UFC 69: Shootout Recap

Thanks to Eric S. for mentioning my upcoming fatherhood, and going that extra mile to find an appropriate link, since I know he doesn’t like Reality TV, isn’t into MMA and also doesn’t watch Heroes. Go read his column, why don’t ya?

Gladiator Opening.

Comments from the fighters and we are LIVE from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, home of Yao, Matt Schaub, shitty radio stations and most importantly, DVD Lounge’s own Travis Leamons.

Here’s Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan and they go over the fights. Mike and Joe put over Serra as someone who can shock the world. We get clips from the weigh-in where Diego Sanchez shoved Josh Koscheck.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Rules of the Octagon are:
– Three judges score the bout
– Duration is three 5-minute rounds
– Championship bouts are five 5-minute rounds
– Round winner gets 10 points, opponent gets 9 or less
– Scoring is based on effective striking, grappling, aggression and Octagon control.

We’ve got that out of the way, and let’s start the fights.

Note: Hometowns, weights and records are all per the UFC.

Fight #1, 3 rounds, Middleweights: Alan “The Talent” Belcher vs. Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove
Kevin’s Prediction: Grove, decision.

In the pre-fight interviews Belcher thinks that he’s on a different level than Grove. Kendall hopes that Alan underestimates him. Well, I guess Kendall got his wish.

Entrance/Corner notes: TUF4 contestant Rich Clementi is in Belcher’s corner. Grove, despite wearing Team Punishment apparel, does not come out with Tito.

Here’s the introductions and the Veteran Voice of the Octagon, Bruce Buffer.

Alan “The Talent” Belcher (184, Biloxi, MS, 9-2) vs. Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove (185.5, Maui, HI, 9-3)

The referee is “Big” John McCarthy.

Kendall has a 6″ reach advantage. Unreal.

Round 1:
Touch gloves to start and Grove immediately tries to push the pace. Both guys are circling and Belcher gets a takedown into side control. Into almost a north-south but Grove turns him over and they’re back up, with Grove getting some knees to the head on the way up. Now they’re clinching, and you can hear Tito Ortiz screaming instructions despite they fact that (I think) he’s not in Kendall’s corner. Impressive lungs.

They’re back to circling, and they trade kicks and punches. Grove is using straight kicks to keep Belcher at bay. Now a Thai clinch and som knees take Belcher down. Both fighters are back up and Belcher tries for a single leg, but nothing doing. Now Grove has Belcher against the fence and landing some knees and body shots. But there’s not enough action and Big John breaks them up. Belcher tries for a double leg now and the horn goes to end the round.

That was anyone’s round, but I’ll say 10-9 Grove.

In between rounds, Tito tells Grove that he thinks Belcher is gassed. We’ll soon see. But let’s take a look at GSP and Serra… WALKING! What is this, Attitude-era WWF?

Round 2:
Grove tries a flying knee right away. Belcher goes for some low leg kicks, and we go back to a clinch, with Grove controlling Belcher, who’s really trying for a takedown. But I think Tito’s right – Belcher has nothing left and drops to the mat, where Grove lays in body punches and then elbows. Grove opens up a cut and he’s in side control. Belcher gets back up though and lays in some nice punches. Middle kick stuns Belcher and Grove moves in with punches and knees. Double leg and a HUGE slam by Grove. Into a half guard which almost looks like a full mount due to Kendall’s length. Now into full guard and Kendall gets in a hugh punch and D’Arce (arm triangle) choke. He releases it and puts it back on, and Belcher is OUT.

And now, we get the “Gravedigger” celebration.

Winner: Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove (Submission -> D’Arce Choke, 4:42 R2)

In the back, Sanchez and Koscheck are… SITTING, and now let’s get in a promo for UFC 70 (in two weeks on Spike TV in the US and on PPV elsewhere), featuring Mirko Cro Cop and Michael Bisping.

Fight #2, 3 rounds, Middleweights: Yushin Okami vs. Mike “Quick” Swick
Kevin’s Prediction: Swick, submission

Pre-fight interviews have Okami looking to work his way to a ground and pound victory. Swick wants to put on a lot of pressure, and doesn’t want to disappoint the hometown crowd.

