Saturday, December 27, 2008

UFC 92 Results

Jackson is on Fire and Back on the Rampage

Jackson Axes Silva

You have to give it to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. He knew he was the underdog, yet he cam into a fight he's been wanting to avenge for years and made the most of it in as little time as possible. Wanderlei "Axe Murderer" Silva looked like a lion about to feast on a wounded zebra. But Jackson was no wounded zebra. He is a vastly improved fighter who has overcome much mental and emotional turmoil to pull himself together and walk through fire, hazards be damned.

When the fight started, Jackson immediately raced toward the center of the octagon, similar to Sugar Ray Leonard making sure he was the first to the center of the ring in his huge upset of Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Looks like Jackson was over his two knockout losses to Silva.

Jackson began following Silva and threw a Mail Mary right hook that was almost similar to his knockout of Liddell, though it missed. He never allowed himself to get in the dreaded Muay Thai clinch and scrambled out of the way when he momentarily dropped Silva. Even though Jackson lost his previous fights with Silva he was the better "boxer" of the two. In the second fight, he was winning the stand up before he was caught with a right hand and then ko'd from vicious knees.

But revenge has a way of giving payback in full.

As Silva was following Jackson, he traded and lost. Silva was countered with a picture perfect left hook and his limp body dropped to the octagon like a sack of potatoes. Two more "take that" right hands cemented a conclusive win. This was a huge win for Jackson and a devastating one for Silva who has been losing too many wars ever since being starched by Mirko CroCop Filipovich.

Brock Lesnar Gets his Wish; Mir Nears Title Shot

Frank Mir talked a good ground game but fought a great stand up game. From the opening bell, Mir controlled the pace of the action and took the gumption out of legendary MMA heavyweight, Antonio Nogueira with a stream of right and lefts that Mir could not miss.

Nogueira has been in too many wars and eventually someone would have his number. And once Mir saw he could control the fight on his feet ala Tim Sylvia, he used his head, paced himself and avoided any type of ground game. He dropped Nogueira twice in the first round with blistering rights and ended a frail looking Nogueira in the second with a flurry of punches.

Fighters like Nogueira could last in MMA forever as long as the fight eventually goes to the ground. Nogueira's well finally ran dry. You can only do that some many times and the pale was left empty this time. Nogueira can no longer survive the bombs of Bob Sapp, Fedor Emelianenko (2x loss), CroCop, Josh Barnett, Heath Herring, Tim Sylvia, etc. But luckily for Nogueira, his legacy has been safely secured.

Evans Continues Tear Through the UFC

Evans Cuts Down the Forrest

Rashad Evans continued his meteoric rise toward the top of the MMA P4P rankings with a crushing flurry of punches to win the UFC LHW championship. Evans started out with fluid movement against Forrest Griffin. Griffin countered it with the same leg kicks that slowed Jackson down in their last fight. Rashad held his own in the first but probably lost it due to the number of kicks he received.

In the 2nd round, Griffin continued his kicking ways and got bold with a nice right hand he landed on Evans. Evans slapped his body and taunted Griffin almost as to tell him, "You're strikes will not stop me!" Still, it was Griffin;s most dominant round.

Evans came out with a purpose and rushed Griffin with punches that dropped him.Sensing victory was within his reach, Evans rained down hammer punches from all angles ala Evans teammate Keith Jardine. But Griffin was not as hurt as initially seemed and survived the momentary storm. Emphasis on the word momentary.

After realizing that Griffin had no answer to his strikes, Evans turned on the fury and landed a right forearm to the chin of Griffin and never relented. He threw punches from under and behind Griffin who was out of the fight.

"His punches gave my body movement," joked a now-clear-headed Griffin.

Next up for Evans is the Thiago Silva/Lyoto Machida fight. Can't hardly wait for the UFC card.

All in all, a great card that more than lived up to the hype. There were no decisions in any of the main events. What a way to usher in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

UFC 92 - Analysis and Predictions

Quite possibly, the greatest MMA card ever.

When UFC 73 - Stacked was first advertised, it seemed like the greatest MMA card ever, on both sides of the ocean. But with UFC 92, the matchmakers at UFC may have outdone themselves, especially in hindsight.

Looking back, UFC 73 was a great card that turned out fairly good results. And none of those matches, individually, could have been held as a PPV main event. UFC 92 boasts 3 matches that could conceivably be held months apart, but thankfully, they aren't.

For some reason the "weakest" fight on the card is the co-main event pitting former champ Frank Mir vs. Antonio Noguiera, also this season's TUF coaches. This is a bout for the grappling fans as both Nogueira and Mir are experts on the mat. Look for the older Nogueira to out fox the younger Mir who's looking for a second match, and possible repeat win, against current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.

The other co-main event, may have been the third fight between Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva. This is the match all MMA fans have been salivating and waiting to see. The first two meetings between the two featured real bad blood and took place in Japan in PRIDE FC, and in the ring. Silva own two KO wins over Jackson, the second a devastating win that left Jackson's body hanging lifeless on the second rope strand, blood gushing from his nostrils.

Since then, Jackson has been on a rampage and lost his last fight in a close decision. Silva, on the other hand, has been on a mixed review. He lost an exciting stand up war to UFC posterboy Chuck Liddell. Then he came back to starch Liddell conqueror Keith Jardine in less than a round in brutal fashion. Maybe Silva has Jackson's number the same way Jackson has Liddell's or maybe Jackson has overcome an emotionally tumultuous 2008 and has learned how to defend against Silva's Muay Thai clinch. Rich Franklin never did against Anderson Silva and it's hard to forget how Silva performs in rematches. Ask MMA legend, Kasushi Sakuraba. This is a can't miss fight for anyone who enjoys combat sports. A main event in any era.

UFC 92 Weigh in

But here is why the UFC continually gains more fans and boxing tends to lag. The UFC could easily have held the Silva-Jackson 3 card as the main even and no one, not even this writer, would have uttered a letter of protest. But the UFC has maintained on the right path of building stars and not merely relying on the same names.

In the main event, red-hot Rashad Evans takes on equally fiery Forrest Griffin. Evans, fresh off a one-punch, highlight reel KO of Liddell, faces a surging force in Griffin who own wins over PRIDE phenom, Mauricio Rua and the man whom he won the UFC light-heavyweight, Jackson. The winner of this fight will be the king of the light HW division until either Lyoto Machida or Thiago Silva have a say in that matter. Perhaps Evans' wrestling background, coupled with slick lateral movement, will be enough to unseat the current champion who has continually progressed in all his matches, critics be damned.

Here are the questions that should be answered at UFC 92.

Can Mir overcome Nogueira's vast experience? How long can Nogueira compete at the elite level before the punishment finally takes its toll?

How will Jackson overcome the mental aspect of facing a man who has knocked him out twice and has absolutely no fear of him? Will the cage make any difference for Silva who had much success in the ring against Jackson? How much effect will Jackson's legal troubles and new trainer have?

Who's ground game will prevail, Evans or Griffin's? Is Evans really a better striker than Griffin? Whose the harder hitter in this match?

All questions that will be answered tonight. The heads at UFC deserve credit where it's due, and it is here.

Fitness Jiu Jitsu