1. Welcome back to UFC, Gabriel Gonzaga. With his rear naked choke victory over Ednaldo Oliveira, Gonzaga showed glimpses of the BJJ that we haven’t seen in quite some time. He seemed generally ecstatic to have taken the victory, but we won’t know if he’s here to play gatekeeper for early risers in the heavyweight division. The UFC can definitely use his services so here’s to hoping he sticks around. As for Oliveira, it was nice to hear how you helped Junior Dos Santos train for Cain Velasquez, but there wasn’t much more to your story tonight.
2. Sam Stout stepped into the cage against Thiago Tavares tonight with 4 “Fight of the Night” awards to his credit. Stout saw and early grappling clinic from Tavares and had little answer for the Brazilian’s work ethic on the mat. In the second round, Stout began to open the flood gates with combinations and striking. Tavares was able to hold his own, but matching a specialization such as Stout is a dangerous proposition. The third round was close until Stout began to put hands on Thiago, almost putting him to sleep before Stout…wait?!?!?!? How did Stout lose to Tavares? Let me get the CompuStrike numbers for you:
Stout outlanded Tavares 68 to 45 in total strikes landed.
Stout Standing Arm Strikes: 53/190..28%
Tavares Standing Arm Strikes: 31/98…32%
Tavares was 3/11 in the takedown department
Stout outlanded Tavares 43 to 21 in power strikes landed
Methinks someone got robbed, but the Canadian was classy in defeat.
3. I’ve always liked the “Gladiator” beginning to UFC pay per views. Call me crazy but I think it’s still evocative of the early Zuffa PPVs and brings some element of pageantry to the shows. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy (he runs sand through his fingers, for crying out loud!) but I love it.
4. After Terry Etim’s 17-second victory over Edward Faaloloto, fans have raved about the return of the Liverpool-based fighter. Drawing the rising Brazilian star, Edson Barboza, was no small task for the veteran. Etim came out on fire, shooting for an early takedown that Barboza was able to get free of. The takedown eliminated the ability for early strikes from Edson who was forced to watch for double legs that he might normally expect from the Brit. In the third round, shortly after Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg finished talking about the first KO and The Ultimate Fighter winners and a month of “firsts” in UFC, Edson Barboza puts the nastiest spinning wheel kick on the chin of Terry Etim promptly knocking him out before Etim even hit the mat.
If Barboza doesn’t win “Knockout of the Night,” I would be shocked.
5. Carlo Prater got caught very, very early by Erick Silva and was finished in under…wait, Erick Silva got disqualified for illegal blows to the back of the head? Then Joe Rogan called Mario Yamasaki out and made him look over his call in the cage. Honestly, Erick Silva got ripped off and if Carlo Prater complained and got the match overturned, that’s sleazy. Total b.s.
6. My favorite quote of the night is how Joe Rogan described Rousimar Palhares’ calves as “looking like he had softballs” in them. He slapped on a nasty heel hook for the win and honestly, we just hope that Massenzio wasn’t hurt badly.
7. Karma. It’s a bitch. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson didn’t make weight and Vitor Belfort did. They’re both big men but there’s no excuse not to make weight, Rumble. It had to have been a thoroughly satisfying victory for Belfort (he took the first round submission via rear naked choke) after fighting his way back through some early adversity.
8. Vitor Belfort is still very scary. I never thought we’d see him handled the way that he was by Anderson Silva at UFC 126, but with his subsequent results, Vitor Belfort continues to illustrate just why he still belows near the top of the middleweight heap. He’s still “killer fast” and when he saw his chances to finish Anthony Johnson, he took them.
9. I am stoked for Chad Mendes vs. Jose Aldo. I love the featherweight division and I want to see if any fighter from Team Alpha Male can best Aldo. Do I know if Chad Mendes can pull this off? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not. I think that once he takes his first leg, we’ll know if he’s ready.
10. Effing wow. If anyone had any doubts about how very, very good Jose Aldo is, they would be incredibly foolish. Mendes looked to be winning the first, and only, round, but with one solitary knee Aldo showed why he’s the class of the division. Watching him run into the crowd was hilarious but I am sure it was a security nightmare trying to pull the diminutive fighter back to the Octagon from within the heaving throngs of supporters. Great fight, great evening.
If you went in with no expectations, this show was awesome. Even with great fights on the card, it STILL delivered to those that would be the most jaded and proved that we truly are in a golden era of UFC.
Join us shortly for “Up Too Late” and discuss the show with us beginning at 12:30 AM EST.
Tags: Anthony Johnson, chad mendes, Edson Barboza, Gabriel Gonzaga, Jose Aldo, Mixed Martial Arts, Sam Stout, Terry Etim, Thiago Tavares, Vitor Belfort