By Spilled Bag of Ice
A couple of years ago, I used to write a weekly column called “Spilled Bag of Fights” for a website that no longer exists. I would wrap up the week in MMA with a nice blend of insight and snark with an occasional dash of straight up surrealism and hilarious photoshopped, errr, hilarity. In going back and looking at some of them, I realized that they were awesome and the obligation to write a weekly column, as much as it chapped my lazy ass, made me write. Strangely, the weeks where I thought ‘I got nothing’ were often the times I would get creative and wind up with some of my best work. Anyway, the long and longer of it is that I cannot, with a clear conscience, deny you my genius any longer. Ladies, gentlemen, transgender people, animals that can secretly read, the emerging sentient collective consciousness of the internets and, of course, the NSA…
SPILLED BAG OF FIGHTS IS BACK!
So, let’s talk about some UFC One Hundred and Sixty-Four: Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson vs Anthony ‘ Showtime’ Pettis
MW Magnus Cedenblad def. Jared Hamman Submission (guillotine choke) Round 1 – 0:57
From the land of Death Metal and affordable yet stylish home furnishing comes Magnus Cedenblad, a fighter no one will mistake as a kid from Jersey. Hamman has a neck that makes you think his nickname should be ‘The Giraffe’ instead of ‘The Messenger’ so, when he took the Swede down, Cedenblad was able to lock up the guillotine choke faster than you can say ‘Ikea’. This leaves Hamman 2-5 in his UFC career and 0-2 against Swedes –losing his UFC debut against Light Heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustaffson.
LW Al Iaquinta def. Ryan Couture Decision (unan) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Trust me when I say no fighter wants to be told they’re tough and have a ton of heart after a fight unless it’s followed by ‘to come back and get the win like that.’ Ryan Couture is certainly worthy of that dubious honor of being the guy that you have to admire for his tenacity and heart but unfortunately for him, it was showcased by being completely outworked and overwhelmed by Lawnguyland’s own Al Iaquinta. Iaquinta should earn himself a leap up in competition after such a dominant win… and some spaghetti an’ meatbawls and a cannoli or two on his coaches Matt Serra and Ray Longo. Couture needs to shore up some holes in his game but with heart, a chin and solid jiu-jitsu, he’s got all the potential in the world.
Let’s be fair, the first couple minutes had some decent exchanges on the feet and some good scrambles and submission attempts from the bottom by Krylov. After that, well… severe exhaustion made these professional fighters look like two drunks brawling in the parking lot of a biker bar because someone didn’t like how the other guy looked at his ‘old lady’.
BW Chico Camus def. Kyung Ho Kang Decision (unan) (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
This was a close back and forth scrap with ‘Mr. Perfect’ Kang handily winning round one, Camus winning the second and the third back and forth until Camus landed an upkick that dropped Kang, nearly finishing him and certainly sealing the third round and the victory for Chico. Mystifyingly but sadly not shockingly, one judge scored it 30-27 for Camus. It’s not like the first round was tough to call at all… for anyone. This is where we’re at, folks.
WW Hyun Gyu Lim def. Pascal Krauss KO (knee & punches) Round 1 – 3:58
Lim is a product of Korean Top Team and a teammate of everyone’s favorite undead Asian fighter Chan Sung Jung better known as ‘The Korean Zombie’. Lim is a HUGE Welterweight and basically out struck and manhandled Krauss until machine gun punches and a missile of a knee turned the German ‘Panzer’ into shrapnel on the battlefield of the Octagon. See, how I played off his nickname ‘Panzer’ which is a tank? Huh?! Clever, right? I’m a writer, folks. I got a million puns and cheesy metaphors ready to assault your sensibilities with. Come at me, bro!
FLY Tim Elliott def. Louis Gaudinot Decision (unan) (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
There are beards and then there’s BEARDS and then there’s the sublime bramble-of-hair, chinstrap of uber-masculinity that Tim Elliott is rocking. Look at that thing! Good God, man! It’s like the Parthenon or the Great Pyramids. You don’t just look at it… you behold it.
