Wanderlei Silva, Mark Hunt, Takanori Gomi, the Saitama Super Arena — if you squint your eyes, maybe you can convince yourself that PRIDE, in fact, neva die. The UFC is back in Japan today with a crowd-pleasing lineup of battle-scarred legends, rising stars, and whatever you’d call Diego Sanchez and Brian Stann at this point. (“Reliable bangers”? Yeah, I guess that works.)
Taking us through the action is George Shunick, who will be stacking live results from the FUEL TV main card after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and share your own feelings in the comments section.
Welcome, fightphiles. As the certainly competitive, generally entertaining, mildly controversial and split-decision ridden undercard comes to a close, I invite you to grab a
nice cold beer excessively large bottle of freshly distilled moonshine, grab your remotes and put Fuel TV on before the main card starts. But, since no one actually has Fuel, you’ll have to make due with my verbose editorializing. See, this is why I told you to grab the moonshine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Potato Nation.
So, obviously we have Wanderlei Silva headlining tonight, and while PRIDE-era Wanderlei is the one we all remember, I can think of no more appropriate time to remind everyone of this video again. Why this is not a staple of Silva’s highlight reel is something I will never understand.
Some last minute predictions; Siyar by TKO/KO, Hirota by decision, Lombard by TKO/KO, Hunt by TKO/KO, and Stann by TKO/KO. Yeah, I’m predicting a violent night. I’ll probably be wrong, particularly about Hunt, but it’s cool because I can just go back and edit everything so it’ll look like I was right. Editing power corrupts even the most noble writers, after all. (Edit: Somehow, I missed Sanchez-Gomi as well. So, um, Sanchez by decision.)
Am I the only one who’s really enjoying that the UFC is using the Prometheus trailer music to promote GSP-Diaz? Because that trailer was awesome. (The movie… less so.)
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Dong Hyun Kim
I’m not typing Bahadurzada over and over again. Deal.
No touch of gloves. Kim’s high kick is blocked. Siyar looking for a counter hook. Feeling each other out, Kim trying to pressure Siyar into the fence. He succeeds, btu Siyar escapes. Back to the center. Siyar blocks a hard high kick. Head kick lands for Kim, but Siyar eats it. Big right hand from Siyar. Kim has a huge mouse over his right eye, no idea where it came from. Nice left hand from Kim, who takes Siyar down. Kim gets mount quickly. Working short ground and pound, as Siyar is not allowing him to posture up. Now working elbows. Herb Dean threatens a standup, which is unheard of from mount. BIG elbow from Kim. Siyar stands but Kim has his back. Siyar tries to escape, but Kim is on him. 10-9 Kim as the horn sounds.
Siyar opening with some kicks now, then rushes in wildly but lands nothing. Kim throws a kick as Siyar punches. Neither lands clean. Siyar sprawls, but Kim is relentless. He takes Siyar down, and it doesn’t appear that Siyar has an answer off his back. Siyar is holding on, but Kim slowly breaks his grip and begins working short punches. The crowd boos at the relative lack of action, Siyar rolls, but ends up turtling. Kim gets mount, and resumes his short punches. Siyar tries and fails to bridge. Herb says keep working as Kim throws approximately 62 punches in succession. I don’t know what Herb Dean is expecting. Kim lets Siyar hit him after Siyar presumably complains about his predicament. Then Kim returns the favor with elbows. Siyar has presumably learned not to complain about being mounted. Another 10-9 for Kim.
Big right hand from Siyar, but he’s swinging wildly. Kim with a fast double leg from rather far away, and despite Siyar’s sprawl, he lands it. Kim briefly achieves a crucifix before switching to mount. Kim working for an arm triangle from mount. Siyar is defending, but Kim is slowly switching to side control. Now throwing knees. Kim has the choke, but Siyar is defending by “answering the phone”. Kim resumes the choke after a brief break. Now he mounts Siyar, while maintaining his grip. Now punching to Siyar’s body. The crrowd boos, because complete dominance is apparently boring. Now Kim throws huge elbows, followed by heavy punches. Big hammerfists, but Siyar defends as best he can. Kim lets Siyar hit him again, before following with hammerfists which don’t actually land. Siyar tries to escape, but Kim ends up on top in north south position. 10-9, maybe even 10-8 Kim.
30-27 on all cards for Dong Hyun Kim. Duh.
Rani Yahya vs. Mizuto Hirota
Sweet, a fight! That means no commercials with Pitbull for a full five minutes!
