UFC 149 Prelims – There’s a reason why the UFC when putting together an event structures the fight card the way they do. The name fighters are placed on the pay-per-view because they are more likely to sell PPVs than the fighters on the prelims. That said, last night was the rare occasion where the prelim bouts were much better than those on PPV and were worth the money that the rest of the show wasn’t. The prelims kicked off with a fast paced three round contest between Anton Kuivanen and Mitch Clarke which was mostly contested on the ground as both men showed off their grappling prowess. Kuivanen would win a close split decision and things would only get better. After a 10 year career Antonio Carvalho picked up his first UFC win with a first round stoppage of Daniel Pineda getting the crowd on their feet. Bryan Caraway and Mitch Gagnon fought a competitive bout through two rounds but by the third Gagnon was exhausted which allowed Caraway to take him down and submit him via rear naked choke.
Things really picked up from there as Ryan Jimmo made his UFC debut a historical one as he knocked out opponent Anthony Perosh in a record tying 7 seconds of the first round. Both the KO and Jimmos ensuing robot dance sent the Calgary crowd into an uproar. The early finishes continued when Francisco Rivera ended Roland Delormes night with strikes in the first round. The prelims ended on a bit of a bad note when Nick Ring won a controversial decision against former Ultimate Fighter winnerCourt McGee in the least entertaing fight on the undercard. You know a decisons bad when the home fans booed the decision for Ring. That contest aside the preliminary fights got UFC 149 off to a great start, unfortunately it wouldn’t continue.
Karl Amoussou - It didn’t take long for Karl Amoussou to win the finals of the Bellator welterweight tournament as he submitted Bryan Baker in 56 seconds with an inverted heel hook. After a brief respite when Amoussou was poked in the eye the bout continued and “Psycho” took “The Beast” to the mat quickly applying the submission that saw Baker immediately tap out. With the win Amoussou picked up a $100,000 check and an opportunity to face Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren for his title.
UFC 149- It started off well enough, after the aforementioned prelims the UFC 149 pay-per-view began with Matt Riddle and Chris Clements battling it out on the feet and ground for more than two and a half rounds before Clements went Chael Sonnen and threw an ill advised spinning back elbow that missed badly allowing Riddle to lock on a standing arm triangle choke. Riddle took Clements down and finished the submission shortly thereafter and it seemed like this was going to be one of those events with low expectations that are exceeded. It wouldn’t last. The first of four straight decisions began next with James Head earning a split decision victory over a flat Brian Ebersole. Whether Ebersoles performance was due to the fact that he last fought 4 weeks ago is unknown but he certainly didn’t perform like he had in his prior UFC bouts, all victories. That was followed by perhaps the worst fight of the night as Cheick Kongo and Shawn Jordan spent the majority of 15 minutes clinched against the cage with little to no action. There’s really not much more to say than Kongo won the decision while fans watching lost.
The co-main event figured to be a violent affair as former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard made his long awaited UFC debut against Tim Boetsch. Apparently neither got the memo as we were witness to three rounds of Lombard standing around looking intimidating as opposed to fighting so while Boetsch was content to throw kicks and attempt the occasional takedown. Boetsch would be awarded the debatable victory in a bout where both men fought uninspired. This brought us to the main event between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao for the interim UFC bantamweight title. This was far from the worst UFC main event but after the fights that preceded it anything less than an explosive contest would’ve been disappointing and as I’m sure you can guess by now fans didn’t get what they wanted. Barao was in control for almost the entire 25 minutes it lasted while Faber was relegated to attempting an ineffective strategy throughout. What made the fight forgetable was that at no time after the opening round did you think Faber could win whereas Barao never came close to finishing him. The Canadian crowd voiced their displeasure plenty during the pay-per-view and rightfully so as an event that started out so promising turned out to be anything but.
Bellator 72 - This past Friday Bellator continued it’s Summer series but unfortunately unlike the weather most of the fights were less than scintillating. The broadcast kicked off with an anticipated third bout between Marius Zarmoskis and Waachim Spiritwolf. Based on the styles of each this is a matchup fans were looking forward to when first announced in 2010, unfortunately their initial encounter ended only seconds after it began due to an eye poke. The rematch back in May was going as expected, a back and forth slugfest until it was stopped after the second round due to a cut on Spiritwolf, who was ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. The third meeting produced little fireworks as Zaromskis used a sound strategy to outpoint Waachim from a distance while Spiritwolf spent more time adjusting his gloves than throwing punches. The contest went the distance but to make matters worse one of the three judges somehow scored it for Spiritwolf. It wouldn’t be the last bad decision of the night.
Next up were the two semifinal bouts of Bellators current light heavyweight tournament. First up was a dull 15 minute bout that saw Travis Wiuff control Tim Carpenter on the ground with one brief exciting moment when Wiuff carried Carpenter across the cage before slamming him down. Other than that there’s not much to say. That was followed by Attila Vegh winning a bad split decision over Emanuel Newton in a contest that was characterized more by what each couldn’t do to their opponent than vice versa. I thought Newton did enough to earn the victory but unfortunately two of the three judges saw otherwise. Paul Daley handled business as expected halting Rudy Bears in the opening round of his Bellator debut but even that was far from spectacular. Thankfully Karl Amoussou closed the event on a good note but I already covered that earlier and even so it wasn’t enough to save this event.
Adrien Broner - This weekend Adrien Broner continued to divide boxing fans that either like or despise him. It all started on Friday when Broner weighed in 3.5 pounds over the 130 pound limit and in turn lost his WBO title on the scale. His opponent, Vicente Escobedo agreed to go through with the fight provided Broner not weigh in 10 pounds heavier the morning of the contest. Broner would end up tipping the scales at 143.5 and it looked like the bout was off but after further negotiations that saw Escobedo being paid upwards of twice his original purse the fight was finally confirmed. As expected Broner dominated Escobedo for the majority of the bout en route to a corner stoppage in the fifth round. Broner displayed little contrition for coming in over weight and did his usual post fight antics. As long as he keeps winning “The Problem” will do as he pleases and fans will watch to either cheer him on or in hopes he loses.
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