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UFC 113 Wrap-Up

In MMA on May 17, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Main Event: Mauricio Rua vs Lyoto Machida

Shogun lands his booming counter

What Happened?

Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua claimed the Light-heavyweight belt in stunning fashion, leaving no doubt about the winner with a 1st round knockout.

How did it happen?

After their 5 round epic last October, this fight looked extremely tough to call. It was all about the adjustments made by the fighters and the strategies employed. Machida tried to mix things up by coming forward aggressively and taking the fight to ground, but Rua countered masterfully and left his opponent with no options.

What did Shogun do right?

The Brazilian bomber threw a few of the damaging leg kicks that left so many convinced of his superiority last time out, but also let his hands go this time around. He showed the all-round skills that have made him such an inspiring figure in MMA, and despite pre-fight rumours of another knee injury, looked to be in good shape.

Take down defence has always been a weak point in his game, but it’s never really slowed him down as he swept and stood in seconds both times the fight hit the mat. By forcing the champ to play his game, he never gave him a chance to feel comfortable.

What did Machida do wrong?

He was too aggressive. The Dragon has built his reputation, record and intimidating aura on slipping any and all attacks and being ruthless on the counter. The true effect of October’s war could be seen on Saturday night. Strangely for someone who ‘won’ the last fight, he looked like he knew that things had to go differently. To that end, he showed some good work in the clinch as he landed a couple of trip takedowns, but question marks over his ground game will come to the fore once more as he was easily reversed and nullified.

After those failed gambits, he looked increasingly desperate, stepping forward like we’ve rarely seen him do before. Denied his natural comfort zone, he reached too far and was iced by a beautiful counter hook from Rua.

What next?

For the new champion, almost certainly the winner of the Rampage-Evans match-up set for UFC 114. Other possible opponents would be Rogerio Nogueira and Anderson Silva, should they keep winning. All four fights could be barn-burners, especially a rematch with Lil’ Nog. But the Silva fight is the one the fans will want to see most.

Machida may well be given the loser of the UFC 114 eliminator. Failing that, a fight against Forrest Griffin would make sense.

Josh Koscheck vs Paul Daley

Koscheck's takedowns were the difference

What Happened?

Josh Koscheck dominated his prey in a comfortable decision win, earning himself a spot on the next TUF opposite Georges St Pierre, and the title chance that follows. A cheap shot after the bell also cost Daley his place in the organisation, in what was a very strange fight. Daley rightly ships the majority of the criticism for his unsportsmanlike behaviour, but at one stage a phantom knee caused Koscheck to flop like a tasered Ronaldo. A point was deducted, then quickly added following a replay, and for the second fight in a row the American was left looking very foolish.

How did it happen?

Koscheck showed little inclination to let Daley unfurl his piston of a left hand, circling away from the power and engaging just enough to force an opening. Those chances were mercilessly capitalised on by the frizzy one, as he drove Daley into the mat time and again. In the end, the frustration proved too much for the English fighter.

What did Koscheck do right?

Koscheck relied on his strength, and did exactly what he needed to gain the win. Getting knocked out by Paulo Thiago last year meant he had no choice but to respect the hands of his power-punching foe, and he showed his experience by not getting drawn into a firefight. As ever, his takedowns were powerful and he showed excellent top control to smother ‘Semtex’.

What did Daley do wrong?

Apart from throwing his contract away, he just didn’t do enough to resist the takedown. Thiago Alves and GSP both showed that Koscheck’s wrestling can be neutralised. If he was able to keep the fight upright, he would have been a big favourite, but it wasn’t to be. He also didn’t take the limited opportunities he had on the feet to really let his hands go. The frustration caused him to seek out his opponent after the bell and land his cleanest shot of the night.

What next?

For Koscheck, taking his antagonistic antics onto the big stage for the next ‘Ultimate Fighter’ series, and then trying to come up with some way to hurt St Pierre.

For Daley, a future outside the UFC.

Jeremy Stephens vs Sam Stout

Stephens and Stout won 'Fight of the Night'

What happened?

Power trumped technique in an absorbing lightweight contest that deservedly earned fight of the night honours for the two sluggers.

How did it happen?

Stephens found the mark a few times early on to wobble Stout, and did just enough for the remainder of the fight to snaffle a split-decision win.

What did Stephens do right?

The 23 year old never took a backward step, crowding Stout and getting a few power punches through the guard of the slicker Canadian fighter. In such a tight contest, Stephens’ ferocity proved the difference, as he landed the harder shots and came closer to finishing the fight.

What did Stout do wrong?

In such a close fight, it’s hard to say that Stout did an awful lot wrong. He failed to control the distance though, and didn’t trust his technique as he allowed himself to be drawn into a slugfest. But he did show a solid chin and excellent heart, proving once again what a promising fighter he is. He even had the better of the 3rd round and earned the win in the eyes of one judge. If he can keep putting on fights like this, he should be around for a long while yet.

What next?

For Stephens, another step up the ladder. He’s recovered well after losing consecutive fights in 2009, and almost guarantees quality entertainment when paired with a fellow striker. Cole Miller or a re-match with Spencer Fisher would add sparks to any card, but a tussle with Joe Stevenson, who’s coming the other way, would tell us a lot about his future potential.

