Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Rocktagon Recap of UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier!

Unable to catch tonight's latest and greatest MMA spectacular? No worries, homey ... our LIVE round-by-round coverage will keep you in the loop all night long.


By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@JimboX

Well, it's time for the UFC's annul Fourth of July PPV, and this year we've got ourselves a big one — figuratively, symbolically, and literally. 

Champion versus champion bouts in the UFC are pretty rare. In fact, throughout the 25-year history of the promotion, there's never been a Light Heavyweight Champion vs. Heavyweight Champion contest — until tonight.

Of course, the UFC would prefer such a bout occur with slightly more marketable names than Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier (indeed, one can only imagine the inevitable Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar vs. USADA post-fight drug testing triangle match will at least double the buy rates of this show.) But still, there's no denying the match-up between Cleveland's greatest living athlete and arguably the best overall heavyweight fighter of the last decade is an intriguing one.

Both D.C. and Stipe are outstanding wrestlers. They can both hit hard as motherfuckers, too. And for their sizes, their cardio is surprisingly solid. If a motherfucker wants to get in a brawl, each man is more than capable of lobbing some bombs, and if somebody wants to get all chess match on these suckahs, they can certainly make it a technical showcase if need be.

The bottom line, though, is that whoever walks away the victor in tonight's main event is unquestionably the greatest Heavyweight fighter in MMA history. Yep, better than Fedor or Randy Couture or Cain Velasquez or Cole Konrad. If Miocic wins, that means he's vanquished seven probable UFC Hall of Famers (including five former UFC champions) in a row, and if Cormier wins? Well, in addition to making him a two weight-class champ, it also makes him the only fighter in history to hold the UFC, Strikeforce and King of the Cage Heavyweight Championships.

So yes, it's an old canard, I know, but for once, the UFC brass ain't laying in their marketing — tonight, MMA history truly will be made, and you'd have to be one pitiful fool to miss out on this one. 

And hey, the undercard (at least for the PPV portion) ain't too bad looking, either. We've got two black heavyweights duking it out in a probable number one contender's match (which also practically guarantees us a CTE-inducing knockout finish, at that), plus a whole bunch of dudes we all thought we're going to be really, really good that started losing a lot of fights desperately, direly trying to make themselves relevant again in our three lead-in Pay-Per-View contests. I mean, if the likes of Gokhan Saki, Mike Perry and Anthony goddamn motherfuckin' Pettis isn't enough to get you to fork over $59.99, what will?

And — as always — we here at The Internet Is In America will be covering the fighting festivities ALL NIGHT LONG, as our patented, industry-leading LIVE COVERAGE begins TONIGHT at 10 P.M. So if you're one of those poor souls whose computers are too old and shitty to download an illegal stream or the local sports bar banned you for life for trying to goose an 18-year-old waitress, no worries, Holmes.

So all that to say, be here or be queer (or be here and be queer, we're a more tolerant society these days) around 10 o'clock and we'll keep you abreast and avaginaed of all of the wonder and whimsy UFC 226 has to offer. And how about doing us a kindness and letting all your fight fan friends on social media know about our free public service this evening? Not only will they appreciate and admire your generosity, you might even get oral out of it. Maybe.

Light Heavyweight Bout
Gokhan Saki (1-1-0-0) vs. Khalil Rountree, Jr. (6-2-0-1)

Saki is a Dutch-Turkish kickboxer motherfucker who's pretty accomplished in K1, with victories over the likes of Tyrone Spong, Melvin Manhoef and Anderson Silva (but, uh, not that Anderson Silva.) He's 1-1 in MMA competition, but he did look pretty good in his UFC debut last September, when he knocked Henrique da Silva da fuq out in Saitama. Roundtree, on the other hand, has had an up-and-down career since joining the UFC in 2016, collecting a 2-2-0-1 record over the last two or so years. But more importantly, his Wikipedia page says he once weighed 300 pounds, his dad was shot and killed while doing security detail for Boyz II Men and he's a fan of The Village People ... which, naturally, makes him the house favorite around these parts.

[NOTE: OK, I missed this one, but the Internet tells me the black one knocked the fuck out of the Muslim one in barely two minutes. The GIF is probably already floating around out there in Internet-land, so it shouldn't be too hard to relive this one.]

