Hello all and welcome to CagePotato’s live blog of “UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin” from the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. As the incontestable Mr. Goldstein mentioned yesterday, my name is Chad Dundas and I am the editor-in-chief over at www.mma-america.com, the mixed martial arts blog for the discerning gentleman. For the next few hours I’ll be your humble scribe here as we slog through the UFC’s bid to endanger Anderson Silva’s career in a needless and petty attempt to sideswipe the competition. Should be a kick.
Why exactly you’re reading the live blog of a show that’s on free TV, I’ll never know. But hey, it is my first time here and I’m not going to judge you. We’ll save that for later. Right now, we’re about ready to roll … right after the first of many 30 minute commercial breaks. Live round-by-round results from the event are after the jump; refresh your browser every few minutes for all the latest.
For the last half hour, the UFC countered Affliction’s free prelim broadcast on Fox Sports with yet another replay of “Ultimate Knockouts 5,” ending with Anderson Silva KOing Chris Leben. The Fight Night broadcast opens with the usual pre-fight interviews, featuring James Irvin saying he thinks Silva is due to get caught. For his part, the Spider says he thinks they can have the fight of the year.
Mike Goldberg’s hair is recently frosted. Joe Rogan calls Silva “an artist,” while Irvin, a former heavyweight, is “a tank.” The play-by-play team makes sure to put over the middleweight champion during their introductory comments while continually reminding us that Irvin is a threat. Six live fights tonight, which seems like a lot.
Jesse Taylor vs. C.B. Dollaway (middleweight)
The slap-on-the-wrist nature of the punishment makes it clear that Taylor’s post-wrap dismissal from the Ultimate Fighter Season 7 was nothing more than an attempt to breathe some life into the flagging reality show. Good news: It sort of worked. Bad news: It might’ve cost JT Money (7-2) a significant chunk of change when he went from probable winner to outcast at the whim of Dana White’s petulant mood swings.
Before his tearful exit, Taylor showed a competent ground and pound offense, a willingness to pee his pants and the deviated septum of a guy who likes getting punched in the face. Dollaway (7-1), meanwhile, showed a competent ground and pound offense, a willingness to refer to himself in the third person and the curled upper lip of an unpleasant French nobleman. The show’s two preseason favorites finally meet. Who is TUF 7’s most badass wrestler? We’re about to find out.
Taylor’s bad behavior after TUF wound up is re-capped, as is Dollaway’s loss to Amir Sadollah in the finale. Dollaway says Taylor is boring. Taylor says Dollaway is just another name in his way. Both fighters are already in the ring after the promos.
Dollaway shucks off an early takedown attempt from Taylor. The two clinch against the fence before Taylor finally puts Dollaway on the mat. Dollaway works his way into top position and then clearly knees a downed Taylor to the head. Referee Yves Levigne stops the bout to issue a warning to Dollaway. After the restart, Dollaway stuffs another takedown attempt and then takes Taylor’s back. Taylor spins out and takes top position against the fence with about two minutes left. Taylor works some ground and pound, but Dollaway gets free and again takes Taylor’s back, where he quickly taps Taylor with a choke Rogan calls “the Peruvian Necktie,” the same submission he caught Coach Rampage with during the TUF tapings. It’s official: Now I’ve seen everything.
In the post-fight interview, Dollaway says he’s speechless, perhaps for the first time ever.
CB Dollaway def. Jesse Taylor via submission (choke), 3:58, round one.
After another commercial break, GSP vs. John Fitch as well as the return of Brock Lesnar are hyped at UFC 87. Goldy can’t wait. Luckily, they roll out the next fight fairly quickly.
Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns (welterweight)
A kickboxer with a solid wrestling background, Johnson (5-1) looked like a major league prospect during a 51-second knockout of Tommy Speer at Fight Night 13 on April 2. But who hasn’t looked good as of late against The Farm Boy? Burns (7-1) is making his second appearance in the octagon, after tapping Roan Carneiro with a triangle last month.
