It’s been an incredibly busy week as a UFC fan with a grand total of 3 events spread over 8 days. I only just caught up with Saturday’s UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis last night and already we’re straight back in to it with UFC Fight Night 28 live from Brazil tonight with light heavyweight contenders Glover Teixeira and Ryan Bader going to war in the main event. While the rest of the world is losing its shit over football transfer deadlines, I’ve just been trying to make sure I set the Sky box to record all these fights. Oh yeah, and did I mention the new series of The Ultimate Fighter starts on Thursday too…?
UFC 164 left a bit of a funny taste in my mouth if I’m being honest. Both the main event and the second billed heavyweight clash between Frank Mir and Josh Barnett didn’t make it out of the first round as many had wished. Considering Benson Henderson had waited 3 years to avenge his final WEC loss to Anthony Pettis (the fight that included this stunning kick), to have him tap in the first round was a bit of a letdown. I’ve never been a huge fan of Henderson’s up until this point (I find it hard to get down with any of the overtly religious fighters), but the 1 hour documentary that BT Sports aired before the fight cast him in a new light for me. I felt he came out of it looking like a really determined guy who obviously overcame a lot to get where he is today. He seemed fired up for the rematch with Pettis, and was looking forward to avenging that kick and then some. I’d say having to verbally tap having had both his arms locked up by Pettis in the closing moments of the first round on Saturday night was a huge blow to him. Similarly having two of the heavyweight division’s best submissions experts go head to head in the shape of Frank Mir vs. Josh Barnett only to have it stopped via a knee to the head was something of an anti-climax.
Instead I can say I enjoyed the lower billed fights a lot more. Even though the previously un-KOable Clay Guida was TKO’d by Chad Mendes in the third round of their featherweight bout, it was great to see Guida back on form with that manic energy and unpredictable striking. Likewise seeing Big Ben Rothwell hulk-up and go ape on Brandon Vera was quite entertaining in their heavyweight war. Fight of the night for me was probably the opener between Dustin Poirier and Erik Koch. Here were two fighters that were so similar and matched in talent that one of them had to grow his hair out to distinguish him from the other! Their 3-round battle with the judges’ decision going to Poirier was a fantastic display of skill and endurance by both fighters. So there we go – only one decision, 3 TKOs and one submission on the night. Off to Brazil next…