Big right from Yahya. Hirota stalking, but is taken down briefly by a Yahya single. Yahya almost takes his back, but slips. He grabs an arm, but Hirota escapes, and gets half guard. Now half butterfly. Hirota tries to escape, but Yahya holds on to his leg and sweeps him. Yahya trying to pass to half guard and he succeeds. Yahya now working short punches and elbows, though nothing of significance. Hirota escapes, but Yahya grabs a single and tosses Hirota to the mat. Yahya lands some short shots in Hirota’s guard, and passes to half guard again. Yahya now settling down and landing more short punches. Looking for a kimura now, Hirota is grbabing his own shorts. Yahya uses the kimura ot pass guard and takes Hirota’s back. Round over, 10-9 Yahya.
Hirota pushes Yahya into the fence and gets double udnerhooks. Takes a big swing, then some more, but Yahya drops and grabs a single. He lands it and works for mount as Hirota tries to shoulder walk against the cage. Yahya gets mount. Yahya grabs an arm triangle from mount! It looks tight! Hirota is still conscious, but Yahya adjusts. Hirota escapes, though, and gains half butterfly guard. Now full guard, but he’s taking shots from Yahya. Yahya passes to half guard and lands more shots to Hirota’s dome. Hirota manages to regain guard, but he’s breathing heavy. He’s got to be worn down from surviving that choke. 10-9, maybe 10-8 from the submission attempt, for Yahya.
Hirota moving forward, as Yahya dives for a single. Hirota sprawls and defends. Yahya lands a short right, then has another takedown stuffed. Hirota sprawls again. He seems fresher than Yahya. They stand and Hirota stuffs another takedown. But persistence pays off for Yahya, as he lands a single. But Hirota sweeps and gets an arm! Now going for a double armbar, but Yahya manages to survive. Yahya tries to take Hirota’s back, and slowly gets a hook in. They’re against the fence, so Yahya can’t complete the transition. Hirota escapes and lands a double leg. He passes to half guard. Now Yaya turtles and Hirota lands hammerfists. They stand, and Hirota comes forward with a flying knee! Yahya goes to the floor, possibly out of exhaustion, but he gets up. Hirota can’t catch him as he flurries at the end, and despite winning the third round 10-9, Yahya should take this.
29-28 across the board for Yahya. Fans boo. When did Japanese fans start booing? I’m fairly certain this is a new phenomenon. We need the world’s brightest scientists to get to the bottom of this.
Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard
Hector Lombard scares me. For that matter, most Olympic-level judo practitioners with knockout power and serious anger issues scare me. I feel like I’m not alone in this sentiment. Also, as our own Mr. Misanthropy pointed out, this is a fight between Yushin “Thunder” Okami and Hector “Lightning” Lombard, which makes this Joe Silva’s favorite matchup since he booked Dennis “Superman” Hallman against John “Doomsday” Howard. (If you don’t get that reference, you’ve failed in your responsibilities as a citizen of the world.)
Lombard stalking Okami. They exchange, and Lombard is throwing heat. Nothing lands so far. Inside leg kick Okami. Big kick from Lombard, but Okami catches it and finishes the takedown. But Lombard grabs an underhook and stands. Both land. Yushin keeps circling away from Lombard left hand. Smart. Throws a body kick which lands. Nice counter jab from Okami. Knee lands from Okami. Lombard barely misses a big hook. Both land as Lombard comes in, but Lombard lands cleaner. He over-commits on a hook, though, and Okami ducks under and land a takedown. Working inside Lombard’s half-butterfly guard, Okami lands a few shots. Now in half guard. Okami landing shots to the side of Lombard’s head. Lombard gets underhooks, though. and stands. Okami pushes him into the fence where they exchange knees. Hector reverses position, but Okami is still landing knees. Round ends, 10-9 Okami.
Lombard slowly stalking Okami again. Nice knee from Okami. Lombard is having trouble getting inside on the bigger fighter. Okami landing nice jabs and lands a hard punch. Lombard misses a hook and eats a jab. Nice inside leg kick from Lombard. Okami succesfully using footwork and his jab to fluster Lombard. Nice cross from Okami. He misses a high kick. Nice cross from Okami. Lombard hits a body shot. Okami shoots hard for a single, and after a scramble he lands it. He immediately passes to half guard. Lombard works Okami’s body from the bottom, but it’s for naught. Okami is smothering him, and lands shots to the side of his head. He’s flattened Lombard’s hips out, so Lombard is incapable of returning to his feet. Okami is trying to pass and moves to mount. He postures up and throws a big elbow that misses. Now working smaller shots to Lombard’s temple. 10-9 Okami.
