Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Rocktagon Recap of UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2!

Featuring Joe Lauzon painting the canvas with his own platelets, a Cyprian Badass derailing one of the American variety and oh yeah, a NEW World Heavyweight Champion!



Well, this is it, folks: the last MMA show of 2012, unless you want to count those freak show pro wrestling cards they hold on New Year’s Eve in Japan, anyway.

UFC 155 is sort of an auspicious way to end/begin the year, as it features one main event that actually matters and a whole bunch of fights that, on paper, don’t seem to mean much of anything to anybody. I guess you could call the show the definition of a one-fight event, but seeing as how that one fight is probably the best heavyweight match-up available for at least another year or so, you got to figure it’s a fight that counts double, maybe even triple, as a headliner.

Enough yammering from me, who is ready for some heavyweight tomfoolery! Me, too kids, so let’s hear it for UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2!

The show itself is emanating from Las Vegas, Nev., while I’m calling it LIVE from the finest pub in all of K’Saw, Ga. Man, I sure do love smelling like ketchup and Marlboro Reds for three days afterward!

Our hosts are Joe Rogan and...John Anik? Hey, where's Goldie at?

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

Leben comes out to the Chili Peppers' cover of  "Love Rollercoaster," and the first person to tell me the 1996 movie that featured the song wins...something. Leben hasn't fought in about 13 months, and Brunson is coming fresh off getting murder-death-killed by Ronaldo Souza. Needless to say, this was a very uneventful fight, with Brunson scoring low-takedown after low-takedown while Leben tossed his chunky ass overhand rights at approximately no miles per hour for fifteen minutes. Both dudes were gassed after the first round, and Leben looked like he needed an oxygen tank when the final bell clanged. A unanimous decision victory for the Strikeforce transplant, although it's not exactly what I would call an impressive performance in any regard. 

Lots of "stars" in the house tonight, including MC Hammer, Mike Tyson and that redheaded chick from "That 70s Show," who is now a dark haired goth chick that wears a lot of pink lip gloss. 

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT
Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami 

Belcher out to "Little Wing" by Hendrix. Kind of a wasted opportunity here, since he has the Johnny Cash tattoo on his arm and everything. "Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog" would make for such a bad-ass walkout tune, you know. 

As with the previous match-up, this one was pretty darn boring, for the most part. Okami kept shooting for takedowns, but he kept landing so that Belcher fell on top of him. Yushin pretty much dominated as far as striking and octagon control went, but there were a few moments where it looked like Belcher might bust loose (spoiler: but he never did.) A really lackluster bout, with Okami taking a unanimous decision victory. 

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT
Costa Phillippou vs. Tim Boetsch


Costa out to Twisted Sister, Boetsch out to "American Badass." Probably the best fight of the show so far, but that's not really saying a whole lot. 

It seems as if Boetsch broke his hand heading into the second, and his Cyprian adversary took full advantage once things picked back up. Boetsch gets busted open on a headbutt that was never called, and a finger to the eye makes the American middleweight even groggier looking. Late in the third, Boetsch shoots for a desperation takedown, and Phillippou simply pounds him out once he's flat on the canvas. Not so much an impressive victory for Phillippou as it is a testament to just how shitty Boetsch's conditioning is. 


LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT
Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon

Our fight of the night, and easily the bloodiest fight since Velasquez made Antonio Silva's head gush out fifteen gallons of blood back in May. Miller just UNLOADS on Lauzon for the first four minutes, and Joe's head turns into a piece of metaloaf with extra-ketchup. Second round begins with Miller shooting for a takedown, and Lauzon almost securing a triangle. The ref stops the fight so a piece of Lauzon's glove can be cut lose. The second ends with Lauzon on top, at one point, even landing a mini-slam on Miller. 

The third and decisive round began with Miller just peppering Lauzon, who sprung another leak early. It went back and forth for a while, until Lauzon landed a DOPE looking flying leg lock, which Miller easily escaped from. In the waning seconds of the third, Lauzon unsuccessfully tries for a guillotine choke. 

A ridiculously entertaining bout, with Miller picking up the unanimous decision victory. Probably the right call, but I have a hard time scoring the second round for Miller. 

Hey, you know that movie, "Movie 43?" Well, it looks like shit. 


UFC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT
Junior dos Santos (Champion) vs. Cain Velasquez (Contender)

Cain out to mariachi music, dos Santos out to "Gonna' Fly Now." Whereas the first bout was over in less than two minutes, this one went the distance, and it was pretty awesome. Or at least, as awesome as a one-sided drubbing could possibly be, I guess.

First round, and Velasquez is gunning for a takedown. He ultimately ends up landing 11 out of 33 during the fight, which should you tell you this dude ain't exactly GSP when it comes to grappling ability.

So, anyway, Velasquez just tags the hell out of dos Santos in the first round, with the challenger coming dangerously close to ending the fight. If the guy officiating the bout would have been anyone OTHER than Herb Dean, it probably WOULD have been stopped in the first, too. Alas, dos Santos weathers the storm - literally WOBBLING in and out of his corner going into and coming out of the second round - and he proceeds to get his face re-arranged for the next five minutes.

The frank reality here is that Cain did so much damage in the first round that it was pretty much impossible for dos Santos to surge a comeback. However - and this is a biggie going into Velasquez's next bout - Cain himself looked visibly blown by the third round. As impressive as Velasquez's mauling was, I think dos Santos inability to fall down and die like a normal human being is either indicative of Cain's in-need-of-improvement cardio OR maybe, just maybe, that all Brazilians are actually Highlanders or something.

Improbably, dos Santos gets a second wind heading into the fourth, but he can't really throw anything that would stop Velasquez. It was more of the same in the fifth, with the bout concluding with Cain front kicking dos Santos in the face - sort of a symbolic "yeah, I just kicked your ass, and also, more literally, your face" gesture to conclude the bout. Velasquez ends up reclaiming the belt, scoring a unanimous victory across the board. He said it was the most difficult fight of his career in the post-fight, while dos Santos - despite looking sort of like a blood-soaked Squidward from "SpongeBob Squarepants" - promises retribution somewhere down the line.

SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Pending Overeem can surmount Bigfoot at UFC 156 (and subsequently pass a drug test, which is really the hard part here), it's pretty much a given that Velasquez will throw down with the "Demolition Man" for his first title defense sometime in 2013. A beaten, but not conquered, dos Santos will likely do battle with either Daniel Cormier or Josh Barnett, once the two make their respective leaps to the UFC, with Barnett the more likely of the two candidates, since Dana absolutely hates his guts and wouldn't mind seeing him get steamrolled right out the gate. Jim Miller has solidified himself as a top ten lightweight, so I wouldn't be surprised if he got Gray Maynard as his next opponent. Lauzon, turning in a star making performance tonight, will most likely see another lightweight stalwart in his next match-up...the recently de-contenderized Nate Diaz. The middleweight fray got shook up quite a bit tonight, so why not book these fights accordingly: Yushin Okami vs. Cung Le, Alan Belcher vs. Tim Boetsch and Costa Phillippou vs. Hector Lombard? 

THE VERDICT: Up until the last two fights of the evening, this thing was on the fast track to being one of the least memorable shows in recent UFC history. Strange what a little gore-soaked mayhem and tough-as-nails dog fights can do to rectify the ennui, huh? Certainly, the last two fights made the show, although there was some pretty cool stuff on the undercard (the Varner/Guillard bout and Todd Duffee knocking a dude out), that I didn't get to see. Probably not what I would consider a great show by any means, but you sure as hell get your money's worth for the last hour or so of fighting.

SHOW HIGHLIGHT: The Miller/Lauzon fight was utterly astounding, and the Velasquez/dos Santos title fight might just be the most memorable heavyweight throwdown since Lesnar/Carwin at UFC 116. 

SHOW LOWLIGHT: I paid actual money, people's money, to watch Derek Brunson beat up on Chris Leben, who apparently, was trapped in a bubble of invisible Jell-o the entire evening. 

ROGAN-ISM OF THE NIGHT: "He's just donating blood!" - uttered the first of an estimated 985 times that Lauzon's forehead gushed out plasma into the third row. 

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM TONIGHT’S SHOW: 

  • The human body contains approximately 3,000 gallons of blood. 
  • It's probably a good idea to learn how to defend against takedowns if you're a striker. 
  • The Japanese really don't like Johnny Cash, for some reason. 
  • Getting 100 significant strikes and 10 takedowns in a fight is the MMA equivalent of a 200 yard rushing day, with 100 yards receiving. 
  • Brown Pride > War Brasilia (well, this time, anyway)

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. Crank up “Never Write” by Dynamite Hack and “A Little Respect” by Wheatus, and I’ll be seeing you folks in a few.

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