Saturday night’s UFC 164 was a strange night of fights. Through bad referee calls, the triumphant return of a former champ, and a distinct case of déjà vu in the main event.
The pay-per-view started out with a bang as featherweights Dustin Poirier and Eric Koch put on a how-to clinic of fighting for the Milwaukee fans. Both men, coming off losses in their last fights, had a lot to prove in this bout, and they definitely left it all out there for us. Poirier came out as the aggressor initially, striking the opponent with his long jab and leg kicks at will. Early in the round, Poirier sent Koch to the canvas, but when he tried to capitalize on the knockdown, Koch had some idea of his own. He was able to gain his composure and put together solid submission attempts with a couple triangle chokes. Poirier, not to be outdone, escaped and was able to bring the fight back to their feet, and drop Koch with a massive right hook. Now Poirier was going for submissions of his own. He sunk in a deep D’arce choke that looked like it was going to end the fight, but the bell rang out and we were onto round two. Rounds two and three didn’t quite have the pop of the first round, but were still very solid for both fighters. In my opinion, the fight was a lot closer than the judge’s scorecards indicated, but I still had Poirier winning the fight, so at least, we agreed on something.
Winner via unanimous decision: Dustin Poirier
The second fight of the evening should have been dubbed the “Battle of Obscurity”, as I’m pretty sure that’s where the loser was going to be headed. Brandon Vera desperately needed a win over Ben Rothwell, and vice versa. These two men have had very up and down careers, and with all the cuts Dana White has been making lately, a loss may also have meant a loss of employment. Vera attempted to fight from the outside in the first round, keeping his range and striking from range with kicks and punches. It really appeared to be working for him except for one thing – Rothwell was just taking all of it and remaining unfazed. Round two is where the tide really turned in this fight. There were great exchanges, but towards the end of the round, Rothwell really turned it up and most likely took the round. By the third, Vera looked worn out and Rothwell took full advantage of it. Vera was dodging Rothwell, almost mocking him, and Rothwell had enough. He attacked full steam ahead with a huge flurry of punches. Just for good measure he added in some knees, and that was the end for Mr. Vera.
Winner via TKO: Ben Rothwell
Following the first two fights, you would have expected another all out war, but that was just not meant to be as we watched Clay Guida square off against Chad Mendes. I’m not really sure what has happened to Guida over the years, but he is definitely not the exciting fighter, we all loved to watch years ago. We will just skip to the third round, since that’s the important part of this anyway. Despite the fact that Guida, is not quite as exciting as he used to be, nobody has ever knocked him out. I can already bet that you know where I’m going with this. At about thirty seconds into the third round, Mendes rocked Guida with a huge right hand and staggered the former contender. Mendes immediately pounced on Guida and punched the hell out of him until the referee put an end to it.
Winner via TKO: Chad Mendes
One of the fights that I was really looking forward to was Josh Barnett’s return to the octagon to face another former champ in the form of Frank Mir. On paper, this could have easily have been the most exciting fight of the night, but due to a horrible stoppage by the referee, we never really got to see how it was going to pan out. Within the first two minutes, Barnett was able to work Mir into the clinch and catch him with a great knee that dropped Mir to a knee. Before the former champ was even able to put together any type of defense, the ref stepped in and put an end to it. Even Barnett, post fight, conceded that it was an early stoppage. Now that he is back though, I expect to see great things from Josh Barnett. Welcome back Josh.
Winner via ridiculous stoppage: Josh Barnett
Now for the main event of the evening. Many of you will remember when UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson was the WEC lightweight champion, tearing through the best the division had to offer. He had huge wins over competitors like Jamie Varner, Donald Cerrone, and Anthony Njokuani. He was on a tear until young up-and-comer Anthony Pettis squared off against him. Not many of you may remember the fight, but I bet you all have seen “the kick.” It’s not every day that you see a guy jump of the side of the cage and throw one of the most beautiful kicks of all time, cementing his place on highlight reels, and best of’s for most likely, ever. Well, I bet you see where I’m going with this as well. Pettis has been tearing his way up the rankings in the lightweight division, and we’ve all been waiting to see him get his shot. Now, while this fight may not be on all of the highlight reels, it did secure the notion that Anthony Pettis really may be the best lightweight in the world. He fights hard, fast, and to win. The champ didn’t even make it out of the first round as Pettis submitted him with an armbar in the first round.
Winner via submission (armbar), and new LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!!!!!!! ANTHONY PETTIS!!!!
Preliminary fight results:
Magnus Cedenblad def. Jared Hamman via submission (guillotine)
Al Iaquinta def. Ryan Couture via unanimous decision
Soa Palelei def. Nikita Krylov via TKO (punches)
Chico Camus def. Kyung Ho Kang via unanimous decision
Hyun Gyu Lim def. Pascal Krauss via KO (knee)
Tim Elliott def. Louis Gaudinot via unanimous decision
Gleison Tibau def. Jamie Varner via split decision
Post Fight Honors:
Fight of the Night: Pascal Krauss vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Submission of the Night: Anthony Pettis
KO of the Night: Chad Mendes