As previously mentioned in the first segment of After The Dust Settles , there will be a second and final installment following the first, completing the UFC 112 edition of the series.
In a night that should have shined brightly with two title fights, only one ended up delivering the goods, while the other left many baffled, wondering if they actually witnessed the proclaimed pound-for-pound great do justice to the title.
Luckily for fans, the opening fights came close in compensation for the lackluster main event. The first bout of the pay-per-view failed to disappoint as Mark Munoz showed tremendous heart after clawing his way back to victory from near defeat. The performance garnered both Munoz and Kendall Grove “Fight of the Night” honors.
The next bout, between British prospect Terry Etim and Brazilian ground specialist Rafael Dos Anjos, was a back and forth battle that concluded with Dos Anjos winning “Submission of the Night.”
We also got to witness a battle between aging legends, Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie. The story line and name recognition was really what saved this engagement from being a laughing stock.
I mean this is the most respectful way, both fighters are deserving legends. Unfortunately, the sport has naturally passed them both by, highlighting their irrelevancy within a division and sport filled with peers that are competing at such higher levels.
The Arabian night as a whole offered up some impressive finishes and two failed title defenses, putting a slight stain on an otherwise successful venture into the Middle East.
Rafael Dos Anjos
First off, let us acknowledge Terry Etim’s suspect musical tastes; he worked his way to the octagon while jamming out to…Phil Collins?
I’ll reluctantly admit, there have been a handful of drunken nights when I found myself rocking out to some YouTube PhilCo, but never before an impending fight—only in front of people I trust. Maybe it was a brash form of reverse psychology, though I don’t think Dos Anjos is fluent in the Brit’s native tongue.
He may lacked a high appreciation for In The Air Tonight, but he clearly has no problem submitting one of Mr. Collins’ countrymen with a nasty arm-bar.
Leading up to the end, Etim showed excellent footwork, slamming the Brazilian’s legs with kicks. During the first round, the Brit even pulled off a submission attempt of his own. Unfortunately for Etim, his opponent remained calm enough to survive the choke.
Once the second round started, Dos Anjos discovered his range, allowing him to time the take down perfectly. After getting Etim on his back, Dos Anjos quickly relied on the superior ground skills he acquired from earning his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
To Etim’s credit, he held his own on the ground before the Brazilian passed his guard to side control, where he set up the arm-bar that ended the fight.
Verdict: After a rough start in the UFC, dropping his first two bouts, Dos Anjos is currently sporting a three fight win streak after this victory over Terry Etim. Let’s give him another tough prospective Brit in Paul Kelly.
My fellow Illinois native and welterweight living legend has done everything he can do in the sport of mixed martial arts, with the exception of mastering any kind of boxing. I cringed each time Hughes decided to throw a punch instead of shooting on Gracie, who was painfully showing his age during the bout.
Strategically, it was just the nature of the beast, so to speak—Hughes was trying to avoid playing into Gracie’s strength, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Rightfully though, some could counter with the opinion that Hughes’ ground and pound would have been enough to put away the 43-year-old Brazilian if Hughes got top position.
But instead, the former welterweight champion convinced fans that he has finally, at the age of 36, learned to throw a leg kick.
They were effective enough to knock Renzo down, only for Hughes to back away every time, except for when he extended his hand to his opponent and helped him up off the mat during the fight.
I really couldn't tell if they were sparring or fighting.
Either way, the fight underlined the end for each of these illustrious ambassadors of the sport. There is no way either one of these fighters can legitimately compete, at this stage of their careers, with the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Jon Fitch, Diego Sanchez, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck, etc. Their best days are long gone, far underneath the horizon and disappeared from the rear-view mirror.
The fight was borderline brutal to watch, emitting quality that is barely good enough to be on the prelim portion of the card.
Verdict: If retirement is off the table and a serious title run is near impossible, what is there left for Hughes to do?
Matt Hughes: UFC gatekeeping star attraction? His next opponent should share some Thiago Alves qualities to remind Hughes that he no longer has to step in the octagon. But, if he insists, let’s give him Dan Hardy, in hopes the Brit can get some defensive wrestling experience and target practice.
That first round was sink or swim for Munoz, who was desperately hanging on to Grove for dear life after getting absolutely rocked from that Mortal Kombat style uppercut. I was waiting for the “toasty” guy to appear on the lower left hand corner of my TV—curse you Smoke!
The opening five minutes of the match was really all Kendall Grove, especially after the uppercut—a good striker knows how important it is to make a wrestler pay for every time they shoot. The uppercut was a perfect example of that lesson.
In addition, Grove exercised a great sprawl on Munoz, who was a bit tentative after getting rocked. The Hawaiian even had some notable submission attempts off his back once Munoz finally got him to the ground. Everything seemed to be going Grove’s way leading up to the second round.
So how did this fight turn sour for him? It was a combination of simple things: Munoz’s heart and will power persevered and somebody must have reminded the Fillipino, in between rounds, that he possesses some of the most vicious ground-and-pound in the game.
It wasn’t too long into the second round until Munoz was dropping bombs from Grove’s broken down guard, earning him comeback of the night.
Verdict: Despite the win, there are still some compromising holes in Munoz’ game. Though, a victory over Grove should upgrade him to the next tier of opponents. Let’s give him the winner of Michael Bisping vs. Dan Miller, a fight expected to take place at UFC 114.
**Check out UFC 112: After The Dust Settles (part 1) **