Sunday, July 8, 2007

Weekend Delight - UFC 73 and Boxing recap



UFC 73: Stacked

The UFC card more than lived up to the hype. First off, a huge upset was almost pulled off late in the first round when Heath Herring (twice beaten by Antonio Noguiera) landed a huge left, leg kick and for all intent and purpose, Noguiera was out.

Maybe it was Noguiera's legendary ground skills, or maybe he was in Herring's head because of his two victories but for whatever reason, be it ill-conceived or not, he allowed Noguiera back to his feet and attempted the same left, leg kick on a very dazed Noguiera's noggin without success. After catching lightning in a bottle Herring's moment passed. After a second and third round of Nogueira's effective aggressiveness with a few failed submissions attempt, the fight was over and Herring had completed an 0-for-3 run against the Brazilian.

Next up was a fight that couldn't help but be a head-on collision as Sean Sherk successfully defended his UFC lightweight belt by unanimous decision over Hermes Franca. But make no mistake about it: this was not an easy victory for Sherk. Were it not for his conditioning and a neck like Mike Tyson's, he may have been submitted or stopped on numerous occasions.

Sherk's will and skill allowed him to escape several guillotine choke attempts and his shock absorber of a neck helped him recover from some devastating knees. Franca will be back and Sherk may yet prove to be a dominant champion.

The Tito Ortiz-Rashad Evans fight did provide a first, at least for the two combatants; a draw. It was a back and forth affair with Ortiz securing the takedowns and hammering Rashad. However, in the process of one of these takedowns, Ortiz made an error he, as a UFC veteran, shoouldn't have: he grabbed the fence and was penalized the winning point.

Evans turned it up a notch in the third and final round and won it big. It was howver,toolittle too late for both men. An immediate rematch was announced at the post-fight press conference, according to sherdog.com.

And in the main event, Brazilian striking sensation Anderson Silva continued his UFC reign of destruction as he stopped Nathan Marquardt late in the first round with a series of rapid fire punches to the head.

Marquardt never seemed to be in the fight though he brought his A game and took the fight to Silva, who appeared to know he was too strong a striker for the veteran. After a take down by Nate "The Great" Silva never lost his cool and always took it back to the stand up game. After a big straight left hand by Silva, Marquardt seemed discombobulated. After a take down by Marquardt and a beautiful reverse sweep by Silva, the middleweight champion rained punches on a defeated Marquardt before referee "Big" John McCarthy stopped what had become at that point a mismatch.

Look for Silva to defend against Rich "Ace" Franklin in the ex-champion's hometown of Ohio. Franklin better bring more than his A game.

Boxing

Over on HBO, things went as planned for the long, past, heir-apparent Wladimir Klitchsko, who scored a sixth-round drubbing of human punching bag, Lamon Brewster. Klitschko did what he was expected to do in their first fight; win in dominating fashion, if not devastating. Brewster ate jab after jab, round after round, followed by occasional right hands. Though Brewster never went down, he was clearly on his way to dementia ville. Kudos to trainer Buddy McGirt for assisting Brewster and Klitschko in making the TKO official.

The future for Klitschko is where it was at prior to his shocking kayo loss to Corrie Sanders. With older brother Vitali, set to fight once fringe contender, Jameel McCline (little brother Wladimir stopped him already), look for both brothers to possibly achieve a boxing first; two brothers simultaneously holding a piece of the heavyweight championship. Now isn't that great for the sport of boxing?

On Showtime, however, the script for both opponent's role were not as obliging. Vic Darchiniyan, who many believe to be one of the better punchers in the sport at any weight, got a taste of his own medicine, suffering a wicked, one-punch kayo, courtesy of a left hook by Nonito Donnaire.

In the main event, Travis Simms, not to be confused with twin brother and still undefeated Tarvis, lost his first pro bout and in the process also lost the WBA super welterweight (not the WBC, IBF, or ABC belts) to still undefeated Canadian Joachim Alcine.

Both fighters were deducted points for clinching and Simms lost an extra point after a punch sent him to the canvas for a flash/off-balance knockdown. In reality, they both should've been deducted further points for lack of action.

Next time:
Keeping up with the fighting Jones'

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