john lawrence looks at the first big UFC PPV of the year…
Here we are at the first pay-per-view for the UFC in 2013, and let me tell you, this fight card is stacked. When Demian Maia vs Jon Fitch is four fights away from the main event, you know it’s going to be a great card. Not to mention we had New Jersey’s own Frankie Edgar fighting for the featherweight title.
The event started out with a flyweight battle between Joseph Benavidez and Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall. This fight was fun right out of the gate. Creepy’s mustache is straight out of an old train robbing flick, curled at both ends like an arch villain. These two came out swinging from the word go. They stood and banged it out for the first round with Benavidez getting the better of it. With about a minute left in the second, Benavidez slipped up going for a takedown and McCall was able to capitalize on it. The round ended seeing McCall come out ahead. Round three was a lot like round one. Neither of these guys is afraid to throw or take a bunch. They were more than comfortable exchanging punches with each other all day. About halfway through the third, McCall landed a takedown, but they went right back up to their feet. Inevitably, it went to the judge’s scorecards and they awarded the fight to Joseph Benavidez unanimously.
Winner via unanimous decision: Joseph Benavidez
After that, we jumped up to the welterweight division for a match between Jon Fitch and Demian Maia. This fight started out a lot more exciting than it finished. Demian Maia came out and immediately shot for a takedown. Throughout the fight he was able to take down Fitch at will, but was never really able to capitalize on it. He was able to trap and control Fitch, but Fitch was able to neutralize any submission attempts that were thrown at him. Not to say that Maia was not impressive. For a Jiu-jitsu practitioner to be able to take down a wrestler with ease, is impressive in itself. He had beautiful sweeps, but just couldn’t finish Fitch off. This bout also went to the judes, who clearly and properly saw in favor of Demian Maia.
Winner via unanimous decision: Demian Maia
Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva had all of the makings of a war. These two guys are gigantic and genuinely do not like each other. While Bigfoot was the underdog going in, you can never really fully count out a guy who has wins over Andrei Arlovski and Fedor Emelianenko. The first round started out slow, and I mean slow. We are just going to skip to the third round since the first two were less than stellar. As soon as the bell rang in the third, these two came out swinging for the fences. Silva was able to land a huge head kick that staggered Overeem. He immediately followed with a crushing right hand followed by a couple uppercuts. Overeem was rocked and Silva put him away with a few more punches. This fight had to be the absolute upset of the evening as the referee finally put a stop to it.
Winner via beatdown: Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
The next fight was a light heavyweight match between Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. This fight had all the signs of being great. It had two guys that like to throw hands, and the proverbial jiu-jitsu versus wrestler battle. I’ll save you the time of the particulars, because this fight was terrible. I haven’t seen a fight this boring in a long time. I actually think that neither fighter should have won. It went the full three rounds and was grueling to watch.
Winner: Antonio Nogueira via boring me to death
Finally we arrived at the main event of the evening. Frankie Edgar dropped down from lightweight to flyweight and was given a title shot against Jose Aldo. Leave it to these two to save the night. This fight was great and action packed from beginning to end. These two warriors really pushed each other to the limit. Between Jose Aldo’s endless arsenal of tactics, and Frankie Edgar’s relentless cardio and drive, this fight was clearly a “Fight of the Night” contender before it even started. For all five rounds, these two fought with everything they had. They put it all out there. This was another one that ended up going to the judge’s scorecard. Now, unlike the previous fight, I really believe this was a fight both fighters should have won. The judges awarded the match in favor of Jose Aldo, scoring it four rounds to one. I personally did not agree with how they scored it, but ultimately, it’s their opinion that matters. The score does not reflect the heart of Frankie Edgar who fought at wide open throttle the entire fight. Jose Aldo also fulfilled his end of the bargain with relentless kick, precise punches, and an insane superman punch flying off the cage. I do believe we will see another fight between these two and can not wait until it is announced.
Winner via unanimous decision: Jose Aldo
The Preliminary card results are as follows:
Evan Dunham def. Gleison Tibau via split decision
Tyron Woodley def. Jay Hieron via KO
Bobby Green def. Jacob Volkmann via rear naked choke
Isaac Vallie Flagg def. Yves Edwards via split decision
Dustin Kimura def. Chico Camus via rear naked choke
Francisco Rivera def. Edwin Figueroa via TKO
Fight of the Night – Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo
KO of the Night – Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
Submission of the Night – Bobby Green
Best Mustache – Ian McCall
Best nickname – “Uncle Creepy”
Worst way to spend 15 minutes – Rashad Evans vs Antonio Nogueira
Best name ever for a Jiu-jitsu fighter – Dustin Kimura