— Round one: : Kongo is a heavy favorite in this one. Early on, Al-Turk threw a leg kick, Kongo caught it and landed a right that put Al-Turk down. Kongo didn’t follow up though, and let Al-Turk up. Al-Turk expended a lot of energy trying for the takedown, but Kongo defended well as they clinched against the cage. Al-Turk accidentally hit him with a knee to the cup, and timeout was called. On the restart, they clinched, and Kongo returned the favor with a low blow. It's not MMA; it's Roshambo! They restart again; Kongo nailed Al-Turk with a hard right behind the ear, then one on the chin. Al-Turk went down and Kongo followed up with short elbows followed by heavy rights from the top, until referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight.
Winner: Kongo by TKO
Round one: Surprisingly, there was a a feeling-out process early on, as they circled around and Rampage showed off some increased head movement. Rampage tried a takedown two minutes in that was easily stuffed. The end came quickly and shockingly. Silva threw a right cross that missed, and Jackson countered with a left hook. It landed right on the chin and Silva was unconscious before he hit the mat. The ref stepped in but Jackson landed two more shots before being pried off Silva.
Rampage gets a measure of revenge on Silva, who knocked him out in similarly brutal fashion in their last fight with a knee to the face.
Winner: Jackson via TKO
Round one: These two have excellent wrestling backgrounds and they competed against each other in junior college. Massenzio rocked Dollaway with a right, then got a guillotine. Massenzio looked like he had it, but Dollaway pulled out. Massenzio ended up on top and worked quickly to improve position. Dollaway got full mount, and Massenzio gave his back up. Dollaway landed punches from the back mount until ref Yves Lavigne stopped it for another first-round stoppage.
Winner: Dollaway by first-round TKO
It certainly looked like Dollaway tapped or had the intention of tapping during the guillotine, but Lavigne was on the opposite side of the possible tap and didn't see it. Dollaway used the reprieve to pull out and went on to win.
First round: Nice uppercut early from Mir, who snaps Nogueira's head back. Mir gets the takedown but eventually lets Nogueira up. Mir smashed Nogueira with a left hook and Nog went down. Mir winning the fight early on. Nog answered late with a right against the cage. Another big left by Mir as the bell ends. Excellent round for Mir, probably a 10-8.
Second round: Mir rocked Nogueira with another left, then another. Nogueira went down and was in big trouble. Mir chased him to the ground and pummeled him with a series of punches until ref Herb Dean stopped it.
Winner: Mir by TKO
First round: Fight goes to plan early, with Griffin taking the center of the octagon and Evans counter-punching. Griffin uses his length well, and that will be a key for him. Both land heavy leg kicks three minutes in. Griffin landed a shot to the body that Evans winced at, which was the most significant punch of the round. Close round, likely to Griffin.
Second round: Forrest flurried early in the round, and though he didn't land much, it likely made a good impression on the judges. Griffin is staying busy. Evans landed a big right with a minute to go. As the round ended, Griffin landed with an overhand right that caused Evans to wince again, but looked like a finger landed in his eye. Another close round.
Third round: Evans hammered Griffin with a right, Griffin went down and Evans followed up with hammerfists and powershots from the top. Huge scoring shots for Evans. Forrest defends well for a while before taking a big elbow from the top. That opened things up for him. Evans landed a solid right, then jackhammered him with lefts from the top until ref Steve Mazzagatti called the fight.
Winner: Evans by TKO
(Note: These fights may be seen on the TV card if time permits, so do not read if you hope to see them)
Patrick Barry def. Dan Evensen via TKO (injury), Rd. 1
Brad Blackburn def. Ryo Chonan via unanimous decision
Matt Hamill def. Reese Andy via TKO (strikes), Rd. 2
Antoni Hardonk def. Mike Wessel via TKO (strikes) – Rd. 2
Yushin Okami def. Dean Lister via unanimous decision
The UFC closes out 2008 with a bang, with an event that should put it over the top as biggest pay-per-view revenue year ever.
A few (hopefully) interesting notes and observations to share before the main card action kicks off…
I don’t have the final odds handy, but Forrest Griffin went off as the favorite in his light-heavyweight title defense against Rashad Evans. In my estimation, Griffin is quite solid in every aspect of the game, but not a spectacular fighter, and has less room for error than most of the fighters he’ll be facing at the highest level, including Evans. This is because Griffin lacks true knockout power and also does not have a strong wrestling background, which many fighters use to keep themselves out of trouble when they sense it approaching.
Griffin will have to win by outworking Evans from start to finish. He certainly is capable of doing it (65 percent of NBCSports.com readers think he will according to our poll), but it’s tough to do that every time out, and when you fight an opponent that is athletically superior as well as an equal in fight IQ as Evans is, it could be a long night.
One thing that hasn’t been mentioned much: Evans and his wife just had a baby. That certainly could have impacted the intensity of his training. We shall see.
I was a bit surprised that Nogueira checked in at 246 pounds during the weigh-ins. In his last fight, he was just 237. Either he’s trying to pack on some weight in hopes of meeting Brock Lesnar in a more even size matchup should he beat Mir, or he is not in his usual shape.
Nogueira is a big favorite, but I have a weird feeling about this match. Mir is probably more motivated than he’s ever been in his life. He idolized Nogueira and trained harder than ever, knowing that a victory over Nogueira silence all his doubters forever. Everyone expects him to lose, and that usually allows a fighter to be free and clear in his thoughts and actions. On paper, Nogueira should win, but put this one on the upset watch.
Many people are picking Rampage to win the third time around. Why? I suppose it because Jackson moved to a new camp and says he is treating himself and his diet as a pro athlete for the first time of his life.
In both of the first two fights, Jackson controlled the fight with takedowns and ground-and-pound before Silva got the better of him in standup. If Rampage can stay disciplined and revert to his wrestling roots, he is capable of winning, otherwise the fight might come to the same conclusion as the first two.
UFC wooing Ishii
Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii is expected to be President Dana White’s guest at UFC 92.
The Japanese star captured the gold in the 100+ kg weight class in Beijing, and afterward voiced his intent to compete professionally in mixed martial arts. Most expected him to sign with a Japanese organization, but he reportedly turned down a $6 million offer in hopes of signing with the UFC.
The 22-year-old is in Las Vegas, and according to Japanese news reports, was invited by White to train with Randy Couture. The 5-foot-11, 240-pounder would like to compete as a heavyweight but is more likely to end up as a light-heavyweight.
The signing would give the UFC a drawing card as it continues its expansion abroad. The UFC has always intended to run a show in Japan, but has always lacked the local drawing card to do so; Ishii would change that.