Lightweight Bout (Oops ... Make That A 157.5 Pound Catchweight Bout)
Michael Chiesa (14-3-0-0) vs. Anthony Pettis (20-7-0-0)

Thanks to Chiesa being unable to make weight, he loses 30 percent of his purse and this fight is now officially a catchweight contest at 157.5 pounds (which has to be the most random ass number I've ever seen for such a contest.) By and large Chiesa has had a pretty decent tenure in the UFC, with wins over Beniel Dariush, Jim Miller and Colton Smith, but in his last go-at-it more than a year ago he got choked out like a bitch by Kevin Lee. Anthony Pettis, on the other hand, is a man who will forever be known for one thing — which, of course, is going 7-6 in the UFC after spin kicking Ben Henderson's Will Smith-looking face off that one time in WEC. Naturally, that adds some drama to the matchup; will Pettis see his Ultimate Fighting Championship record hit .500 tonight, or will the former Wheaties Box star make a mini-career comeback in spectacular fashion?

[NOTE: OK, I missed this one too but trust me, I have legitimate, work-related reasons for slacking off. Anyway, Pettis won via triangle choke about a minute into the second round. So it was kinda' like the ending of the first Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight, except, uh, nobody cares as much, I guess.]

Welterweight Bout
Paul Felder (15-3-0-0) vs. Mike Perry (11-3-0-0)

For a hot minute, both these guys were highly touted prospects, and to be fair, they both still have a lot of potential. Felder's stock, though, took a hit when he dropped back-to-back fights against Edson Barboza (understandable) and a way past his prime Ross Pearson (not understandable in a million billion years), but he has won three fights in a row, all of which were elbow-intensive finishes. In the other corner, we're working with Mike "Platinum" Perry, who after a hot start with knockouts over Hyun Gyu Lim and Danny Roberts, has dropped two decision losses in a row, with his last taking place in February against Max Griffin. Needless to say, both men would very much like to take home the W here ... although from the looks of it, Perry might just be fighting for his professional livelihood here.

An errant headbutt has both men bleeding like stuck pigs just seconds into the fight. We've got a clinch against the cage and Perry lands a right elbow. We have separation and Perry kicks Felder's leg. Then Felder connects on a big overhand. Perry misses on a looping overhand and Felder ROCKS Perry's ass with a hard elbow shot. Felder with a knee to the stomach and a hard jab. Felder connects on a front kick to the stomach. Felder whiffs on a high kick. Perry lands a couple of jabs and here comes Felder right back with the patella sandwiches. It's pretty much dead even on strikes landed at this point. Perry grazes Felder with an elbow in the clinch. Felder lands a spinning back kick. Perry hits a jab to the stomach and Felder lands a spinning back fist at the very tail end of the round.

Round two. Felder looking for high kicks early. Perry lands a combo and tries to crush Felder against the cage. He lands a big takedown. Felder is right back to his feet. Joe keeps saying he thinks Felder has a broken hand. Perry spamming the right now. Felder lands another spinning kick to the torso. Felder connects on a jab, but Perry just eats it. Felder with a leg kick ... and boy howdy, my Internet just went down. How fuckin' dandy.

The Wi-Fi comes back in with a minute left in the third. Felder looks like a morbidly obese woman just had a period on his face. Fuck, Felder looks WAY too much like The Irate Gamer for it to be a coincidence. Anyway, Perry throws a whole bunch of attempted haymakers and the crowd cheers like crazy once the bell sounds. Oh goddamn, they just replayed the huge left from Perry that made Felder's face explode. That shit is grisly right there.

Alright, let's go to the judges, why don't we? It's 29-28 Perry, 29-28 Felder and ... 29-28 Perry.

This is Perry's first-ever decision victory. Rogan praises Perry for his "controlled aggression" and Perry comments on how big Felder is for a welterweight. Well, that was a pretty boring post-fight interview.

That one dude from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Matt Serra and Demetrious Johnson are all in the house. And are they REALLY putting Mighty Mouse on the cover of the next UFC video game? Shit ... the UFC truly is starved for star power, ain't they?

Anyway, the UFC is letting a dude with one arm try out for The Ultimate Fighter. If it were up to me, they'd make him fight against a dude with one leg and make that shit Crippled Masters come to life.

