THE ROCKTAGON
W/ JAMES SWIFT
 

Yeah, there isn’t a whole lot going on, huh? Well, I mean, outside of the fact that North Korea and Japan are about to go to war with each other. And Venezuela’s *this close* to invading Colombia. And the U..S. and China are engaged in an imperialist arms race using the African people as proxy military. But beyond those trifling matters, what do we have on our plates? The World Cup is over, the NFL season doesn’t start for another month, and TNA continues to exist. In other words: it’s the most painfully boring time of the year.

While we are all waiting to head back to school and/or our respective remedial courses, we at least have sweet lady MMA to come around and give us a much deserved two handed crotch massage. Tonight’s UFC show may very well be one of the best on-paper cards the company has ever produced, but we all know what happens when the UFC provides us with paper goods: more often than not, the end result is often quite mediocre.

That being said, the UFC has been on a roll as far as the PPV offerings are concerned: in fact, I can’t think of a single bad PPV they’ve had all year. Well, except for the one that was headlined by Anderson Silva. What’s that? This show is being headlined by Silva, too? Well, fuck, this thing might just suck after all.

Oh well, it still beats watching Mets games and hitting on fat-assed Barnes and Noble checkout girls. Put on your $30 dollar Tap Out tee and slap on the pink “of age” wristband, because it’s time for UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen!

We are coming to you LIVE from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California and Mike Goldberg immediately panders to the crowd by saying that this is the firs time the UFC has dropped by Raider Nation. As always, our hosts are Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, and this is EASILY one of the most pumped crowds I’ve ever heard for a UFC event. Now, that’s either because tonight’s card is positively fucking stacked, OR the fact that the Golden State Warriors are NOWHERE to be seen. Either way, it’s certainly a cause for celebration.

Rogan and Goldberg do the hard sell for us. I’m really wondering how this Oakland crowd will react: since it’s a multinational city (and quite liberal, at that), I doubt that Chael Sonnen would get the reaction that he would get if the fight were being held in, oh say, Dallas. No doubts about one thing: from a sociological perspective, this might just be one of the most intriguing MMA cards ever built. . . and tonight’s curtain jerker is about ten times more interesting than 90 percent of the main event match-ups from last year. That’s called progress, Holmes.

Heavyweight Bout

Junior dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson

Junior dos Santos may very well be the most well rounded heavyweight in the UFC: a competitor with sterling knockout power, an excellent ground game and well versed in submissions, dos Santos is arguably the best technical fighter in the division. With wins over the likes of Fabricio Werdum, Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Cro-Cop, dos Santos has demonstrated an impressive range of skills that might just earn him a stint as world champion, and soon.

Roy Nelson, on the other hand, is a big ball of flab that had the grapes to come out to Weird Al Yankovich’s “Fat” during last year’s Ultimate Fighter finale. . .which he won with a pretty quick KO of top heavyweight prospect Brendan Schuab. Nelson’s last fight was against Stefan Struve, a damn near seven foot tall kick boxer with the mobility of Frankenstein’s monster. The nearly two foot shorter Nelson struggled, but managed to secure a victory late in the third round, making him 2 for 2 in the Octagon. He’s also the former IFL heavyweight champion, which, yeah, is kind of like saying you were the majority stockholder of Enron: it’s impressive, but considering the outcomes, not really all that impressive.

So here’s the deal: the winner of this fight gets the winner of the Brock Lesnar \ Cain Velasquez fight, more than likely in early February 2011. Without question, the UFC brass WANTS dos Santos to win this bout, if only to give themselves yet ANOTHER great (not-white) hope against the world’s greatest monster heel. However, if there’s one thing an astute MMA aficionado knows, it’s that all it takes is one lucky punch to invert half a year’s worth of business planning. Isn’t that right, Matt Serra?

This is what everyone expects: dos Santos is going to try to keep it standing and go for the KO blow, and Nelson is going to try with everything in his big, cholesterol clogged heart to get this bout to the ground so he can do his best GSP \ Jake Shields \ Jon Fitch head-hump impersonation to eek out a lay and pray victory. Ultimately, this bout is going to either end in fireworks, or Roy Nelson having a heart attack while trying to keep from getting arm barred from the full mount. Either way, it should be memorable, whether that’s a good kind of memorable or the bad variety.

