You ever get really lazy while liveblogging and decide to just use a picture of the fighters in the main event and offer nothing clever in the caption? Yeah, me neither. Props: Pennyjomma.net
You know why you’re here. You know what to expect. Let’s just jump right into this. Also, weekend editor Seth Falvo is handling tonight’s liveblog duties, so please direct all of your hateful comments at him. And hit “refresh” early and often.
We have the obligatory pre-fight hype for tonight’s main event. Yushin Okami was hyped as “the strongest opponent that Anderson Silva has ever faced”, while Demetrious Johnson is being hyped as “the fastest opponent that Dominick Cruz has ever faced”. Foreshadowing much? You tell me, comments section. Here we go…right into a commercial break.
Mac Danzig cut his hair, and arguably packed on mass. Okay, maybe not. I just wanted to make a Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference, and wanted to get it out of the way as early as possible. This one begins after we return from commercials.
Leg kick Wiman. They clinch in the center of the cage, with Danzig landing some nice elbows and knees. Danzig goes for a head kick, and gets taken down by Wiman. Danzig looking for a guillotine, but can’t get his arm under Wiman’s neck. They stand, with Danzig landing some good shots before clinching again. Wiman lands an elbow from the clinch. Wiman lands another leg kick. More clinching, as they exchange elbows and hooks. They separate, with Wiman pushing the pace. Wiman lands another elbow, and Danzig’s nose is bleeding. Nice body kick by Danzig. Wiman is landing some nice elbows and knees from the clinch. Wiman goes for a takedown, but Danzig stuffs it as the first round ends.
Leg kick Wiman. And another. Danzig pushes Wiman into the cage, but Matt Wiman lands some elbows from the clinch. They separate, and now Wiman has Danzig against the cage. More elbows, before they separate and Danzig gets the takedown. Danzig attempts to pass guard, but Wiman stuff it. Wiman works for a triangle, but it doesn’t work. He transitions into an armbar, but Danzig manages to stack him up. Wiman attempts a kimura, but Danzig defends. They stand and exchange punches, with Danzig getting the better of the exchange. Another leg kick by Wiman. He shoots for a takedown, but Danzig avoids it. They exchange, with neither guy landing anything, as this round ends.
Wiman comes out swinging, but not really landing anything. Wiman lands a straight right before pushing Danzig into the cage. Another elbow from Wiman. And another. Danzig’s nose is a mess, but he counters and manages to escape. Failed takedown attempt from Wiman, and he looks gassed. They exchange, with Danzig getting the better of the exchanges. Wiman goes for a takedown, then pulls guard. Danzig gets control of Wiman’s back and throws punches before going for a rear naked choke. Wiman defends, and transitions to side control. Wiman begins raining down elbows. Danzig manages to stand up, and eats more elbows from the clinch. Wiman works for a takedown against the cage…but Danzig manages to catch him in a guillotine! Can Wiman hold out until the end of the round? Yes, yes he can. This one will go to the judges.
Great show from both fighters, but the judges give this one to Matt Wiman, 29-28 on all cards. The crowd is not impressed. Fight of the Night? We’ll see.
Some obligatory shots of the Washington Monument and the White House before a three way interview with Joe Rogan, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. Both fighters chose to give incredibly safe answers. Seriously, think of the safest thing you could say about if you were either of them about their last fight and predictions for their next fight, and you’ll probably come up with their responses verbatim. Not that anyone should be surprised by this.
Anthony Johnson vs. Charlie Brenneman
Anthony Johnson violates our ban about “bringing your old self back”. He promises a knockout by either head kick or a straight right. Hmm…when have we heard him say that before?
Nice knee by Johnson. Brenneman shoots for a takedown, but Rumble sprawls. Some punches from Johnson while Brenneman turtles up. Nice knees to the body by Johnson. Brenneman needs to do something quickly. Brenneman manages to pull half guard and attempts a guillotine. Johnson moves into side control and stands up. Johnson grazes Brenneman with a head kick, but Brenneman manages to fall back to his knees. The second head kick from Johnson lands as Brenneman stands up, and this one is waved off, with Brenneman sitting up arguing about the stoppage. Premature stoppage? I’ll leave that for the comments section to discuss.
Rumble tells Joe Rogan that after everything that people were saying after the Dan Hardy fight, he knew he’d have to make a statement. He then says that Charlie Brenneman was the first fighter he’s faced that actually had him nervous. He then asks the crowd to give it up for Brenneman, because “he’s a beast”. I honestly can’t tell if he’s being facetious or not.
Before the fight, Pat Barry sums it up by saying “This is a Dutch kickboxer versus an American kickboxer. We’re going to punch and kick each other until one of us gives up.” Struve hints at possibly using his jiu jitsu, but I’m inclined to believe that Barry’s pre-fight prediction will be more accurate. We’ll see.
They feel each other out before Struve lands a body kick against Barry. Leg kick Barry. And another. Not a lot of action, as they feel each other out while the crowd begins to boo. Leg kick Barry, as Struve answers with a teep. Leg kick Barry, as Struve jabs. The crowd begins booing louder. Head kick attempt from Barry, but Struve avoids it. Struve utilizes a few teeps before throwing a leg kick. Barry is doing a good job ducking under Struve’s punches, but he isn’t landing any opf his counter punches. Leg kick Barry before completely missing a Crane Kick as the round ends. Okay, so it wasn’t a Crane kick so much as a jumping kick that completely misses, but I need SOMETHING to entertain me.
