Monday, May 27, 2013

The Rocktagon Recap of UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2!

Featuring a Canadian Whitesnake Fan Putting a Top Ranked Lightweight to Sleep “In The Still of The Night,” a Brazilian ass-kicker (who bares an uncanny resemblance to Robert DeNiro in “Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein") battling a Super Samoan to the very end and a Mexican-American Proving the Existence of Bigfoot…by kicking its ass, again!


About this time last year, the UFC ran one of its most ass-kicking cards ever -- an all Heavyweight, Knockout-Palooza that featured five main card finishes, and some undercard bouts littered with upsets and similarly awesome finales that made judges that night, for all intents and purposes, useless. Yeah, you can argue that the show was loaded with Strikeforce-esque mismatches, but if you can complain about a PPV event built from the ground up to contain as many face-breaking conclusions as possible, you sir or madam, need to find a new pastime, and hurriedly.

Alike UFC 146, tonight’s Zuffa-branded shindig seems to be genetically structured to result in concussions and bloodshed a plenty. I mean, for Christ’s sake, the main event is a re-do of arguably the most gore-soaked fight in company history, and with TKO-kingpins like Junior dos Santos, Mark Hunt, Glover Teixiera and TJ Grant (well, really more of a submission specialist than a knockout artist, but the dude can throw some ‘bos…just ask Matt Wiman) serving as undercard kindling, I think it’s pretty much a guarantee that the canvas will be painted orange and maroon long before the Heavyweight Championship bout kicks off.

Grab your girl, grab your nachos and grab your, well, whatever it is that you also like to grab folks: it’s time for UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2!

Tonight’s show is emanating from Vegas, while I’m calling it, as always, from Bailey’s, which is we all know by now, is home to more per capita cleavage and dwarf inhabitants than the original “Total Recall.”

It’s a tradition for the house TV remote handlers to take their sweet time in switching the feed from cable to PPV, but tonight had to set an all-time record. Thank goodness UFC pads their programming with 15 minutes of superfluous B-roll, or else we may have missed the entire first fight of the evening during the delay!

Lightweight Bout
Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons

Earlier this year, Cerrone had his spleen pulsed into guacamole by Anthony Pettis. For what it’s worth, it’s been one of the very few missteps of Cerrone’s UFC tenure (well, outside of that one fight he had against Nate Diaz, but we’ll just skip over that one.) Of course, prior to that, Cerrone was one the best lightweight fighters in World Extreme Cagefighting, where he’s probably best known for his, uh, two-logy of fights with current UFC Lightweight strap holder Ben Henderson. Noons, on the other tape-wrapped hand, is a Strikeforce import making his UFC debut tonight. He’s lost four of his last five fights, and he needs a win here like Reese Witherspoon needs a DD on speed dial. And since Cerrone really, really wants to make up for that ass-kicking he suffered back in January, you can figure this one out on your own: folks, somebody’s going to get their head punched off, and it’s going to be awesome.

Cerrone out to “Cowboy” by Kid Rock. The first round begins with a leg kick exchange, and Cerrone connecting with a solid knee. Noons already bleeding above he eye. Cerrone with a takedown, but Noons pops back up. More leg kicks from Cowboy. Noons with some punches in succession, to which Cerrone responds with a decent high kick. Noons with a decent jab to end the round.

Cerrone with a takedown to begin the second. Noons up, and he stuffs a second takedown attempt. Noons with a solid jab, and Cerrone fires back with one of his own. Cerrone with a knee to Noons’ face. Noons with a spinning back fist, and Cerrone with another takedown. Cerrone concludes the second on top, raining elbows from above.

Third round. All Cerrone so far, so Noons needs a finish. Cerrone with some lefts, a knee and a high kick. Cerrone with a takedown. And that’s where Cerrone spends the rest of the fight, as he drops elbows until the bout expires. Noons is a sopping, bloody mess by the time this one’s all over. A 30-27 decision for Cerrone, but you probably didn’t need me to tell you that.

Lightweight Bout
Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant

Whoever wins this bout, Dana White said, is guaranteed a title bout against Ben Henderson at some point. With just one loss on his record (and this really funky double knockout from 2007), Maynard has already had two opportunities to strap the UFC Lightweight championship around his waist, but as it turns out, that Frankie Edgar dude is really, really hard to kill, even after you nearly kill him in the first round twice in a row. TJ Grant, a Canuck on a four fight winning streak, was last seen elbowing Matt Wiman’s face, hard. Having been in barnburners with solid punchers like Johny Hendricks and Dong Hyun Kim, this Grant fellow seems to be able to take a hit as good as he can give one. No doubt, both these fellows want a highlight reel KO heading in into their presumptive title fights, so for those of you that like dental destruction and nonconsensual face realignment surgeries…well, you might want to stay tuned for this one.

