Sunday, July 08, 2007

UFC 73 Summary

Alright, let's take a look at the results of last night's UFC 73: Stacked.

The first fight of the night was Heath Herring Vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. I thought that this would be one of the easiest picks of the night. Although I was correct that Nogueira would win, it wasn't easy. From the start Nogueira had his way, taking Herrring down and peppering him with blows. Herring managed to get to his feet, but it appeared to be just a matter of time since Nogueira was stalking him and landing punches and knees at will. Suddenly Herring landed a wicked head kick and Nogueira was down and nearly out. Herring was too cautious about going to the mat after Nogueira and this gave Nog additional time to slowly stand up. Time ran out before Herring could close the deal.

Round Two started and Nog was still wobbly. Herring, perhaps fearing that Nog was trying to lure him in, elected to stay back and it wasn't until Nog regained composure and started pressing the fight that any real exchanges took place. Nog takes Herring down and lands some punches. Herring gets to his feet and Nog starts stalking him again.

Round Three is more of the same. Nog takes down Herring who escapes and then is stalked by Nog. The fight ends and Noguiera wins a decision. Herring did much better than I would have guessed. In fact he could have won the fight in the first round had he not been overly cautious. That will probably haunt him for quite a while. I do think that Herring's showing was good enough to get him another top fight in the UFC.

Hermes Franca Vs. Sean Sherk was the best fight of the night. It went five full rounds and although Sherk dominated throughout the fight, Franca was never out of it. From the opening it was action with Sherk going in for a takedown and Franca countering with a guillotine choke. Sherk escapes and the fight is on. Each round went pretty much the same way, Sherk would shoot in, Franca would land a huge knee [that would have knocked out most fighters] and Sherk would shake it off and dominate from the top position. Sherk wins a unanimous decision and looks amazing doing it.

Rashad Evans Vs. Tito Ortiz was probably the most anticipated fight of the night. Tito begins with a quick takedown but is unable to do any real damage. Rashad gets up and the two exchange blows without either gaining much. Tito does get cut, but it appears that it's from a fingernail. Round one ends with the nod to Tito.

Round Two is more of them going at each other without either gaining the upperhand. Near the end of the fight Rashad goes in for a takedown and Tito grabs the fence [for the second time] to avoid going down. Tito is penalized a point as Rashad finally gets Tito to the mat. Tito reverses and gets Rashad in a guillotine choke. Although Rashad is in trouble, time runs out. Since Tito lost a point, I call the round even [and later I learn the judges do as well].

Round Three starts and although Tito begins to press the fight, it appears that he's gassed! Late in the round it is obvious that Rashad is in much better condition and he begins to take the fight to Tito. Rashad gets a big takedown and begins raining huge elbows on Tito. Luckily for Tito the bell sounds to end the round which goes to Rashad.

According to my scorecard the fight should end in a draw. I'm wondering if the judges feel the same... but they do and the fight ends in a draw. I'm sure that this will lead to a Ortiz vs Evans II.

Nate Marquardt was a huge underdog against Anderson Silva. I felt that if Marquardt could avoid Silva's knees he would win. I was wrong. Marquardt was able to take Silva down, but couldn't gain enough of an advantage to do much. After they were stood up, Silva clocks Marquardt who immediately tries for a takedown. Silva cracks him again with a right and Marquardt goes down to the mat and the fight is stopped. Silva wins via technical knockout.

UFC 73 provided us with 4 good fights. I don't know who is out there that will beat Sherk or Silva. Herring isn't done in the UFC and Nogueira isn't the invincible warrior that we were led to believe. Neither Tito nor Rashad convinced me that they're ready for a title shot.

Next up is UFC 74 which pits Randy Couture against Gabriel Gonzogna and George St. Piere facing Josh Koscheck on August 25th. You just know we'll be talking about that as the fight date gets closer!

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