As expected, Roy Nelson comes out to “Fat” by Weird Al Yankovich, and Junior dos Santos comes out to “Gonna Fly Now”: as far as musical tastes go, I’d say these two are fairly evenly matched.

Hey, you know what I just noticed?

Every single match on tonight’s main card is involves a Brazilian fighter taking on a U.S. fighter. Huh, how comes the UFC marketing department never jumped on that ball?

Bruce Buffer tells us to drink some piss-tasting Mexican beer because they paid him to say it, and the first round is underway. Man, that Buffer mother fucker has some snazzy threads, huh?

Round one kicks off, and dos Santos opens with a big left hand. Junior lands a couple of more blows. Nelson shoots for a takedown, but dos Santos stuffs it like a bell pepper. Nelson tries to take dos Santos down while he’s pressed against the cage. No dice. Nelson bulls him out of the corner and pushes him into the opposite side of the cage. Junior fights his way out, Junior ROCKS “Big Country” with a knee and sends him spiraling towards the center of the Octagon like King Hippo in “Punch-Out!!”. Now dos Santos pushes Nelson into the corner and starts firing fist missiles at him. To his credit, Nelson ISN’T going down, even though he’s eating some NASTY hand-burgers.. We have our first LOL moment of the evening when dos Santos punches Nelson in his big, fat gut and he almost has his arm sucked into the flab like it was the fucking Blob or something. Rogan is firing about a million fat jokes a minute here. Dos Santos nails another uppercut on Nelson, and he goes down. He immediately gets back up, and shoots for a takedown. The crowd is going APE SHIT right now. The “supposedly liberal” Oakland crowd starts chanting “USA!” as Nelson gets a couple of pounds of blubber shaved off by dos Santos’ lefts and rights. Nelson lands two shots on the button, and dos Santos responds by wailing on him like until the bell sounds. A terrific first round. I’ve got it 10-9 for dos Santos.

Round two begins, and dos Santos connects with an early knee and a left. Nelson says “fuck it!” and tries to land a homerun shot early. Nelson goes for a takedown, and dos Santos says “no, fuck YOU” in Portuguese and starts pounding Nelson’s face like Tom Cable’s wife . Junior really isn’t trying to KO Nelson anymore. At this point, Roy is operating about at the pace of a go-cart with a hole in its gas tank, so all dos Santos has to do is run out the next eight minutes on the clock. Now we have ourselves a boxing contest. Nelson tires of this, and shoots for ANOTHER takedown. What do you know, dos Santos stuffs that one, too. Now dos Santos shoots for a takedown (for what reason, I have no earthly clue) and Nelson plops his belly on the mat to wiggle his way out. Nelson tries ONE more takedown, and dos Santos does what a dos Santos does and feeds Nelson some Brazilian-flavored knuckle biscuits as time expires. 20-18 easy for dos Santos.

Third round begins. Heated exchange early. Nelson knows he’s going to have to swing for the fences to win this bout. Junior lands a NASTY kick straight into Nelson’s face. Dos Santos is RAINING punches on Nelson now, and then HE ends up taking the former IFL champion down. Nelson is throwing punches with the accuracy of Stevie Wonder with a blindfold on, and dos Santos is landing some straight-up technical looking jabs. That dude can legit box, no doubts there. Dos Santos is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Nelson, but “Big Country”, despite being *this close** to bursting a pulmonary valve, refuses to go down. Fifty seconds to go. Nelson and dos Santos decide to slug it out, and although Roy gets in some good shots, it’s nowhere near enough to win him the round, let alone the fight. An obvious 30-27 victory for dos Santos here.

A tremendous fight. Maybe not one of the year’s best, but certainly worth the five dollar cover charge. Roy Nelson proved that he was a legitimate fighter and not just some cartoon character, and dos Santos validated all of that technical hype with a STRONG three round grinder against a dude that has the heart (and estimated BMI) of a wildebeest. Junior now has a date with the winner of the Lesnar / Velasquez winner in early 2011: although dos Santos did look good in the bout, it does kind of make you wonder, though: if Junior doesn’t have the KO ability to put away somebody like Nelson, what happens when you put him in the Octagon with a dude with the murder-death-kill capabilities of oh, say a Shane Carwin? Eh, just something to chew on, as I think this fight was more about proving Nelson’s legit abilities as it was a demonstration of dos Santos technical prowess. Both guys have bright futures ahead of them, unquestionably.

Hey, MC Hammer is in the house. . . Probably because he lives at the arena now.

Promo for UFC 118: It’s UFC vs. Boxing as Randy Couture takes on James Toney. Rogan does a brief interview with Couture, who has the pinkest gums I’ve ever seen on a human being. Couture puts over, of all people, Herschel Walker, and continues with his “I’m an old, nice guy that could probably kill you” shtick. Hey, speaking of the elderly, Matt Hughes is up next on the card!

Welterweight Bout

Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Hughes

As part of Matt Hughes’ new “I only fight old ass Brazilian jiu-jitsu guys” contract clause, Almeida serves as Hughes second consecutive middle aged BJJ opponent. [ED NOTE: What, you mean Almeida is just 33? Shit, tap water in Brazil must be pumped from the inverted fountain of youth, because those dudes look like something out of a Tales from the Crypt episode before they hit 40]. Seeing as how the Hughes \ Renzo Gracie bout from earlier this year is a pretty solid frontrunner for worst fight of the year, it is kind of hard to get our hopes up about this one.

Hughes is riding a two fight win streak, and he has to be DAMNED close to retirement age at this point. Methinks all it would take is one KO loss and he’d be hightailing it back to the farmlands of Illinois, and if you know anything about Almeida, you would know that the dude can flat out rock a mother fucker. Still, Hughes is a tremendous wrestler, even if he just received his AARP card last week: he’s a country boy that can survive, pending his strategy for survival is keeping Almeida pinned to the canvas for fifteen minutes.

So, tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: a veteran wrestler takes on a ferocious striker. UFC fans KNOW exactly what this entails, so for those of you that don’t want to have the fight spoiled, please refrain from watching any of the prior bouts in which the wrestlers won by simply taking down their opponent over and over again without doing any real harm to them. Oops, I mean, [SPOILER].

Huh, a guy named Almeida is fighting in Alameda county. Ironic, eh? Matt Hughes gets a pretty big pop as he comes out to Hank Williams, Jr. Some fat looking M-I-wouldn’t-L-F is in the Octagon with him. My curiosity, it is piqued.

A minute and a half into the fight, and we have the following happening: absolutely fucking nothing. At about the two minute mark, Almeida starts throwing some punches. Hughes evades, and he’s not really being the aggressor here. Yeah, surprise-surprise, huh? A minute to go in the first round, and Hughes DROPS Almeida with a left hook and IMMEDIATELY shoots in for a front face lock guillotine choke. Hughes extends his arms and drops on his knees, and Almeida’s neck reforms into the shape of a question mark. Oh, that’s right, old-schoolers: Hughes just made an opponent tap using a move ripped out of David Schultz’s playbook.

Almeida is out for quite some time. In the post-fight, Hughes said that he was going hunting and he might be back next year. No bullshit: his performance tonight may very well have put him in the company’s top 5 as far as welterweight contenders go. GSP \ Hughes 4, anybody?

Lightweight Bout

Clay Guida vs. Rafael dos Anjos

The UFC has an irrational fear of there being too many big name fights that end up sucking on one card, and since the next bout on the show features Jon motherfucking Fitch, I think they actually are in the right by booking a guaranteed face-rocker like Guida and dos Anjos for this show.

This match has absolutely NO implications on the UFC lightweight title hunt. If Guida wins, there’s still about seven guys ahead of him on the LW totem, and if dos Anjos wins, will, he’ll still be curtain jerking events on Vs. These are just two guys that are probably in debt like mother fuckers, and you best believe they’ll be fighting to the burger to earn that fight of the night bonus.

Clay Guida gets my immediate respect for being the only guy in the UFC to represent the caveman hair, and also, for having the nickname “The Carpenter”. Hmm, a long-haired woodworker that walks around barefoot. . . By any chance, do you see 12 guys in robes following him around everywhere he goes?

Rafael dos Anjos is basically the UFC equivalent of a C-level luchador in WCW circa 1997. I mean, he has the capabilities to excel, but it’s kind of hard to market a guy that is basically Ciclope without the mask. Both of these guys had pretty memorable bouts against Tyson Griffin, who is sort of like the UFC’S “smark favorite” because his matches are always entertaining and nobody gives a shit about him outside of the Sherdog trolls. (ED. NOTE: And as soon as I kind of put over Griffin, he gets KTFO in the first round by Takanori “I Fucking Suck” Gomi. The Swami lives!) Long story short: this match is utterly pointless, and in that, it should also be pretty damn entertaining, especially if someone informs Guida that his house just got foreclosed before the bell.

Guida is SUPER over with the crowd; dos Anjos, not so much. Guida already doing his “Mexican jumping bean” impersonation a few seconds into the first round. Wild punches to begin. Guida lands a WICKED kick to the side of dos Anjos face. More trading. Dos Anjos with some leg kicks. Guida struggles to secure a takedown. Not happening, as dos Anjos replies with a knee to Guida’s skull. Dos Anjos with a stiff right. He shoots for a takedown, gets refused, and kicks Guida in the head anyway. Dos Anjos continues to saw into Guida’s legs with those low kicks. Do Anjos uppercuts Guida, and lands a takedown. Guida pops right back up as time expires. 10-9 dos Anjos.

Round two begins with Guida uncharacteristically landings punches that, you know, have some semblance of accuracy. Another low kick from dos Anjos. Dos Anjos goes for a takedown, and Guida rejects it. With about 2 minutes left in the round, Guida scores his first takedown of the fight. Guida lands some forearms, but it really isn’t enough to give him the round. 20-18 dos Anjos.

Round three begins with more wild punching. Shit, nothing these guys seem to throw ever fucking lands. Guida looks for a takedown. He doesn’t secure it, but he does manage to slam the ever-loving shit out of dos Anjos in the process. Guida passes to the fall guard, and peppers dos Anjos with some seemingly ineffective punches. Apparently, they weren’t all that ineffective because at the three minute mark, dos Anjos decides to tap from, uh. . .something.

The camera replay shows Guida putting some torque on dos Anjos’ jaw. Dos Anjos says that his jaw was broken early in the first round, and it was just too much to bare. Clay Guida proceeds to thank EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING THAT’S EVER LIVED in his post-fight interview.

Well, we have some time to kill: Who wants prelims! So we have Stefan Struve taking on Christian Morecraft. Struve looks like an uncooked foot long hotdog, and Morecraft looks like a tattooed pear. Well, it’s going to be aesthetically interesting, at least. Almost immediately, Morecraft takes Struve down and hammers the shit out of him from side control. Now he’s got the full mount. Struve is a new shade of “fucked” right about now. Struve goes for an arm triangle. Seeing as how the asshole has arms like Dhalsim from Street Fighter 2, he should be able to pull out something. Holy Shit, Struve just HURRANCANRANNED Morecraft out of the full guard. Fuck, the Frankensteiner DOES work in a real fight! No use, however, as Morecraft IMMEDIATELY hops back into the full guard and pounds on Struve like a community gong. Struve going for a desperation ankle lock. Things get vertical, and Morecraft locks in a guillotine. Struve sneaks out, only to get dropped again and fed a couple of more hand sandwiches by Morecraft. An absolute ass kicking on the part of Morecraft.

In between rounds, Struve’s lips have swollen to almost Mick Jagger proportions. The doctors think about stopping it, but Struve’s lack of eyebrows must have scared them into letting him continue the fight. Struve comes out swinging for the fences, and Struve DROPS Morecraft with a hard right out of nowhere. He starts pummeling him like he was something out of an old Looney Toons cartoon until the ref jumps in to save him. Well, that’s got to be a SOLID nominee for “Most absurd comeback of the year”, huh?

