First written on my blog, Stupid Sideline Reporters.
The biggest UFC event in history did not disappoint on Saturday night. After 16 years of controversy, rejection, protest from politicians, and being largely in debt for a lengthy span, the premier league for mixed martial arts had reached its 100th major event.
It all started with the highly anticipated UFC debut of Japanese star Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama, against UFC veteran Alan Belcher in the middleweight division. The fight definitely wasn’t a walk in the park for Sexyama (come on how can you not love that nickname?), and was definitely affected by the stinging leg kicks by Belcher. Akiyama proved to be an effective striker as well as a good wrestler and dominated the 2nd of 3 five-minute rounds. The 3rd round saw Belcher get the better of a tiring Akiyama on striking exchanges and, to the majority, clearly win the final round. A sellout crowd at the Mandalay Bay approved of the courageous and entertaining battle put on by the two men.
With the first round a toss-up, the decision would not be easy for the judges. It could’ve gone either way.
Controversially, Sexyama won by split decision. Announcer Joe Rogan mentioned on both the broadcast and on Twitter that Belcher was robbed.
Judge Adelaide Byrd, noted for several decisions that would make one scratch their head in both boxing and MMA, gave all 3 rounds to Akiyama. If anyone watched that fight there was no way that it was a clean sweep for either fighter.
For someone who is nicknamed Sexyama and is a cult figure in Japan, I find it hilarious that the two female judges both scored the fight for him while the male judge gave it to Belcher.
If Akiyama wants to be a force in the middleweight division then he’ll have some work to do. Namely conditioning and stamina, because he showed clear signs of fatigue towards the end of the 2nd round.
Both men got paid handsomely (for UFC standards) for their great action inside the octagon, and were awarded $100,000 Fight of the Night bonuses.
That was Michael “The Count” Bisping get KTFO’ed in the 2nd round by 38 year old former Pride legend, Dan Henderson in a middleweight matchup. It was the traditional battle of team coaches from the UFC’s latest season of the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. While the Brit produced two winners for The Ultimate Fighter Finale, Bisping was schooled by Hendo for what is certain to be a famous KO on a famous night for the UFC.
Before the fight began, the lead-up trash talking was nearly all Bisping. Henderson seemed quite laid back like the Californian he is. Well the hilarious GIF (which I’m sure in a few days will be taken down) illustrated the outcome perfectly. In the post-fight interview Henderson stated that the vicious elbow that helped stiffen Bisping’s body a little more was to “shut him up”. He already knew Bisping was out with the looping right hand he practically walked into. It does seem classless, however you keep fighting until the referee stops it once the downed opponent can’t defend himself intelligently.
Certainly a crushing blow to the title contention hopes of Michael Bisping. Had he won, supposedly he would’ve been granted a title shot against Anderson Silva, one of the most feared and dominant men in the MMA.
Great revenge win for Henderson, although I’m not sure what is in store for him at age 38. His skills are still there, but how much longer can he go on?
Onto the co-main event of UFC 100. The welterweight title belt was on the line, as holder Georges St. Pierre (known by fans simply as GSP) squared up against the dangerous Brazilian, Thiago “Pit Bull” Alves. Supposedly this would be the toughest test for the French Canadian’s career.
Instead, GSP tamed the Pit Bull for five solid rounds (title fights are five rounds, non-title fights are three) and kept his belt. His wrestling was phenomenal, taking down Alves with ease nearly every time. Busting his face up with ground-and-pound punches. For the last 2 rounds GSP was fighting a groin injury and still managed to pound Alves continuously en route to an easy unanimous decision win.
The astonishing part about GSP’s fighting is he had no high school or college wrestling in his background and he’s one of the most dominant Brazilian Jujitsu technicians in the sport. He’s like Manny Pacquiao. We think he’s finally met his match but he just impresses us more and more.
The interesting thing with St. Pierre is who is going to challenge him at welterweight? He’s beaten Matt Hughes (twice), Matt Serra, Josh Koscheck, Karo Parisyan, Thiago Alves, and Jon Fitch pretty handily. The two men that have beaten him are Hughes and Serra and they’ve both been obliterated in rematches.
Perhaps it is time GSP moves up to middleweight where Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, etc. all typically make their mark. There is no doubt he is the class of the welterweight division. But there is no one at the moment that can give him a challenge in the weight class he dominates.
After the main event of the evening, Jon Fitch faced Brazilian Paulo Thiago for the last fight of the evening. Fitch won by unanimous decision in what was virtually a 15 minute grappling match. Not a fight to float my boat, but the result was significant in that Thiago was defeated for the first time in his MMA career.
Coming up soon. The main event. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. Also, Lesnar’s post-fight actions as well as the significance of UFC 100 to the dreaded mainstream media and the casual fan.