UFC 91 – Lesnar v. Couture

UFC 91 Presented by Gears of War 2 – Lesnar v. Couture

I haven’t bought a UFC fight in years. I am a big fan — I watch The Ultimate Fighter every week — but I mostly watch UFC on DVD. But I couldn’t miss the return of Randy Couture, who is one of my favorite fighters.

10:14 – Middleweight bout

Demian Maia (9-0, 31) v. Nate Quarry (16-2, 36)

I didn’t know anything about either of these guys coming into the fight but here is a super quick summary based on the pre-fight promos:

Quarry was a popular member of the original Ultimate Fighter cast. He was out for two years with serious back injuries but won two in a row since his comeback; he is looking to make it three in a row.

Demian Maia is a ridiculous 9-0 in MMA and one of the most technical and sharp jiu-jitsu fighters in the world. I noticed the Axe Murderer Wanderlei Silva in Demian’s corner.

Quarry is an unorthodox striker with big hands. Like I said I don’t know much about these fighters but they say that Quarry has good takedown defense and it seems unlikely (based on Maia’s record and background) that Quarry wants to go grappling.

Maia comes out striking; it looks kind of sloppy to me, but…

All of a sudden Quarry has Maia in a queer kind of arm lock.

Maia is on top inside of 30 seconds; Quarry still has an arm but before I can finish typing the sentence Maia is in full mount. For those of you who don’t know fight-speak that means Demian is on top and has his legs on the outside (rather than being enveloped by the legs of the man on the ground); this is generally considered the dominant position on the ground.

Maia is tremendously talented on the ground… Quarry gives up his back inside of 1 minute. For those of you who don’t follow fighting, this basically means that he is no longer facing Demian and Maia can strangle him at will — possibly the worst position you can be in against a trained jiu-jitsu fighter.

Unsurprisingly, this already looks desperate. Body lock – Maia is just pounding on the side of Quarry’s head… all kinds of blunt strikes against Nate’s noggin. He isn’t in any kind of a rush.

Nate is in a really rough spot… He’s just using his hands to keep Demian’s hands off of his face so he can’t disrupt his breathing, but Demian has all the control.

At best Quarry can fight for 3 minutes to prolong to second round…

Nope. The choke out is inevitable at 2:13.

Heavyweight bout

Gabriel Gonzaga (9-3, 29) v. Josh Hendricks (18-4-1, 32)

I don’t know anything about Hendricks, but I’d root for him for a couple of reasons; he is from Ohio (like me), plus he was Captain America’s training partner setting up for the main event against The Next Big Thing. Hendricks was a two-time All-American in rasslin’ and is riding an eleven fight win streak.

However I really respect Gabriel Gonzaga. I’ve seen Gonzaga fight a couple of times. The first one was a head kick that put away Mirko Cro Cop… kind of a kick that rocked the world for MMA fans; the other fight was of course the heavyweight title bout against Randy Couture where he broke Randy’s arm… but Randy still won. By the way how insane is Randy Couture? Twentysomething 250+ monster Gabriel Gonzaga broke his arm and Randy knocked him out WITH THE SAME DAMN ARM. That man is why I bought this Pay-Per-View.

These two huge fighters tap gloves.

Wrestler and jiu-jitsu black belt… Predictably clinch almost instantaneously.

Wow they are big strong bulls. Everything about how they move is heavy… big heavy hands from both sides.

Gonzaga has a hold of Josh’s head for a second but it doesn’t last. Then Gonzaga is landing kicks.

One minute.

WTF? WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

One minute?

Don’t blink I guess!

Gonzaga set Hendricks up with a knee then hammered Josh in the head with a big fist. Josh dropped but the ref didn’t stop the fight [yet]. Gonzaga drops a second vicious head punch with Josh on the ground and they call it.

In the post-fight, Gonzaga predicts a Couture win, so he agrees with me (and apparently 61% of the fans) rather than the casinos 🙂

10:38 – Welterweight Fight

Round One

They didn’t do a lot of pre-fight on this one. So I don’t know anything about either of them except for the fact that one of them has CondomDepot.com on his butt and the other is wearing white trunks.