Another promo for UFC 118. Joe Rogan does an interview with James Toney, who looks JUST like Isaac Hayes this evening. Toney does the shit talk, and Rogan tries to end the interview before he says something TRULY outlandish. God, the UFC hype jobs are positively fucking PHENOMENAL. Uh-oh, everybody’s lining up for the bathrooms. This of course, means but one thing if you’re an astute UFC observer: a Jon Fitch match must be coming up next.

Welterweight Bout

Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves

Lord help us. Both of these guys are tremendous fighters, perhaps two of the top twenty fighters on the planet. If GSP wasn’t perpetually perched atop the division, these two guys would probably be locked in a heated war for the WW strap. They’re technical, they’re tougher than a Waffle House steak, and they could kick your ass from here to Taipei.

That being said. . . God- DAMN, are these guys the two most boring fighters on the planet. I will give these guys all the credit in the world for their technique and prowess, but Jesus, watching slugs fuck is more exciting than watching a Fitch fight. The guy is a great takedown artist, probably the #3 guy behind GSP and Shields, but that is pretty much ALL he does. Alves is mildly more exciting, and since he failed a brain scan back in March, he might have some mental disorder that means he’ll go all Paulo Filho on us and try to eat the referee’s brains. The guy hasn’t fought in well over a year, and Fitch has torn through a number of guys that, let’s face it, aren’t exactly the most daunting of competitors (Fitch’s last opponent was a dude that took the fight on two days notice, and even then, Fitch could only eek out a three round decision). This match has all of makings of a Strikeforce worthy main event, which means boring to the infinity power.

The consensus is, however wins this fight is probably third in line for a title shot, as there’s no way in hell that Dana White would allow the winner of this bout a shot ahead of the winner of the upcoming Shields \ Kampmann contest. Still, an injury could make the winner of this bout the de facto number one contender [ED NOTE: And as soon as I say that, what does Dana White announce? That‘s right, the winner of this bout is the de facto numero uno contender for the WW strap following the GSP / Koscheck bout. Well, ain’t that a fuck sandwich with extra come?] Not to be a pessimist or anything, but if I were you, I might want to think about taking a fifteen minute piss break right about now. . .

Tell me if this sounds familiar: Thiago Alves had trouble making weight going into this fight. Shit, you mean a guy that walks around at 200 pounds has difficulties cutting 30 pounds in four days? Get the heck out of here! Fitch comes out to Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Rusty Cage” and sporting facial hair that is clearly an homage to “Teen Wolf”. Whether or not he plans on celebrating by surfing atop a van and leading his high school basketball team to a state championship has yet to be verified.

Hey, did you see that banner that says that San Jose is next? Get it, because Strikeforce is headquartered in San Jose? Yeah, that’s right, they went there.

Round one begins, and Fitch INSTANTLY slams the suspiciously smaller-than-normal looking Alves like a basketball. Alves fights like a madman to get up. He does, and Fitch slams his ass AGAIN. Oh, boy. Alves fights out AGAIN, and Fitch. . . Well, you know the drill. The crowd is NOT liking this one. Alves somehow gets full mount, and lets Fitch up. The two trade, and Fitch shoots for a takedown. With about ten seconds to go in the round, Fitch scores his fourth takedown of the round. Yeah, it’s a Jon Fitch fight, all right.

Second round begins, and Fitch secures another takedown. Alves goes for a guillotine. No dice. Fitch is going for the lay-and-pray. Alves up.. . .single leg takedown form Fitch. Alves up. . .another Fitch takedown. You know, this might make for a pretty good drinking game. Alves gets out, and gets Fitch standing. Nothing really happens vertically as the round expires.

Third round begins with some fairly sloppy stand-up. I’m momentarily distracted by the two chicks making out at the next table. Granted, neither one of them is really all that pretty, but I’ll take mediocre lesbian tongue play over mediocre welter weight inaction any day. You know, it’s actually a pretty weird cast we have here tonight: somehow, a bunch of ten year olds in Tap Out tees somehow managed to get into the bar, so I’m assuming that their probably the beneficiaries of the Make-a-Wish foundation. Right now, they’re probably wishing they were still in the ICU, more than likely. Also, the dude at the table in front of me has to be the fattest tan dude I’ve ever seen: I mean, Samoan dudes are typically kind of fat, but even for a Tongan, this dude is one fat mother fucker. Don’t you wish you lived in the most multinational part of a Red State, too?

