technical submission (rear naked choke), round 2, 4:33.