It was a few days ago when I advised you fight fans not to be deterred from watching UFC 119 due to its lack of heavy title implications or not-so-household names on the card. With the exception of the main event, the four preceding main card fights and my one preliminary bout went the distance. With the exception of two fights, the judges were dead-on in deciding who the winners of the night were. Without further ado, let’s look back at what was a stellar fight night on Pay-Per-View:
Matt Mitrione def. Joey Beltran via Decision
Mitrione came out of his corner immediately pressing the action. He forced Beltran into the cage, following up with a kick and a stiff left jab. Beltran counters by circling around Mitrione, follows up with a mean right punch and ensuing punches in the clutch. Beltran, takes the fight to the floor, gets in some ground-and-pound, closing out the first round. In round two, Mitrione again comes out in a force of fury with an onslaught of punches and kicks on Beltran. The action is once again taken to the cage. Beltran goes in for an attack, but Mitrione lands a big shot that buckles Beltran’s knees. The action is stopped briefly for Beltran to adjust his glove. Once that was fixed, the two showed no regard for their chins with a fury of exchanges to close out the round. Ironically, not many punches landed. The final round began the same way the first two did. Mitrione unleashed fury and in the process, opened up the cut over Beltran’s eye even more. Beltran threw haymakers, but Mitrione, who had the more controlled approach, concluded the bout with multiple strikes, thus getting the win.
Melvin Guillard over Jeremy Stephens via Decision
Guillard, who is known for being overly excited, lived up to his name. His adrenaline fueled him to open the round with a wild haymaker, which resulted in landing all air. Stevens countered and landed a right hook that put Guillard on his behind. Guillard was able bounce back on his feet and throw an array of punches, only for them to follow suit of his opening shot. Guillard is able to land an open hand shot, following it up with some one-two punch combos. Stevens was able to land some kicks, but none of which were effective. The round closes! The rest of the fight was basically stalemated. The two for the most part spent the evening sizing each other up and throwing occasional shots, but missing more than they made. In the last-minute and seconds of round three, Stevens appeared to land more shots, but not so convincingly that the judges would side with him. On one end, I felt like he was robbed, but on the other, he did not take the fight and make it his own. Guillard is awarded the win in the second worst fight of the night.
Sean Sherk defeated Evan Dunham via Decision
Ladies and gentlemen, this hands down was the fight of the night. Everything you wanted in a Mixed Martial Arts fight happened in this bout. The lightweights here should’ve been the main event. Former lightweight champion Sean Sherk exercised his wrestling prowess with three ground trembling takedowns on Dunham. Dunham was able to weather the storm and show why he is the submission artist he is. Surprisingly, Sherk was able to escape every submission attempt Dunham had. I guess the “Muscle Shark” is a former champion for a reason. Even with what he did, it was not enough for him to win the fight. Dunham, throughout the entire fight won the striking battle between the two. It was reminiscent of Dominick Cruz vs. Joseph Benavida, in that Dunham, the taller of the two, was able to keep Sherk at a distance with his jabs, accompanied by his long reach. Takedowns are vital, as well as elusiveness, but the younger of the combatants was clearly robbed by the judges in a decision…I mean in a Ski Mask Way! Sherk gets the match, but these two have to do it again.
Chris Lytle defeated Matt Serra via decision
If you were looking for a boxing match on an MMA card, this was it. These two were reunited, and for Lytle, it felt so good. The two had no interest in incorporating any of the other Mixed Martial Arts into this bout. It was all about the hands. Looking at the height advantage, I thought maybe Serra, who is a former UFC Welterweight champion, would’ve used wisdom in the form of his low center of gravity to take down Lytle, but he didn’t. He chose to fight Lytle’s fight and lost atrociously. Looking at the two, it was evident that Lytle was the better prepared fighter. By the middle of the second round, you could see Serra’s energy level fade while Lytle remained the same, if not increased. Four years ago, these two had it out in the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter, Season Four. Serra took the fight and went on to championship glory, as previously mentioned. Given what Lytle did recently, could that pave the way for greater things in his career?
Ryan Bader defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via Decision
This fight pitted an MMA legend versus an undefeated up-and-comer. Bader immediately pressed “Little Nog” following the opening bell. He threw punches and landed kicks in a way that informed the Light Heavyweight division that he had arrived. Little Nog’s experience preserved him, as he was able to display his boxing skills upon the younger combatant. Nogueira was even able to escape Bader’s takedown attempts. Unfortunately, there were takedowns he couldn’t escape. There was one in the first round where ground-and-pound followed. I knew it was a done deal, but Little Nog survived. As valiant of an effort as that was, it wasn’t enough to ice the win. Next up for Bader, allegedly, is Jon Bones Jones. Both are wrestling experts. Please see to it you don’t miss that one!
Frank Mir defeated Mirko Cro Cop via Knockout
In my short-lived fandom of Mixed Martial Arts (since June 2007), this was the worst main event I’ve ever seen. Frank Mir is a genius. This guy forced Cro Cop to fight his fight. The standoff and reluctances between the two were unbelievable. This guy rendered Cro Cop and the viewing audience to narcolepsy until :52 seconds in the final round where Mir landed an knee shot to Cro Cop’s head, officially putting the Croatian Jack Bauer to sleep. The ice water that normally runs through his veins was not there on fight night. Even Mir admitted disappointment in his performance.
Overall, the card earned the letter grade of a B. If everyone has awaken from their moments of slumber courtesy of the “Main Event”, there is no need to fret. That fight in no way indicates how MMA main events are. We are officially three days away from yet another major MMA event. Thursday, September 30th at 9pm, you will have the luxury of seeing an exciting card of action on the Versus Network. WEC 51 will feature a Main Event of WEC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo defending his strap against Manny Gamburyan. One thing WEC has failed to do is put on a disappointing card. With that said, tune in and watch Aldo and Gamburyan give you what Mir and Cro Cop didn’t.
By Antoine Hoffman