Sunday, November 22, 2009

UFC 106 Review

Wow, was I wrong about this card! Great fights all over, I'll try and keep it brief.

George Sotiropoulos def. Jason Dent (Armbar, 4:36 of Rd 2)
Absolutely stunning groundwork by Sotiropolous, the guy is like water with his top game. Smooth and fluid transitions kept him in control for both rounds, then finished with a sweet arm crush to armbar submission.

Caol Uno vs Fabricio Camoes (Majority Draw)
The one prelim that wasn't aired. I'm told it was an awesome fight, and I'm very much looking forward to watching it when I can get it.

Brian Foster def. Brock Larson (TKO, 3:25 of Rd 2)
Both were doing pretty well, but Larson fouled a couple of times in Round 1. He didn't lose any points, but it made him tentative enough to hold back in the second round, where Brian Foster recovered enough to take the fight to his opponent and come out with the win.

Kendall Grove def. Jake Rosholt (Triangle Choke, 3:59 of Rd 1)
Good wrestling by both fighters, but Grove's jiujitsu was just too much for Rosholt to handle. Those long legs make for some dangerous triangle chokes.

Ben Saunders def. Marcus Davis (KO, 3:24 of Rd 1)
Saunders dominated the fight with great use of the Thai clinch. Davis tried to counter with uppercuts to the head and body, but it was no match for those clinch knees.

Amir Sadollah def. Phil Baroni (Unanimous Decision)
Another clinic on the devastating effectiveness of Thai boxing. Baroni was certainly back in form, all five minutes of it. After lasting through Round One, Amir outclassed Baroni with beautiful combinations of punches, kicks, knees, and elbows.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Luiz Cane (TKO, 1:56 of Rd 1)
Big Nog may own the ground game of the Heavyweight division, but his little brother definitely makes up for it with his amazing boxing.

Paulo Thiago def. Jacob Volkman (Unanimous Decision)
Awesome action all over the cage in this fight. Thiago's stand-up looked incredible, slinging together fast combos that really kept Volkman on his toes. Jacob scored a takedown in Round Two, but even his top game wasn't a match for Thiago's guard. The Brazilian finished the fight with a crucifix ground-and-pound, then an unbelievable D'arce Choke from the bottom. Didn't finish the fight, but it sure looks pretty.

Josh Koscheck def. Anthony Johnson (Rear-Naked Choke, 4:27 of Rd 2)
Some questionable techniques in this fight, but I don't want to assume anything about the intentions of either fighter. All we know for sure is that Johnson threw a knee to a downed Koscheck in Round One, and Koscheck's fingers ended up in Johnson's eyes in Round Two. All that aside, Johnson had some phenomenal kicking combos in this fight, switching up stances and throwing kicks like a real pro. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to stop Josh's takedown, elbows from the top, and eventual submission.

Forrest Griffin def. Tito Ortiz (Split Decision)
Amazing fight. I think Tito won the first two rounds with his power takedowns and great ground-and-pound, but Griffin definitely owned the third with some beautiful Muay Thai. Lots of kicks from Forrest on the feet, something I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of in the future.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

UFC 106 Preview

I'm actually not too jazzed about this card.

Tito and Forrest doesn't feel like a super-fight, as Ortiz is coming out of retirement, and Griffin is coming off the worst loss of his career. I suppose it'll still be pretty good, but I feel like it's lacking some magic. Maybe watching the countdown will hype it up?

Koscheck and Johnson, another sort of gatekeeper fight. Both have done well, but aren't exactly big draws. Haven't heard anything of Koscheck for while, and I didn't even know Johnson existed until he came in 6 lbs overweight for his last fight a month ago.

Amir and Baroni is probably the best fight on the card. Amir is looking to get his career started in earnest, and Baroni is trying to keep his from ending. Should be interesting.

Cane and Lil Nog is cool, but Rogerio will forever live in Big Nog's shadow. Shame, really.

Karo and Hazelett sounded good at first, but then I realized Karo's been injured forever, then was suspended for painkillers after that. I'm as big a Karo fan as they come, but I feel like he's been out of the picture for far too long. Now with Karo out of the picture, I really can't think of any fights I'm excited for.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

UFC 105 Review

Only caught the end of the night after the Pacquiao fight finished, but some great action from the main events.