Burns lands a couple of nice right hands during the first flurry. After a minute of clinching, the two exchange and Burns seems to stun Johnson again with a right. Burns is really pushing the pace during the first two minutes. Then, as if on cue, the fight takes a timeout when Johnson accidentally kicks Burns low. After the restart, Johnson lands a big double leg takedown on Burns. With two minutes left, Johnson hasn’t mounted much offense from Burns’ guard. Ref Steve Mazzagatti calls for action and then stands the fighters up with 30 seconds left. Johnson landsa push kick and punch before the end of the round.
TOTALLY UNOFFICIAL CAGE POTATO SCORE CARD: 10-9 Burns.
Johnson stumbles Burns with a knee-punch-knee combo early and the two press against the fence. Then a big right hook by Johnson on the break. Burns is still pressing forward, but Johnson lands a left hook. Rogan decries Burns’ lack of head movement. Johnson keeps acting like he’s getting poked in the eye. Mazzagatti warns Burns about “watching his fingers.” Burns lands a head kick. With 1:47 on the clock, Johnson gets another takedown. This time he manages to land some punches and cuts Burns just a bit at the corner of his right eye. Another stand up with 23 seconds left leads to another take down by Johnson as the horn sounds.
CAGE POTATO SCORE: 10-9 Johnson.
I’ve got it tied up headed to the last round. Burns lands an uppercut and then the two trade leg kicks in the first minute. Johnson gets another double leg with just under four minutes left. This time Mazzagatti waits only one minute before standing them up. To no avail, as Johnson gets another takedown just seconds later. Johnson’s not mounting much offense on the ground. Another stand up with 1:39 left. Burns lands an uppercut and Johnson dives to the mat, crying out in pain. He says he’s been poked in the eye again. Replay shows that Burns may have in fact poked Johnson. We’re going to commercial with Johnson still on the mat, being attended to by doctors.
After the advertising break, another replay reveals Burns poked Johnson in the eye with a jab just prior to the uppercut. At first it looks like we’re going to the score cards, but instead Burns is awarded the TKO win at 3:35 in the final round.
In a post-fight interview Burns says he has to throw palm strikes instead of closed-fist punches due to multiple breaks to one hand during the last 16 months. Johnson urges the unhappy crowd to stop booing Burns, then plugs his own after party.
Kevin Burns def. Anthony Johnson via TKO (injury), 3:35, round three.
Another very odd outcome in the UFC, where it seems cheating is generally rewarded with a victory. After another break, the show moves straight into the next fight.
Cain Velasquez vs. Jake O’Brien (heavyweight)
A bruising matchup of two former collegiate wrestlers. The Arizona State alum Velasquez (3-0) takes on the Purdue product O’Brien (10-3) to see who will move another step up the two-rung mini step ladder that is the UFC heavyweight division.
After just one fight in the octagon, Velasquez is already being heralded as the next big thing in 265-pound class. O’Brien tries to clinch immediately, but Velasquez forces him down and gets top position, in side control against the fence. After a scramble, Velasquez gets a crucifix-style position and pounds away at O’Brien’s face. The barrage is extended and relentless and ref Mario Yamasaki has no choice but to stop the fight, as O’Brien can not defend himself.
Cain Velasquez def. Jake O’Brien via TKO (punches), 2:02, round one.
After an uneventful post-fight interview with Velasquez, new UFC light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin is shown in attendance. Former champ Quinton Jackson is … not … in attendance. Fight Night then pulls a classic move, by returning only for the official announcement before going straight back to more commercials.
Following the break, welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre joins us via satellite. Goldberg opens with a softball question, “Right now, are you the best fighter you’ve ever been?” GSP says yes, he is, but wants to be even better in his next fight. Goldy guffaws, “As if that’s even possible!” Sigh. Some video feed problems during this segment. Goldberg continues to verbally fellate St. Pierre for a few more minutes before sending us back to commercial.
After mercifully returning from the ads, Fight Night airs some brief hype for Franca vs. Edgar. This fight has the potential to be the best of the night. Somehow, though, I don’t think anybody is really holding their breath for this one.
