UFC 81 — Results

ufc81results.jpg

Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira defeats Tim Sylvia via submission (guillotine choke) in round three
Frank Mir defeats Brock Lesnar via submission (kneebar) in round one
Nate Marquardt defeats Jeremy Horn via submission (guillotine choke) in round two
Ricardo Almeida defeats Rob Yundt via submission (guillotine choke) in round one
Tyson Griffin defeats Gleison Tibau via unanimous decision
Chris Lytle defeats Kyle Bradley via technical knockout (strikes) in round one
Tim Boetsch defeats David Heath via technical knockout (strikes) in round one
Marvin Eastman defeats Terry Martin via unanimous decision
Rob Emerson defeats Keita Nakamura via split decision

Final thoughts on the night:

On a night when all of the hype surrounded the debut of former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir stole the spotlight and the glory. Let’s not short change Lesnar, though. The former collegiate wrestling champion came out tenacious, showing his incredible power as he quickly took Mir to the ground and started dropping some scary-ass hammer fists and huge right hands. To Mir’s credit, he certainly didn’t let the size and strength of Lesnar intimidate him (Lesnar weighed in at 265, the limit, at Friday’s weigh-in but was probably closer to 290 when he stepped in the Octagon. Mir by comparison weighed in at 255 and looked about the same). On the contrary, Mir was extremely calm and relaxed even as the absolute beast that Lesnar is continued to move around like a cat, controlling Frank in side control while reigning blows upon him.

It looked, perhaps, like Lesnar would finish the fight quickly but Mir protected himself intelligently and when two of Brock’s hammer fists found the back of Mir’s head, referee Steve Mazzagatti halted the fight for about 10 seconds and allowed it to return to its feet. The two traded some shots again before Brock landed a big right that stumbled Mir and brought him back down to the mat. However, this time as the Lesnar took control Mir was simply biding his time, waiting for the perfect opening as he sat in his unconventional but affective, guard. He got an arm for a brief moment before Lesnar pulled out of it and stood up. But then, just as Brock went in close to land a knockout shot, Mir grabbed his ankle and never let go, locking in the knee-bar tight and it was all she wrote.

Mir looked very good and more on him and my thoughts of where the heavyweights should go after tonight with their next matchups.

In the other main event, Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira battled it out for the interim heavyweight championship as Randy Couture remains on the sidelines. Sylvia got the upperhand early with a couple of big shots that dropped Nogueira. But just like in almost every Nogueira fight, he got rocked early and managed to recover, extending the fight into the later rounds (in this case the third) and took the victory (in this case by guillotine choke). Sylvia really had Big Nog in trouble but because Nogueira is so good on the ground when he was rocked he still was able to avoid the ground n’ pound that would’ve put him out. And the fact of the matter is if it had been anybody with decent ground n’ pound skills he probably would’ve been finished, yet it was Big Tim who struggles in that aspect so Nogueira got away and became the interim heavyweight champ. Nogueira, it appears for now at least, will face Fabricio Werdum in his first title defense probably sometime in May or June.

Some other thoughts on the night:

  • Ricardo Almeida who finished off a very respectable Rob Yundt (took the fight with all of three days to prepare so major props to Yundt who replaced Alan Belcher who had bronchitis) very quickly with an arm in guillotine choke, looked extremely impressive. He and Nate Marquadt (who looked absolutely ripped at 185) are the real deal right now and definite top challengers for Anderson Silva’s 185 pound belt. Now challengers and potentially able to beat Silva is two completely different things but both are talented enough to warrant a beating at the hands of the Spider, who I believe to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
  • Also, I have to agree with Joe Rogan, “Tim Boetsch is a beast!” As his nickname claims he is a barbarian 100%. He’s an old school UFC fighter, who came out against David Heath and just laid the smackdown. Using a wide array of push kicks and punches with constant aggression and attack he looked like an old school UFC fighter — just bringing the heat and plain brutality. He tossed Heath to the mat like he was a rag doll and proceeded to knock him upside his head until the ref stepped in to prevent Heath from getting killed! I’m gonna keep my eye on this dude in the Light Heavyweight division as should you.
  • Tyson Griffin taking on a much bigger 155er in Gleison Tibau who had to be closer to 170 by the time of the fight, really showed his striking ability as he dodged Tibau’s strikes and countered with some nice rights and hooks of his own. Even though the fight was a bit lackluster, Griffin remains the real deal as he walked away with the unanimous decision win, look for him to stay in the title picture for awhile.
  • A lot of celebs in the house at the Mandalay Bay events center but it was really cool to see my favorite baseball player of all time in Ken Griffey Jr. sitting ringside with teammate Adam Dunn. It was also kinda cool to see the WWE stars like Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, the Undertaker all there supporting Lesnar. It’s almost as if the two have sorta merged and now the UFC is even more mainstream — gotta love that.
  • I also love seeing all of the UFC fighters there. GSP always looks classy and you gotta love Rampage. Can’t wait to see him in the octagon again!

Leave comments as always. I PROMISE this time that I will have updated rankings for ALL divisions posted in the next day or so and as I mentioned above a detailed post on Frank Mir and where the heavyweight division goes from here.

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