Barry with a nice uppercut to start the round. Barry throws another head kick, but Struve blocks it. Leg kick Struve. barry checks a kick before answering with a leg kick of his own. Barry lands another leg kick. And another. Struve attempts to clinch, but Barry escapes. Struve attempts a knee, but Barry answers with a hook. Struve attempts a standing guillotine, and then takes the action to the matt. Struve transitions to guard and locks in a triangle. Barry with an impressive slam, but Struve hangs on. Barry taps. Very interesting ending to an otherwise forgettable fight.
Tough break, Pat. Struve calls Barry “one of the coolest dudes in MMA” and says he couldn’t have done it without him. Submission of the Night honors, or does Paul Sass deserve it more for his heel hook over Michael Johnson? And to think that you thought I wasn’t watching the prelims.
Bantamweight Championship: Dominick Cruz vs. Demetrious Johnson
More talk about how Demetrious Johnson may be the fastest man in MMA before we’re reminded by Mike Goldberg that there is ANOTHER title on the line tonight in…Cruz vs. Johnson? Did I miss the first title fight, or am I just misinterpreting that one? We’re also reminded that both men are 9-1 in their last ten fights, with only one loss in their careers.
Cruz walks out to Hell’s Bells, but is wearing headphones. Joe Rogan wonders out loud what Cruz can possibly be listening to, and Goldberg speculates that he’s listening to AC/DC. I’m officially lost, so let’s just jump into this.
Johnson comes out swinging, but doesn’t land much of anything. He shoots for a takedown, but Cruz stuffs in nicely before getting Johnson down and working for the mount. The crowd begins booing immediately, apparently still angry with the lack of action in the last fight. Cruz transitions to side control. Johnson escapes and eventually stands up. He pushes the action again, but is taken down while attempting a head kick. Cruz transitions to side control before briefly taking Johnson’s back. Johnson escapes, and manages to take down Cruz. Cruz gets back to his feet, but Johnson keeps him against the cage. Cruz escapes, but Johnson is really pressing the action. We’re once again reminded that Johnson is, in fact, the fastest guy that Cruz has faced as the round ends. Interesting start.
Johnson comes out swinging again, but Cruz takes him down against the cage. Some knees to the body by Cruz, but Johnson escapes. Johnson rushes in with jabs and crosses, and attempts a takedown. Cruz stuffs it, and pins Johnson against the cage. Some knees to the body from Cruz before attempting a takedown. Johnson stuffs it and reverses position. Cruz is breathing heavy now. Huge knee by Cruz, but Johnson narrowly manages to escape. Leg kick Johnson. Flying knee attempt from Johnson as he continues to press the action. Johnson attempts a takedown, but Cruz answers with a takedown of his own. Cruz in top position as this round comes to an end.
Johnson continues to come out swinging, but doesn’t land anything. Cruz works his jab while the crowd begins to boo. A brief scramble sees Cruz taking Johnson’s back and suplexing him. He attempts a rear naked choke, but Johnson escapes. Another choke attempt by Cruz, but Johnson gets back to his feet and presses Cruz against the cage. Cruz reverses, and manages to take Johnson down. Cruz appears gassed as Johnson attempts to stand back up. Johnson gets up and clinches with Cruz. They exchange knees against the cage as this round comes to an end.
Nice leg kick by Johnson. They feel each other out for a bit, with Cruz landing a few jabs. Cruz trips, but recovers with a jab. Johnson rushes the champion, but doesn’t land anything. Cruz pushes Johnson against the cage, and eventually gets a takedown. Cruz mounts Johnson, but Johnson escapes and tries to stand. He eventually succeeds. They feel each other out some more, but Cruz manages to push Johnson against the cage and work for a takedown. He succeeds, but can’t keep Johnson down for long. Johnson rushes in with a kick, but it’s caught by Cruz as this round comes to an end.
They touch gloves, and then Johnson presses the action. He throws a head kick, but Cruz escapes. Cruz manages a takedown in the center of the cage, and ends up in side control. Johnson gets Cruz in full guard, with Cruz throwing elbows to Johnson’s head. The ref warns them to “get busy”. Johnson scoots towards the cage and attempts to stand up. He succeeds, but Cruz keeps him against the cage. Johnson eventually escapes and lands an uppercut. He misses a head kick as Cruz circles away. Johnson pushes Cruz against the cage, but Cruz gets a takedown. He can’t keep Johnson down though, and he uses his jab to keep Johnson away. Cruz slips a punch and gets a takedown with one minute left. Cruz mounts Johnson, but Johnson turns over to escape. Johnson catches Cruz with a cross, but Cruz recovers and works for a takedown as this fight comes to an end.
I’d like to emphasize while we wait for the official decision that this was one of the most fast paced fights I’ve ever seen. The ref told these two to “get busy” when the fight slowed down to a slightly more normal pace. The judges see this one for Dominick Cruz, 50-45 (x2), 49-46.
They plug the return of the NHL, and we’re done for the evening. We’ll discuss this more tomorrow, but for now, have at it in the comments section.