The Year End Round-Up With JB: April – June

In The News This Year,

Takanori Gomi, hell yes! This dude made his UFC debut at Ultimate Fight Night 21, which aired at 03:00 on April 1st here in the UK, thus making it fair game, bitches! Despite having had a very ho-hum time in the ring since losing to Marcus Aurelio all those years ago in Pride quite a few people were giving him a shot against his opponent Kenny Florian. I guess the theory goes that Florian is overrated because he was on TUF and what have TUF contestants really accomplished anyway bla bla bla. Other, more ridiculous, punters were claiming that Gomi was overrated and didn’t deserve the hype he had back in the day.

For those of you who lived under a rock during the Pride Bushido days (BJ Penn among others, considering he wasn’t ranked #1) Takanori Gomi went on a ten fight win streak on his way to becoming the first Pride FC Lightweight champion, utterly destroying every fighter in his path. Trust me, his competition was not a set of scrubs as at this point in time Pride FC had easily the best Lightweight division in the world.
Gomi also had one of the most exciting fights in Pride history against Tatsuya Kawajiri, so let’s take a look at some vintage Gomi action

That was the Gomi of old however and recent days haven’t been kind to him. He’s sort of the Vitor Belfort of the Lightweights, possessing ridiculous talent and skill but with a mind game that can shoot his best efforts down despite everything. In their battle Florian managed to outwork Gomi every step of the way, using his reach and technical striking to stay one step ahead and eventually sink in a rear naked choke to finish an exhausted Gomi.

Gomi did rebound against Tyson Griffin later this year and redeemed himself with a trademark violent finish. Is Gomi’s fire back or will he continue to be inconsistent? We’ll find out in 2011.

Also in April the UFC held it’s most international event yet, UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, which was ultimately a disappointment. This was mainly due to some lackluster fights but also due to misplaced hype, in this case in regards to the two main events. People were expecting BJ Penn to absolutely destroy Frankie Edgar, who most didn’t even think deserved a shot for the title. Hell, I’ll admit I was scoffing at the whole deal! Then something weird happened: Edgar won. Disputed as the call was he won/stole the title nontheless and already the event had the crowd confused and a little unruly. Thankfully a rematch was scheduled immediately to settle the score once and for all and allow Penn, who allegedly had a cold (or something), to be deadly serious next time.

Then came the main-main event with Anderson Silva going up against one of the best jiu jitsu players in the world in Demian Mai; Striker verus grappler, Brazilian versus Brazilian, patience versus JESUS FUCKING CHRIST DO SOMETHING!

In the end the fight ended up being marginally more exciting than the Thales Leites fiasco but way more embarassing for Zuffa management who had just put on one of mainstream MMA’s most boring fights this year in front of their new shareholders. Dana White was understandably furious and claimed that Silva would face consequences for his behaviour, which I guess is one explanation for his bruised ribs in the Sonnen fight. Don’t embarass Irishmen and Italians I guess…

Speaking of embarassing Strikeforce aired it’s now infamous event in Nashville on the 17th of April, featuring Gilbert Melendez making professional asshole Shinya Aoki look like an amateur, Dan Henderson getting destroyed by a man half his size and the Diaz brothers keepin it real on prime time TV.

Yeah, that brawl was something… strange. Even after some time it was hard to tell exactly how it started, not to mention why. Ok, the why part is pretty self explanatory; Jason Miller entered the ring (media later claimed he “invaded” the ring but I seriously doubt the Irken Empire would send Mayhem on a stealth mission) while Jake Shields was holding his victory speech, flanked by the Diaz brothers of course. At some point during his mad rant he got in the vicinity of Diaz’s face (which Diaz is still unclear) and they proceeded to take him to the cleaners on live TV. Good old family entertainment which for some reason freaked CBS out and led to months of negotiations having Strikeforce dangerously close to losing their cable deal.
Miller later apologized for the incident, taking full responsibility which wasn’t entirely fair but hey, at least he proved that he can be the bigger man when required.

Following this Nick Diaz and Miller started trading insults online and a fight between the two seemed a very real and very exciting possibility. Thankfully Strikeforce realized how watching a fight like that would be too awesome for our feeble mortal minds and spared us the spectacle in favour of more predictable fights like Diaz vs KJ Noons (spoiler: Diaz totally whupped his ass).

