Go after the jump to see my quick reviews of the fights from this afternoon.
Kendall Grove got pounded out by Mark Munoz after Grove jitzed him all over the octagon for a round and a half. Kendall was in complete control, right up until he wasn’t. Mark Munoz officially has one saving grace: some sick power than he can actually translate into damage in the guard.
Terry Etim played with Rafael Dos Anjos on the ground and got burned. He came close with a choke and an armbar in the first round, but close only counts in horse shoes and handgrenades. Dos Anjos wins sub of the night with a wicked armbar that saw him break Etim’s grip with his foot and thwart an escape attempt. Beautiful.
Alexander Gustafsson tried to outwrestle Phil Davis for some reason. You could say he held his own, but I compare it to riding a bull: just because you last 8 seconds doesn’t mean you’re better than the bull. Phil got him into a bad position late in the first and made up for his wrestling not living up to the hype with a slick anaconda choke that had Gustafsson tapping with 5 seconds left in the first.
Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie sparred it up, with Renzo more than holding his own in the stand-up. But what Hughes lacked in punching, he made up for with better cardio and leg kicks that Renzo didn’t seem to realize he needed to check (must be a generational thing). By the end of the third, Renzo was falling over after every few kicks from Hughes. Hughes, giving Renzo about a trillion more times respect than he gave Royce, was so tentative it seemed like the fight would end a clusterfuck with Renzo unable to get back up from kicks. Fortunately Matt turned it up in the dying seconds of round three with a one two combo that dropped Gracie. Hughes finally showed some aggression and moved in for the kill, Herb Dean took the opportunity to stop the fight, and that was not a very entertaining match at all.
BJ Penn got outboxed by Frankie Edgar, who looked more like a hummingbird circling a feeder than a fighter. For the majority of the fight, Frankie circled BJ, using his speed to dart in and land while tring to dodge BJ’s counters. I dunno statistically who was more accurate, but Frankie was faster, more aggressive, and BJ ended up looking tired, annoyed, and worse for wear as the fight continued. It seemed obvious to me by round three that this kind of fight was not going to win BJ the match but he kept at it, never trying seriously to engage in any other way than to throw more punches. Because he refused to mix his martial arts, he lost the belt. Judges called it 50-45, 48-47, 49-46 for Frankie. Pretty crazy stuff.
What’s the point of being so respectful and bowing all over the place when you’re going to fight like a raging cockface? Anderson Silva spent the first three rounds clowning Demian Maia like he’s never clowned anyone before while slowly turning his opponent’s face to mush. It was entertaining for the first two rounds, then annoying in round three, and then infuriating in rounds 4 and 5 where Anderson Silva dropped even the clowning and just played keepaway for the last 10 minutes. Respect to Maia for throwing caution to the wind a few times and trying to do something in the final rounds, but in the end Anderson won a decision. Everyone was pissed the fuck off, Anderson was booed mightily, and he apologized saying it wouldn’t happen again. If this wasn’t the third time it happened, I might not mind. But seriously? That was the height of lameness. It disrespected Maia, the fans, and the sport.
Even though the middleweight belt fight sucked balls, the event started off strong enough with the Munoz, Dos Anjos, and Davis fights to make it a good show. And while I’m not a huge fan of straight up stand up fights, it was fascinating to watch Frankie Edgar beat the odds and slowly wear down Penn. And even more fascinating watching Penn do nothing about it.