Hermes Franca vs. Frankie Edgar (lightweight)
Franca (18-6) hasn’t fought since testing positive for the juice in the wake of his lightweight title fight with Sean Sherk last July. Nonetheless, he’ll be a huge test for Edgar (8-1). Many have called for the New Jersey native to drop to 145 after his loss to Gray Maynard in April, but Edgar remains defiant. This fight will tell us a lot about whether he also knows what’s best for himself.
Just prior to the bell, one of Edgar’s cornermen reassures him that “this is your house.” Edgar dumps Franca onto his back early, then follows into the Brazilian’s guard. Edgar lands some shots, with Franca just covering up. At 2:30 Franca rolls for a lightning-quick arm bar, but after a few seconds of danger, Edgar pulls out and goes back to pounding Franca with short shots. At 1:40, Franca is able to stand up. Franca throws a big right hand and Edgar ducks under for another double leg. Edgar continues to work competent GnP and Franca has a big welt under his left eye and one on his forehead as the round comes to a close.
CP SCORE: 10-9 Edgar.
The two trade leg kicks, then another by Franca to open the frame. Thirty seconds in, Edgar slides in and executes a takedown. Edgar lands a series of successful strikes from inside Franca’s guard. Edgar stands and lands a hard kick to Franca’s thigh, then goes back down into Franca’s guard. Franca rolls to give up his back and Edgar gleefully holds the position, landing some more punches before Franca manages to get back to guard. With 45 seconds left Franca scrambles back to his feet. Edgar lands a high kick, then single legs Franca back down. Franca holds tight to Edgar until the bell.
CP SCORE: 10-9 Edgar.
Franca swings for the fences early in the final stanza, landing a knee. Edgar lands a straight left and takes France down again with 4:15 on the clock. Edgar passes to the side, but Franca is able to stand up. Edgar lands a head kick on the break of a clinch, then uses a trip takedown to put Franca back on the mat. Franca threatens a triangle, but to no avail. They scramble up, Edgar drags Franca back down. Franca elevates Edgar to try a sweep, then a transition to an arm bar, but Edgar defends. Back on their feet, Franca lands a hook and big knee that busts Edgar open. Edgar manages to wrangle him back down as the fight ends.
CP SCORE: 10-9 Edgar. Should be unanimous for the kid from New Jersey …
… and it is. All three judges score it 30-27 for Edgar.
Frankie Edgar def. Hermes Franca via unanimous decision, 5:00, round three.
The audience gets a look inside Silva’s and Irvin’s a respective dressing rooms in a short respite between commercials. I just noticed the build up for UFC 87 calls Roger Huerta and Kenny Florian “two of the best in the world at 155-pounds.” No comment.
Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy (light heavyweight)
Ah, Vera. What to make of this guy? Young, talented, arrogant, but without the innate likability factor that makes Kanye West bearable. Now, after being unceremoniously run out of the heavyweight division, Vera (8-2) makes his debut at 205-pounds. Aside from having two first names (or is it two last names?) and a nickname that harkens back to a solid mid-80s private eye TV show, Reese “Riptide” Andy (7-1) is an IFL refugee with a four fight win-streak. Like Vera, he’s a tweener and has fought at heavy and light heavy. This is his UFC debut. Also, just as a matter of full disclosure, Andy went to high school in my home state of Montana. I will try not to let that color my commentary.
These guys get televised entrances. Andy comes out to LL Cool JJ, while Vera goes with Black Eyed Peas. Goldy sounds like he likes the BEPs. Typical. Vera immediately lands a head kick, but Andy musters a double leg against the fence. Vera stands up almost instantaneously. Vera looks way bigger than Andy. Vera knocks Andy down after a missed leg kick, but invites him back to his feet. Andy tries to suck up a couple take downs, but Vera defends easy. Vera trips Andy to the mat with 2:00 left and lands in side control. Andy fends him off and the pair stands. The round ends uneventfully, but Vera looks in control here.
CP SCORE: 10-9 Vera.