Heavyweight Bout
Francis Ngannou (11-2-0-0) vs. Derrick Lewis (19-5-0-1)

To quote Quinton Jackson: "it's time for some more black-on-black crime!" Of course, Ngannou might just be the most feared striker on the planet right now, but as apparent by his lackluster showing against Stipe Miocic back in January, his cardio remains a huge problem. Lewis, on the other hand, is a long-time divisional stalwart who's fresh off an impressive knockout win against Marcin Tybura in February, but around here we primarily know him as the guy who tells female coworkers to wash their buttholes before tossing salads and referring to his opponents as known domestic abusers to their face in his post-fight interviews. So, all that to say? This one probably won't last too long, folks, but it's sure as hell bound to be entertaining.

Lewis comes out wearing a white track suit, accompanied by the aural strings of some kind of hippity-hoppity music, as the kids today call it. And holy shit, Ngannou comes out to Despacito. Did I accidentally fall into a time warp vortex to July 2017 or something?

Lewis comes into this fight about 10 pounds heavier than Ngannou. Ngannou's switching stances early. Lewis whiffs on a fat high kick. The fans are already booing the inaction. Lewis lands a kick to the stomach and they have a very brief fist exchange. Both men taking it slow and keeping their distance. Lewis with a switch kick up high. Lewis lands another high kick. Ngannou hasn't thrown ANYTHING yet. Lewis lands a leg kick and Ngannou blocks the overhand shot. Lewis with another big, fat switch kick up high. He lands one more high kick and the fans BOO THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYTHING as the first round comes to an end.

Round two. You know, I've already said this before, but Lewis sure is fat. So far, these two men have combined for only SEVEN landed strikes. LOL at the fans doing the Bray Wyatt thing with their cell phones to sure their displeasure with this shit. Lewis misses on a huge haymaker by about three zip codes. Now the fans are chanting "Fight! Fight!" like restless elementary schoolers. Oh man, we are *this* close to the fans showering the cage with garbage like an old WCW Nitro broadcast or something. Lewis with a shitty leg kick. Ref Herb Dean stops the fight and tells both men to stop acting like pussies and fuckin' do something. Lewis lands another high kick and a quick jab. Ngannou throws a few pussy punches, and the bell sounds. Rogan says this might just be the most boring heavyweight fight in history. Hell, he might be right, depending on how the next five minutes go.

Round three. Holy shit, it's like Ngannou's afraid to fight anymore. Lewis with more crappy leg kicks. A minute into the third round, we have a combined 15 landed strikes. Three minutes left. This is reaching all-time bad levels now. Ngannou connects on a kick to the ribs. Lewis working the low kicks and a molasses slow flurry of punches. Jon Anik tells the fans to go watch these two men's old fights to prove they don't suck. One minute left. "It feels like this should be a double loss," Rogan comments. Ngannou lands a hard left with thirty seconds left. Lewis with some knees in the clinch. Ngannou goes for a takedown and he lands a punch to Lewis' skull after the bell. Oh my god, this was astonishingly terrible in every possible way.

Let's hear from the judges, why don't we? It's 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for Derrick Lewis. LOL, that fight was so shitty nobody gets a post-fight interview. 

Holy shit, BROCK LESNAR is making his way cageside! And he asks Joe if he can be on his podcast. Huh. That ... was kinda' anticlimactic.

That fight put somebody to sleep, alright ... the paying audience.

UFC Heavyweight Championship Bout
Stipe Miocic (18-2-0-0) vs. Daniel Cormier (20-1-0-1)

And this is it, kids — the big enchilada. Considering the historic magnitude of the bout (remember, there's never been a Heavyweight Champ vs. Light Heavyweight Champ bout in the UFC before), you'd think there'd be a little bit more publicity heading into the matchup, but aye, that's what happens when drug testing means you've got to work with some Croatian firefighter and the black version of Fedor instead of Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones. Still, this ought to be one hell of a fight, no matter the circumstances. Considering the ring IQ of both veteran fighters, it's hard to imagine this one devolving into a slug fest, but then again, this is for all the marbles and status as the consensus greatest 220-pound plus fighter in history. For all intents and purposes, this is about as big a matchup as the MMA world is able to allot us for the foreseeable future ... better soak it up and enjoy it for all its worth, folks. And hey, if we're really lucky? We might even get to see Daniel Cormier trip over something again ... mayhap before he even gets inside the Octagon this evening.

Hoo boy, these two have a tough act to follow, don't they? Cormier comes out first, and although I don't know what his theme music is, it's pretty fucking awesome and I should probably Shazam it at some point. LOL at Joe Rogan saying Alexander Volkov is the third best heavyweight on the planet right now. And, of course, Miocic comes out to Machine Gun Kelly, chewing gum and looking all relaxed and shit.