After two and a half minutes of really bad wrestling, Fitch scores another takedown. Fitch trying to finish. He has Alves’ back. Alves fights off the choke attempt. Fitch is in Alves full guard. The bell sounds, and everybody on the planet is kind of upset about this.

Fitch, obviously, wins 30-27. Because he’s about as exciting to watch as snails sleeping, they don’t even bother giving him an opportunity to build up his next title fight against either GSP or Koscheck. Alves looked downright terrible this evening: this is a dude that HAS to get his head back in the game and his ass out of the sauna if he wants to stay in the UFC. I suggest he bumps up to 185, but we’ll see.

So, this, ultimately, asks this question: if you’re Joe Silva (the UFC head booker), do you determine championship fights based upon entertainment appeal or record appeal? This is where I, begrudgingly, have to become a Jon Fitch apologist. Sure, the guy is about as exciting as uncooked rice, but the dude simply wins. He has eight consecutive wins (all by decision victories, by the way), and his sole UFC loss is to one Georges St-Pierre. Remember, the UFC is more Sports than Entertainment: should the NFL arrange its playoff fixtures in accordance to records, or making entertaining match-ups? Well, that’s an obvious answer, and as the NFL works, so should the UFC. Now, depending on how the Shields / Kampmann fight turns out, we will see just how rock solid that “#1 contender’s” guarantee for Fitch really is. Methinks an explosive finish in that October bout may just “alter” the game plan for the UFC in early 2011. Right now, Jon Fitch is a deserving #3 in the Welter Weight title hunt, but as every ticket ever printed so clearly warns, “Card Subject To Change”.

Hey, “Piranha 3D” is coming out later this month. This has, uh, what to do with MMA again?

A hushed, respectful silence falls over the Oracle, and the local pub. Ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for the most hyped main event of the year. The talk is over, and it’s nigh time to see those words turned into ass kicking.

UFC Middleweight Championship Bout

Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen

No matter the outcome of tonight’s main event, Chael Sonnen is walking away a winner. After just barely defeating Nate Marqhardt back in February (in a fight in which he was almost choked out twice), Sonnen began a long verbal war against Anderson Silva, which is without question some of the greatest shit talk I have heard IN ANY SPORT. Sonnen has single handily turned this into one of the year’s must-see bouts, if only for the sake of seeing Sonnen getting KTFO for all of that nonsense he’s been spewing for about half a year now. And the weird thing about it? He’s going into this fight as the face.

A lot of people don’t like Anderson Silva. Pretty much all non-retards consider him to be the best MMA fighter on the planet: as such, people wonder why he didn’t act like he gave half a shit when he was forced to fight substandard competitors like Demian Maia, Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. So, instead of being given a chance to take on top-ranked fighters in the divisions above and below him, Dana has Silva contractually obligated to stick in the 185 division, which is filled with the following challengers: a guy he beat four years ago, a guy he beat three years ago, a British guy that got knocked out by a dude that got his ass kicked by a welterweight, a Japanese guy that got choked out from the full mount by the dude that Anderson beat four years ago, and Wanderlei Silva. Outside of that last name, I really don’t think anyone wants to see Silva in battle with any of the MW division’s “elite fighters”.

And enter Chael Sonnen. Sonnen is NOT a world class fighter. There are about eight guys currently in the UFC MW division that could, and have, kicked his ass a new shade of red at this very moment, and that’s without counting his opponent this evening in their legion. Sonnen has a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating Silva, and he knows that: the ONLY way Sonnen has a chance here is if he manages to take Silva down (good fucking luck), wrestle him into a submission (super good fucking luck) and pray that Silva doesn’t cock his arm back and send Sonnen’s teeth sliding down his throat when he tries to hook in a joint lock (super duper good fucking luck).

