This is one of those shows that should be entertaining, though there might not a lot of attachment to some of the fights themselves because there are really no grudge matches.
Dan Hardy vs. Marcus Davis is trying to be built as one, and I give them credit for trying, but it’s still a mid-card fight. But like I said, it’s going to be an entertaining show. We’ll see whether or not Cain Velasquez is the real deal (I’m going to guess yes) and whether or not Wanderlei Silva has something left. I’m also excited to see Ben Saunders take on Mike Swick. I think it’s a bit early for Saunders to beat someone like Swick, but I think he’ll show us something. And it’s always fun to see Mirko Cro Cop right, even if he’s not the same guy as he was just three years ago.
Hardy vs. Davis is up first.
1. Dan Hardy vs. Marcus Davis
After some early trading, Davis pushed him up against the cage looking for the takedown. Hardy fought it well, but Davis used a trip to get him down and immediately went from half guard to the mount. Hardy pushed him back into his guard. Back on their feet, Hardy nailed him with a big elbow and rocked Davis a bit with punches. Davis probably eeks the round out because of the early domination on the ground, but Hardy made it close near the end.
There was some good stand-up by both guys early in the round. Hardy was content on countering Davis’ left hand until Davis started to land it. Then Hardy started to strike first. Hardy nailed the best shot of the fight so far with a knee to the head that put Davis down. Hardy wasn’t able to do anything on the ground and Davis went for an arm bar that he didn’t get until the referee stood them back up. Davis landed a nice left hand and got the takedown to end the round. Davis came back at the end of the round, but it’s probably Hardy’s round.
Davis had Hardy on his back to start the round, but Hardy turned the tables and bloodied up Davis by cutting him over his nose. The referee wanted the doctor to check the cut and Davis kind of wobbled in trying to get up. He was fine and they were put back down with Hardy in Davis’ guard. Hardy ended up getting the better of their exchanges to end the fight and I think that might be what separates these guys when it comes to the scorecards. It doesn’t hurt Hardy’s chances when you look at Davis’ face. He’s a bloody mess.
Winner: Dan Hardy by way of split decision
Davis was pissed and wouldn’t shake his hand. Hardy got over pretty well with his interview. It was a pretty good fight and made me want to see Hardy again.
2. Caol Uno vs. Spencer Fisher
They were mostly feeling each other out in round one. Uno wanted to take it to the ground and Fisher wanted it standing. Not a lot happened, though at the end of the round, they started to mix it up a bit.
This was Uno’s round. He continued shooting and made Fisher fight a defensive round. Fisher was constantly worried about being taken down and couldn’t really let his hands fly. Uno is making Fisher fight his fight.
Fisher was controlling the round much better, not allowing Uno to force his style on him. He threw some nice shots in between being held up against the cage by Uno. Uno got Fisher down with about 30 seconds to go and landed some nice shots on the ground. It was the worst position Fisher had been in the entire fight. It probably wins Uno the fight.
Winner: Spencer Fisher by way of unanimous decision
The judges must’ve all given Fisher the first and third rounds.
Joe Rogan tried to put the fight over as one in which is the way it is because the guys stylistically cancel each other out, but that they were fighting hard. He said your regular drunken meat head probably wouldn’t like it. I wonder if he just alienated a lot of UFC’s fanbase?
3. Ben Saunders vs. Mike Swick
Saunders pushed Swick into the cage and immediately pulled guard. He literally held him in his guard and did nothing. Swick asked him if he was going to hold him all night. And Saunders told him to stand up. They were stood back up and traded a little until they hugged each other against the cage for the rest of the round.
The second round started much like the first, but didn’t end the same way. They went down to the ground and Swick jumped into the mount. Saunders was trying to do something from his back, but they were stood up. Saunders couldn’t get Swick in his clinch to throw his big knees, and he was starting to react to Swick’s feinting. Swick caught him with punches and it was over. Saunders couldn’t keep him off and it was stopped.