CondomDepot.com guy seems to be taking a beating… Impressive strikes from White Trunks.

White Trunks is landing a ton of nice — if light — blows, including head strikes and knees to the body.

Wow! White Trunks is foot stomping, too. I respect a foot stomp. Really good strategy.

Okay. CondomDepot.com guy seems to have hit a second wind. He goes for a submission… Misses it… Switches to a different submission.

These guys are really going for it. I wish I knew what their names are so I could give them props.

Wow CondomDepot.com guy has just nuked White Trunks with a beautiful elbow from the bottom.

Reversal – CondomDepot.com guy is on top but he is not really in control. This is almost certainly going to the second round.

Wow, there might be a mistake here. White Trunks is in a choke… Can he last the last 20 second? Never mind – he’s out.

I would give Round One to White Trunks but CondomDepot.com was fabulous on defense and really came out at the end of the round; I can see a judge voting for him.

Round Two

White Trunks looks tanked. Lots of sloppy strikes and takedown attempts. White Trunks seems like he hits the takedown but CondomDepot.com is better on the ground and has his arm locked.

White Trunks has the perfect defense — this is something Teddy Card Game used to talk about — and kind of like Matt Hughes anti-jiu-jitsu defense; he is slamming CondomDepot.com on his head once, twice. Wow! CondomDepot.com is not letting go. That’s bad news for White Trunks. CondomDepot.com is not letting go. Yep. That’s it. Submission by armbar.

CondomDepot.com wins!

10:49 – Welterweight bout

Tamdan McCrory (22, 11-1) v. Dustin Hazelett (22, 13-4)

Dustin Hazelett is a newly-minted jiu-jitsu black belt.

Tamdan is how shall I say this… handsome. He looks really nice with his spectacles. However with his shirt off he has lot of tattoos, so ultimately not my type.

McCrory thinks he has a wrestling advantage but I don’t see how that’s possible if Hazelett’s black belt is legitimate.

Hazelett has a gigantic beard. Katherine can’t believe that he is going into the octagon sporting that.

So on merit of his black belt I think Hazelett is ahead but he is definitely behind on the beard v. cute glasses metric.

They tap gloves. McCrory comes out looking like one hundred times the striker that Hazelett is. His fists are lightning.

What is this? Hazelett stuns McCrory and Dustin literally flies across the ring in an attempt to hit a Sagat-like flying knee… but Tamdan is out of the way, robbing Dustin of the nod on Sportscenter.

Tamdan tries a head kick… glances.

These guys are both skyscrapers by the way, 6’1 and 6’4.

Tamdan is launching big kicks. They really look like they hurt. You can hear the weight behind them.

Wow! Hazelett just hit Tamdan on the jaw… stunned him but Tamdan keeps getting out of the way before he can capitalize.

I keep saying that Tamdan is the more impressive striker but Hazelett seems to be the one actually LANDING the better hits; he’s rocked McCrory at least three times.

For good grapplers, one of which is a jiu-jitsu black belt, no one is going for anything on the ground.

Dustin misses a huge head kick… but the follow-through seems to turn the miss into a ground submission!?!

Okay, now it’s on the ground. Let’s see how that jiu-jitsu prediction holds up… Hazelett has a decent leg hold on Tamdan’s right arm but Tamdan isn’t really in a spot to lose, at least not immediately. Hazelett is rubber. He is Plastic Man. His legs are like BJ Penn’s.

It looks like Tamdan is going to try to stall out the clock… just not losing, but Hazelett is not going to let that happen.

Yep, black belt wins with a crazy arm submission. Hazelett actually looks fantastic in the finish. His legs are like some kind of insane pretzel. I don’t know if he is actually BJ Penn class but he LOOKS very good… This one is going to go to the highlight reel.

I am skipping an undercard lightweight bout for a bio break. BRB.

Okay I am going to chat a little about Randy v. Brock — tonight’s big fight — during this excellent lightweight fight.

