Talking Smack: UFC 160

Here is my review of UFC 160 which was held on the 25th May 2013 Hi everyone, here is my first UFC debrief in the aftermath of UFC 160. I've offered a few of my thoughts as a spectator and a vague run down of the fights with the results as well.

What an event! From the first time I saw the full lineup I knew this was a card to watch and god damn it delivered the goods. Unfortunately, aside from mozzie Robert Whittaker's hard-on inducing stoppage over GOAT blanket Colton Smith, it was a terrible night for New Zealand. Here are my thoughts on UFC 160.

Jeremy Stephens vs Estevan Payan

Poor, poor Estevan. Much is said about the infamous "octagon jitters" experienced by a UFC debutant but in Estevan Payan's case I think the real hurdle he faced was the murderous ferocity and skill of Jeremy Stephens. Lil Heathen proved to be too much, too soon for Mr Payan who was cut early and ended up playing lead role in a borderline snuff film.

A lot of Kiwi's tuned in to a UFC pay-per-view today for the first time after the mainstream media deigned to shine a little light on our boys making it in the big leagues, and if any of them happened to catch the facebook prelims they're probably seeking counseling by now. Shit, I feel like I need counseling just for enjoying that bloodbath. The aftereffects were clearly visible as two gigantic blood patches sitting right in front of the announcers booth.

Jeremy Stephens won via unanimous decision

George Roop vs Brian Bowles

A bit of an upset here as George Roop flattened Bowles with a stiff jab followed up with some pin-point ground and pound. Bowles started off strong, dropping Roop in the first round and taking it on my score card at least. Roop's corner were convinced he had stolen the round but I strongly disagree.

Coming in to the second, Roop seemed to gain confidence and timed Bowles perfectly with the aforementioned jab. It wasn't a particularly hard shot, but Bowles virtually impaled himself on it charging forward and I think that is what gave it that extra sting. The follow-up ground and pound from Roop was measured and precise and it wasn't long before the ref jumped in to save Bowles.

George Roop won via TKO in round two.

Stephen Thompson vs Nah-Shon Burrell

Honestly, this fight was pretty boring. Thompson did his best to take the fight to Burrell with his hands down, side on style but Burrell did a good job of covering up and negating most of Thompson's flashy kicks. Burrell's offense was limited to a few well placed knees and some potshots, but overall it was pretty lackluster from an entertainment point of view. Stephen Thompson won via unanimous decision

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Abel Trujillo

This fight was one I was looking forward to eagerly as Nurmagomedov has quickly become one of my favorite fighters with his crazy woolen yeti hat and his ridiculous sambo style. What with Rustam Khabilov also coming on strong, the Russians are beginning to make what I believe will be a serious mark on the UFC.

The story of this fight was takedowns. Nurmagomedov simply destroyed Trujillo. It wasn't particularly exciting or violent, but the technical mastery was pretty awesome, akin to Demian Maia vs Jon Fitch in my opinion. Trujillo was so frustrated by the third round he was appealing to the ref to help him out. Like Joe Rogan said, however, if you're getting your ass handed to you like that you either do something about it or take it like a man and get back to the gym to shore up the holes in your game. Considering Trujillo is something like a four-time all American wrestler, however, I don't know that there is that much he can work on. Nurmagomedov (I fucking hate typing that, it's like finger yoga) is simply on another level so far as grappling is concerned.

Khabib Nurmagomedov won via unanimous decision

Robert Whittaker vs Colton Smith

This fight gave me serious vicarious satisfaction. I felt as though I had achieved something through Whittaker putting Smith and his terrible haircut away. Ever since his stint on the Ultimate Fighter, I've had a real grudge against Smith. As I said earlier, he's the GOAT boring blanket fighter. His fight with Mike Ricci was about as exciting as a game of bridge at an old folks home (one without dementia patients) and his terrible US Marines gimmick just rubbed me the wrong way.

Whittaker had a funky lead hand low style and he ate a big right hand in the first round for it, but from then on it was all him. Whittaker constantly made Smith miss then punished him for it and in the first minute of the third round he caught Smith coming in with a nice right hand and pounded on him until the ref stepped in. Both Smith and myself protested the stoppage as being early, but both for very different reasons believe me.

Robert Whittaker won via TKO in round three

Dennis Bermudez vs Max Holloway

In what I feel was the robbery of the night, Bermudez pulled off a split decision win over the young Max Holloway. Don't ask me how he won, because I don't think that he did. The story of this fight was Holloway's sprawl and brawl, fending off the majority of Bermudez's takedowns and picking him apart at range.The highlight for me was a spectacular turning side kick from Holloway which caught Bermudez flush in the chops as he bent down.

Again, I don't see how Bermudez earned the split decision but then again I'm not a judge so there you go.

Dennis Bermudez won via unanimous decision

Mike Pyle vs Rick Story

Mike Pyle is my boy. Every time he faces adversity he draws upon the power of his glorious blonde mullet and pulls something ridiculous out of his ass. His deceptively strong plumm and submission game seem to give everyone trouble and this fight was no exception. Despite eating a terrifying shot from Rick Story which literally had him laid out against the fence, Pyle once again pulled off the split decision with some sick knees and a sneaky guard bringing me much joy in the process. If Rick Story could sort his gas tank out he could really be a contender in the welterweight division, however I just don't see that happening and I believe both of these men will continue to hover around the middle of the division taking out the up and comers that just don't have it.