Winner: Mike Swick by way of 2nd round TKO
4. Mostapha Al-Turk vs. Mirko Cro Cop
Al-Turk looked comfortable and wasn’t backing down. He was landing low leg kicks while Cro Cop looked to be timing him to load up. Cro Cop landed some huge left hands and put Al-Turk down. He let him back up and started to load up his left hands again and poked him in the eye. You couldn’t see the poke on live TV, but the way Al-Turk reacted, it was obvious that he was hit in the eye. The referee just allowed it to happen, didn’t stop the fight because of the poke. Al-Turk covered up immediately like one would if he were to get eye poked. Cro Cop continued to wail on him and it was stopped.
Winner: Mirko Cro Cop by way of 1st round TKO
Cro Cop apologized for the eye poke, but said he didn’t think it mattered. He’s probably right, but still, Al-Turk reacted like one would after getting poked in the eye. The ref should’ve at least asked him if he was poked and given him a chance to get his vision back.
5. Cheick Kongo vs. Cain Velasquez
Kongo threw two heavy hands that buckled Velasquez to start the fight, but Velasquez was able to get the takedown. Wrestler’s instinct. This was one of the nastiest wrestling displays I’ve ever seen in the UFC. Velasquez smothered after taking those two shots to the face. Velasquez tried a rear naked that he looked to have, but had to give it up. If Velasquez had better submission skills, he would’ve had Kongo out a few times. But Velasquez had at least three huge slam-like takedowns.
The second round was very similar to the first. Kongo knocked Velasquez down with a right hand, but Velasquez closed in on him and just smothered him with wrestling and ground and pound. Kongo was on his back for the rest of the round. He couldn’t get back on his feet, which is the only place he stands a chance.
The third round started the same as the others. Kongo rocked Velasquez and rather than keep his distance, he went for the takedown and actually got it, but was immediately put on the defensive. Why he didn’t stand up and slug away again, we’ll never know. Kongo fought with a lot of heart and didn’t quit and forced the fight to go to the decision. If there were 30 seconds more in the fight, Velasquez would’ve probably stopped him.
Winner: Cain Velasquez by way of unanimous decision
6. Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin
They tried to feel each other out early on. Franklin threw the first big punch, but it didn’t land flush. Silva got a takedown, but paid for it by taking a shot on the nose. He tried to grab a guillotine and fall down with it, but Franklin ended up on top. Back on their feet, Franklin was better at the end of the round and Silva looked tired.
Holy cow what a round. For the first three minutes of it, Franklin looked like he was well on his way to picking Silva apart to the point of stoppage, but Silva hit a haymaker that buckled Franklin. Franklin has been dropping his hands when throwing the left kick and he was caught. Silva followed up and wobbled him at least twice more, but Franklin caught his breath and started to fight back. Both guys were exhausted at the end of the round. I think someone is going to fall in the third.
Well, no one fell. And Wanderlei Silva is quite the showman. Silva again looked to be in control for the first half of the round. Silva finally connected solidly and sent Franklin back to the cage. He was swinging with all he had. Franklin just tried to keep some distance. Near the end of the fight, Franklin secured a takedown. Silva was dead tired. Franklin had him up against the cage and held onto him but Silva fired elbows and Franklin fired punches to end the fight. This decision is going to be really interesting. The only round that was easy to score was the first and that went to Franklin.
Winner: Rich Franklin by way of unanimous decision
It was a fight between two guys who want to stick around and both showed that people will still respond to them. Both guys aren’t necessarily top guys any longer, but showed that they are entertaining fighters.
I’m interested in seeing where Silva goes from here. It seems like the cut from 205 was hard for him and probably caused him to get tired so quickly in this fight. There are a ton of guys who’d love to make their name fighting him at 185. And I’m sure he could beat many of those guys as well if he is in shape. I just don’t know how many more punches to the head he can take.
As for Franklin, I think what this fight showed is that he isn’t going to be able to put down many guys at 205. He couldn’t put down an exhausted Silva tonight. I almost wish for his sake that he’d fight at 185 and mop up some of the guys there. He and Bisping would be fun. He and Leben would be fun. But it looks like he’s staying at 205.