Dan Hardy had a dominant fight over Mike Swick, taking the number one challenger position with relative ease. For some reason, he kept shooting for a takedown, even though he was dominating the stand-up and clinch game. I can only imagine that he felt he had something to prove by taking the fight to the ground. I think Swick has a significant advantage on the ground, so it wasn't surprising when Swick shot in for takedowns. Still, Hardy delivered a good performance, and will rightfully be taking on GSP for the title in the near future. I don't see Hardy winning, but he might be the one to upset the Canadian's unquestioned reign at 170.

Couture and Vera had an interesting fight. Vera dominated most of the fight with great kickboxing, but the two were pretty even in terms of the clinch. Couture worked his dirty boxing game, but I think it evened out as Vera worked his Muay Thai clinch game. I suppose I might give the edge in the clinch to Couture, but they still didn't spend enough time there to tip the fight in Randy's favor. I don't agree with the judging of this fight, but it doesn't speak for both of the fighters that Vera couldn't finish Couture off, and vice-versa. While both are still good fighters, I don't think either of them are in the same league as Machida, Evans, or Rua to contend for the title.

Pacquiao/Cotto Recap

Absolutely gorgeous fight. If they can't put Pacquiao/Mayweather together after this, I think we can officially say that Floyd Jr. is ducking Manny in an effort to protect his "unbeatable" status. That said, I think Pacquiao lost some of his mystique last night as well.

Cotto was surprisingly fast as the fight started. The accuracy and power of his sharp jab was frightening to say the least, and would have made for a very dangerous fight if he managed to capitalize on it. But Manny managed to adapt to Cotto's timing by the third round, and countered the most dangerous weapons the Puerto Rican brought to the fight. Pacquiao's right hook and left uppercut proved to be devastating, and send Cotto to the canvas twice in the early rounds.

For the rest of the fight, Manny dominated the ring with amazing combinations, catching Miguel with an amazing variety of power punches, coming in at every angle. Cotto's massive heart kept him going, and kept landing that sharp jab, but in the end it just wasn't enough. The referee asked him at the end of the 11th if he wanted to continue, and Miguel want to keep fighting. But in the middle of the 12th and final round, Miguel just couldn't keep up with the pace Pacquiao was setting, and the ref closed down the fight.

The Mayweather/Pacquiao fight seems closer than ever. If Floyd was watching this fight, he might be wondering if he can use his jab as well or better than Cotto against Manny. If he can push for it, I can think of no reason why this fight couldn't, shouldn't, or won't happen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Know Thine Enemy

In two days, Manny Pacquiao, the Pound-for-Pound top boxer in the world, will fight Puerto Rican sensation Miguel Cotto for the WBO Welterweight belt. Having a lot of Filipino friends, it's only natural that I'll be rooting for Manny this Saturday. Still, let's take a closer look at his upcoming opponent.

Cotto is strong, and has lots of heart, which makes him a difficult opponent for anybody. He's tough to keep down, and has only one loss in his professional career. Furthermore, he's a downright terrifying in-fighter, and his body hooks can easily take the wind out of Manny's sails if our man isn't too careful. Still, as you can see from the video, there are significant holes in his game.

He gets hit a great deal, often relying on his tough chin to break through his opponent's punches in order to deal damage. This may not work on Manny too well, who's known for his blinding hand speed and agile footwork. Watch out for Pac-Man keeping him at bay with quick jabs to the face, followed by side-step and cross punches to the temple.

His main weapons are his Left Hook and his Right Straight. This is actually dangerous for Manny, being a southpaw (left-handed) fighter. A southpaw's right body side is closer to the left hook, and right straights are best for closing the distance against lefties. However, whereas Manny utilizes a variety of punches to confuse his opponent, Cotto has specialized these two weapons and used them in every fight. I have no doubt that Coach Roach has prepared Pacquiao to defend against them well. Watch out for some nasty counters against them.

Lastly, Cotto's shown himself to be a volatile fighter. When emotions run high, fight plans crumble. If Manny can frustrate him early in the fight, I see Cotto making serious errors in the later rounds. Capitalizing on these, a stellar knockout seems imminent.

I predict a 6th round KO by my man, the National Fist, the Fighting Pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao.