Random Thoughts From UFC 89

Derek BolenderSenior Analyst IOctober 19, 2008

The UFC is back across the pond once again and Joe Rogan's beard is in full effect.  I have already resisted the temptation to check the results of the fights on the Internet prior to the airing on Spike.
To be honest, I am not that thrilled with the scheduled fight card.  No titles are on the line and Bisping vs. Leben isn't exactly my idea of a main event matchup.  What time does the Kelly Pavlik/Bernard Hopkins fight start?
I quickly remind myself that the event is free and perk up once the music plays and the broadcast begins.       
Marcus Davis vs. Paul Kelly
Result: Marcus Davis via Submission (Round 2, 2:16)
This was the first televised bout on Spike and a matchup between a relative newcomer in Kelly (23 years old) and the veteran Davis (35 years old).  Without checking it seems as if Davis is on every single overseas fight card they have ever had in Europe.
Davis is coming off a disappointing loss to Mike Swick after reeling off eleven straight victories overall.  Kelly is 8 - 0 in his brief MMA career and 1 - 0 in the UFC coming into the fight.   
Throughout this fight Davis clearly looked like the more polished standup fighter.  He is a former professional boxer and it shows.  He's calm in the pocket, crisp with his strikes, and has great footwork.  Regardless, he doesn't do much damage in round one and gets a late takedown, passes to side control, and is able to cut Kelly by the right ear before the round ends.
Kelly comes out firing in round two with a great takedown, however, Davis immediately locks in a guillotine choke and Kelly taps.  This was a pretty good fight to start off the night.
Davis' ground game is extremely underrated.  He is known for a striker but only five of his fifteen wins have come via knockout while eleven are by way of submission.  Training with ground game wizards like Kenny Florian and Jorge Gurgel on a regular basis over the years has certainly rounded out his skills nicely.
Did he just send a shout out to his doctor during the post fight interview?  That might be a first.
Paul Taylor vs. Chris Lytle
Result: Chris Lytle via Unanimous Decision (Round 3, 5:00)
This was another veteran (Lytle) vs. relative newcomer (Taylor) matchup.  Lytle has been around the block having fought Dave Menne, Kaz Misaki, Nick Diaz, Karo Parisyan, Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, and Thiago Alves in the past.  He is also coming off a loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 86, which was one of the bloodiest fights I have ever seen.
He is also the first fighter of the night to sport the infamous CondomDepot.com trunks which seem to be prominently featured at each event.  What is that like condoms in bulk?  Wholesale condoms?  Is Wilt Chamberlain the CEO?
There is no proper transition here.  England's own native son Taylor is just 2 - 2 in the UFC so far and just 9 - 3 - 1 overall in his MMA career.  He steps in with a tattoo covering most of his shoulder and part of his chest that looks eerily similar to the one sported by Roger Huerta.  He receives a zero on my scorecard for tattoo uniqueness.    
In round one both guys are swinging for the fences and landing big shots.  Lytle gets a big throw but Taylor gets right back up.  There is a lot of clinching to catch their breath.  Taylor hits Lytle with a big right hand in the clinch and stuns him for a second.  This round could have gone either way.
Round two starts off the same with both guys swinging for a good 30 seconds each before clinching.  Lytle gets a takedown but Taylor is right back up.  Taylor then does the same to Lytle.  Lytle is extremely tired now and starts swinging wildly.  Taylor seems fresher.  Lytle catches a groin strike.  Lytle's corner is yelling to go for takedowns.
This fight is still up for grabs.  They trade shots at the center of the octagon to start off the round.  Both guys are tired now and clinching as much as possible.  Lytle gets a takedown with 1:30 left that may secure the victory, however, Taylor gets up at around the :50 mark and cracks Lytle a couple times.
This was a very entertaining fight and will be hard to top.  The verdict is read and Paul Taylor looks shocked.  That makes England 0 - 2 so far.  Can Bisping save the day?
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Luis Cane
Result: Luis Cane via TKO (Round 2, 4:15)
Cane, the Brazilian, comes into this fight a relative unknown.  He is 1 - 1 in the UFC with his one loss being a DQ against James Irvin at UFC 79 when he hit him with a knee to the face while on the ground.  He most recently knocked out Jason Lambert in the first round at UFC 85.
Sokoudjou, on the other hand, is known by most fans as having an enormous amount of talent already at the age of 24 but he has been relatively inconsistent.
I think Sokoudjou will likely give Cane problems with his aggressive style.  I also don't think that Cane being a southpaw will affect Sokoudjou in any way because of his past success against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Sokoudjou steps in the octagon with his right knee wrapped for the second straight fight.  Dan Henderson, his fellow Team Quest teammate, is in his corner.  
The first round starts and Sokoudjou is pushing forward and chasing Cane around.  Both guys land some nice leg kicks.  Cane, on the other hand, has evidently seen the tape of the Sokoudjou/Lyoto Machida fight.  He is calm, conserving energy, avoiding any damage, and picking his spots.  The round ends.
In the second round Cane catches Sokoudjou in the groin right off the bat and the customary replay ensues.  Do we really need a slow motion replay of every groin strike?  Those make me cringe every time.
Both guys trade shots afterwards and Sokoudjou is now breathing very heavy.  Cane looks fresh and keeps using his jab.  It looks like he is trying to set up a big straight left and that is exactly what happens.  Cane pushed forward, landed a big knee, and hits Sokoudjou with a straight left right on the chin that drops him.  Marc Goddard steps in and stops the fight.   
Cane looked very impressive and is a guy to keep an eye on going forward.  He was very composed and showed great Muay Thai.
Can we please stop calling Sokoudjou by a single name now?  He is officially Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou again.  He has not earned the single name moniker.  You have to be great to earn that right.  He is now just 1 - 2 in the UFC and will have to go back to the drawing board.


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