Gaudinot, on the other hand, with his green mop of hair, looks kinda like a young Diego Sanchez going to a Halloween party dressed as the Joker. Don’t get me wrong, Gaudinot is no chump but when you’re facing a guy with the courage to wear a beard like that, not to mention throw the occasional Capoeira-style kick that statistically has like a 1% chance of really landing (but how cool if it does), you’re gonna be in for trouble. Tim dominated the fight as evidenced by the 30-26 scores on two of three judges’ scorecards. Bizarre, flashy style aside Elliott is a guy who backs it up with serious skills. Is he ready for a Benavidez or McCall next? He’d be a substantial underdog but he hung with Dodson for three rounds and even won the third. Options are limited in the still developing Flyweight division so, give him a top five guy. McCall vs Elliott: Super ‘Stache vs Badass Beard. Two dudes who love to fight and put on a show – Guaranteed awesome.
LW Gleison Tibau def. Jamie Varner Decision (split) (29-28, 27-29, 29-28)
My prediction for this fight was Varner wins a split that probably should’ve went to Tibau. Why? Well, it’s easy to see why I thought it would be a close fight. Both guys match up very well -what one is better at the other possesses solid defensive skills in. Predictably Varner’s better cardio allowed him to take the third round but it was a little too late and Tibau was still game enough to defend the submission attempts from Varner. The amount of canceling out of each other’s skills didn’t make for an exciting fight but it made for a really interesting technical match that I enjoyed watching.
FW Dustin Poirier def. Erik Koch Decision (unan) (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
AKA: The Attack of the Clones. They look alike; have similar skills, styles and records. Koch maybe a better technical boxer while Poirier has a little more power and aggression. I won’t use the cliché ‘it came down to who wanted it more’ since that unfairly questions Koch’s heart and dedication. I will use the cliché ‘MMA is a game of inches’ though since that is what it came down to. Two great fighters but Poirier was just a little better that night. He started strong and left Koch struggling to make up the lost ground.
HW Ben Rothwell def. Brandon Vera TKO (punches) Round 3 – 1:54
Brandon Vera had a clear path to beat Ben Rothwell. Use his kicks and range to score points and stay out of range and if Ben manages to close the distance use the Muay Thai clinch and land some knees and elbows, repeat, wear Ben, who’s shown cardio issues in the past, out and take over. Well, the kicks part worked. But Vera also just kept circling the Octagon like he thought he was Lyoto Machida… Lyoto Machida on a merry-go-round. But what works for Machida didn’t really work for Vera when Big Ben kept plodding forward and picking his shots and Brandon was the one who gassed out. In round three, Rothwell, not content to let it go to the judges and bolstered by the hometown crowd cheering him on, decided to do a big boy impression of Clay Guida bouncing and shuffling. Vera seemed mesmerized. ‘What the hell is this big galloot doing?’ Backing Vera against the fence, Ben unleashed on Vera who may’ve called out for his mommy before Herb Dean stepped in. I guess you could say Rothwell could handle the Truth. Or Big Ben let Vera know what time it was. Writing people… writing.
FW Chad Mendes def. Clay Guida TKO (punches) Round 3 – 0:30
Clay “Fuck Yo Title Shot” Guida has made a career of spoiling people’s title shot plans of late. ‘He always does it’ my friends Dom and Patrick asserted. Yup. It always happens until it doesn’t. I picked Mendes. I knew he would have a hard time landing on Guida as well as getting him down and keeping him down because, let’s face it, Clay Guida is like a quantum particle. You can’t measure where it is, you can only estimate the probability that it will be in a certain place and it could seemingly be in two places at once. While this defies common sense, it’s how quantum physics and Clay Guida rolls. That being said I thought Mendes would be able to do enough to edge out a decision. I mean them Team Alpha Male cats have a notoriously vicious and effective guillotine but Clay is equally notoriously hard to submit. And a knock out or TKO was out of the question. Guida has been in all out brawls with some heavy-handed dudes over the years and it never happens. It never happens… until it does. By far, this was ‘Money’ Mendes’ most impressive T/KO since he discovered the dynamite in his hands. Another title shot at Jose Aldo? That’s money in the bank. Oh! I did it again!