Miocic gets a pretty big reaction from the crowd. It's by no means GSP or Conor McGregor level or anything, but it's certainly more voluble than you'd expect. Oh, and Machine Gun Kelly is in the crowd tonight — get a good look at him before he inevitably dies of a molly overdose a year or so from now. 

Micoic has a considerable reach and height advantage, but Cormier is the heavier competitor. The ref is a Limey so you just know he's going to try to screw over the Croatian. Miocic chases D.C. down and he lands some big shots. Both men land uppercuts and Miocic has underhooks in. Miocic crushing D.C. up against the cage, American History X shower scene style. D.C. lands some rabbit punches in the clinch. D.C. with a stiff right jab. Miocic with a hard knee to the body and some elbow shots. D.C. lands a HARD leg kick. And another one. Miocic with a great elbow. They exchange combos and we get a timeout after D.C. thumbs Miocic in the eyes. Looks like he learned something from Jon Jones after all. We get another wild exchange ... AND D.C. UNCORKS A FLURRY ON MICOIC AND WINS BY TKO!

It was a hard right in the clinch that got her done. D.C. landed about half a dozen unanswered shots on the ground before the ref waved it off. The fans chant "D.C." before the official decision is announced. The official time was 4:33 of the very first round.

Cormier calls out Brock Lesnar and he comes in and he's literally a foot and a half taller than the Heavyweight Champion. Brock shoves him halfway across the cage, grabs the mic, calls Ngannou and Miocic "a piece of shit" and calls Cormier a "motherfucker." Then D.C. tells Brock to leave the Octagon so he can take a couple of photos. Holy shit, this felt carny as fuck, but I still loved it.

Anyhoo, I'll be back first thing in the morning with some more cogent thoughts on the show. In the meantime ... ya'll get some sleep, why don't you?


SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Obviously, Daniel Cormier vs. Brock Lesnar will be an all-go sometime before the year's over, and even if it is a made-for-PPV spectacle, it nonetheless ought to be an entertaining one — I mean, the height discrepancy alone makes it a more intriguing matchup than just about any other Heavyweight bout they could book at the moment. Speaking of Heavyweights, I suppose Stipe Miocic vs. Derrick Lewis is the de facto Number One Contender's bout to make next, although Lewis probably doesn't deserve it after tonight's less than inspiring performance. Along those same lines, I'd really like to see Francis Ngannou tangle with Alexander Volkov next, but if he's as hesitant to throw blows as badly as he was in the fight against Lewis, methinks it's time to send this motherfucker to Bellator.

THE VERDICT? This was an alright show, but one that was a couple of steps below the quality of the last couple of Fourth of July PPVs. The main event, although shorter than expected, was definitely exciting, and the undercard — particularly the Felder/Perry shindig and the Chiesa/Pettis barnburner — I'd consider fairly above-average for a 2018 MMA show. That said, the co-main event was so terrible, it pretty much poisoned everything about this show ... indeed, it's hard to imagine anyone remembering this show a good three or four years down the road for anything other than the presumptive front runner for worst fight of '18.

SHOW HIGHLIGHT: Perry/Felder was a solid welterweight brawl, and there's no denying Miocic/Cormier was entertaining as fuck while it lasted.

SHOW LOWLIGHT: Ngannou/Lewis wasn't just bad ... it was Kimbo/Dada bad, ya'll.

ROGAN-ISM OF THE NIGHT: "He doesn't need a trainer. He needs a sports psychologist." — Joe on Francis Ngannou surprisingly timid performance

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM TONIGHT'S SHOW: 

- If you ever need to tap a vein, you don't need a needle; a well-timed elbow right to the noggin ought to do the trick.

- If you're the hardest puncher in human history, it's probably a good idea to, you know, try to punch people in a fight.

- If you're fighting a dude who's almost a foot shorter than you, you might want to watch for some inside uppercuts in the clinch.

-Workplace violence is totally unacceptable ... unless you're in the UFC, at which point physically assaulting another employee on live television means you get a PPV main event.

- At this point, no matter how much you suck, if you weigh between 220-265 pounds, you could probably qualify for a top ten Heavyweight in the UFC these days.

Well, that's all I've got for you this week. Crank up "Mind of a Lunatic" by the Geto Boys  and "Got My Mind Made Up" by Tupac and I'll be seeing you cageside in just a few.

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