Stout has to go back to the drawing board after this one, and will probably be paired with another fighter coming off a loss. Perhaps a re-boot against Terry Etim.

Matt Mitrione vs Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson

Mitrione sent Kimbo limping out of the UFC

What happened?

Mitrione weathered an early storm to expose Slice’s glaring weaknesses and record a merciful second round stoppage.

How did it happen?

The former NFL’er showed composure on the ground to tie Slice up, and even threw up some triangle attempts and a guillotine. Once the fight went back to the feet, he went to work with leg kicks and vastly improved boxing to lay an impressive beating on his fatigued opponent.

What did Mitrione do right?

He didn’t panic early on, even when he was picked up and slammed a couple of times by his intimidating foe. His submission attempts were hardly Gracie material, but they showed a vast improvement from his fish in a desert impression on TUF. Once the fight was back on the feet, he played it smart by taking full advantage of Kimbo’s 80 year old knees, and showed good hands and improved head movement to stay out of trouble.

What did Slice do wrong?

In going for some blockbusting takedowns early on, he left himself struggling to keep pace. Mitrione showed improvement in every area of his game, and with his hands full avoiding submissions and throwing power shots like they were going out of fashion, Slice forgot to check the leg kicks. Kimbo just hasn’t improved like he needed to, and confirmed in this fight that he never really belonged in the UFC to begin with.

What next?

Mitrione showed encouraging aptitude in this fight, and may well have a future. He still has a long way to go though. If the UFC want to build him up, they might give him someone like Tim Hague or fellow cast member Jon Madsen. If they want to really test him though, he could find himself in deep water against someone like Cheick Kongo or Ben Rothwell.

For Kimbo, probably some easier pay-days fighting cans in Japan. He deserves respect for trying to mix it with the best, but he just doesn’t have it at the top level.

Alan Belcher vs Patrick Cote

Belcher lands the fight-changing slam

What happened?

Belcher stunned Cote with a modified slam in the second round, and used the opportunity to take his back and lock in a fight-ending choke.

How did it happen?

In a close fight, Belcher took the first round by using some powerful leg and body kicks to sting Cote and stay out of reach to take the first round. Cote found his range in the second though, and was on the way to evening things up on the scorecards when lightning struck. Pushing Belcher against the cage with a lazy double leg attempt, the American went all Triple H on his opponent by busting out a ‘Pedigree’. With Cote momentarily stunned, and expecting a referee’s intervention, Belcher sunk in his hooks and worked to secure the tap-out.

What did Belcher do right?

The ‘Talent’ never gave Cote any time to settle into things after a lengthy stretch on the sidelines, and caused serious damage with his lightning kicks to the body and legs. In a tricky second round, he stayed out of trouble as the ‘Predator’ winged his knockout lefts, and took his chance expertly when it was presented.

What did Cote do wrong?

Perhaps showing signs of ring rust, the home favourite never set up his shots and looked too eager to land his killer left. Against a good kickboxer like Belcher, he really needed to stay more patient and try to use his strength in the clinch. He rested on a takedown attempt in the second, and paid the price. He seemed to pause for a split second after his face-plant too, but there was nothing illegal in Belcher’s manoeuvre.

What next?

Belcher called out Anderson Silva after the fight, but he has a fair way to go before anyone gets excited about that particular match-up. This was his 4th win in 5 outings though, with only a hotly disputed split decision against Yoshihiro Akiyama spoiling his recent record. He deserves a chance to prove himself, and would relish a shot at Demian Maia, or one of Akiyama and Wanderlei, who fight at 116.

Undercard:

Joe Doerksen was the only Canadian to earn a win on the night after he recovered from a rocky start to submit Tom Lawlor, while Jason McDonald suffered a gruesome leg injury early in his bout with John Salter. Marcus Davis grabbed a much needed victory by pushing Jonathan Goulet’s well-worn button, Yoshiyuki Yoshida continued his slide by dropping a decision to Mike Guymon, and there were also decision wins for Joey Beltran and Johnny Hendricks.

Strikeforce Notes:

Overeem was dominant on Saturday night

This past Saturday saw the Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery card in St Louis, Missouri, where there were a number of intriguing battles. The main event was something of a disappointment, as returning Heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem lived up to his nickname by demolishing Brett Rogers. Surprisingly, the previously pugnacious Rogers looked spooked by Overeem, and was tentative in engaging with the giant Dutchman. Early in the first, Overeem showed his astonishing strength by tossing the challenger to the mat, and pulverised him with strikes to take the early stoppage. Next on the menu is the mouthwatering clash with the world’s premier heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, provided the Russian is victorious in his June engagement with Fabricio Werdum.

Elsewhere on the card, Antonio Silva drove another nail into the coffin of former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski, soundly outboxing and overpowering the fading Belarusian. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza took another step towards a title shot by edging past Joey Villasenor in a thrilling bout, while Roger Gracie submitted Kevin Randleman and Rafael Feijao knocked out Antwan Britt.

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