It looked to me when they brought Brock Lesnar into the UFC that they were giving him a soft match with Frank Mir. In fact, if you saw the fight, Lesnar came out destroying Mir with superior strength and striking. However he hit Frank illegally and the ref separated them. Brock was simply not used to a jiu-jitsu black belt, though, and the reversal was instantaneous. Brock was hitting Frank harder than I had seen anyone hit in a long time, but all of a sudden, Frank had him in a submission, ending the fight in the first round.

Randy Couture is the kind of guy who is “used to” fighting bigger, stronger, faster… and YOUNGER fighters. However he is not a jiu-jitsu fighter. I don’t know that Randy is going to be able to pull out a surprise submission on a guy with Brock’s physical ability.

But at the same time, Randy beat Gabriel Gonzaga WITH A BROKEN ARM. He literally knocked him out WITH that broken arm. Randy Couture is not human. At 45, he is the big reason that this is probably the biggest PPV buy the UFC has ever seen. Randy hasn’t fought since that fight. Despite multiple fights against Chuck Liddell, they are billing tonight’s fight as the biggest challenge of Couture’s career.

So who is going to win?

I am picking Randy.

Vegas is picking Brock.

Why am I picking the former retiree, who is more than a decade older than the blond phenom he will be facing? Because Randy Couture has made a career of defying the odds.

I think Brock is going to come out with a ton of energy, and that Randy is going to try to weather the assault and pull the fight to deep rounds, where his cardio can overcome Lesnar’s obvious size advantage.

I think that many buyers — and I am in this crowd — just want to see Couture’s strategy, and HOW — win or lose — he approaches beating Brock Lesnar.

Okay, back to live fights…

11:23 – Lightweight bout (co-main event)

Kenny Florian (32, 12-3) v. Joe Stevenson (26, 34-8)

I have seen Joe Stevenson fight once… But it was against my favorite fighter BJ Penn; Joe was utterly destroyed. Nothing against Stevenson… just the only time I’ve seen him fight.

I have seen Kenny Florian fight several times but I can’t really remember any of them. I think they ware both jiu-jitsu black belts — which is amazing — but they say that Florian is the more impressive striker. Florian is six years older than Stevenson but has a huge height and reach advantage.

The winner of this fight is probably going to get a shot at BJ Penn (even though BJ is moving up in weight class to challenge Georges St. Pierre at Welterweight… probably going to buy that by the way).

By the way I don’t know how this is actually the co-main event.

Lightweights are so much more mobile an faster. You immediately see them dance… it is so different from heavyweights or even welterweights

Stevenson throws bigger punches. These are big hooks but they are not really landing.

Florian’s kicks are just off the charts.

Stevenson is on the attack, and gets Kenny on the chin… He is trying to corner him.

It’s hard to see who is winning, but Kenny is against the side of the octagon. Both seem to be jockeying for position with dirty kicks, &c.

Joe went for a big slam but Kenny grabs the fence to break it up. Very nice strategy. Heh. Kenny just got a warning from the ref for grabbing the fence (if he does it AGAIN it will be a point deduction) but hey, he didn’t get slammed to death.

Okay… Nice boxing from Florian; nice jabs.

Stevenson hits hard but he is sloppy. Florian is just a much better striker.

Boom! Kenny slams Joe down to the mat.

BIG fists.

Kenny takes the mount!

Yeah… Joe is done.

BIg punch. Big Punch. BIG PUNCH… Full choke.

Kenny just earned a shot against BJ Penn.

Okay… here is the fight we have all been waiting for!

11:42 – Heavyweight title bout

Randy Couture (45, 16-8) v. Brock Lesnar (31, 2-1)

The crazy thing about Randy Couture is that he spent a big part of his career at Light Heavyweight. He beat Tito Ortiz and won a title over Chuck Liddell at Light Heavyweight. Randy quit heavyweight because he was too small.

Yet he came out of retirement to steal the heavyweight title.

FYI Brock was the NCAA rasslin’ champion. He is SO big. Yet undeniably quick on his feet.

Yet with a 45 lb. weight disadvantage, 54% of the fans are picking Randy over Brock… I’m one of them.

Randy is going to focus on avoiding Brock, hitting without being hit. Did I mention how big Brock is?

Brock just said “You’re just too damn old to be here.”

Randy is 45 years old… but “time is just a number.” He has a gigantic grin on his face. The people love Randy. I love Randy.

The crowd boos Brock, loves Couture. Man is Brock big.

Okay, let’s go.

Round One

Brock is basically a gigantic gorilla. It’s almost comical seeing them in the ring together. They don’t even seem like they are in the same weight class.

Brock opens up with knees.

Randy pushes Brock to the fence.

Brock is sending knees again.

Randy is SO much smaller.

The crowd is firmly behind Couture.

RAN-DEE
RAN-DEE

Brock with these knees again. All knees.

Nice! Randy rocks Brock with a right hand.

But Brock’s hands are huge.

Okay! Here comes Brock with a spear…

Fail!

They are up against the fence. Brock accomplishes a takedown.

Randy snakes a half guard, holding Brock’s neck simultaneously.

Brock mounts… But Randy is out!

Randy has Brock’s back!

Only for a moment.

Now Brock mounts… Nope, Randy’s half guard again.

The last 30 seconds have been slippery.

Randy is holding Brock’s head and hitting Brock in the side… but they are nothing to write home about.

Yet he is not going to let Brock get an advantage.

Brock has some big punches.

… Randy only has to survive for a minute (this round is feeling interminable)

Uh oh!

Wow, Randy is out again.

Randy stands up and the crowd roars.

Randy escaped Brock’s ground game with minimal damage.

Randy has some momentum now… but is still small compared to Brock.

Randy is priming for a takedown. This is unbelievable.

Okay, whistle.

Great first round… It looked scary for Randy a couple of spots but he kept his cool. I don’t know if you definitely give it to Brock. I don’t know how much the judges consider the weight disadvantage and Randy’s honest attempts on offense.

The crowd still knows who they love.

RAN-DEE
RAN-DEE
RAN-DEE

Round Two

Brock opens the round with a nice jab. Follows up with an elbow that gives Randy he wobbly knees.

Randy quickly pushes Brock to the fence to buy time and recover.

Brock looks like he hit Randy in the back of the head, but no complaints so far.

Brock is SO BIG.

He is hitting a few knees.

Randy answers with two solid strikes to the head.

Pow! Randy cuts Brock over the right eye. Can Randy expoit this?

Damn. Brock keeps connecting.

… But Randy has the cut.

Randy defends Brock’s spear takedown AGAIN. My heart is racing.

Randy is actually tring to take Brock down.

Wow. How long can Randy absorb Brock’s punches?

Yep. Brock nails a gigantic fist and stuns Randy – Now it’s 100 hammer fists.

Brock is literally all over him.

The ref lets Randy take quite a few strikes before stopping it; he was giving Randy a chance to get out from under Brock’s attack.

… And Brock is the new champ.

Randy initially looked pretty steamed but he is smiling as they announce the loss.

The entire room is boo-ing Brock.

“That’s just a big son of a bitch. That’s all there is to it!”

The people still love him. It’s more-or-less over at 12:12.

Well, I was pretty disappointed by the finish. Randy was cryptic about his future (will he retire again questions)… He says he is getting BETTER as a fighter. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Anyway, that was my UFC 91.

So how many of you out there were heartbroken at Brock Lesnar’s victory?

LOVE
MIKE

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12 comments ↓

#1 ReeceP on 11.15.08 at 11:00 pm

I am ecstatic that Brock won! Brock wins, Florian wins (Florian beating Huertas at UFC 87 was got me hooked) and then my Colorado Avalanche won the hockey…just a day full of win for me 🙂

#2 otwellc on 11.15.08 at 11:09 pm

Brock Lesnar is a MONSTER of a Person!

That Face off pre-match instant, where you could see his arms were twice the width of Coultures was INSANE!

#3 admin on 11.15.08 at 11:18 pm

It looked to me like Brock hit Randy in the back of the neck on the important strike. I think if he had not dropped Randy, Randy would have found a way to exploit the eye cut. I think that would have been a great story. Then again I was cheering for Captain America, not The Next Big Thing.

