Ultimate Fighter Lightweight just finished up and like the savvy marketers they are, the UFC crew tossed in a fight between the coaches, Prodigy BJ Penn and Little Evil Jens Pulver. They used the air time to flog the fuck out of the upcoming UFC, but it was still a sweet show.
Last time they did one of these freebies I was in Manchester and almost went to see it. Would've been great to see Bisbing (sp?) fight before a home crowd.
Anyway, this is about the Ultimate Fighter finale, so pfft to my ramblings... The series finished out with Manny Gamburyan and Nate Diaz (who I swear is at least 6% retarded), both from Pulver's team, squaring off. Both are fucking tough fighters, so aside from the 6% comment, I won't take anything away from either. Seriously though, the real draw of the finale was Pulver vs. Penn, so who cares if Nate is really 8% retarded...?
Before I get to BJ and Jens though, I best cover the under cards.
The first fight featured a newcomer in Doug Evans taking on a widely touted future contender in Roger Huerta. After watching the fight, I'd like to see Doug Evans come back and knock Huerta the fuck out! He won the first round easy, came back from a Huerta surge and started to win the second as well, but got caught in a position foreign to him and lost by ref stoppage. You can tell this kid is going to make some waves in the UFC. He's a wrestler, something like 7 time Alaska state champion, but he shows a lot more than just the wrestling pedigree. I'll bet on him next fight he has. Plus Huerta did all that "...I'd like to thank God for my win. Oh Jesus. Hail Mary full of grace." crap that I hate from professional athletes. Plus, I like Alaska better than Texas. Sue me...
The Thales Leites/Floyd Sword was pretty impressive. Floyd’s ability from his back and to regain guard against a tough Brazillian jujitsu practioner was uncanny, but Thales had the skills in the end and took the prize.
Gray Maynard was back fighting Rob Emerson, both from this season's show, and it was a truly WTF sorta' fight. Gray was beating the hell out of Emerson, winning the first round easy. Rob was holding his side at the end of one. He looked hurt. The second was looking like more of the same, and after a brutal slam early in the round Emerson tapped out. Gray rolls over and looks spent. A little bit later the ref declares the fight a no contest - Gary Maynard had knocked himself out during the slam! Wtf!?!? He wasn’t out cold, but he was a wobbly mess for sure. It's a tough call, but staring down the barrell of a tap out, I would've given Gray the fight.
Maynard was obviously pissed while Emerson talked about a rematch (is he nuts?)...
Next up was Joe Lauzon taking on Brandon Melendez. After Joe's last fight on the show I wasn't all that impressed. He looked a step slow and wary. This fight was a different story. He took the fight to Melendez in impressive fashion and finished it in the second via triangle choke. Finally got to see why he's such a touted fighter. He was impressive, but seriously, Joe "J-Lo" Lauzon, are you kidding? Why do all these UFC guys insist on having such stupid nicknames...?
Next up came another WTF fight - Nate 6% Diaz vs. Manny Gamburyan. I like his brother Nick, but Nate seems like a bit of a dick. He's a good fucking fighter, but I don't like the kid. Going into the fight I was pulling for “Manville the anvil” to pour it on and overwhelm Nate. It looked like it might go that route. Manny took round #1 without too much trouble. His submission defense was impressive and he was beatin' on Nate and dropping him to the canvas at will.
For those who are thinking it was similar to his fight with Gray Maynard where he locked in a submission, you're wrong. Manny's ground skills and submission defense were fluid and easy. Gray was defending submission attempt after submission attempt while Manny had pretty much shut off Nate's submission game.
Then the second (seems like the whole evening was decided in the second) comes along and Manny dislocates his shoulder shooting on Diaz - in just the first few seconds of the round - and taps out! Wtf?!?! To Nate's credit he didn’t look too stoked on the victory. I think he knew he was getting whooped and didn't to win with a questionable victory. At least he got a new nickname out of the deal...
That fight went quick so they tossed in another, Cole Miller against Andy Wang (the guy BJ kicked off his team). Miller took the fight, but I'm not sure either were all that impressive. The high kick was good, and Cole won the thing, but Wang sucked a bit. Why didn't he take it to the ground? As long as Cole was, he'd be easy to pretzel up on the ground, especially for a ground guy like Wang...
Finally, the fight of the night was up - Jens Pulver and BJ Penn! Before I get into the fight, I have to apologize to Jens. Sorry, Jens. Before the season I thought he was a bit of a dick. Hat on sideways, sunglasses on the back of the neck, moron type stuff, but throughout the season I started to respect the guy quite a bit. In the end he strikes me as a decent, down to Earth sorta' guy. Still wanted BJ to whoop him though... ;)
Which he did...Easily... I can't break the fight down. I was in my cups a bit by the time the thing finally finished, but I can say it was a little how good BJ Penn really is. Jens was outclassed, which is tough to do with a fighter of his caliber. BJ submitted him quick and without too much trouble. The guy is a really fucking good fighter. He's sharp, always thinking and just flows.
It was a short fight, without a lot of the leather slinging fireworks some fans dig, but it had all you could hope for if you're a fan of the art side of mixed martial arts. "Prodigy" fits him.
Until next time...