Saturday’s UFC 169 was an event that sounded fantastic, well, at least on paper. With two title fights, a match between two heavyweight legends, and a slew of up and coming fighter on the card, it should have been amazing. Now don’t get me wrong, it had it’s moments, but all in all, it was a rather disappointing card for me.
The high point of the night for me was the opening card of the main event between lightweights Jamie Varner and Abel Trujillo (pictured below). These two showed up to put on a show. With every punch, they were trying to take each other’s head off. Varner’s punches seemed a little crisper, but Trujillo was still more than willing to keep up the exchanges. In the second round, Varner landed a huge Left huge followed by a short right hook. Just as it looked like it was all over for Trujillo, he threw an even bigger overhand right, sending Varner face first down to the mat. This was an awesome way to start the fight card, and I was really excited to continue the night down this path. (Especially since every fight on the undercard went to decisions.)
Winner via KO: Abel Trujillo
Next we dropped down to the flyweight division as Ali Bagautinov took on John Lineker. This fight had a lot to live up to after the Trujillo knock out and I really wish I could tell you that it delivered. It was a chance for two up and comers to show the UFC and fans why they deserved to be on the main card. They did not. It was a back and forth match with neither really taking charge. In the third, it just seemed that Bagautinov was a little less tired and was able to be a little more effective. In the end all of these two proved is that they are nowhere near ready to step in against a truly game fighter.
Winner via sucking a little less: Ali Bagautinov
Now we got to see two of the biggest names in heavyweight history as Frank Mir took on Alistair Overeem (pictured below). Again we have a case where I feel this fight should have been over very quickly. With Frank Mir’s submissions and Overeem’s power, there is no way this fight could go the distance. No way right? I guess I was wrong again. In the post fight interview Overeem said he “usually go for the knockout” but he was “pacing himself”. All it did was make this fight boring and forgettable, as Overeem, in my opinion has numerous chances to put away the former UFC champ, but in “pacing himself”, he just made the fight drag on. Overeem looked terrible and Mir looked worse, as we rolled right back into a decision victory for Overeem.
Winner via decision: Alistair Overeem
Now we move on to the co-Main Event of the evening as Featherweight champ Jose Aldo defends his title against Ricardo Lamas. I will freely admit that, at this point, I may be getting a little picky, but it was getting annoying. Another fight went to decision. At this moment the UFC broke the record for most fights won by decision on a single fight card with ten. Ten fights out of twelve to be exact. This is not to say that this title fight was completely without merit. The champ looked great and completely picked apart Lamas for all five rounds. Again, I may be getting picky, but at no time did the champ look in danger, nor did we ever see a glimpse of why Lamas deserved a title shot. It was just completely one sided for all five rounds.
Winner via decision: Jose Aldo
Now I truly believed, there was no way the main event could be as big of a disappointment as the rest of the night. You know what? I was actually right. Renan Brao (pictured below) and Urijah Faber fought for the Bantamweight title and while the fight did not turn out the way I wanted, it was still a great fight. Barao stepped into the octagon, and there was no doubt that he wanted to keep that belt. He attacked Faber with everything, but the kitchen sink until Herb Dean stepped in and put an end to it. There have been people saying it was an early stoppage, but I truly believe that had the referee let it go longer, it just would have been more of the same. It was a great showing for the champ and he definitively showed why the belt is around his waste, as he dismantled a fighting legend.
Winner via TKO: Renan Barao
Preliminary fight card results: All via decision
Alan Patrick def. John Makdessi
Chris Cariaso def. Danny Martinez
Nick Catone def. Tom Watson
Al Iaquinta def. Kevin Lee
Clint Hester def. Andy Enz
Rashid Magomedov def. Tony Martin
Neil Magny def. Gasan Umalatov
Post fight honors:
Abel Trujillo took home Fight of the Night and KO of the Night honors.
All photos credit: UFC.com