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It's a summer blockbuster in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 6th. Pound-for-pound superstar Anderson ''The Spider'' Silva attempts to continue his record-shattering stay at the top of the middleweight division in a highly anticipated showdown with undefeated Chris Weidman. The Brazilian bomber has been untouchable, winning 16 straight UFC fights, but New York's Weidman has the style, determination and desire to shake up the main event of UFC 162.
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This was the night The Spider was supposed to continue is winning streak easily in the UFC. What would end up happening was one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. Now in my opinion it wasn’t such a shock but it was an upset. That would now make it three big upsets for the Renzo Gracie family.
1.CUB SWANSON VS DENNIS SIVER-two of my favorite fighter kicked the main card off with a great fight. In the first round both guys feel each other throwing shot after shot until they end up on the ground. Once there with Siver on top they battle for position in a great grappling exchange until they end back on the feet to end the round. The second round is all stand up with some great kicks between both until the last minute or so. They have an excellent exchange on the ground once again, great ending to the round. The third round sees both guys in some great exchanges on the feet but Cub was getting the better of them. In was a few minutes in when Cub landed a great combo that sent Siver down, from there he pounced on him and got the referee stoppage.
2.TIM BOETSCH VS MARK MUNOZ-the first round between these two wrestlers is a good one as Tim takes the early lead with a couple of takedowns and clinch control when standing. Mark comes back with some takedowns of his own and some good shots landed on Boetsch. The second round was mostly Munoz especially as it closed out with some vicious knees to the body. Tim starts out strong in the final round looking for various chokes just hunting that neck of Munoz. But once Mark got out of trouble it was all him as he pounded on Boetsch and went for a few submissions of his own. Munoz gets the UD here in a good fight.
3.TIM KENNEDY VS ROGER GRACIE-this one was going to be hard for me as I like both of these guys. The first round was a close one as it was mostly grappling along the cage with Roger eventually taking Tim’s back and controlling from there up until the last 11 seconds or so of the round. The second round was mostly to all Tim Kennedy as he took Gracie down and was not afraid to be there. On the feet he landed the better shots and easily took the round. The final round was a little closer but it was Kennedy’s round as he takes the UD. The only thing is two judges gave him all three rounds, in my opinion while I agree he won the fight there was no way he won the first.
4.FRANKIE EDGAR VS CHARLES OLIVERIA-now I knew this was going to be a fast paced fight as these two guys are known to move a quick pace. And just like I thought it was just that as they moved in and out with the strikes and got some quick takedowns. Edgar looked little better here getting the takedowns and such. The second looked like the first just less takedowns with Edgar on top when they went there but he almost got choked out. The final round is by far the most exciting as both guys land some excellent shots and combinations but towards the end Frankie really starts to let his hands go and takes over, he gets the UD here.
5.ANDERSON SILVA VS CHRIS WEIDMAN-this was for the Middleweight title with Anderson Silva defending and this was one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. The first round would see Chris get the takedown and controls from the top and lands a few good hard shots. But once they are back on the feet Anderson lands the better shots and taunts Weidman like crazy. The second round starts with an attempted takedown from Weidman and then Silva starts his taunting. It is not to long after that that the “holy ****” moment happens and Weidman drops Silva and knocks him out cold. One I love everyone’s reaction to this fight, people’s faces were priceless.
1.MIKE PIERCE VS DAVID MITCHELL-the first fight of the event starts with a round that is mostly spent against the cage and therefore makes it a close round between these two. The second round is just the same until a few minutes in Pierce lands a huge left hook that drops Mitchell and he jumps all over him. That is a TKO victory for Pierce.
2.SETH BACZYNSKI VS BRIAN MELANCON-this fight lasts exactly one round even though in the books it says there was a second left in it. But realistically it was called after the round ended. It was a great round with both guys trading and taking it to the ground. The round ends with Brian knocking Seth out on the ground.
3.EDSON BARBOZA VS RAFAELLO OLIVEIRA-any time Barboza fights I am excited, he has one of the greatest highlight reel KO’s of all time. This fight shows why as he just digs into Oliveira leg and body with vicious kicks, and I mean vicious. He lands so many that by the end of the round Oliveira is limping. He continues to attack the leg in the second and stops the fight via leg kicks, it is nasty.
4.DAVE HERMAN VS GABRIEL GONZAGA-this fight lasted 17 seconds and that is because it was the big heavyweights throwing down. Herman throws three kicks and then gets blasted by an overhand right that drops him. From there Gonzaga jumps on him and gets the win.
5.KAZUKI TOKUDOME VS NORMAN PARKE-this fight started out with a great first round with each being on top at one point on the ground. When standing it was close but both guys looked good. The second round was excellent with both men throwing some bombs and landing some as well. Parke landed more and took the round. The final round was just as exciting with Kazuki taking the advantage here with the strikes and a big takedown. In the end Norman gets the UD win here in what I thought was the fight of the night.
6.CHRIS LEBEN VS ANDREW CRAIG-good first round with Leben pressing Andrew against the cage and trying to land that big left. In the second round Leben does the same thing pressing forward and putting him against the cage, but in this round Craig lands the cleaner shots. The third round starts out pretty quick as Craig rocks Leben and then drops him. The final round is clearly Craig’s after all that and he secures the round with takedowns. Craig gets the split D here but I though Leben won the first two rounds.
You get the countdown show, weigh-ins, promos, and highlights from the post fight press conference as special features. This ended up being a pretty big night for the UFC and MMA as a whole and set up one of the biggest rematches in the company’s history.
First off the preliminary fights are rather interesting if for no other reason than that four of the six preliminary fights end by finish in either the first or second round. One fight ends by leg kicks, which is rare enough on its own, but the winning fighter made history by becoming the first fighter to ever finish two UFC bouts by way of leg kicks, and trust me it's a clinic of leg kicks to witness. Then, one of the fights is the fourth fastest knockout for that division. Besides those two fights there are two other finishes and while the decisions aren't exactly the greatest fights they are decent. If anything there are hurt by the lack of pressure put on in the third rounds. As a start to an event this particular set of fights definitely stands out among some of the other preliminary sets of the year.
In the first fight of the main card Cub Swanson takes on Dennis Siver. Cub Swanson, since coming over from the WEC, has gone on to have a 4-1 record in the UFC with his only loss occurring at his debut into the company. Since then he has finished over half of his opponents and in impressive fashion. He looked to keep the streak alive and let the other featherweights know that he was serious competition. His opponent, Dennis Siver, is a fighter most well known for his spinning back kick which he had used quite frequently during his tenure as a lightweight. Since coming down to featherweight he hasn't used it as much but has gone to have two straight victories so it seems like a decent tradeoff. Now whoever decided that these two should act as the opening act for the pay-per-view portion of the event nailed it because these guys put on a great fight. Thankfully it's a back-and-forth battle which results in giving both men a strong impression. When the finish does occur it doesn't take away from the battle and while the loser still looks strong it definitely stands as a message for the division that the victor is not to be taken lightly.
With the recent push in people researching Chris Weidman it stands as an unfortunate side effect that most people recognize Mark Muñoz as the man Weidman knocked out in order to get his title shot with Anderson Silva. Make no mistake, Muñoz is an absolute monster in the middleweight division. His wrestling pedigree is matched by few and he contains some of the most explosive power the division has ever seen. His last fight was against Weidman last year and was making his return five days short of a full year. And he was making his return against a man who has had recently made some waves with his comeback finish of Yushin Okami. Tim Boetsch had lost his last fight Constantinos Philippou, in which I truly believe had gone differently if not for an unfortunate injury during the fight, and was looking to going back in the winning column. As both men have wrestling pedigrees and a pension for throwing leather this fight looked like it was going to be a fun one. Thankfully, I wasn't wrong. The first round of the fight is the most even with both men showcasing their skill sets but by round two it's clear that one fighter has an advantage. I wouldn't say the loser looked weak it's just the victor looked scary strong going into the later half of the fight and went on to demonstrate some truly scary ground and pound. Kudos to the man on the receiving end for eating it all and coming back for more. Another strong bout for the card.
Tim Kennedy fighting Roger Gracie is unfortunately the low point of the main card. While both men came into this match, both UFC debuts, with impressive records from StrikeForce this fight had a few things going against it. First, one of the fighters had an extremely tough weight cut and was therefore drained by the latter half of the second round. Second, the opposing fighter, while a decently sized middleweight, was not able to deal very well with the other fighter's size and reach advantage. The two factors combined made for an awkward fight with a dragging third round. I will say the victor looked good having had a rocky start but it's really hard to gauge the loser as he tired out too quickly to get a good judgement on his skills.
Frankie Edgar was arguably the best fighter in the world who was on a three fight losing streak. He's one of the few fighters in the world who doesn't have a championship belt that's still considered one of the best pound for pound fighters. So, given that he was unable to dethrone Jose Aldo in his previous belt there were some lingering questions for the kind of performance Edgar was going to have with Charles Oliveira; would he return to his winning ways or would it be time to accept that "The Answer" simply couldn't compete with the higher division fighters anymore. Oliveira, upon his debut into the UFC, had a lot of hype backing up the talent that we would see unfold. His two losses to Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone caused a move down to featherweight where he enjoyed two victories before losing to Cub Swanson. So, as a young buck looking to make an impression in the mind of everyone he was certainly motivated to take out a former champ and give himself that push into the big leagues of the 145 division. I'll be honest, I really thought that given the skill sets of both fighters that this fight was going to be a pushover for the victor. Thankfully, I was wrong. This is a lot more even than I had originally intended and ended up being one of two fight of the night bonus holders.
The main event by this point in time has probably been watched by just about everyone in the MMA community. Let's be honest, the fact that I'm going to review a fight that most people already know the outcome of while still trying to be ambiguous is kinda silly but, alas, my principles keep me going (I'll say right up front I hate spoilers which may be why I watch all the events live so no one can ruin any of the results for me, even if the events themselves should be less than thrilling... I'm talking about you UFC 149). Anderson Silva, the reigning middleweight champion since late 2006, has defended his title a record 10 times as well as holds the record for most consecutive victories in the UFC at 16 wins. He has been called the greatest of all time and it's hard to argue. Silva's opponent, Chris Weidman, is a wrestler with a perfect record of 9-0. He has some of the best wrestling in the UFC and is uncommon in that he is a wrestler with a particularly strong Jiu-Jitsu skill set. Not only that but he has solid power in his hands, demonstrated best by his knockout of Mark Muñoz by way of a standing elbow. Given his skill set and many people remembering the performance Chael Sonnen put on Silva in their first fight many people believed this was the man to dethrone the undisputed king. As I said before the result is probably already known to you if you're reading this. For the sake of those who haven't seen the fight I won't reveal it to you. Simply put, you should watch the fight. It's certainly worth checking out but as I say that I must be honest in saying it's something of a double edged sword. The fight is important, as any other big fight this year, but the fight itself is disappoint for several reasons. The reason so much of the event is overshadowed by this fight is due to the way the fight ends. To take nothing away from the victor which is an absolutely amazing moment in his career, as well as one of the biggest moments in the UFC this year, it just seems the loss comes more from what the loser did wrong than what the victor did right. A personal gripe on my own end so feel free to ignore me if you will. Result is need to know while the fight itself is something of a let down.
My main reason for not giving the event 5/5 ranking comes from the Kennedy/Gracie fight and the main event. The momentum of great fights makes for an excellent card but there's also the absence of a truly great fight. This is my personal opinion of course so I don't expect most of you to understand but I still believe in a year where there have been two other great events there still has yet to be an overall card that has wowed me from top to bottom. Fight of the year candidates have popped up in the weirdest places, sometimes in events where the rest of the card is rather unnoticeable and while this event had its share of great fights and finishes I believe it's missing that something special that makes an event the best event of the year. It's still worth checking out but I'm still holding out.