The Ultimate Fighting Championship 26: Ultimate Field of Dreams!
– I’d say that I hoped whoever came up with that name got fired, but they probably did, so that seems a bit mean.
– Live from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
– Your hosts are Mike Goldberg & Jeff Blatnick.
– New weight division tonight, as the success of Jens Pulver has prompted SEG to come up with “Bantamweight”, for fighters under 155 pounds. I’ll be glad when we get to the actual sanctioned era with real weight classes so I don’t have to translate every one.
Bantamweights: Jens Pulver v. Joao Roque
Roque is a pure BJJ guy and Pulver is a pure striker, and I don’t know why they had such fascination with that matchup at this point. Roque shoots in and gets stopped, and he’s swinging wildly. Pulver stops another takedown, wanting nothing to do with the ground, and the standup battle continues. Roque fails another takedown, but Pulver isn’t really doing anything here either. Roque finally drops to the ground trying to lure him in, but the round ends with Jens getting a few shots in. 10-9 Pulver.
Round 2 and Roque is swinging and finally gets his takedown, but Pulver quickly sweeps him and ends up on top, then stands it up again. And again Roque tries to lay down. Give it up, man. But no, Pulver has to stuff another takedown attempt, and even Mario Yamasaki is getting sick of helping Roque up. Another takedown goes nowhere, like this fight. Round expires with the crowd booing. 10-9 Pulver. He didn’t do anything, but he had total control.
Round 3 and it’s more of the same and I’m not even gonna bother recapping it. 10-9 Pulver and an easy unanimous decision in a shitty fight.
Lightweights: Matt Hughes v. Marcelo Aguiar
It’s another style clash here, although I’m thinking Hughes can handle the ground game of the Brazilian. Just a hunch. This is Matt’s first appearance on PPV, although he was in a prelim earlier. Aguiar tries a takedown, but Hughes slams him out of the guard and works him over from the top. Aguiar is bleeding badly and Hughes lets him up, then dives in for the finish attempt. Aguiar survives, barely, but Yamasaki calls it off and they stop it due to bleeding.
Middleweights: Alex Andrade v. Amaury Bitteti
Bitteti had a good showing against Don Frye way back at UFC 9, but then disappeared. Andrade is out of the Lion’s Den and a former champion kickboxer, but he’s wearing shoes so he can’t kick. Yeah, that makes sense. They trade strikes and fight for a takedown. That goes nowhere, so Bitteti NAILS Andrade with a right, stunning him against the fence. Andrade gets a shot in and Bitteti goes down, but Andrade kicks him in the face, with his shoe no less, while he’s down. What kind of an idiot makes that mistake? So that’s a point deducted. Andrade puts him down again and they clinch on the fence, with Andrade getting short punches in. But then he kicks AGAIN for another foul. He’d be winning, but the round is instead 9-8 for Bitteti.
Round 2 and Andrade kicks him a THIRD time, so Big John calls for the disqualification at 0:48. What is this, WWE? A great fight totally ruined by a ridiculous DQ finish because the fighter was too dumb to either leave his shoes off or remember the rules.
Lightweight title: Pat Miletich v. John Alessio
You know, I’m not going to sit here and say that Miletich isn’t one of the best fighters in the world at this point, because clearly he is, but can’t they do a LITTLE bit better for him in terms of competition than yet another fighter making his UFC debut, at the ripe old age of 20 no less? It’s been 10 months since Pat’s last fight at this point, so I can maybe see them wanting to serve up a tomato can to get him back in fighting shape again, but he has to defend the title for real sometime, doesn’t he? Alessio looks really nervous here (but can you blame him?), but manages to stop a Miletich takedown attempt with a guillotine choke right away. He can’t finish the deal, though, and just switches to the guard instead. They hug it out on the fence and the round expires. I’ll be nice and say 10-9 Alessio because I don’t think he’ll make it to the full 5 rounds anyway.
Round 2 and they trade strikes, then Miletich slams him out of a takedown attempt and gets total control. Full mount, then the back, then he finishes at will with a crazy reverse armbar to retain to the surprise of no one. Man, once he got control on the ground, Alessio just turned to Silly Putty.
Middleweights: David Dodd v. Tyrone Roberts
Roberts is the younger brother of Andre “The Chief” Roberts but without the distinguished career. Or muscle definition. We get some tentative punching from both guys and Dodd shoots for the single-leg, then pulls Roberts into the guard. And it’s hugging time down there. Round ends with no clear winner evident. I’ll go with 10-9 Dodd because he bored me less.
Round 2 and Roberts blasts in with a takedown and we get some weak ground and pound, but Dodd powers up again. Dodd’s gassed but Roberts is unsure how to take advantage and just circles. Round expires, 10-9 Roberts.
Round 3 and Dodd wants a takedown, but Roberts blocks it with knees. They clinch with no action and it’s more circling. Nothing happening, and that’s a draw on my scorecard, but they give it to Roberts in a unanimous decision. Whatever, this was strictly amateur hour anyway.
UFC Heavyweight title: Kevin Randleman v. Pedro Rizzo
So a bit of background here. After my review of Ultimate Japan 2, where I called it one of the worst UFCs I’ve ever seen, someone made the ominous comment on my blog “Just wait until you get to UFC 26.” So now here we are and at this point in the show I’m thinking “Well, this hasn’t exactly been the worst show I’ve ever seen” and I’m wondering what the big deal is.
This fight is the big deal.
They’ve been hyping this thing for two hours now, with multiple video packages and promos from both guys, desperately trying to make it seem like the biggest fight they could present. Randleman charges in, but doesn’t do anything, then gets a hard takedown out of the clinch. Not much out of Randleman on top, and the round ends with him there. 10-9 Randleman.
Round 2 and it’s circle time. Big John tells them to “FUCKING GO!” but no dice. Yes, that was really the whole round. Gonna call that one a draw.
Round 3 and excuse me while I go catch a nap until something happens. Rizzo rushes in and somehow manages to get his eye busted open despite barely making any contact the whole fight. That’s amazing. Randleman adds a takedown at the end of the round to cement his awesome dominating performance. 10-9 Randleman, Fans 0.
Round 4 and Circlemania 2000 continues. The crowd, announcers and referee are all openly hostile to this fight now. The crowd boos them, the announcers openly compare this to Severn-Shamrock, and Big John tries anything to get them to engage. But neither one will. Another draw.
Round 5 continues this awful, awful fight. Now they struggle in the clinch, but at least they’re making contact. That ends soon enough, of course, and they continue to circle until the unanimous decision for Randleman. The crowd actually pelts the ring with garbage and walks out en masse before the decision is even announced.
So that one can’t be good for SEG’s image, I wouldn’t think. But then the end is near for them anyway.