#4 Macdaddy on 11.16.08 at 2:36 am

Thanks for the up to date analysis. Used to be a UFC fan when it first started but had drifted away, spending money on MtG cards instead of UFC cards.

I am a huge Brock fan though. I never watched him in the WWF or whatever entertainment wrestling association he was involved with but I am from Minnesota and watched him dismantle other All-American wrestlers with his quickness (for how big he is). There were many matches during the season where opponents would not even get on the mat with him. Young “invincible” 22 yr-olds would forfeit the match. A match where Brock couldn’t do 90% of the stuff he does in UFC and he would still hurt these world class athletes. He lost his jr. year 2-1 in the NCAA championship match and won it his sr. year.

He also tried out for the Minnesota Vikings but because of a bum knee and his probable relegation to the practice squad (he did show potential) he decided to go to Japan? To start MMA training (couldn’t compete in the USA because of contract obligations to the WWF? for a couple years.) He is an occasional guest on a local sports radio show and has been nothing but a super competitive, ultra MN nice, fun type of guy.

Congrats to Brock (though he would not have beaten Randy in his prime)

#5 ReeceP on 11.16.08 at 6:19 am

I thought it was the temple, but it does look bad from certain angles. I came away from that fight a Randy fan though, he was a class act. I was rooting for Brock because i’ve been a WWE fan of eight years, and a UFC fan of four months. I’m really looking forward to seeing the direction from here, especially after the Lesnar vs Nog/Mir fight, and even down the weight scale, as i’m always keen to see where Florian goes to next (talking about after the obv title fight).

#6 KZipple on 11.16.08 at 8:42 am

I was really hoping Randy would win, but I didn’t think it would happen. It just felt like so much to go right for Randy to pull it out. Brock is so fast and so big…as we saw, any slip up from Couture could basically be game over. He foiled the take down, but ultimately didn’t have the tools to mount a real offense. No phase 3?

#7 admin on 11.16.08 at 1:11 pm

This is a response to KZipple…

I think that Randy had the open for Stage Three. Literally the OPEN — the cut on Brock’s right eye — remember when Randy lost his own title at Super Natural it was due to a cut on the eyelid. I think if he hadn’t gotten clobbered with that one punch, he would have tactically opened Brock up and forced a fight stoppage. Wouldn’t that have been some kind of story?

#8 KZipple on 11.16.08 at 2:29 pm

I didn’t think about the cut, not realizing what an impact it could have. Given that it is good for that much leverage, I totally agree that he had the open.
What about before that though? I feel like Randy had to be going on a sort of attrition with value plan with his superior stamina, but but that seems a bit weak. What his strategy was for the fight wasn’t made too clear, but I don’t seem much of one for him.
Also, phases seem pretty contrary to the spirit of UFC. Probably thinking too hard.
Lastly, reading Mike writing about Randy makes me think it’s Randy Buehler. That would be way more exciting than the Berlin Top 8 was.

#9 spg on 11.16.08 at 4:06 pm

Randy is 45 years old… but “time is just a number.” He has a gigantic grin on his face. The people love Randy. I love Randy.

If you love Randy so much, then definitely don’t read his book – he lives his life basically as a contest to see how many wives and families he can cheat on.

I’d recommend becoming a Minotauto fan. He is, for real, everything that you (and lots of UFC fans) want Randy to be.

#10 admin on 11.17.08 at 1:40 am

Hi spg,

Thanks for the post.

Everything I’ve seen from Minotauro on The Ultimate Fighter leads me to believe he is a great guy.

However — even if what you say about Randy is true — his comeback and force of will in combat sports are inspiring (to me at least).

#11 tongonation on 11.17.08 at 9:48 am

I am officially not coming back for at least three days. Mike, you just wrote about three thousand words on UFC, and we have, on multiple occasions, discussed that the results of a UFC match can be summed up in one of two ways, each less that twenty five words, and all you have to do is drop the participants’ names into the blanks.

And this wouldn’t bother me so much if you hadn’t guilt tripped me into not having come to the site since you posted the what is the play entry.

#12 admin on 11.17.08 at 3:03 pm

Jon if you don’t come back in three days you will miss at least two — if not three — new video posts!

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