Lombard coming out strong. Lands a number of hard strikes. He’s hurt Okami!! Okami is on wobbly feet. Lombard swarming with jabs, uppercuts, hooks and crosses. Okami returns fire with a knee. Okami shoots, but Lombard sprawls and Okami’s on his back. Lombard is in half guard, but he’s not working. He misses an elbow, and Okami grabs an underhook. He uses it to grab a single leg, but Lombard sprawls. He lands with hammerfists, but he can’t create the separation he needs. Now he escapes, and enters Okami’s guard. Not sure why he didn’t stand and let Okami trade with him on the feet. Okami stands. Lombard works for a single, but it goes nowhere. Lombard sprawls on Yushin’s shot and… enters guard. Now he passes to half guard. Poor strategy by Lombard, who is doing nothing on the ground. Yushin uses underhooks to improve his posture and regain guard. Lombard tries to posture up, but is too tired. 10-9 Lombard, but terrible strategy at the end costs him the fight.
Somehow this was a split-decision. Unreal. Yushin Okami wins 29-28 on two cards, while Lombard takes a completely undeserved 29-28 on one. How you score either of the first two rounds for Lombard is so utterly beyond my comprehension, I’m incapable of describing the sheer incompetence involved within the limitations of the English language.
Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez
It’s always unfortunate when you don’t get to see Diego Sanchez’ latest entrance histrionics. Oh well, nothing topping the cross walkout anyway.
Sanchez takes the center of the Octagon. Gomi moves forward and lands a right. Lands another to the body as Sanchez kicks to his body. Gomi flashing a jab, but it’s more of a distraction than anything. Lands another right hand as Sanchez fakes a kick. Sanchez lands a jab. Gomi lands another right. He lands another, but as he does Diego lands a low blow. The fight resumes, and Sanchez lands a right and gets a takedown. But Gomi immediately grabs underhooks and stands. Inside leg kick Sanchez as the crowd chants “Gomi!” Jab lands from Sanchez. Nice body shot from Sanchez, followed by a kick. Jab from Gomi. And another. Nice body kick from Sanchez. Gomi lands a knee, but Sanchez lands a takedown. He works for a kneebar, but Gomi escapes and stands. Jab from Gomi then a big shot to the body. Then a jab from Gomi. Big right from Gomi to the top of Diego’s skull. They exchange kicks. Big body kick from Gomi which Sanchez catches as the round ends. 10-9 Gomi.
Jab lands for Gomi. Sanchez lands a combination, but Gomi retorts with a body shot. Big jab from Gomi. Sanchez lands another combo. Gomi stuffs Diego’s shot. Jab misses for Gomi. Another big shot to the body by Gomi. Diego’s headkick is blocked. Sanchez lands another low blow and is warned by Marc Goddard. Gomi pressuring Sanchez, and lands a big left hook. Sanchez lands a low kick. They exchange jabs. Gomi lands another. The body shots seem to have worn on Diego, who lands another low kick. Nice jab from Sanchez, though. Big body kick from Sanchez. Inside leg kick from Gomi. Sanchez lands another kick. Diego lands a right hook, and is using a lot of feints now. Gomi lands a right as Diego tries for a takedown but fails. Body kick from Gomi. Big body kick from Sanchez. Another, but it’s caught. Gomi rushes and flurries, but Sanchez throws a nice counter. They exchange as the bell ends. Very close round.
The crowd is up for this last round. Diego literally runs out to the center of the Octagon. Digeo lands a low kick. Gomi swinging and missing. Low kick Gomi. The pace has slowed considerably. Jab from Sanchez. Nice kick as well. Then a counter hook. Diego is beginning to take control. Nice jab from Gomi. Switch front kick misses from Sanchez. Nice jab from Gomi. Jab from Gomi blocked. Another body kick from Sanchez. Jab from Gomi. Big body kick from Sanchez again. Diego shoots, but Gomi sprawls. Nice counter jab from Gomi. Gomi counters a Diego kick and almost takes him down. Body shot from Gomi. Inside leg kick from Sanchez, but a counter hook from Gomi. Sanchez tries a body lock, but Gomi escapes. Nice kick from Sanchez, but it’s caught. Gomi lands a solid kick. Sanchez landed towards the end. The bell sounds. Close round, again. Not sure who takes this.
Aaaaaand… it’s a split-decision for the winner, Diego Sanchez. 29-28 on two cards, and an understandable decision, even if the most dominant round of the fight was Gomi winning the first. Clarification: if the fight was scored in totality, Gomi clearly won. But on a round by round basis, with his kicks to the body and Gomi’s waning production, it’s understandable how Sanchez managed to get that decision.
Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve
If these next two fights don’t end in finishes, I won’t know what to believe in any more.