Vera is switching stances. They clinch against the fence again, trading knees. Vera muscles Andy down again and takes his back. Andy rolls into half guard, then scrambles up. Vera wants to work the Muay Thai clinch. Andy lands a few soft-touch leg kicks. Andy lands a nice right hand at 2:12, but it doesn’t seem to bother Vera. The crowd starts to boo. Vera lands some knee and a head kick after some more clinching against the fence. And another head kick. The last two minutes are pretty slow, with Vera landing a leg kick just before the horn.
CP SCORE: 10-9 Vera. Yawn.
Andy lands a jab, looking a bit more aggressive. Then back to more clinching against the fence. I just opened my first beer of the night, but should’ve started drinking a round and a half ago. Mazzagatti restarts the fight in the center. Andy works a double jab, Vera counters with an uppercut. Rogan is looking for answers for this lackluster performance in what he says is supposed to be Vera’s “explosion,” in the 205-pound division. Did the weight cut take it out of Vera? At 1:40 Vera lands a couple knees from the Muay Thai clinch. More clinching. Dr. Rogan has decided Vera is dehydrated. He says weight cutting is like another sport. The two clinch to the bell.
CP SCORE: 10-9 Vera. He wins it 30-27 in a snoozer. The judges concur, though one judge scores one round for Andy.
Brandon Vera def. Reese Andy via unanimous decision, 5:00, round three.
In his post-fight interview, Vera has some kind words for Rampage, who he says is “going through some hard times.” The main event is next. But not before a preview of the new “Far Cry” video game. And some commercials.
Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin (light heavyweight)
What happens when the best middleweight in the world (besides maybe Matt Lindland. Maybe.) fights an extremely mediocre light heavyweight? We’re about to do the math. Silva (22-4) has already said this a one-time move to 205, which makes you wonder: Is it really worth it? Nevertheless, Irvin (14-4-1) could get badly dominated if he tries to stand with the Spider.
Irvin walks to the cage to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Imaginative. He disrobes to show his “Bad Boy,” tattoo, which should serve as a cautionary example to those of you thinking about getting some Warrior Wear ink. For SpikeTV, Silva eschews his normal weirdo Brazilian hip hop for the more traditional sounds of DMX. The Spider does some dancing, but otherwise looks like he’s here to do business.
After a couple of low kicks, Silva lands a 1-2 combo. Irvin tries a low kick, but Silva catches it and drops him with a straight punch. The Spider follows with a barrage of punches and the fight is over. That. Was. Fast. Irvin’s eye is bloodied.
Anderson Silva def. James Irvin via TKO (punches), 1:01, round one.
Maybe I am incompetent as a live blogger, but I actually don’t know what to say. It should feel like a dominating performance for Silva, but instead I feel like I just wasted three hours of my life that I’ll never get back.
In the post-fight interview, Silva (through a translator) says his main responsibility is to defend the 185-pound title, but just wants to fight in the biggest fights. The replay of the right hand he threw to drop Irvin is downright nasty. Silva thanks the fans and his mom in English.
Up next, Brodie Farber vs. Rory Markham from the under card.
Brodie Farber vs. Rory Markham (welterweight)
Markham (15-4) is another IFL veteran who (allegedly) has never gone to decision. Farber (13-3) says he’s here to make Markham look bad and make himself look good. In between interviews, that sound you hear is the quiet hum of millions of TVs all over American being switched off.
Both guys come out throwing hard punches. Markham lands a jab-cross combo. Farber lands a solid right. And another. Farber stuns Markham with a series of three punches, but as he steps in to capitalize Markham knocks him out stiff and cold with a right high kick.
Rory Markham def. Brodie Farber via KO (head kick), 1:37, round one.
Markham uses the word “arduous” in his post-fight interview and expresses excitement about being in the UFC and even about talking to Joe Rogan. He begs for the “KO of the Night,” bonus, at Rogan’s prompting.
That’s all she wrote, folks, wrapping up a fairly underwhelming night of fights at the UFC. Free fights, I guess. Thanks for sticking with me and thanks to the two Bens and Cage Potato for having me. I hope to be back soon. Check out www.mma-america.com, if you get the chance. Good night.