Grant uses “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake as his entrance them, so I’m automatically rooting for him. Maynard begins the fight tossing some hard shots. Grant firing back now. Grant stuns Maynard, who starts swinging for the fences. Grant catches him again, and drops him with a right. More punches and a knee, and a stumbling Maynard collapses again. A few more shots on the ground, and this one is all over folks.

A super-impressive performance by Grant, who probably did more than enough to earn himself a title shot against Ben Henderson sometime before the year’s over.

Time for an interview with some online poker bloke. Since that last fight ended so quickly, looks like we’re going to have to reach into the bag of prelims for some time filler.

So, we’ve got George Roop taking on Brian Bowles. Both dudes begin the fight swapping paint hard, with Roop deciding to throw in some head kicks and stuff. Bowles retaliates with some punches, and Roop is doing his thing with the low kicks. Bowles with a stiff body shot that drops Roop with seconds left in the first. He aims for a guillotine, but the clock saves him.

Roop with a body kick to begin the second. And then, he drops Bowles with jab. Some follow-up punches on the ground, and that’s all she wrote.

MIKE TYSON and Chuck Liddell are in the House! And also, Lil’ Jon. But mostly those first two.

Light Heavyweight Bout
Glover Teixeira vs. James Te-Huna

Unless the rules of the cosmos no longer apply, this should be the last night we see James Te-Huna’s face, with all the usual adornments like teeth and noses, for quite awhile. Despite the New Zealander’s four fight winning streak (over such illustrious “who the hell are theys?” such as Ryan Jimmo and Aaron Rosa), Te-Huna is a MASSIVE underdog in tonight’s fight, primarily because his opponent is a Brazilian ass-and-face-kicker riding an EIGHTEEN fight win streak, who since 2006, has collect 16 finishes. UFC fans probably know him best from when he made Quinton Jackson look like a bitch, and also that one time he turned a dude into a zombie halfway through a fight at UFC 153. Of course, anything can happen in the Octagon, but if I was a betting man? I’d say that somewhere between the seventh or eighth row is where you’ll find most of Te-Huna’s bicuspids in about five minutes.

Crowd is definitely behind Glover. Te Huna keeping his distance, trying to find his range. Glover closing in. Glover with a takedown. Te Huna back up. And Glover says “I don’t think so,” locks in a standing guillotine, drops, rolls, twists, and this fight is over.

In the post fight, Glover said getting to meet Mike Tyson was better than winning the fight. Looks like somebody spent the better part of their childhood playing “Punch-Out!!”, no?

Heavyweight Bout
Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt

In this absolutely inconceivable fight, one of two things is destined to happen: either Mark Hunt’s nigh-impossible, Cinderella with love handles comeback story will continue with one of the greatest upsets in Heavyweight MMA history, OR Junior dos Santos -- the world’s consensus number two Heavyweight -- will brutalize his Kiwi combatant like it was a PRIDE FC show circa 2005 or something. Granted, we all know Hunt -- a legitimate three-combat sport heavyweight -- can strike like a mofo, but Junior dos Santos? That dude can…well, just look at what he did to Shane Carwin back in 2011. This much we know: there is absolutely no way this fight can end WITHOUT someone splayed out on the canvas, minus several attached bones they used to have. As to who will be the hurter and hurtee, however, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Mark Hunt…with silver hair…out to some “Lion King” sounding shit. JDS, as always, is out to “Gonna Fly Now.” JDS clearly the house favorite. Both guys circling, JDS with two solid punches, and dos Santos DROPS Hunt with a looping overhand…you know, the same one that murder-death-killed Cain Velasquez in their first fight. Hunt, of course, is impervious to what we mortals call “pain,” so instead of passing out like 99 percent of the rest of humanity, he stumbles back to his feet and starts throwing these wild ass haymakers. Hunt throwing some serious punches, but nothing connecting. Meanwhile. JDS uses that scientific boxing to, you know, connect, with his punches instead. Hunt pressing forward, but JDS clearly landing more (and more effective) strikes so far.