HW Josh Barnett def. Frank Mir TKO (knee) Round 1 – 1:56
Frank Mir is a guy who likes to feel his opponent out for a bit and look for a weakness or a mistake to exploit and Mir is one of the best at that. His fight IQ when he’s allowed to do that is exceptionally high. However, when you have a veteran and one of the best heavyweights in the sport known as the ‘Warmaster’ pumped up on Death Metal and thinking about murder and carnage looking to rip you to shreds and gently moisturize his skin with your blood… it’s a bit hard to be analytical. That is what happened when Josh Barnett met Frank Mir Saturday night. Barnett went after Mir and didn’t let up until he dropped Mir with a knee and the ref stepped in. It’s the perfect gameplan to neutralize Mir and one that plays into Barnett’s natural Warmastery skills. Some, including Mir, believed the stoppage was premature since Mir was okay right after the fight was called. However, Mir did drop and not in a ‘to grab for a leg’ way but more in the ‘knocked unconscious’ way… albeit only for a moment. But that is what the ref saw causing him to step in. Could it have gone a bit longer considering how quickly Mir came to? Sure, but it was an appropriate stoppage from referee Rob Hinds. And remember Hinds’ sight is 20/20. Bah-da-Boom! I’m here all week, folks. Don’t forget to tip your waitress. Welcome back, Warmaster.
UFC Lightweight Championship Bout
LW Anthony Pettis def. Benson Henderson Submisson (armbar) Round 1 – 4:31
Remember that time in the final WEC card when Anthony “Showtime” Pettis ran up the cage and kicked Benson Henderson in the face, knocking him down, taking his belt and apparently staining his soul? If you don’t, you surely remember it from the forty thousand commercials shown in the past week. Let’s not forget that despite the long reaching shadow of the epic and soul-staining ‘Showtime Kick’, that was a close fight that was dead even in most people’s minds heading into that fifth round. We, and Anthony, had to wait close to three years for this rematch to happen. Injuries forced Pettis out of his fight with then Champ Frankie Edgar to unify the WEC and UFC lightweight titles and in that absence, Benson Henderson took the title and defended it an impressive three times against top level guys. Pettis came back from his injury and had his title shot dashed by aforementioned Clay Guida cause that’s what Clay does (unless he doesn’t). Pettis then beat Stephens, Lauzon, and Cerrone and sick of waiting for his title shot, decided to drop to 145 to face Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title. Pettis gets injured, Korean Zombie gets Aldo, Pettis heals up just in time to step in for the injured TJ Grant to face none other than Ben ‘Smooth’ Henderson for the Lightweight Belt. You can see how this is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. Subscribe to whatever machinations you’d like: Zuffa conspiracy, fate, crazy happenstance, it doesn’t matter -one way or another, it was going to lead to this rematch at some point.
Henderson usually uses top-notch footwork to avoid danger but right off the bat he couldn’t seem to get out of the way of Pettis’ brutal leg kicks to his body. Finally, they began to take a toll when Pettis remembered, ‘Hey! I’m Showtime! Cartwheel kick? Fuck yeah!’ It didn’t even come close to landing and Pettis wound up with Ben on top of him. Which you think is a bad position for Pettis. I mean, he’d better try and get up, right? It’s not like he’s gonna submit Henderson off his back. Henderson has only been submitted once. In 2007. In his 3rd pro fight. (Somewhere Rocky Johnson was like watching going, ‘Eh, I did it first.’) So, aside from the choke Rocky got on a Greenhorn Bendo, he’s survived… like 3604 submission attempts successfully since then. Nate Diaz, Cerrone, Varner… and Pettis isn’t a guy you think of as a jiu-jitsu master so, there’s no way… HOLY SHIT! PETTIS JUST ARMBARRED HENDERSON!!!
Now, let’s bring it on back around. It never happens until it does. And now we have a new Champion and some interesting possibilities match-up wise.
Benson, you’re one of the best in the world and seem like a truly awesome and cool, genuine guy. You’ll be back and your fights never disappoint… Oh, by the way, I just looked up Rocky Johnson on Sherdog and ironically enough he lost his last fight by armbar too. If you’ve got a Johnson stain on your soul, at least you can take solace in that.