Mike Pyle won via split decision

Donald Cerrone vs K.J. Noons

I feel bad for Cerrone. He's awesome, both as a crazy redneck and as a fighter, but he just doesn't quite have what it takes to crack the top of the lightweight division. Luckily for him, neither does Noons, who is at least two steps behind Cerrone.

The big surprise in this fight for me was the take-downs and ground dominance of Cerrone. I knew he was going to take it to Noons on the feet, but it was sweet to see him show some ground skills from top position for a change. And he did some damage. He beat Noons like he owed him money. Regardless of his future as a title contender, he's got a fucking awesome first name and I'll always be excited to see him fight.

Donald Cerrone won via unanimous decision

T.J Grant vs Gray Maynard

Wow. T.J made his mark on the lightweight division this evening. He took a few big shots but caught them on his ferocious beard and when it came to be his turn to land he did so in emphatic fashion, starching Maynard with a sick right hand only two minutes in to the first round. Maynard has never been outrageously easy to finish, but Grant made it look simple and I imagine Benson Henderson's sphincter tightened a little at the thought of staring that Canadian beard down. If Edgar can sit Henderson on his ass then Grant may pose some serious problems for ol' Benson somewhere down the line. I'd like to see Grant fight Melendez next.

T.J Grant won via TKO in round one

James Te Huna vs Glover Teixeira 

This is where the event took an emotional downturn for me and most likely the rest of the country too. Te Huna came in to this fight a real underdog. He's not particularly good in any one area, but his gigantic balls and genetic advantage being Maori have made up for any short comings he's shown so far. Teixeira is a terrifying man, but Te Huna did us all proud by taking the fight to him on the feet and I thought he actually looked pretty good with his tight boxing and decent clinch work. I think Teixeira felt the same as he jumped on the guillotine the second he had the chance, quickly tapping out Te Huna. Sick technique regardless, and I'm excited to see what's next for Teixeira.

I'd say Te Huna is going to be stuck in the middle of the division from now on and I don't see him as a future title contender at all, but I'm proud to say I'm from the same country. I wish him the best in his career and I'll always be a supporter.

Mark Hunt vs Junior Dos Santos

Fuck. What a heartbreaking ending to Hunt's Cinderella story. This fight was just depressing on so many levels.

The first thing that struck me was Hunt's shirtless entrance. I'm assuming fighters make a great deal of money through sponsorships, and where better to put some logos than on your walkout shirt? Furthermore, his shorts lacked a single logo beyond the UFC down the leg, and I'm pretty sure that was just the branding of the shorts. Considering this was likely the biggest fight with the most exposure thus far in his UFC career it seems ludicrous to me that he would walk to the cage shirtless. I was hoping someone would ask him at the press conference but he was hospitalized after the fight so there was no chance of that.

I'm unsure of what exactly his game plan was coming in to the fight also. I thought his best chance was to counter JDS against the cage, which he had plenty of chances to do. That HUGE right hand in the first round most likely blew all thoughts beyond survival out of his mind, but still slightly disappointing.

That knockout was fucking devastating. I truly felt crushed watching that. Hunt is notoriously hard to rock, let alone knock out, so to see him flattened and then stumbling across the cage was really heartbreaking. Also, just a side note, when the fuck did Dos Santos learn to kick like that? Edson Barboza set off a scary trend when he flattened Terry Etim in Brazil, as spinning kicks have started to come on strong in the UFC. First Belfort merked Rockhold, then Dos Santos murdered Hunt. I'm still going WTF over that by the way. It will be a while before that makes any sense to me.

On a positive note, Mark Hunt is the man. What a legend. He gets less than a fraction of the respect and recognition in this country that he deserves. He has achieved more on a world scale than David Tua ever did, yet Tua is a household name and Hunt is unknown to virtually everyone outside the hardcore fans. I have a feeling he may have been slowed down against JDS by his gigantic swinging nutsack cause that right hand would have put down a bull elephant, but Hunt bounced right back up after a little rolly polly and kept cranking. That blood coming out his ear really had me worried, and it made me think perhaps his eardrum was burst by that punch. Regardless, I take my hat off to Hunt and I really hope this exposure has put him in the pantheon of mainstream New Zealand sporting heroes, none of whom stack up to the mighty Huntoo in my opinion. There are still plenty of exciting match-ups left in the shallow heavyweight division (Big Country, anyone?) and I hope Hunt will be back to bring the pain and make himself some top dollar in the process.

Junior Dos Santos won via KO in round three (with a WTF spinning headkick)

Cain Velasquez vs Bigfoot Silva

Well, what an anticlimax to this fantastic, yet depressing, card. Considering the heavyweight title was decided with a technical knockout, that's saying something. The problem was that aside from the fact that Silva was standing up rather than on his back when he got laid out with the big right hand, the end result was exactly what everyone thought it would be. There was a little bit of controversy after the fact relating to the legality of the follow up shots, but overall it didn't do much for me.

The only real excitement came at the press conference where Silva called for penalization of shit referees and Dana White agreed with him wholeheartedly before announcing that there will definitely be a rubber match between JDS and Velasquez before Christmas. Yay!

Cain Velasquez won via TKO in round one

Bonus News

At the press conference Dana White announced the retirement of  The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner and ex UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin. The sport, and by extension those of us who love the sport, all owe Griffin a lot. Without his mental brawl with Stephan Bonnar we wouldn't be enjoying the fights we do today so all the best to Mr Griffin and his self-depreciating humor.

Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think. Comments and criticism are equally welcome.