* Chuck Liddell still hits as hard as a truck and was about ten seconds away from a doctor noticing Franklin’s broken left forearm (which was clearly more fucked up than Russow’s and possibly Sylvia’s) and stopping the fight. One missed right, one over-commitment on a power shot less, and we’re talking about the return of Chuck Liddell. Now, we’re probably talking about the end of a career that included one of the most dominant reigns in the history of mixed martial arts. Here’s to you, Iceman – and if they give you another fight to punk Tito again, I’ll watch it.
* Evan Dunham is the real fucking deal. First of all, let’s remember this as a case against the “you can’t make teammates fight!” bullshit (further amplified by Jon Fitch’s statement that he will move to middleweight if Koscheck defeats GSP) – Tyson got to stay with his regular guys, had Randy in his corner, and Dunham still dominated him. Tyson Griffin has now lost to three people: Sean Sherk, Frankie Edgar and Evan Dunham. And Dunham arguably made him look worse than the other two.
* The judge that scored that fight 29-28 Griffin should be stripped of their GED. I mean, for the love of Christ – what fight were you watching? Kudos to Buffer for blowing through the drama of what should have NEVER been a split decision.
* Unfortunately, the other undefeated prospect that came close to getting screwed actually did. On the verge of sending Carlos Condit to a 1-2 UFC record with three decisions, Rory MacDonald was on the receiving end of a number of brutal, fully cocked elbows from Condit for the latter part of the round. None of these blows knocked him out. Then, while simultaneously pulling Condit’s head down to break his posture, the referee calls the fight for no apparent reason.
Notice the hands – not limp – directly on the shoulders, in an effort to – there’s that term again – intelligently defend himself. Kudos to Rory for playing nice in the interview, but I’m not bound by the same responsibilities that you are, so fuck the stoppage with ten seconds left, and fuck Carlos Condit (whom I love to watch) getting another gift decision.
* Ben Rothwell had a very, very impressive ground game. Sure, it was impressive in the way Kongo’s looked against Buentello, but I was impressed. Yvel is an incredibly strong individual, as evidenced by his occasional reversals of the 264 lb Big Ben, and Rothwell ate him up. I particularly loved his strategy in the first ten seconds – fire, fire, fire, and don’t let him settle at distance. Brilliant game plan from a guy that looked like he knew he was fighting for his job.
* Mirko Cro Cop is not back, and I’m not real bullish on Mirko Filipovic’s future in the UFC HW division. He’s 4-3 now and coming off a gutsy, come-from-behind win against Pat “My Grandmother Could Submit You” Barry just in time for contract negotiations, and has stated that he will neither cut to light heavyweight nor leave the UFC. I was thrilled at the victory, but can it really last? The best bet for CC now is to have a rematch against Kongo or Gonzaga in an effort to erase some of his previous losses, then gear up for a marketable #1 contender’s match if he’s successful. Barry would have to cut his leg off to make LHW, so I’d kind of like to see him against Kongo or maybe Joey Beltran.
* Before everyone writes off Rich Franklin at 205, I’d like them to consider his credentials. His only loss at 205 since moving up was a controversial (inasmuch as everyone hates wrestlers) decision loss to Dan Henderson in Ireland. His four other losses in history have been to – get this – Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva (x2) and Vitor Belfort. Everyone else he’s ever fought, he’s won. I would love – LOVE – to see some mixture of Machida, Rashad, Rampage and Franklin on a PPV. If Shogun is out forever, you have the winners fight for an interim belt. Who matches up in the first round? Take your pick – it’s awesome however you do it. You can even trade out Rampage for someone (Anderson?).
* Fantastic card to watch.