Saturday, April 21, 2007

UFC 70 Musings (and Spoilers!)

Just (and I do mean just) returned from the local sports bar where I went to see UFC70. Since it was not a per-pay-view, the bar was near empty of fight fans. People who own a tv, unlike me, could watch it at home. I had a table of four to myself. The problem was that the volume was down on the various tv screens, so for the first couple of fights there was no audio to be heard. I couldn't hear intros, interviews, commentary, nothing.

The first fight was a lightweight fight. Terry Etim vs Matt Grice. After the lovely lightweight fight at UFC69 I was expecting good things, and I was not disappointed. MG, out of Oklahoma, walks down to the cage looking serious and shaking hands along the way. He has three tatoos, an intricate black and red one on his left upper arm, a cross on his back and some kanji (?) characters along his right triceps. TE is out of Liverpool, so I am assuming that the crowd (which I can't hear) is behind him. He's wearing short white and red floppy trunks which remind me of muay thai trunks. Their stats are very close. Etim at 6'1" is 3" taller and has a 2" reach advantage. He's also four years younger than MG. I'm cheering for MG because he's older, the crowd is against him, and he's got nice cheekbones. If you've been reading my musings for awhile you'd realize that logic doesn't enter into my fan decisions.:-) Since the card is taking place in England, the fighters' weights are shown in stones.

TE strikes first, and MG grabs the leg and takes him down. They form a pretzel of sorts, and MG is very active and on top for awhile 1:33. But towards the end of the first round TE manages to reverse and puts MG is a headlock of sorts. TE wins it. After coming to, MG looks incredibly disappointed and TE looks incredibly relieved.

It's very frustrating with the audio off. The ads are annoying as well. Not owning a tv, I've managed to remain ignorant of such wonders as nutri/syst3m aiming ads at men. I understand it's a huge untapped market for them, but really, blech!

The next fight is Michael Bisping vs Elvis Sinosic. I expect MB to win because I read on the UFC site that he's going to have his son in the audience for the first time, and I somehow doubt he's going to lose in front of his boy. I also read that his dad and brothers are all in the military, so I guess I should cut him some slack for those annoying camo trunks, but I dislike it when non-military people wear camouflage. I'm cheering for ES because he's older, 36 to MB's 28. The rest of their stats are very close. ES comes down first, smiling and shaking hands as he goes. He seems surprised, as if the welcome is better than he expected. He turns to his cheering section before entering the octagon, and once he enters he walks around punching each of the pads. He's wearing blue trunks. MB comes down looking very focused and very intense. He doesn't stop for the crowd, and he takes off his brown sweatshirt really fast, as if he can't wait for this to start. Once in the octagon he runs around and jumps. find the idea revolting.

It's a good first round. For the last part of it MB is on top, striking steadily. ES is bloodied but unbowed, as the poem goes. Due to the non-audio, as we go to commercial I'm not sure if the 1st round ended or if the ref stopped the fight. Second round begins and ES comes back to life with a takedown. He does some work on MB's arm, but MB reverses nicely. Now that MB has ES where he had him in the first round, he attacks much more aggressively. The ref stops the fight early in the 2nd round. ES is getting medical help, but he gets on his feet for the end of fight announcement. There's a hug and a handshake, and then MB picks up a cute kid (his son, I assume) for the post fight interview.

The next fight is Andrei Arlovski and Fabricio Werdum. FW is wearing a red gi over a red shirt. According to the notes on the screen he's "not afraid to strike". Oy vey, who wrote this line? And were they cringing at the paucity of strikes during this fight? I note that the cutman (?) has a cool wristband cotton swab holder. FW has two flags, Brazil and a red & yellow one I'm not sure of. Anyone know?

AA comes down next. I like him because he reminds me of guys from my old gym. He's wearing a black hat and a black shirt completely covered with sponsor names. He's smiling as he walks down. His black trunks are just as crowded with logos as the shirt. His ankles are covered with black tape. Very slow fight. They're feeling each other out, hesitant to get close. They connect at 4:17 remaining, get to the fence and back to the center. At 2:30 remaining FW is on the ground on his back, making little come-hither gestures to AA. Not working. Ref gets them to stand up and we're back at the center. For the last 15 seconds of this fight nothing happens. I look around the bar, see a woman in a halter top and ask myself how come she's not freezing.

Finally, at the beginning of the second round, the bar management puts the audio on. Yay. Now we get to hear the frustrated British crowd booing this fight. FW attempts a takedown, no go. He sprawls on his back, AA doesn't follow, so FW gets up again. At 3:12 remaining there's kick by FW and more of nothing. There's a tiny flurry at the end of the 2nd round. The USMC commercial between rounds is more exciting than this fight. Third round and the crowd is whistling. The fight ends with a unanimous decision for AA. He apologizes to the crowd for the fight and they are slightly mollified. (Hey, when was the last time you heard a boxer do that?)

We get the Liddell-Rampage promo again and this time I can hear it. There's a promo for this movie, and then Randy Couture comes out to do some pre-fight commentary for the Mirko Cro Cop - Gabriel Gonzaga fight. In one of the interview clips with CC, he says something to the effect of "Everybody has a plan until they get hit". Remember that, boys and girls.

GG comes down in a white baseball cap and a black shirt. He looks super serious and super focused. He slaps hands but is only looking straight at the octagon. His arms are massive. He's wearing black and white trunks which seem a little long to me. CC arrives to the sounds of Duran Duran's The Wild Boys and I have a flashback to my junior high days. He's wearing a black shirt, and he's looking down at the floor as he walks. Stats are interesting. CC is five years older, 18lbs lighter and has a 1" reach advantage. It's amusing to hear the announcer give the weight in stones. There's respectful glove touch.

The 1st round starts well. CC is aggressive. GG is unfazed. GG grabs one of CC's kicks and takes him down. GG keeps CC down, and follows through with several strikes and elbows. He pushes CC's arm away and hit his head. At 1:02 remaining GG is still on top, but then the ref gets them both to stand up (I think - I stopped scribbling at this point). And then, with 10 seconds remaining in the round, the most gorgeous high kick comes out of nowhere, and GG drops CC cold. I think I yelled out at this point. Certainly other people in the bar did.

It was beautiful on so many different levels. One, because GG was the underdog, and so many people were looking beyond him and expecting CC-RC to be a done deal. Two, because it was a high kick, which are supposed to be CC's forte, not GG's; GG is known for his BJJ and his submissions. Three, because even after he dropped CC with that kick, he immediately followed through and started striking, and ref Herb Dean had to do a diving save/tackle to get him off CC.

I wish I could speak Portuguese so I would know what GG is saying in the post fight interview. The translator says "I worked very hard". No kidding. :-) It definitely showed. Wow, just wow.

There's a respectful exchange between GG and Couture, and I am now looking forward to their title fight. The interviewer tries to talk to CC, but you can tell he's still a bit out of it. Can't blame him. I'm shocked that he's even back on his feet.

And that's it. Go to the UFC's site for official results and commentary which I'm sure they'll have up shortly. It's after midnight here and I need to get to sleep, so I'm not going to proofread this right now. Apologies for any spelling and grammar errors.


At 10:55 AM , Blogger neca said...

That "Everybody has a plan until they get hit" is a quote, I think from M. Ali but I'm not positive.

At 9:50 PM , Blogger Mich said...

Neca - just googled it in various forms and found a "everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth" attributed to Mike Tyson.


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