Still, the MMA world is SUPER pumped for this bout. Why? Because of the marketing, that’s why. Silva is under pressure from Dana White to put on a “superstar caliber performance”, so we expect something big to stem from such a plot point. Secondly, the UFC has cleverly managed to make this match sort of a proxy political statement as well: Sonnen, a legit Republican House nominee, taking on the cocky, confident kind of black Anderson Silva. If you don’t think the racial and political overtones of this fight AREN’T getting people pulled into what would be an otherwise uninteresting match-up, you have your head in the sand. It’s sort-of-racist white America taking on the new-American-entrepreneurialism, conservative nationalism taking on liberal globalism, and grappling vs. BJJ striking. This match is about diametrically opposed entities squaring off, and it makes this something of a social battle more than it is an in-ring contest: there’s no question that this is going to be one of the most heated fights of the year, whether or not the actual fighting is about as warm as a refrigerated turd. The fight itself may be fairly lackluster, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a match-up that serves as unique and engaging as an experience this year.

Sonnen out first, rocking the red, white and blue Tap Out tee. He looks suspiciously stoic. Could that be a “Fear-flavored” Jolly Ranger he’s sucking on at the concomitant? He gets a pretty surprising number of boos, too. Hmm. . . Interesting.

Silva out second, as the norm. He’s rocking a gi, for some reason. He’s all smiles, and he gets a pretty damn loud ovation. Glad to see the PRIDE FC goatee has made a comeback, as well. As far as the pub crowd, the Sonnen supporters are pretty silent, whereas the Silva followers make no attempts to mask their adulation of “The Spider”.

Round one kicks off. No touching of the gloves, obviously. Silva lands a left hook right off the bat. Sonnen goes for a takedown, and Silva shrugs it off. Sonnen goes for a kick, and gets caught: he barrel rolls his way out of the predicament as some loud-ass “Let’s go Silva” chants strike up. SONNEN ROCKS SILVA WITH A HUGE UPPERCUT. The champ is backpedaling to the cage, and Sonnen is scoring some FEROCIOUS lefts and rights. Sonnen gets a takedown, but Silva jumps right back up. Silva drops his arms and Sonnen is pounding Anderson like a piņata. A total double turn from the crowd now, as the audience chants “Sonnen” and “USA”. NOW I hear the tea partiers at the bar. Honest to God, I heard a dude yell “Take that, you illegal alien!” when Sonnen started rocking Silva. All I can say is. . . fuck man. Just “fuck”.

Sonnen is RAINING on Silva from side control. The ref starts to inch ever closer to Silva. We could be on the verge of a MASSIVE upset here, folks. Sonnen continues to pound on Silva, but “The Spider” manages to survive the barrage. An amazing opening salvo.

Round two begins, and Silva looks for some low kicks. Sonnen no sells it, and takes Silva down again. He’s trying to ground and pound Silva, but only the grounding part seems to be working. Chael is hitting Silva with EVERYTHING. Mongolian chops, shoulder strikes, hell, at one point, he started slamming Silva’s head against the canvas with a double underhook clinch. The crowd is EATING this shit up. Sonnen absolutely DEVASTATING Silva from the top. Silva goes for an kimura, but Sonnen escapes. Sonnen throwing elbows, and Silva looks for an arm triangle. Sonnen drops more elbows, AND HE HAS SILVA’S BACK. Silva tries to work in another kimura, Sonnen out, and he drops another punch as the second round bell sounds. 20-17 Sonnen.

Silva comes out swinging in the third. He’s doing some dancing. Silva lands a spin kick, and Sonnen answers with yet another takedown. Silva still trying to set up a submission. Sonnen has Silva’s back, but he can’t lock in anything, so he just knees Silva in the pelvis. Sonnen is just BRUTALIZING Silva with fists. Silva manages to fight though, and secures guard from the bottom. Sonnen has Silva helpless, but his punches aren’t really going to end the fight for him. The bell sounds, and I have it 30-26 for Sonnen.

The storyline here is obvious: Sonnen is just going to try and keep Silva down long enough to secure a decision victory, and Silva is going to be looking for an early KO shot. Silva DROPS Sonnen almost immediately as the Fourth begins. Sonnen goes for a takedown, but he can’t get it. Silva throwing some strikes from the full mount. AND SONNEN REVERSES IT. Holy Shit. Sonnen is throwing absolutely everything he has at Silva. Hell, he even throw in a Ric Flair chop or two! Sonnen continues to throw punches, but Silva cuts him with some elbow strikes from the bottom. As the fourth ends, Sonnen has a NASTY cut above his eye. Folks, we may be on the cusp of one of the flukiest TKOs in MMA history.

The doctors give Sonnen the A-OK, and we had into the fifth and final round. Long story short: as long as Sonnen can keep Silva grounded, he will win the UFC Middleweight championship. Silva absolutely needs a KO or a submission in the next five to hold on to his belt. SONNEN DROPS SILVA. Sonnen looking for a choke, but nothing there. Three minutes to go in the fight, and Sonnen is in COMPLETE control of this fight. “Is it too early for Sonnen to start celebrating?” says Goldberg. The Sonnen faithful (who sure are WHITE these evening) start hooting and hollering like the Fair Tax Amendment was finally passed. Sonnen throwing more punches, and he tries to work from side control. Silva is throwing some elbows DIRECTLY at the open wound over Sonnen’s eye. Sonnen throwing a flurry of punches.. He cocks back for a haymaker. . . AND HE MISSES. OH MY FUCKING GOD, SILVA JUST LOCKED IN AN ARM TRIANGLE WITH TWO MINUTES TO GO. Sonnen is trying everything to get out of this, but it isn’t happening. CHAEL SONNEN JUST TAPPED. Un-god-damn-believable.

The officiating crew jumps into the Octagon, to keep anything truly messy from going down. Sonnen is protesting that he didn’t tap. So are all of his local supporters. The replay is shown and, yeah, Sonnen CLEARLY tapped about two or three times while in the hold.

In the post fight, Ed Soares (Silva’s manager) says that Silva was fighting through a rib injury. That’s probably bullshit. Sonnen, the man that has done nothing but talk shit for seven months, tries to keep his composure after an errant punch cost him the UFC title DESPITE 23 minutes of domination. There’s SO going to be a rematch in November after this. Ladies and gentlemen, you just saw the 2010 MMA fight of the year.

All I can say is “Holy fucking shit on a hot plate of fuck, that was awesome!” This truly is the Golden Age of the UFC: Like I’ve told everyone that is willing to listen, UFC 116 was one of the single best cards I’ve ever seen, and you know what? UFC 117 was EVEN better.

You don’t have an excuse to miss this show. Silva / Sonnen is one of the most amazing fights you will ever see in MMA, and the entire show was pretty much loaded with entertaining fights (uh. . . Just hit fast forward when you get to Fitch / Alves, though). If you haven’t hopped on the UFC bandwagon by now, you have NO idea what you’re missing. DO WHATEVER IT TAKE TO SEE THIS SHOW, EVEN IF IT MEANS STEALING YOUR NIEGHBOR’S CREDIT CARD INFORMATION IN ORDER TO ORDER THE REPLAY.

Long story short: SEE THIS FUCKING SHOW. That is all.

SHOW HIGHLIGHT: Anderson Silva / Chael Sonnen putting on the best UFC title fight. . .ever.

SHOW LOWLIGHT: FITCH!

ROGANISM OF THE NIGTH: “Yeah, I don’t think he has to worry about lactic acid buildup” - regarding the physique of Roy Nelson

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM TONIGHT’S SHOW

There’s really no point in trying to punch a fat dude in his stomach.

That shit they used to do back in the AWA days actually WORKS in real life fights.

Having a bottom lip the size of a trashcan lid automatically makes you a more efficient striker.

Having a thirteen month layoff probably negatively affects your in-ring performance.

Comparing a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt to a happy meal toy might just come back to bite you on the ass.

Crank up “Chinese Rock” by The Ramones and “Franco Un-American” by NOFX, and I’ll be seeing you in a couple of weeks at UFC 118.

 

JAMES SWIFT

is a freelance Brazilian Jiu-jitsu writer currently residing in the metro-Atlanta area. His first book, “How I Survived Three Years at a Two-Year Community College”, is currently available from I-Universe Publishing. He’s also not a Free-Mason, if you were wondering.

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).