Hunt out swinging. JDS using the jab to keep Hunt at bay. JDS looking for the knockout blow now. Hunt trying to mix in some low kicks, but they’re not really doing much. Tons of punches from JDS, but Hunt keeps going forward. Spin kick from JDS, and he whiffs on what would have been a devastating jab. Hunt looking gassed, but still throwing some threatening punches. JDS says “eff this mess” and takes him down instead. The crowd boos, of course. JDS drops some elbows as the round expires. Definitely dos Santos’ fight after two.

Hunt needs to finish. He comes out throwing these wild overhands and trying to toss out some low kicks. To no avail, clearly. JDS with two jabs and a low kick of his own. Hunt’s accuracy when it comes to connecting with those bombs is probably about as good as Shaq’s free throw percentage. JDS with a barrage of punches now. Hunt closing in, but JDS starts clipping him with uppercuts. About a minute left in the fight now. JDS with several right hands, and he DROPS Hunt with a wheel kick. One punch on the ground, and this thing is waved off with less than 50 seconds left in the final round.

A really, really good fight. Probably worth going out of your way to see, if you’re a huge enough MMA fan. And shall we turn our attention towards dos Santos’ presumptive next opponent now?

UFC Heavyweight Championship
Cain Velasquez (Champion) vs. Antonio Silva (Challenger)

The last time these two dudes met, the end outcome was a five minute fight bloodier than the first eight “Friday the 13th” movies combined. For those of you that have forgotten about that fateful evening almost one year ago today, here’s what happened…and if you’re eating anything with ketchup on it right now, you might want to put down your grub before clicking on the link. Anyway, Velasquez, fresh off beating the tar out of Junior dos Santos last December, defends his strap against “Bigfoot” Silva -- a man who pulled off one of the greatest upsets in UFC history when he KTFO of Alistair Overeem back in February. The last go-around, saying that Velasquez utterly dominated Silva would be like saying Grenada was a bit lop-sided; and yeah, there’s a very, very strong chance we’ll be seeing a similar slaughter in the cage this evening.

Huge ovation for Velasquez. Silva, obviously, looks a lot bigger, but Velasquez looks a bit more muscular. Cain shooting for a takedown. Can’t get it. Shoots for another. Can’t get that one either. Velasquez with a right, and Silva goes down. Velasquez with some brutal shots from the side on the ground, and this one is already over. Official stoppage time? Just 1:21 of the very first round.

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Well, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll be seeing Velasquez vs. dos Santos 3 before the year is over. And considering their dominance of the division, it’s likely we’ll be seeing these two go toe-to-toe like Sugar Ray and Jake LaMotta over and over again for the next five years or so. As stated earlier, I think TJ Grant was impressive enough here tonight to get that Ben Henderson shot, and I think it’s time we finally gave Glover somebody in the top ten to tango with. Phil Davis, perhaps? As for Silva, looks like its back to the end of the chow line for awhile, while Hunt -- now out of title contention -- has at least made himself look bankable and credible as a division threat. Of course, we all want to see Hunt vs. Roy Nelson at some point, but for the time being, how about putting Hunt in the cage against the winner of the upcoming Matt Mitrione/Brendan Schuab battle?

THE VERDICT? A really good show, with four out five main card bouts featuring finishes -- three of which came in the very first round, and one that entailed one of the best bouts of the entire year. Really, this is one of the stronger shows the company has put on in quite some time; if they manage to outdo this one later in 2013, we’re in store for a hell of a year at the fights, my friends.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT: The dos Santos/Hunt fight is already one of the best heavyweight bouts this decade. Oh, and TJ Grant’s knockout of Gray Maynard was similarly dope.

LOWLIGHT OF THE NIGHT: …well, I kinda’ want my main events to last a little bit longer than a millisecond, so consider me mildly irked by the Velasquez/Silva re-do.

ROGAN-ISM OF THE NIGHT: Not so much a quote as it is an astute observation -- just how DOES that dude manage to pinpoint an exact number of ice cubes scattered about on the canvas between rounds? Apparently, weed gives you super-vision or something.

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM TONIGHT’S SHOW:


  • Blood stains are a real bitch clean off canvassing.
  • If a dude comes out to an eighties hair metal ballad, he’ll probably win. 
  • Meeting a one-time boxing legend turned disgraced pop cultural icon is better than earning a paycheck. 
  • A wheel kick to the side of the face is a Super Samoan’s kryptonite. 
  • Sasquatch DOES exist…and it can’t take a punch, either. 


Well, that’s all I’ve got this week. Crank up “Hand Over Your Guns” by Adil Omar and “Point of No Return” by Hard Target, and I’ll be seeing you in just a few.

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