UFC 94: St. Pierre vs. Penn II – live commentary

94poster

 

Nate Diaz vs. Clay Guida

I didn’t care much for the judging in this fight. Guida wins a split decision but for what? OK, it’s impressive that you stymied Nate Diaz on the ground, but less so when you had the dominant position every time on the ground and yet administered no offense yourself. In the stand up, Diaz clearly got the best of him in Rounds 1 and 3. You never know what will happen when the Diaz’s are involved after a fight but Nate was a good sport about the decision. Clay bores us all by saying thanks to everyone he’s ever met in his life. Joe Rogan has to cut him short. Did he just win an Oscar? No , just an undercard lay-and-pray split decision victory. Shut up Clay..

At this point the live crowd has witnessed six straight fights going to decision and I’m wondering if that will effect their excitement level later on. (Granted, many of the people don’t arrive until the start of the PPV card)

Winner: Clay Guida by split decision

 

Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim

I liked the first two rounds. Some nice grappling by both guys going on. Kim clearly wins the first round, Karo clearly wins the second. Third round, NOTHING happens, and it’s basically a coin toss as to who to give Round 3 to, and decide the fight… Karo wins the split decision. Really disappointing Rounds 2 + 3 by Kim, given his reputation, and his great showing in the first round. Karo had his mouthpiece falling out of his mouth the whole fight and almost lost a point for it, which would’ve made the difference in the fight obviously.

That makes SEVEN OUT OF SEVEN straight decisions for the live crowd!! When a fight actually gets a finish they will go crazy.

Winner: Karo Parisyan by split decision

 

Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones

Best moment of the night so far as Jones lands a WICKED spinning elbow that knocks Bonnar out momentarily. Jones gives him a little too much time before pouncing on top of him, and Bonnar is able to recover. Goldberg calls it a spinning backfist (sigh). Jones hits an incredible suplex on Bonnar in the second round!!! Holy shit. I love this guy; sick talent and such a unique style; nothing like the generic guys that UFC typically churns out. Alas, the third round is a dud yet again, and we go to the scorecards again in what should be a unanimous decision for Jones.. and it is

Winner: Jon Jones by inanimous decision

 

Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva

Amazing. What odds could I have gotten on LYOTO having the first finish of the night?? We saw two men with identical 13-0 records matched up but clearly Lyoto was in a totally different class than Thiago Silva. He completely dominated the round and then finished the fight with a nasty leg sweep takedown followed by one punch on the ground right before the buzzer that knocked Silva out.

Lyoto with a nice interview afterwards that gets the fans hyped up. I guarantee Dana White breathed a sigh of relief after this result. If this fight went the distance, it would’ve been a real close call whether they’d have enough broadcast time for a 5-round main event to finish.

Winner: Lyoto Machida by KO Round 1

 

MAIN EVENT: Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn

St. Pierre grinds the Prodigy down for 4 rounds, scoring takedowns, ground and pounding, etc. for a dominant victory. After 2 rounds, B.J. had taken enough punishment that he just didn’t have much energy and from that point GSP was able to pass his guard at will. I don’t fault his conditioning, he was just beat up. GSP looked awesome but was clearly the much bigger guy and the weight advantage in my opinion made all the difference. I think both St. Pierre and Penn are incredibly talented and are pretty even in terms of skill, and in a situation like that, the bigger guy will prevail, and St. Pierre was the bigger guy. I don’t think any less of B.J. Penn after this loss. He was fighting up, and could probably beat a lot of guys at that weight, but not a super-elite fighter like GSP. I still consider both guys to be top 5 pound-for-pound.

Winner: Georges St. Pierre by TKO (corner stoppage) Round 4

 

Recap / overall thoughts: It was a ok show that didn’t live up to the hype. On paper, it looked fantastic but Diaz/Guida was a big letdown, while Parisyan/Kim and Bonnar/Jones had their moments but kind of fizzled out with unsatisfying finishes. The main event was a nice exhibition of GSP’s skills but he usually doesn’t win flashy and this was no exception. The highlight of the night was Lyoto Machida’s crushing win over Thiago Silva. Offensively, he looked explosive, and defensively he once again was amazing. He was basically untouched. I’ve got him as a solid favorite to beat Rashad Evans.

 

Addendum: I’m watching the MMA Live recap show and they are interviewing Karo Parisyan, who makes a classic mistake. His opponent, Dong Hyun Kim’s previously undefeated record was brought up and Karo dismisses it, says that Kim was only fighting tomato cans! Maybe true, but, Karo- you just beat the guy. Why tear him down like that? Wouldn’t you rather be the guy who just beat a tough, undefeated fighter? If he only build up his record by beating up on cans, then why should we be impressed that you beat him?

2009 Daytona 500 recap

OK, so about 1/4 of the race didn’t get run due to a rain stoppage (when the forecast was that rain was inevitable). But hey, at least we got all of that 2+ hours of pre-race! We know where NASCAR’s priorities are..

I felt bad for Chris Myers having to go on and on about how great Digger is. This guy is supposed to be the face of Fox sports programming. Could you picture Bob Costas shilling for Digger like that?

Put me squarely in the camp who blame Vickers for the big wreck with his totally insane block, while he was a lap down no less. But, Vickers in his interview afterwards noted that pretty much everybody blocks in plate races and, the man does have a point. The nature of plate racing encourages blocking. NASCAR consistently does nothing about blocking and does nothing about plate races in general. Implicitly, with their lack of action, they are supporting blocking and they are supporting 20-car pileups at every Daytona and Talladega race. Don’t you think most sanctioning bodies would be mortified if there was a 20-car pileup in virtually every one of their ‘safe’ plate races and drivers and fans alike discussed it as if it were an inevitability? At NASCAR it’s all good!

I was disappointed in Bill Elliott’s showing. There was a lot of talk about their prospects in this race but it turned out to be same as usual for Wood Brothers – always in the back of the pack.

For maybe the first time ever, it’s possible to feel sorry for Kyle Busch. He was far and away the class of the field. The guy is in the lead 90% of the race, faster than everyone and more importantly keeping himself in the one spot when you’re not in danger of being collected by the ‘big one’. He finally slips back a few spots for a short while and promptly gets caught up in the big one, triggered by two lapped cars. Horrible luck for Kyle.

The best part of the day was Kenseth getting choked up in victory lane. It’s pretty rare to see any emotion from him but he was overwhelmed winning the 500. That was good to see, as he’s a deserving winner.