Head kick misses from Struve. Hunt bullies him into the fence, then backs off. Struve eats a leg kick. Body shot from Hunt. Another leg kick from Hunt. Hunt misses a hook, but lands a body shot. They exchange jabs. Hunt lands a hook, but Struve clinches and pulls guard. Sturve has half butterfly guard. Struve sweeps Hunt to mount. Hunt gets half guard. (!?!?) Struve looking for an arm triangle, but Hunt defends. Struve passes to mount. Big shots from Hunt who turns over. Struve going for an armbar from the back. Hunt escapes and is in Struve’s butterfly guard. Big right from Hunt. Struve working for a triangle. Hunt escapes, but chooses to throw leather in Struve’s guard. Hunt almost passes Struve’s guard and then he does! (WTF AM I WATCHING!?!?!) Round ends, 10-9 Mark Hunt.
Big left hook from Hunt! Hunt backs out, though. He lands another, but he’s wary of closing the distance. Nice jabs from Struve. Big body shot from Hunt. More shots from Hunt. Jab from Hunt. Followed by big shots. Left hook followed by a right cross. Body kick from Struve. Double jab and cross from Hunt. Hooks to the head and body from Hunt. Left hook from Hunt. Hunt lands a footsweep, but why? Struve working for a triangle. Hunt stands, but Struve grabs a leg lock. Struve almost takes his back, but Hunt ends up in Struve’s guard. Hunt landing punches from Struve’s guard and then gets side control. I don’t know what’s going on. Struve stands, and is taken down and is mounted. Struve’s ground and pound isn’t really landing, though. Now it is, but Struve is tired. He goes for an armbar, but Hunt escapes and gets in Struve’s guard. Another 10-9 for Hunt.
They shake hands. Struve looking for uppercuts. Hunt goes body-head-body. Huge hook from Hunt! Inside leg kick from Struve. Nice jab from Hunt. Another hook from Mark Hunt. More punishment follows. Struve lands a head kick. Both men are tired. Big right and left from Hunt. Struve is hurt and Hunt is landing. He floors Struve with the left hook and it’s over!!! Hunt is officially the savior of UFC on Fuel 8.
Well, that was fun. Stefan Struve needs to learn that he isn’t wearing 8 ounce gloves and can’t just keep his head still and cover up. Also, that his guard isn’t as good as most people think it is. Mark Hunt is now officially a contender. Heavyweights, ladies and gentlemen. [UPDATE: for those questioning the stoppage, Herb Dean urged Struve to continue, but Struve's jaw was broken. Hence the stoppage.]
Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
Among Wanderlei Silva’s keys to victory; “feints.” Wanderlei Silva does not know what this”feints” you speak of is, but if it means something other than “maul,” he will not suffer your cowardly suggestions. And now, the only time “Sandstorm” is tolerable to listen to, Wanderlei’s entrance.
Intense staredown. They touch gloves. Stann rushes in, they exchange wildly, but Silva now has the Thai clinch. They exchange wild uppercuts and Silva goes down!, He recovers and they clinch. Silva lands a knee and they break. Big exchange there. Wanderlei waves him on and they exchange wildly again. Silva is dropped, but gets up. This is old school, wild MMA. They exchange on the edge of the Octagon. They do so again, but Silva takes a kick to the balls. Wanderlei gets a pause, and both men catch their breath. Stann’s nose is probably broken. They resume. Jab from Silva. And another. Stann lands a low kick, but Silva lands a counter. Stann pressing forward. The action has lulled as both men slowly get their wind back. Low kick Stann. HUGE EXCHANGE!! They both go down, and Stann ends up in Silva guard. Stann is gushing blood. This fight – this round – has compensated for the relative lack of violence on this entire card. 10-9 Stann.
They exchange again, both men land. And again. There really isn’t a word to describe what happens when these two clash. It’s just loads of haymakers and blood. Silva’s hook is blocked. Jab to the body from Silva. Low kick from Stann. Another jab from Silva. Silva misses a wild right. He lands a jab, but Silva gets kicked in the balls again. Brian gets warned by Marc Goddard. The fight resumes. Low kick from Stann lands. Silva backs him up with a right. Big right from Stann. Head kick lands from Wanderlei. Hard low kick from Stann. Body kick from Silva. Right from Stann. HUGE RIGHT FROM SILVA, FOLLOWED BY A LEFT THAT DROPS STANN! Silva leaps on him and separates Stann from consciousness with ground and pound. Wanderlei Silva wins one of the most exciting fights in recent memory, and his homecoming to Japan, in emphatic fashion. Wow. What a fight.
Well, there went Mark Hunt’s KO of the Night bonus. Stann is still on his stool. Silva is jubilant. Unreal. The replay shows just how hard Silva’s punch was; he leaped into the right straight that started things. Stann is classy in defeat, even though he’s clearly heartbroken. Frankly, both men deserve thanks. Before the last two fights, the memory of this event would probably be some unruly amalgamation of astronauts, Pitbull, split-decisions and “WHERE YOU AT, GEORGES!?” Now? Violent, violent knockouts. These made the entire event worthwhile. Until next time, Potato Nation.