Entrance/Corner notes: Joe notes that Okami fights more “American style” than “Japanese style”, whatever that means. The crowd pops for Swick, but it’s not as huge as you’d expect.

Yushin Okami (184, Kanagawa, Japan, 20-3) vs. Mike “Quick” Swick (184, San Jose, CA, 10-1)

There’s that big hometown pop. Thanks, Bruce.

The referee is Mario Yamasaki.

Round 1:
Touch gloves and Swick goes for some kicks to start. Okami fighting southpaw, which may be give Swick some trouble. The crowd is chanting for Swick. They exchange kicks, and now we get a brief “USA” chant. Swick tries a flying knee but Okami catches it and drives Swick against the fence. He overpowers Swick and takes him down. Trying for a guillotine, but Swick gets him into half-guard. Okami’s holding him down and throwing some elbows down. Now Okami is trying for a kimura and Swick is holding on for the horn, and Okami gets full mount just as the round ends.

10-9 Okami.

In between rounds Swick notes the Okami is rather strong. Now let’s look at Sanchez and Koscheck in the back.

Round 2:
Swick misses a spinning back kick early, as Rogan thinks that Swick should drop to 170 and Goldberg basically calls this a number 3 contender’s match (behind Marquadt and Franklin). There’s a ton of circling, and finally there’s a clinch about two minutes in, with Okami trying for a takedown. He finally gets a leg trip into Okami’s guard, and Swick tries to control his arms. Again, not a lot happening, and Yamasaki stands the fighters up. Swick works in some combos and the crowd lights up a bit… until Okami gets Swick back into a clinch and takes Swick down again. Full guard, and Swick is controlling him, and then Yamasaki stands them up. Now Swick gets in a punch and lands some heavy hands to end the round.

10-9 Swick. Okami didn’t do too much with the takedowns.

Round 3:
The crowd is still buzzing, and again the fighters aren’t really engaging. Swick tries a combo, then stuffs a shoot by Okami. Okami tags Swick with a right, and Swick comes in with a combo, but Okami takes him down into half-guard, and now into a full mount with 3 minutes left. Now Okami is landing punches and Swick is looking for a way out. Swick is doing a decent job of defending but Okami is landing punches. Swick gives up his back and if Swick wasn’t a hometown boy I think this would probably be over. Swick sweeps and now he’s in Okami’s rubber guard with under a minute left but there’s simply not enough time to do anything as the round ends.

10-9 Okami. Eddie Bravo scores the fight the same way.

Judges scorecards:
Jeff Mullen scores it 29-28
Doc Hamilton scores it 29-28
Doug Crosby scores it 30-27

Winner: Yushin Okami (Unanimous Decision)

Joe interviews Okami and he says that he’ll be the next champion. Well he has beaten Anderson Silva, so why not?

Intermission Time
We have Joe Rogan in the Octagon with “Sleazy D” Dana White. He announces a new signing – former Pride heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, who comes out to the UFC music. He’s very excited to be here, give it his best and win the title. Joe is pretty funny as he would appear to have quite the man crush on the man they call Nog.

Fight #3, 3 rounds, Lightweights: Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia vs. Roger “El Matador” Huerta
Kevin’s Prediction: Huerta, TKO

Garcia doesn’t think that Huerta will be the Matador. Huerta just brings it. We’ve got a couple of Tejanos throwing down next.

Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia (154.5, Lubbock, TX, 13-1) vs. Roger “El Matador” Huerta (155, Minneapolis, MN, 18-1-1)

The referee is Mario Yamasaki.

Round 1:
They almost immediately start throwing punches. Huerta walks in with some kicks and the go down with Garcia on the bottom. Garcia is trying to move his legs up and gives up his back to Huerta and gets in a rear naked choke into a full mount. Garcia then gets out via the back door. Huerta goes for the takedown but Garcia sinks in a guillotine. Roger’s out and into Garcia’s guard. Now he lands some lefts and gets Garcia up against the cage. He tees off for a bit and the fighters are back up. No, they’re back down and Leonard tries for a kimura. Back up, Huerta gets a flurry and a double leg takedown. Huerta throws some bombs from the half guard and Garcia returns in kind. Roll, and now Garcia is on top in the butterfly guard as the round ends. Great round.

10-9 Huerta, but that was one entertaining round.

In the blue corner, Greg Jackson tries to calm down Garcia.

Round 2:
The exchange missed kicks to start, and Hureta gets Garcia down and lands some hard elbows. Back up and Garcia gets in a knee. He gets in a straight left and now they’re trying to tee off on one another. Huerta seems to be more pinpoint with his punches though, and Garcia looks tired, but he’s hanging in there. Easy takedown from Huerta into the mount. He gives up his back but gets back into full guard. Huerta is landing bombs from the top but Garica gets back up and isn’t giving up. He’s throwing some bombs and the crowd is getting into this. Huerta gets him down again into half guard, back to full guard and Garcia tries for an armbar, but Huerta gets more punches in as the round ends.

10-9 Huerta again. Garcia’s spirit is impressive though, and he’s keeping things entertaining.

Round 3:
Garvia goes for a takedown to start but nothing doing. They’re throwing leather and Huerta takes him down again. They’re really working for position here and Huerta transitions to side mount, but Garcia escapes and again Huerta is in half guard. Side control, and Huerta works for a crucifix, but Garcia suddenly gets Huerta’s back, and works for his hooks. Garcia is exhausted though, and Huerta rolls him over and throws some bombs. Garcia is somehow surviving this punishment. Huerta is again working for a mount, but he’s probably also tired and is content to strike from the half guard until the final horn.

10-9 Huerta.

Winner: Roger “El Matador” Huerta (Unanimous Decision)

After the match, Huerta again gives respect to Garcia, who wants a rematch. Looks like we might get it.

Fight #4, Co-Main Event, 3 Rounds, Welterweights: Josh Koscheck vs. Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez
Kevin’s Prediction: Koscheck, Split Decision
And now, a video package detailing the Sanchez/Koscheck fight. Sanchez wants a knockout, and Kos simply doesn’t like Diego and wants to beat him up because “he’s so freaking weird”.

Entrance/Corner notes: Diego comes out with a mariachi band. I believe that’s called “taking the piss”.

Josh Koscheck (170.5, Fresno, CA, 10-1) vs. Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez (168.5, Albuquerque, NM, 19-0)

The referee is “Big” John McCarthy.

Round 1:
Sanchez and Kos DON’T touch gloves. Diego seems to be hesitant to start, which is uncharacteristic of him, and uncharacteristic of someone who trained with de la Hoya as well. He seems to be wary of Kos’ wrestling ability. Kos is actually landing more punches, but really, there’s not a lot happening right now. Diego really needs to push the pace more. Finally, with about 20 seconds left, Kos gets a shot in and a huge takedown, but Diego reverses and gets up as the round ends.

10-9 Koscheck in a nothing round.

Round 2:
The crowd is getting restless because again, there’s not a lot happening. Kos is getting more punches in and is pressing the pace a bit more than Sanchez. Finally, with about a minute left Kos lands some solid punches but isn’t able to follow it up. We get some more punches from Kos but that’s about it.

10-9 Koscheck. Really, really boring round. Koscheck has the right strategy, but it’s not exactly exciting or anything.

Round 3:
Sanchez looks like he’s ready to pick up the pace, but he fools us all because again not a lot is happening. Kos seems to be looking for one punch, and Joe Rogan starts talking about technique and Bernard Hopkins because there’s so much action going on. Kos is still controlling the fight though, but the crowd is annoyed and you can hear the boos. I don’t think that Sanchez has really landed any punches in the fight. And now even Goldberg is pissing on the fight, so you know that it’s pretty bad. Diego swings wildly and Kos lands a few high kicks to end the fight.

10-9 Koscheck.

Winner: Josh Koscheck (Unanimous Decision)

During the interview Josh jokingly shoves Rogan, and then cuts a promo about how Sanchez is now “Nineteen and Wuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun”. I don’t think he cares about how pretty it was.

MAIN EVENT
Fight #5, 5 Rounds for the UFC Welterweight Title: Matt “The Terror” Serra vs. Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (C)

Randy Couture joins us on commentary. He and Joe think that Serra has to take this fight to the ground.

Video package shows GSP talking about the Hughes fight. Matt Serra refuses to get caught up in the hype. GSP is taking him seriously, knowing that Serra is a better submission specialist, and knows that Matt’s bringing everything to the fight.

Entrance/Corner notes: You can see Pete Sell in Serra’s entourage. Randy notes that Serra’s good with the inside trip takedown. GSP is in his customary karate gi with David Loiseau in his corner and Greg Jackson in his entourage. Two class athletes are about to do battle for the title.

Matt “The Terror” Serra (169.5, East Meadow, NY, 15-4)
vs. (C) Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (169.5, Montreal, QC, 13-1)

The referee is “Big” John McCarthy.

Round 1:
In the early going, Serra is pushing the pace. Apparently he read that interview with Pat Miletech who said that to get GSP off his game you need to move him backwards. Joe notes Serra’s heavy hands. GSP is trying to use kicks to keep Serra at bay. Neither man has really engaged. We get some exchanges but no damage from either guy.

Suddenly Serra gets a punch in that staggers GSP, and Matt goes after him with a vengeance. Flurry, and GSP goes down! Matt presses the issue, GSP tries to get back up but goes down again. Matt gets on top and starts throwing bombs. GSP is covering up, Matt gets to a full mount and keeps throwing down until Big John steps in. IT’S OVER!!

And now we get a shot of Matt Hughes saying “I love it!” because he couldn’t beat GSP and because he’s, you know, a supreme prick.

Remember how Diaz beating Gomi was the upset of the year? It’s not anymore. Georges St. Pierre messed up a lot of guys on his way to the top – Sherk, Penn, Trigg and Hughes to name a few. And Matt Serra rocked his world. I give a lot of respect to the guy who pulled off what most people, myself included, figured was impossible.

Winner and NEW UFC Welterweight Champion: Matt “The Terror” Serra (TKO -> 3:25 R1)

During the interview Matt suggests that Dana and Joe should eat some humble pie. He notes that he learned from the Karo Parysian fight, and he used that in winning. GSP notes that he made a mistake, and that he’s got no excuses. HE congratulates Serra who beat him fair and square.

We’ve got some time, so let’s go to a preliminary matchup.

Welterweights: Josh “Bring the Pain” Haynes (Portland, OR, 7-7) vs “The World’s Most Dangerous Nerd” Luke Cummo (East Meadow, NY, 4-4)

Referee is ?

Round 1:
Haynes is a lot smaller but still looks a little chubby at 170. Can he do the unthinkable and go to 155?

Both guys are looking for punches. Clinch, and Cummo gets Haynes against the fence. Haynes gets a takedown into the guard, but lets Cummo back up. Crowd starts a short-lived “Cummo” chant. Cummo’s landing some kicks and then a left that takes Haynes’ breath away. Haynes tries for a takedown but nothing there. Haynes’ cheek is swelling. Cummo gets in another nice combo and Haynes tries for another takedown to end the round.

10-9 Cummo. Haynes’ cornerman Nate Quarry tells him to stop fooling around.

Round 2:
Haynes starts out with a rushing combo that doesn’t connect. Cummo tags him with a double jab. A left-right also connects. Clinch, and Haynes tries for a trip but again doesn’t get it. Joe lets us know that Cummo drinks his own urine. I’d rather Joe just stick to slamming Ned “Carlos Mencia” Halness instead of those little tidbits, thanks. Cummo again tags Haynes, and gets off another combo. Haynes is still fighting though, until Cummo gets off a big right that knocks Haynes so loopy that he tries to take down the ref.

Winner: “The Silent Assassin” Luke Cummo (TKO -> 3:38 R2)

Wrapping things up, our Submission of the Night belongs to Kendall Grove with the D’Arce Choke. Mike and Joe again talk about the “upset of the century” and the potential Serra/Hughes matchup. They’re ready to head to Manchester for UFC 70. Cro Cop! Arlovski! Bisping!

That’s the show. If you’re keeping track, I went 3/5 on the winners of the live fights, 1/5 on the method of victory. Maybe I should stick with predicting American Idol boots. But Koscheck/Sanchez aside, those were some good fights with some surprising results. All that was missing was a hockey fight like Frye/Thompson to really make this Canadian’s day.

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