Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

UFC 93 Not very impressive

UFC 93 last January 17, 2009 at The O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland. The crowd opened the evening with chants of "Ole Ole Ole" and I wondered if we were watching a European football match.

Marcus Davis vs Chris Lytle Welterweight Bout
Both promised a fight to remember and while it won't be one of the best, it is something they will remember as both left the octagon with bruised ribs, puffy eyes, and nasty welts.
Chris Lytle is a fighter who would rather stand toe-to-toe and slug it out. But he possesses a good ground game. Marcus "The Irish Hand Grenade" Davis who always enters to House of Pain's "Jump Around" is just as adept at boxing and striking.

In the first round, Lytle set the tone for the fight with a hard right that hurt Davis (it would quickly develop into an ugly mouse). The two traded punches throughout but the round would go to Lytle.

In the second round, because of Lytle's aggressive stance, Davis absorbed a lot of punches early on but he quickly put points on the board when he tenderized Lytle's body with powerful leg kicks. After he knocked down Lytle with a hard right, Davis followed it up with a body kick and a knee to the head that quickly puffed up the former's right eye.

By the third round, Davis took the advice of his coach and beat Lytle to the punch and danced away from those vicious uppercuts that missed by a fraction of a second. Davis was able to stick in more combo shots to go with head kicks and when he knocked down Lytle momentarily, that was all he needed to seal the win for Ireland's adopted son. Davis won by split decision.

Alan Belcher vs Denis Kang (UFC debut)
Alan Belcher who has shown tremendous knockout power was up against Denis Kang a Black Belter in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Belcher is seven years younger than the 31-year old Kang who was born in France but is Canadian by citizenship. And Kang was making his UFC debut.

While it didn't seem that Kang's UFC inexperience wasn't going to hurt him as he got off to a good start with wellplaced strikes. He got Belcher down on the canvass twice but was unable to inflict any serious damage. The American gained more confidence in handling the Canadian's ground game and when he went down for a third time, he quickly used Kang's momentum to sweep him into a guillotine for a quick tap with 23 seconds left in the second round.

Winner by submission Alan Belcher.

Jeremy Horn and Brazilian Rousimar Palhares
Does this look like a mismatch? The 33-year old Horn who hails from Utah pales in comparison to the size of the muscular Brazilian. And the free style fighting American surely had to worry about the ground game of Palhares who has massive power.

A quick feint and Horn ducked and Palhares swept him to the canvas and he was in deep shit almost immediately. After a couple of minutes fending off Palhares, Horn was able to get to his feet if only for a few seconds before going down again. Horn barely survived the first round and showed no offense. Got no licks in.

At the start of the second Palhares lifted up Horn and threw him once more to the ground. But Horn was able to get to a full mount position where Palhares was able to avoid an arm triangle. Horn gets a nice shot at Palhares' face before being taken to the mat again until the horn blows to end the second round.

The Brazilian started the third round with a suplex as he found himself mounting Horn again and trying to hammer down the American from behind. But the Brazilian was unable to finish Horn or inflict serious damage. But he did get a unanimous decision in a more technical fight than anything.

So far UFC 93 wasn't that exciting.

The co-main event of the evening. Shogun Rua vs. Mark Coleman.
A grudge match after Coleman, the first ever UFC Heavyweight Champion, broke Rua's leg. in a match in 2006. But as great as the sub-plot is, how good can Coleman be if he is 17 years older than the Brazilian?

Big leg kick by Shogun to start. But Coleman sent Rua to the canvass. Coleman got another punch before he pulled Rua again to the mat. But Shogun made Coleman eat a couple of knees and gave him three straight leg kicks. Coleman looked totally exhausted because of the takedowns.But the American survived the first round.

A relaxed Shogun came out for round two and missed a couple of roundhouses. Was he hurt in the first round because he seemed slower while Coleman looking heavy got in some good licks.

Had both expended a lot of energy in the first round? Rua was able to isolate Coleman's arm to get him to submit but the Brazilian didn't look like he had the energy to flip him over. And again, Coleman survived the round.

Towards the end of the third, after breaking grappling, Rua got in six straight shots that dropped Coleman and the referee stopped the fight in favor of Rua. Sorry. Totally unimpressive fight and a win by Rua.

Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson (Light Heavyweight non-title bout)
If the undercards weren't that great, then it was up to the Main Event to salvage an otherwise ho-hum UFC 93.

Franklin got in an early punch before Henderson, who took the title from Rampage Jackson sometime back, gave a leg kick. As Henderson slipped, Franklin failed to capitalize as the champ got him instead on the mat. It seemed tense for a moment before Franklin broke free and they faced off once more in the center of the octagon and traded punches and kicks. An accidental headbutt by Henderson opened up Franklin's head. The first round went to Henderson by just a bit but the second was a draw.

An accidental poke in the eye by Henderson decked Franklin but after a minute's rest they resumed the fight. But no knockouts or further takedowns. So it was up to the judges.

And Hollywood Henderson was declared the winner by split decision only because he won round one. Now he gets to captain Team USA in Ultimate Fighter.

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