King Mo also became the first man to beat the new and improved Gegard Mousasi using good old fashioned wrestling and the biased Western MMA Rules. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of good old fashioned wrestling, hell it’s the martial art I myself came from, but holding someone down whilst getting your face bashed in shouldn’t be seen as winning! Didn’t we all agree that Clay Guida getting the nod from one judge against Sanchez was bullshit for the very same reason? We need to make a decision here, and it’s a big one: what’s more important between controlling a fight and trying to finish a fight?

We also saw WEC hold it’s first and only PPV event which turned out incredible fights as usual with one standing head and shoulders above every other fight this year. Chan Sung Jung, AKA The Korean Zombie! took on hard hitting veteran Leonard Garcia in what was, put simply, incredible. This is the fight you show your friends to get them into MMA. It’s that simple.
In fact, I’ll help you out

Leonard Garcia Vs Chang Sung Jung

The event also saw Manny Gamburyan turn off the lights in Mike Brown’s head and Jose Aldo showing Cecil Peoples why leg kicks count. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Urijah Faber’s little diary chronicling his leg after that fight then do so just for the absurdity of it all.

Speaking of absurdity, UFC 113 featured a match that had no shortage of that. Josh Koscheck vs Paul Daley was billed as a classic Striker vs Grappler match from the get go; Koscheck being one of the most decorated wrestlers to show up in MMA and Daley being a muay thai powerhouse with an astonishing record of brutal finishes. Problem with billing a fight as Striker vs Grappler is that thanks to Royce Gracie we already know how that’s gonna end.

Historically this fight will best be remembered for how both men managed to make complete asses of themselves on live TV. First Koscheck over sold an illegal knee to the head to the point where even the crowd noticed (not that you can convince Koscheck of that. Say what you want about him but he’ll stick to a story better than an LA cop) and then Daley, frustrated by the fight and apparently furious from whatever sweet nothings Koscheck whispered in his ear in the closing seconds, landed his best shot of the night long after the final bell had rung. This led to his contract being terminated and supposedly banned from the organization. You know, just like all the other dudes that would never fight in the UFC again.

Shogun Rua got his revenge against Lyoto Machida later that night following a brutal KO that truly came from out of nowhere. There are many speculations as to what Machida may be working on for a future rubber match and if I may be so bold I’d like to throw my hat in the ring: Study Ray Amsley! The guy can kick saws!

The rest of May was relatively dead so to fill this void THQ released the excellent UFC Undisputed 2010, a welcome addition to any game library. No, stop, don’t give me a load of bullshit on how the submission system is broken or the AI being invincible. Stop sucking and enjoy the fact that this game, for all it’s flaws, at least didn’t turn out like EA Sports MMA.
If you guys want an in depth comparison of the two my fee is one quart of Wild Turkey and hour.

JUNE! Only one story really mattered this month and that was the cataclysmic event of Fedor Emelianenko finally losing a fight legitimately. Not only that but to subpar competition like Fabricio Werdum, who’s only a multi-time ADCC and world Jiu Jitsu champion… ok maybe I’m the only one who thought Werdum at least stood a chance here. I won’t lie, I was shocked when it happened but the possibility of a grappler of Werdum’s caliber hitting a submission wasn’t impossible, just highly improbable.

Naturally this loss sparked thousands of doofuses crawling out of the woodwork and whining about how this proved that Fedor was overrated and how a 30 fight win streak really isn’t that big of a deal and bla bla bla. You know what? Go fuck yourselves. There, I said it, go fuck yourselves. Yeah it’s annoying that Fedor never went to the UFC but here’s the cold hard truth: your favourite fighter, no matter who it is, will lose. Eventually they will all lose. As long as you’re competing you run the risk of getting your ass kicked and this time Werdum shocked us all by not only figuring out how to beat Fedor but how to do it early. He deserves respect for that. Fedor is a dude who competed and dominated through several generations of fighters and whether you consider him to be top pound for pound, heavyweight or whatever you at least have to credit him for that. Also, one loss in 34 fights isn’t a necessarily a sign that he’s on the way out so hold your horses until his next fight, which should be soon barring any more crazy Russian antics.


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