Last night the UFC finally delivered a huge, kick-ass event to FOX. There were many great fights, and finishes, that choosing the Fight Night bonus winners must have been a difficult task. It ended up being Scott Jorgensen and John Albert getting Fight of the Night for their one round thriller. Scott doubled down on that by winning Submission of the Night also – by default as his was the only tap out of the evening. And Yves Edwards took home Knockout of the Night for his blasting of Jeremy Stephens. The amounts were $65,000 each. So by my estimation, Jorgensen has a foot long boner right about now, adding $130,000 to his contracted fight purse, which definitely does not suck. There are others though who are equally worthy of some praise. Let us take a moment to recognize these warriors.
Most Likely to Receive a Locker Room Bonus: Abel Trujillo. Abel came out of nowhere and unleashed hell on Marcus LaVesseur. Joe Rogan described his knees to the body that won him the TKO as “horrifying.” If there’s a better word in the English language to describe how fucked up those knees were I have no clue what it is. I was wincing in vicarious pain. Which leads to the next award…
Dumbest Strategy: Marcus LaVesseur. Look, Marcus is a wrestler. We know this. We know that he desperately wanted to get this fight to the mat. But when that fails, continuously, it’s probably not wise to just hang onto a leg while your opponent batters your head and body with elbows. And employing that strategy multiple times throughout a fight is certainly not advisable to anyone who wishes to avoid adult diapers.
Most Kickingest Mother Fucker of the Night: Dennis Siver. The German kickboxing champion began off his fight with Nam Phan by throwing kicks, lost of them: front kicks, high kicks, low kicks, spinning kicks, you name it. And he didn’t stop throwing kicks until the final buzzer sounded and he had landed what seemed like a thousand of them. It was about as dominant a performance as we’ll see without a stoppage. The judge’s scores were 30-24, 30-25, and 30-26, although it should be noted that there were some rather liberal 10-8 scores handed down last night.
Toughest Bastard: Henry Martinez. Weighing in at over 158 pounds and electing to not even attempt a second try even though he was sporting some serious flab, Martinez must forgo 20% of his purse to Daron Cruickshank. What’s even worse though is that he took a downright criminal beating and had to pay the dude who gave it to him. That’s a bitch. However, being an eternal optimist, I always try to find that silver lining. Martinez’s is that even though he lost, badly, and pissed D White off by not making weight, and had to give up 1/5 of his paltry fight purse, Martinez gained some level of respect by showing incredible heart and a chin constructed with whatever they make bowling balls out of. Fans love that shit.
More after the jump!
Most Royally Screwed Out of Fight Bonus: Daron Cruickshank. There are few things more pimp than a walk-off knockout. It’s just a suave ass move when you know it’s over and pretty much call the fight yourself. When it comes following a vicious head-kick, it’s even better. Yet still Daron was passed over for Knockout of the Night. Granted, Yves’ was pretty awesome as well, as was Matt Brown’s. But alas there can only be one. How something as awesome as a walk-off head-kick doesn’t trump any other method of KO besides maybe a power-bomb slam is beyond me, but I don’t get to make those decisions. That being said, I’m happy for Yves. He’s been doing his thang for so long, he deserves whatever he gets. But man, that was a sweet head-kick.
Worst Nickname: Again, Daron Cruichshank. Rarely does an event go by that there isn’t a nickname that stands out as ridiculous. In this one it was Daron “The Detroit Superstar” Cruichshank. This one is so bad that it’s difficult to even think up a wise-ass comment for it. It just sucks in every aspect. Okay, monikers that represent a region can work in some cases. “The California Kid” comes out to “California Love” with his California good looks and carefree surfer attitude and awesome ass-chin and yeah he can bang your girlfriend and blah, blah, blah. In my opinion, it’s played out as hell, but people seem to like it. It works for Urijah. But no one cares about Detroit. Plus it’s too long. And it’s just stupid. I have to wonder which member of Daron’s team called him up one day and actually said these words, “Dude, I got it, I got the perfect nickname for you.”
Best Game Plan: Raphael Assuncao. Had this card sucked a fat one, this award probably would have been much less kindly named. But because of the level of action presented from top to bottom, it was actually nice to sit back and appreciate a brilliant display of technical counter-fighting. Assuncao, faced with a hard-hitting foe in Mike Easton, decided to just not get hit, like almost at all. And he did a great job of it. Damn near every time Easton attacked, Assuncao simply moved out of the way and countered with strikes of his own en route to a unanimous decision. It won’t make any highlight reels, and “safe fighting” is universally condemned by the Geneva Convention, but it was quite effective.
Most Awkward: Rory McDonald. In the cage, McDonald is a masterful beast. Out of it, he’s just an awkward guy. Whether its post fight interviews, press conferences, or Road to the Octagon specials, Rory comes off like he grew up idolizing guys like Albert DeSalvo and John Wayne Gacy, and spends his free time listening to “Goodbye Horses” and sewing his skin suit.
Best Wedgy: Alexander Gustafsson. I’ve always felt that the wedgy is a grossly underutilized weapon in MMA. I long for the day when it’s finally embraced and implemented into the average fighter’s repertoire. It’s not so much a finishing move as it is one intended to inflict a combination of pain, humiliation, and traumatic childhood flashbacks that it distracts and opens the door for a quick finish. However, I’ve never envisioned a scenario where a fighter inflicts a wedgy on themselves. Gustafsson, toward the end of the fight, had his young-ass blue tighties riding so far up his ass that it without question cost him the finish against Shogun. Don’t get me wrong, Alexander performed brilliantly, and I believe he deserves the next title shot, but he’s going to have to address this if he expects to have a realistic chance against Jon Jones.
Dumbest Hair: Ben Henderson. The champ came out, like he usually does, with his gigantic hairdo tied into a ponytail. That lasted until the first clinch, then his unruly bouffant spent the rest of the fight in all sorts of annoying positions. It was in his face, his eyes, on the hot dog of a sixth row spectator, just everywhere. It didn’t matter at all in the outcome, Ben was superb is his destruction of Nate Diaz, but if Nate was a little more opportunistic he could have used Ben’s cumbersome locks against him.
Worst Judging Errors: The insanely liberal usage of 10-8 rounds. I can see giving Dennis Siver a 10-8 in perhaps one of those rounds, but one judge gave him 10-8 in every round. Come on. One judge also gave Gustafsson a 10-8 round, and one gave Ben Henderson two 10-8 rounds. Those were both decisive victories, but not one of those rounds was a legitimate 10-8. I’m actually a supporter of more varied judging: more 10-8 rounds, more 10-10 rounds even, but that shit was just nuts.
Best Kodak Moment: Nate Diaz flipping Ben Henderson the bird while Ben is basically doing a split to avoid a leg lock. And of course, Ben’s hair is just everywhere.
(pic by Paul Thatcher for FIGHT! Magazine)