With another successful trip down under, the UFC delivered a heaping dose of fistic entertainment with UFC Fight Night 33. It was a quality card from top to bottom and as usual some interesting story lines emerged and some impressive performances were put on. Let’s take a look at the card from top to bottom and touch on some of the shows moments that stood out.
Where have I seen this kid before?
If Alex Garcia looked familiar to some of you it is with good reason, actually good reasons. For one he was seen in a few of the UFC’s multiple trips up to Montreal to film Georges St-Pierre in UFC countdown shows, Primetimes, interviews, etc. And then there is the fact that this kid Garcia looks, and fights, like a mixture of Hector Lombard and Thiago Alves. Seriously, looking at him you could tell he was seriously explosive, seriously athletic, and seriously skilled. Once the fight happened and he started throwing strikes we knew our suspicions were true. He has great potential with his youth (26), skills, and his gym (Tristar). Keep an eye out for Garcia.
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Bruno Santos
Kicking off the televised matches on FS2 were 185 pound new guys Jotko and Santos. These 2 certainly didn’t blow anybody’s mind but as I have said before fighters and fights like these are very necessary and we never know who is going to show up next time around and wow us. I will say though that it was a pretty grueling fight and I liked the way that Jotko was able to sustain enough effort to not only weather Santos’ clinches and single leg attempts but also pull ahead in the later moments of the fight. Great heart, determination, and conditioning by Jotko and even Santos I would give another look.
Could always use more of those
Next up was the 125ers, Justin Scoggins and Richie Vaculik of TUF Smashes. This fight was all action, back and forth, hard fighting for as long as it lasted, pretty much your average flyweight fight. Except that this one only lasted 1 round. The Flyweight division is still growing and 2 action fighters like this, especially Scoggins, are going to be needed going forward. I would like to see them both back in the Octagon. Great finishing instincts by Scoggins as well.
Middle of the pack
185 pound staples Nick Ring and Caio Magalhaes put on a pretty good, pretty competitive fight last night, no doubt about that. But after 9 UFC fights between them I am having doubts as to their prospects of ever making serious noise in the division. Obviously we need mid tier fighters in every division and they both are clearly good enough to be in the world’s leading MMA promotion, but each of them came into the UFC with a good amount of promise and we are still waiting for either of them to separate themselves from the pack and make a run. There is always a chance we will get a signature performance from either guy in the coming months but we may have already seen the best they both have to offer.
Where did that come from?
After coming into the Zuffa fold in April of 2009 with a firefight, fight of the year calibre, loss to then WEC king Miguel Torres, Takeya Mizugaki has alternated wins and losses for his first 8 fights under the Zuffa banner. Never really duplicating the action performance he put on in his debut, Mizugaki is now quietly on a four fight win streak and with last nights fight against Nam Phan he upped his stock considerably. He was aggressive and mean, and put a good beating on Phan. After almost 5 years in the WEC/UFC Mizugaki’s best days could still be ahead of him. Phan deserves a definite share of the credit for making last night’s fight such a good one, and I do think the move to 135 was a smart one, but he is now 2-5 in the UFC and we have to wonder if he is going to get another shot. He’s got well rounded skills and I absolutely love the way he throws that left hook to the liver so I’d like to see another fight at 135 before they cut him loose.
Old to the new
Last night saw WMMA pioneer and veteran Julie Kedzie take on the up n coming, undefeated Brazilian Correia in a fight that seemed to be the perfect platform for a changing of the guard. When analyzing Kedzie vs. Correia it really appeared that this fight was the perfect opportunity for Kedzie to snap out of this losing streak and get her moment to shine after putting in so much work laying the foundations of WMMA. I guess I was being naive however and must’ve forgot that this MMA thing is not necessarily fair, or forgiving, or considerate. After breaking through to the mainstream when her and Gina Carano put on the first big WMMA fight on national TV in 2007, it looks like Julie Kedzie is retiring and will never get to truly enjoy the fruits of all her labor. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened and on the bright side, it appears I significantly undersold Correia and she will make a great addition to the women’s division.
We want more!
I gotta say, 185ers Clint Hester and Dylan Andrews may have bright futures as UFC mixed martial artists. Both guys came to fight and both guys impressed in their own way. I was very impressed with Andrews’ ability to outwrestle and out grapple the much larger MW in Hester for most of round 1 and he through some serious heat on his punches. Hester on the other hand scored some great punches in round 2 before getting that brutish double leg and going to work with major ground n pound. It is a real joy (for us crazy MMA fans) to see no stalling from a fighter after scoring a TD and Hester was immediately and effectively working. I wouldn’t be opposed to these 2 rematching when Andrews heals up his shoulder.
As Pat Barry and Soa Palelei began their scrap last night we immediately got the answer to 2 of the questions we had going into this fight. Yes Palelei is big and strong and a very good grappler and yes Pat Barry has improved his wrestling/grappling. Soa went for an immediate takedown which Barry defended and then when Palelei scored on his very next takedown attempt Barry was cool, calm, defending, and even attacking a little. But then as so often happens in a Pat Barry fight he was over powered and out sized and Palelei quickly moved to mount and pounded out the finish. Equally impressive and discouraging was this fight for Palelei and Barry respectively and it will be interesting to see where each man goes from here.
Ryan Bader out on arguably his most impressive and dominating performance against the very game but very outmatched Anthony Perosh. Bader used his outstanding strength and wrestling to constantly score takedowns and and violent ground n pound throughout the 3 round fight, he looks to be getting everything together and could get some big fights in the coming months. Perosh deserves some major props for gutting it out, surviving, defending, and even trying to attack both on the feet and on the ground. Perosh looked to be in great shape and despite getting beat up bad last night I’d like to see him fight again. It was just a horrible matchup for Perosh and Bader was on his A game.
Shogun lives to fight another day
The co main event presented many interesting possible scenarios between Shogun and Te Huna and probably the most interesting one ended up playing out. Many wondered what Shogun had left and how good Te Huna really was and it was a very tough fight to call. Even the bookies where unsure and the line swung from favoring Shogun when this fight was announced to favoring Te Huna by the time fight night rolled around. But in the end Shogun proved he can still hang with these new studs and nailed Te Huna with an absolutely picture perfect counter left hook to the jaw. Te Huna was out like a light and that was all she wrote. Shogun looked great in his skills and his physique and is once again “back”.
Did that just really happen?
WOW! just… WOW! We knew Hunt vs. Bigfoot would be awesome, but I don’t think anybody expected what we got. Last night’s main event was like Hendo vs. Shogun, Guida vs. Diego, and other legendary fights that we have seen in that we are left marveling at the heart and will of these warriors just as much as their skills. With Bigfoot having chin issues in the past and Hunt not known for his grappling or card these 2 just pretty much threw everything out the window and decided to beat the tar out of each other until the other guy goes away. Great plan but there was one problem, neither guy went away. It is one thing to see 2 lighter weight fighters go all out for 25 minutes and is extremely impressive, but when 2 men weighing a combined 526 lbs do it, thats just insane. I wonder if we will ever again see so much energy expended when considering all of the variable involved but I am sure glad it happened at least once. There was no loser last night and one of the few times I was happy with a draw.
Overall it was a great night/day of fights and top notch, quality, entertainment.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports