MMA on DVD: UFC: Fight Night 5

UFC: Fight Night 5

Las Vegas, Nevada

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. Like most of the UFN shows, this was a lead-in to another Spike series, in this case Blade: The Series. Anyhow, announcers begin by talking about the TUF 1 vs. TUF 2 fight in Evans/Bonnar, and the main event of Chris Leben vs. the debuting Anderson Silva.

Lightweight Fight: Jorge Gurgel vs Mark Hominick

This was Gurgel’s long-awaited UFC debut following his TUF 2 stint and rehab for various injuries, mainly his knees, which are apparently completely rebuilt at this point. Hominick had a bit of momentum here too, coming off a surprising win over the man who many felt was the uncrowned champion at 155lbs, Yves Edwards. General consensus was that Hominick needed to keep it standing, while Gurgel was better off getting it to the mat ASAP.

Round 1 begins and they get off to a quick start, both men pressing forward and exchanging combinations, and it’s pretty even with both landing their fair share. Gurgel makes the first takedown attempt, and ends up pulling guard, but Hominick is having none of that and stands right back up. The exchange continues, as Hominick begins to land the better strikes, catching Gurgel with swift combinations as opposed to Gurgel’s one-shot punches. Gurgel keeps firing back though and tries a low kick, only for Hominick to catch it and shove Jorge to the mat. Gurgel comes back up and they continue to exchange, with Hominick again getting the better of it, but Gurgel hanging in there and firing right back.

Into Round 2, and Hominick avoids a takedown as they continue to exchange, with Gurgel now the aggressor although Hominick continues to land just as many strikes. Gurgel tries a right high kick, but Hominick blocks and then leg sweeps the left one from under him, putting him on his back, but Hominick refuses to go to ground and so Gurgel stands, and they exchange more combinations with both landing glancing shots. Gurgel goes for another takedown, but Hominick outright runs away to avoid it this time, and then catches another high kick attempt and gets another leg sweep to put Gurgel on his back again as the round ends.

Third and final round of what’s been a pretty even fight thus far. Again Gurgel comes out more aggressively, this time working some leg kicks, something Hominick hasn’t tried thus far for fear of the takedown. Hominick begins to fight more defensively now, looking for counters, and landing a good combination but little else. Jorge tries a takedown and again Hominick sprints across the octagon, and this time Jorge taunts him, mock-running in a camp fashion. Gurgel continues to push forward, landing the better strikes including more leg kicks, but he can’t get it to the ground and the fight ends shortly after. Post-fight Hominick busts out his usual push-up routine…to which Gurgel answers with some push-ups of his own.

Judges all score it 29-28 Hominick, really disappointing result for Gurgel. After a rewatch I actually scored this 29-28 for Jorge, with Hominick taking the first round and Gurgel taking the 2nd and 3rd. I would say the 1st round was clearly Hominick’s – he landed the crisper combinations and generally got the better of the fight standing, and then the 3rd was clearly Gurgel’s, as he pushed the action, landed more strikes and forced Hominick onto his back foot throughout. The 2nd was the hardest round to score, and I guess it depends on whether you award aggression and attempting to push the fight over a couple better counters and those leg sweeps. Judges went for the latter; I would’ve gone for the former but no matter, it was a really close fight anyway. Energetic, fun opener, and despite the loss I thought Gurgel did well here to more than hold his own with a guy who most would consider a hugely superior striker.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Rashad Evans vs Stephan Bonnar

TUF 1 runner-up against TUF 2 winner here then, and from what I remember many people criticised this match-up as they felt that Rashad and Bonnar should’ve been kept apart for a while as a loss for either man would do more harm than the good that would come for the winner, if that makes sense. Both were coming off controversial wins; Evans over Sam Hoger, Bonnar over Keith Jardine, and from what I recall I think Bonnar was the slight favourite coming in.

They press forward to begin, before Rashad catches a kick and gets an early takedown to guard. Bonnar holds on tightly from the bottom though, and the ref brings them up soon after. Bonnar comes forward, but Rashad grabs hold of him and gets a big slam to the guard. Bonnar stays busy from his back, so Rashad stands up rather than stay in the guard, and then catches a kick and follows up with another slam, this time to half-guard. Bonnar manages to scramble to full guard, but takes a couple of hard shots from Rashad that mark his face up. Bonnar works to his feet, only to get slammed for a third time as the round ends.

Bonnar comes forward to open the 2nd, but eats a right hand as he steps in. He comes back with a knee though, and then manages to avoid a takedown. Another shot is successful for Rashad and he controls Bonnar from the top, working with punches, but doesn’t make any attempt to pass the guard. We get a classic soundbite from the announcers at this point, as Goldberg plugs Blade: The Series by talking about a “healthy dose of vampire sexuality”, to which Rogan is like, “What?” and Goldberg replies, straight as anything, “I have no idea, it’s on the card they’ve given me”. Brilliant. Bonnar escapes to his feet, but Rashad quickly gets on him again and shoots into a clinch. They break, and Bonnar gets a glancing spin kick to the body, but Rashad gets a takedown to guard once more. Bonnar tries to go for some subs from his back, but Rashad avoids them and controls him, working him over with punches for the remainder of the round.

Third and final round, and a disheartened looking Bonnar presses forward trying to land something, but gets slammed to guard for his troubles. Rashad continues to control him and punch away from the top, and Bonnar tries to roll into a kimura, but just can’t get anything. He tries flailing from the bottom with strikes, but this allows Evans to pass and take his back. Bonnar rolls, but ends up on the bottom in side mount, where he takes some elbows en route to scrambling to full guard. Rashad continues to control him though, avoiding a triangle choke, and lands more punches. Bonnar manages to escape to his feet, but Rashad grabs him again, and gets a final takedown to finish the fight off.

Judges score it, incredibly, 29-29, 30-27 and 29-28 in favour of Rashad taking the majority decision. How anyone in their right mind could call that fight a draw I don’t know, and Joe Rogan goes one step further and says that the judge who scored it a draw ought to be shot. I think I’m with him – Rashad dominated every facet of that fight, taking Bonnar down at will and controlling him on the ground, and while Bonnar didn’t suffer any major damage, you have to score the rounds for Rashad simply for the slams and the control. Bonnar for his part looked pretty bad here, as he seemed lost from the beginning and had no answer for Rashad’s takedowns. It was pretty clear from this that Rashad was far from the finished article, as he still didn’t seem able to actually finish the fight, but it was a solid enough performance from him anyway and wasn’t a bad fight to watch.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Rob MacDonald vs Kristian Rothaermel

Time for a prelim from earlier in the night now. Two of the more maligned TUF contestants here then, with TUF 2’s MacDonald – he of the infamous torn shoulder muscle – and TUF 3’s hippie Rothaermel squaring off. On paper this was possibly the least interesting UFC bout of the whole year I think.

Pre-fight introductions claim Rothaermel is 40-4, and if that’s the case I would love to find out who his 40 wins are against, as the only records I can find for him give him 4 wins. Maybe Buffer botched up and saw a 0 at the side of the 4 or something? Who knows?

Rothaermel presses forward to begin and shoots in for a takedown, but MacDonald blocks it and they end up in a clinch, where MacDonald gets a nice shoulder throw to side mount. Kristian scrambles up to his feet, only for MacDonald to get another takedown, this time to guard. MacDonald works with some punches and a can opener, and then stands to avoid an armbar, before getting a third takedown. He lands some punches from the top, and then stands and blocks Rothaermel’s takedown attempt and ends up on top in side mount. Kristian looks completely out of gas at this stage, about three minutes in (!) and MacDonald tries a kimura, then decides to take full mount, and lands some punches before slapping on a straight armbar for the tapout.

Nothing to see there and I’m still unsure to this day why they chose to televise this one, I mean, it’s not like they were ever planning to push either guy and MacDonald was put in the prelims again for his next fight. It was short so I guess that could be part of the reasoning behind it, but then again Jorge Santiago scored a total highlight reel KO over Justin Levens in another prelim in even quicker time, and I would’ve definitely shown that fight over this one. Thankfully Rothaermel never returned, and neither has MacDonald following a loss to Eric Schafer in his following bout. Moving swiftly on…

Middleweight Fight: Anderson Silva vs Chris Leben

Must say before we get into this, this show is weird for a UFN in that there’s been very little segments between the fights, you know, interview bits and stuff. Anyway…this was a pretty major main event as Silva was making his UFC debut after tearing through Cage Rage, and Leben was himself 5-0 in the UFC at this stage. Pre-fight video package is hilarious as Leben comes out with quote after quote after quote (“he should go back to Japan where the competition’s easier”, “if you’re not winning, you’re not in the UFC”, “everyone needs to watch my fights”) while Silva is as stoic as ever. I think most people were taking Silva here; my feeling was that he’d pick apart Leben ala his fight with Lee Murray en route to a decision win, as Leben, thanks to his iron chin, had never been knocked down or out, or even to my knowledge, had never seemingly been hurt before.

Pre-fight Silva gets really intense in the staredown and Leben’s demeanour visibly changes, as if he’s suddenly realized what he’s gotten himself in for. They begin, and Silva opens up with two sharp right jabs, before sidestepping like a matador as Leben lunges forward. Silva circles off and lands a sharp one-two, and as Leben desperately tries to swing for the fences, Silva catches him with a left high kick and then DROPS him with a right-left-right combo! Holy crap. Silva closes in for the finish, but Leben somehow recovers enough to get to his feet, still on wobbly legs. Silva closes in though, nails him with a right hand, an uppercut, and finally a knee to the head puts Leben down for good. 47 seconds, talk about a debut. Must mention too Josh Koscheck’s hilarious reaction in the crowd, one of pure shock and then adulation at seeing his old nemesis crushed like that.

Unbelievable debut for Silva, I mean, when you’ve seen Leben take punches flush on the chin from people like Patrick Cote, Mike Swick and Jorge Rivera without even flinching, to see anyone run through the guy in under a minute is scary stuff. Silva literally landed eleven laser-sharp strikes while Leben was unable to do a thing, just a different level of striking from the Brazilian. Not much else to say really – that was 47 seconds of highlight reel for the future Middleweight champ.

Welterweight Fight: Jonathan Goulet vs Luke Cummo

And for some reason they’re suddenly mad short on time, so they rush right into this swing bout with Buffer going into OVERDRIVE with his introductions, and for no apparent reason Cummo busts out a crotch chop as they announce his name. Cummo was coming off a win over Jason Von Flue at the previous UFN, while Goulet was looking to bounce back after the four second KO he suffered at the hands of Bang Ludwig.

Round 1 begins and they circle off with some feeler strikes, before Cummo catches him with a good right hand. Goulet shoots in for a takedown, and Cummo scrambles, but the Canadian gets him down into full guard. Goulet drops some punches and passes to side mount, as Cummo squirms from the bottom, looking to roll into a submission before scrambling to guard. Goulet passes the guard again though and takes the back, only for Cummo to scramble free, this time to his feet. Goulet immediately gets another takedown though, and works past Cummo’s active guard into side mount. He steps into full mount, but Cummo scrambles again and manages half-guard. Goulet works him over with some good punches and elbows, before Luke scrambles up again, only to be taken down another time. Goulet works to pass, and takes full mount, but Cummo keeps on squirming and reclaims half-guard as the round ends. Entertaining first round.

Cummo comes out looking determined to begin the 2nd, and sure enough he presses forward and stuns Goulet with a right hand, putting him down! Luke pounds away looking to finish, and as Goulet scrambles up, Cummo NAILS him with a big knee to put him down once more. Luke follows him down into his guard, and then passes to side mount, and looks to take the back, but Goulet’s recovered by this point and he reverses to his feet. The Canadian tries a slam, but Cummo catches him in a guillotine and for a moment it looks tight, but Goulet manages to work his head free. Luke keeps an active guard, and reverses to his feet, only for Goulet to take him down again. Goulet passes to side mount, but Luke rolls to guard, only for Goulet to take full mount this time. He turns to side mount instead and from there he drops some elbows, opening up a small cut on Cummo’s head. Cummo still manages to scramble to guard before the round finishes though. This is actually a HELL of a fight.

Third and final round, and Cummo looks like he knows he needs a finish, and he comes forward with a knee and a right hand, but Goulet gets a takedown to guard. He passes to mount, but Luke scrambles back to half-guard, and as Goulet attempts to take the back he reverses to his feet. It’s only momentary as Goulet takes him down yet again, and this time he passes to side mount and drops a few elbows. Cummo rolls and scrambles, but can’t get off his back this time as Goulet continues to pass the guard. Suddenly Luke squirms from underneath and finally manages to get into top position in half-guard, before passing and taking Goulet’s back with both hooks in! Cummo gets a body triangle and from there he LOCKS UP THE REAR NAKED CHOKE! Goulet grimaces badly and it looks for a second like he might tap, but somehow he guts it out and manages to turn into the choke, escaping and winding up on top in Cummo’s guard as the fight ends.

I have this 30-28 for Goulet personally, but the judges give it to him 30-27, 30-27, and then a 29-29, giving him the majority decision.

Unlike the Bonnar fight I can sort of see a judge giving Cummo a draw here based on him nearly finishing the fight in the 2nd and the 3rd, but it’s very, very difficult to score against Goulet’s relentless control and guard passing I think. Hugely entertaining fight though as Goulet had cardio for days and just kept on taking Cummo down and outworking him on the mat, but even then Luke never gave up and continually scrambled into better positions, and came closest to finishing the fight with the knockdowns in the 2nd and the choke attempt in the 3rd. Probably not quite a FOTYC, but I would say it’s just underneath that level.

-And literally moments after the decision has been announced the show ends, no post-fight interview or even a highlight reel of the show, it’s just, bam, that’s it. Clearly they made a mega botch in terms of the timing of this one, but ah well.

The Inside Pulse
: This was a really, really good show actually. The incredible Silva-Leben fight is obviously the most important thing even if it only lasts 47 seconds, but outside of that Cummo-Goulet is a hell of a war and Gurgel-Hominick is an energetic, fun fight to watch too, if a little frustrating at points. Evans-Bonnar admittedly is a bit slow and I can see why people would be bored with it, but I wasn’t and I can definitely reel off some far worse stuff. Overall despite the dodgy timing I thought UFN 5 was a pretty damn good show. Thumbs up.

Coming Soon….

UFC: 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, Fight Nights 6-10, and the TUF III and IV Finales.
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman: