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UFC 2 Hour Block - 24/10/05


Guest TheShawshankRudotion
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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

I'm gonna post a mini review, just cause I really, really, REALLY enjoyed the UFC stuff tonight and from what I saw of RAW, I really, really, REALLY didn't like it at all. Watching a really good fight tends to get me pumped and I have a lot of energy right now, so I gotta find some way to vent it.

 

Unleashed had one of my favourite fighters, Georges St. Pierre; one fighter who is quickly becoming a favourite, David Loiseau; and Tim Sylvia vs. Ricco Rodriguez, a guy who, once upon a time, was a favourite of mine.

 

"Rush" got on my radar screen when TSN showed some TKO/UCC fights long before he debuted in the UFC. The guy was just physically dominating his opponent and used his elbow to slam his opponents head against the mat. The guy is a physical specimen, just a freak.

 

His fight against new comer Jay Heiron was profiled on Unleashed. Right off the bat GSP showed he had superior hands as he was counter punching and landing on Heiron, and the fight -all 3 minutes of it- had St. Pierre knocking Jay loopy several times before finally the ref, Steve "Let's make sure the guy is dead first" Mazigatti stopped it. This fight earned St. Pierre a shot at the title against Matt Hughes a few months later. Truly an impressive showing from Rush, as he showed strong, fast hands, and put on a dominant performance that even Joe Rogan had to admire.

 

The next fight was Loiseau vs. Charles McCarthey. Loiseau is a teammate of GSP and you rarely ever see one without the other. They both share the same love for elbows on the ground, flying knees, spinning back kicks, and post match backflips. "The Crow" managed to fall off a bit after a loss to Jorge Rivera at UFC 44, but managed to come back a year and half later with an impressive performance over Gideon Ray where he showed "the best elbows in the sport". This is something that cannot be taken lightly. David Loiseau has disgusting elbows. Just recently, Loiseau managed to beat top MW fighter Evan Tanner after Tanner dominated him for 99% of the fight. However, all Loiseau needed was that 1% advantage, he just needed seconds to reign down elbows on a downed Tanner and the fight was over. They are just that brutal.

 

McCarthey knew this, so when they started fighting he brought the Crow down and tied up his arms whenever possible. At one point in the first round, Loiseau gave his back to McCarthey - something he did against Tanner as well - which is usually a big no-no in fighting, because you can't see what your opponent is going to do. David managed to turn over into McCartheys guard and immediately started to drop 'bows. McCarthey used the proper strategy and tied up Loiseaus arms and put his legs/hips up high on Loiseaus back, as to suggest "If you give me a chance, I will submit you". Loiseau stalled in the guard, which was good for Charles, however it was ultimately a catch 22. Either McCarthey gets active and risks letting the elbows get dropped on him, or he continues to tie up Loiseaus arms until the ref stands them up. The ref stood them up and the first round ended with Loiseau throwing a CRAZY flying kick that just missed his opponent.

 

The second round saw the end of the fight, in what has to be one of the coolest finishes I've ever seen. Earlier in the match Loiseau attempted two spinning back kicks which missed their target. The third one in the second round didn't. His foot connected against McCartheys side which had the fighter visibly shaken and clutching his side and thus dropping his guard. Seeing this, Loiseau RUSHED McCarthey who backpeddled against the fence and the Crow FLEW with a flying knee. McCarthey sold it like he got POUNCED, and the fight was immediately over. This was one of this highlight reel finishes.

 

The final match on the show was Sylvia vs. Rodriguez. It was Riccos first defense of the title and it was the best shape he ever looked. Unfortunately, it seemed like he spent more time getting "in shape" rather than training. The desire to look cut has been a bit of an issue for the heavyweights, who normally pack on a lot more flab than the lighter fighters. His problem in the fight was simple - he was getting out-boxed by the much larger Sylvia, and never committed for the takedown. The end of the fight had Sylvia crush Riccos jaw with a right that knocked the champ down and Sylvia finished with two sick punches on the ground. In the post fight interview, "The Maineiac" said he trained specifically for that moment - the moment when Ricco would throw a leg kick, which he could counter with a cross. Tim Sylvia was the new champ. He wouldn't fight for about 8 more months, and after his first successful title defense, he tested positive for anabolic steroids. The title not only passed over to Tim from Ricco, but the desire to look like a champion physically did as well.

 

The Ultimate Fighter 2 finally lived up to the previous season, in my eyes. The show started with the aftermath of the heavyweight bout between Whitehead and Reshad. Matt Hughes, Whiteheads trainer, friend, and teammate, was absolutely disgusted and left the room without consoling the obviously down fighter. On the other team, Franklin said he was "proud" of Reshad, something Rich normally doesn't say. This sort of recognition can only help Reshad improve in the future, as the more confident he grows, the better he'll become.

 

Reshad hurt his hand in the fight and went to the doctor to get it checked out. He came back with his arm in a sling and tears in his eyes. "It's over" he said. I swear, I bought it hook-line-and-sinker. When he smiled and laughed and said it was just a sprain, my respect for him grew a lil bit more. It would, however, be foreshadowing for one Sam Morgan. Jason Von Flue was a little more unfortunate, suffering a sick cut on his forehead in practice. The phrase "what's goin on inside your head" doesn't require a literal answer, so why TUF decided to show inside his cut was beyond me. Von Flues reactions, however, were priceless. This guy has lots of character and anger inside of him, which makes for some compelling television. It really sucks that I missed his fight against Jorge.

 

After the last heavyweight fight, there were 8 guys remaining, but the sides were uneven. To set up the remaining 4 fights, Dana, Matt, and Rich got together with each individual fighter and asked them who they would like to fight. The only thing that stood out from this was that Brad was named by the other 3 heavyweights. In the end, the bracket were set up like this:

 

Luke vs. Sam

Joe vs. Jason

 

Reshad vs. Keith

Brad vs. Heath Herring #2.

 

The stories behind this matches are pretty interesting. HH#2 beat Big Dave last time, and now is going up against the shows other Giant in Brad. It's your basic Giant vs. Giant Killer story. Reshad has been slept on from day 1, where he was the underdog in both of his fights. Meanwhile, Keith hasn't fought once, was one of the first guys picked, and is still the favourite going in. If Reshad beats Keith, will he finally get the respect he deserves?

 

Von Flue is beaten down and is the kinda guy who will have gotten his ass kicked and will still ask for more. Joe is the odds-on-favourite to win the whole thing and showed he can stomp some ass in there. It's your classic underdog scenario. Luke was the last guy picked. Out of everyone. He's nerdy, he's unassuming, he shouldn't be a fighter. Sam is the opposite. Cool, calm, smooth.

 

Sam vs. Luke is up first. Luke says that in order for him to find his killer instinct, his opponent will have to put him in a position to unleash his violence. If Luke ends up in the UFC, they SOOOO have to push the Star Wars aspect to his character. Sam is pretty cool and confident, doesn't really say anything out of the ordinary.

 

The fight itself is tremendous. One of the best of the season. Continuous action of all types - you got takedowns, you got submissions, you got flurries, you got stand up, you got scrambling. Sam shows a really sweet guard as he is very slick on the ground and is able to put on submission after submission. Luke defends well up until the last few seconds of the fight, where he is put in an arm bar and is saved by the bell. Luke wasn't nearly as effective standing against Sam that he was against Anthony, and the fight seemed to be going in Sams favour. Both sides thought they had the round won.

 

The second round was different in that it was all standing. Sam caught Luke with a good punch that had Luke fall back but still manage to land a kick with the momentum - a very matrix-like move. The end came when Luke hit Sam on the button - it wasn't a strong punch, but it didn't have to be. Sams legs wobbled and he was visably shaken. Luke capitalized, clinched, and landed a devastating knee that knocked Sam out cold. Big finish to an exciting fight. That's why UFC fans love knees, and why UFC should allow knees on the ground.

 

Post fight had Luke going caveman style, grunting and yelling in victory while Sam was out on the canvas. Hughes looked more worried than usual and rushed in to help Sam out. Later Hughes said "I didn't come here to make friends, but I failed at that, Sam became a good friend". The first words out of Sams mouth when he regained consciousness were "I didn't make it". When he realized he lost, he broke down in tears. Hughes, uncharacteristically, offered support to his friend telling him not to worry about it. A very emotional, heart-breaking, ending as it was off-putting to see the cool Sam break down, and for Hughes to be so sympathetic. It is these kinds of emotions which makes for good television, and we finally get them on this show. In my view, a homerun episode.

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That was the best episode of TUF2 this season. The fight was really good and there was a lot of soap-opera type stuff, like the Hughes concern towards the end, that really stood out. I really thought that Luke was done. Him winning via knockout came, pretty much, out of left field. At least that knee did anyway. Sam was still out of it from a punch a few moments earlier but I certainly didn't think the fight would end the way it did. Sam BLASTED Luke with a punch earlier too. I thought the fight was over right there.

 

I'm just waiting for Von Flue and Rashaad to go home. I can't stand them. I've hated Von Flue ever since he showed up in the house and said "you can't see me." I hate Rashaad because both his first two fights were terrible (although you can't put all the blame on him, especially in the second fight) and because of the taunting shit that he did in his first fight. Now he's acting like a baby because Hughes is going to be in his corner? Fuck him.

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Both UFC and TNA had good ratings news. UFC did a 1.4 last night which is the best it's done since losing the Raw lead-in. TNA did a 0.9, its best number to date. It reads like a minor increase, but viewers per home skyrocketed Saturday night as did the key demos. UF also did huge last night in the key demos, actually beating what WWE did in Male 18-34 last week.

Very good news. Hopefully this episode starts an upswing.

 

I loved this episode, it topped the Jorge/JVF and the scarecrow challenge, and was an episode they could have used early on in the season to build up characters. They've painter Hughes as a complete, selfish, totalitarian, and ultra-competitive asshole all season and then they pull out the rug from under us. The will to win with Sam was just so poignant; you could just feel as he awoke and all that emotion tumble out and understand what these guys are working towards. The fight was very good; on the mat it looked a little sloppy at times but that made for some sweet reverses, and then ending that round with the armbar. And then the second round was just let it all fly. It wasn't the most technical fight but it was back and forth.

 

One of the things I loved about it was the insight that went into making this semi-finals. I wish they would have brought in Silva to help with the decision-making, kinda in the same way they brought in Fertita last season regarding the drunken episode. You really get to see more of this company, and how they go about matching up guys. Seth playing giant killer should be a good story, but might not pan out to be a good fight; I'd liek to see Seth in the finals against Rashad because I think that Rashad has a good style where if someone brings it to him, it can make for a good fight. He's a counter-striker, and I think Seth will bring it for him.

 

Von Flue has a really great character going for him now. He straddles a line between cocky and wanting to prove himself. Though he wants to redeem himself for Matt trading him over; but still acknowledges him as someone he looks up to despite the fucked up things Matt did to him. It would make a really great story to see him take out Matt's top guy, and I think JVF and Luke would be another big stand-up battle which could do both guys really good.

 

As for Rashad, I can totally understand why he wants someone he can trust in his corner. When you work a corner, you have to be vocal and helpful, and you have to really want to help your fighter when. Matt SERIOUSLY seems to lack that confidence in his fighters at times, throughout the course of his show and not even taking into consideration his utter disdain he has fror Rashad. Rashad wants someone that has his back, and he trusts Rich a ton after having him in his corner for two big wins.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

It will be interesting to see next weeks rating. Will it go up on the strength of this show and the fact that the season is winding down? Or will it go down because the heavyweights are fighting next week?

 

I'd love to see Reshad just break down and yell at Matt saying "I've beaten everyone you put against me! EVERYONE. I am the most succesful heavyweight on this show, yet I'm still dogged, and I'm still underestimated. Well that ends now. Whitehead didn't choke, I broke him down! I'll break down Keith, and I'll break down who ever is in the finals agaisnt me. It's time for me to collect the respect that's been long over-due." I didn't like Reshad before, but the guy has been criminally overlooked despite being winning his 2 fights.

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Eh, he won both of his fights, but they've also been the two worst fights of the season so far. I don't think it's a coincidence. Although I have heard the "counter-striker" argument before, so I guess if he gets in there with someone that "lets it fly" it could be entertaining.

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I don't know, I didn't feel his last fight was bad, as it had a good story going for it and watching Matt and his boy self-destruct was worth it alone, and when Rashad did bring the action it was good. The only thing that left a sour note to me was the distinct lack of dancing. It was a case of a number periphreals being able to counter the lack of action at times and the non-existant competitiveness.

 

The reason I believe Rashad is a counter-striker, is just his fights tend to follow suit in that way. Two guys who were timid and we had portions of inactivity. It will be interesting to see what happens when he's challenged physically in a fight.

 

The only other explanation I can come up with is that he's afraid to take the chances to finish his opponents and that's why he doesn't press things (and personally, it doesn't look like he has the power to do so), and I think that at this point in the show if that is the problem, he might get more aggressive because of the fact that the guys who come out like stars at this point usually get another shot at the UFC if they can make themselves stand-out. At least if that's the case, one can hope.

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My question after this season will be:

 

Is there anyone out there over 225 who can fight worth a shit? Anyone else?

 

Because Andrei Arlovski's going to need to start dealing drugs or shaking dudes down for money if the brotha can't have a string of good fights lined up for him, since the UFC ranks are tttthhhhhhiiiinnn to say the least, then who's going to pay to watch him go through tomato cans all the time? He'll be this MMA's generation Larry Holmes (minus the Ali-like win) if things don't change.

 

I also think a Matt Hughes vs. the Godfather of Choke-outs, Royce Gracie could sell a show strong to fans.

 

Let Royce and Randy fight in the UFC until they're broken inside.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

UFC should start a development program and actively scout athletic big guys and train them for fighting. Get more integrated with the fight teams and think outside Miletich and AKA.

 

The hole in the heavyweight division is pretty easy to patch up temporarily. If Randy doesn't beat Chuck, move him back up to heavyweight and have him take on Arlovski. Heath Herring doesn't seem to be doing anything right now, so grab him up. Ron Waterman holds wins over Kevin Randleman and Ricco Rodriguez, and would be a legit tough opponent for Arlovski. It's been a long enough time since Semmy Schilt lost to Josh Barnett in the octagon and the new UFC fans would be impressed by his size. Hell, Josh Barnetts story in the UFC is waiting to get resolved. Gary Goodridge ain't doin nothin right now, and he's a K-1 tournament champion. He'd last at least a minute against Arlovski. Pedro Rizzo and Ricco both have wins over the Pitbull, there are stories there.

 

There's 9 or 10 guys right there that would have a certain amount of name value that could be quasi challenging for Arlovski.

 

Of course, the gap between the elite at heavyweight and everyone else is about from here to pluto, with the gap between the elite and Fedor being even further. A long term solution will need to be devised. The UFC is probably banking on their success to get more big guys interested in MMA rather than other sports. But for that to naturally occur, it will take at least a decade to see effective results. Right now fighting is more of a last option for money rather than an actual goal.

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I still can't believe Rizzo is only 31. That guy could still be an elite fighter.

 

Joe Rogan: If you put Phil Baroni's head in Pedro Rizzo's body, he'd never lose a fight.

Mike Goldberg: Yeah, and Baroni would speak much better English.

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