A NIGHT OF UPSETS AT UFC 76!!!!

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FIGHT NINE: KEITH JARDINE by SPLIT DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over CHUCK LIDDELL

Fans are finding out quicky MMA is more than the bigger, badder man overwhelming the opponent. In recent events, executing a strategy has been as important as the skills you bring to Octagon.

After a rough first round, Keith Jardine’s plan of using leg kicks to the body and Liddell’s lead leg proved to be the difference. Jardine floored Liddell in the 2nd and won the 3rd to take a split decision from the former UFC Light heavweight champ at UFC 76.

“It feels great,” Jardine said about the win. “I’m now one of the best after beating Chuck who is one of the greatest fighters ever. Kicking is my thing. I got to give it to him, I was seeing stars the entire first round.”

FIGHT EIGHT: FORREST GRIFFIN by SUBMISSION (rear naked choke) over SHOGUN RUA 

Holy crap!! Another elite Pride fighter gets mauled. Rua was completely gassed from the Griffin pace by the middle of the 2nd. Rua had top control 2-3 times in the 2nd and 3rd, but did no damage. When Griffin had top control, he landed some solid elbows and punches, especially when Rua gave up his back. Griffin was on top of Rua for the final 2:20. Rua couldn’t get up and eventually got flattened for a rear naked choke with less than 20 seconds left in the fight.

“Oh my god,” said Griffin. “I haven’t done many drugs. This must be what ecstasy feels like.” 

Griffin said he overcame a lot mentally to win this fight, “I really felt like I was there for Jardine. I had a great camp. Then Keith KO’d me. I got depressed and sad, ate a lot of cookies. My family said you’re not good at anything else, so I had to get back to it.” 

Griffin paid much respect to Shogun, “The choke was nothing fancy. Fatigue is a son-of-a-bitch. I’m not sure it’s not the way he wanted to start his UFC career. I got but nothing but love for him. He is one of the best in the world. I’m not that great but I will fight anybody.”

FIGHT SEVEN: JON FITCH by SPLIT DECISION (30-27, 29-28 and 28-29) over DIEGO SANCHEZ

This was a bitch of a fight to score. Fitch had top control for much of the fight but didn’t dominate. He landed some effective hammer fists here and there. Sanchez worked for submissions throughout the fight. He cinched in a guillotine choke in the 3rd and triangle choke later in the round but Fitch was too big. Fitch powered his way out of nearly every submission attempt. Sanchez supporters could say Fitch did little damage throughout the fight and wasn’t really the aggressor. Tough call. I had it 29-28 Fitch.

Sanchez was gracious in defeat, “You need to stop booing,” he told the crowd. “I went for the submissions. He went out and he controlled the position. I got to get back to work, get back in here and get on the W side.”

FIGHT SIX: LYOTO MACHIDA by UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27 on all cards) over KAZUHIRO NAKAMURA

This fight doesn’t help Machida’s cause. He’s been called too boring to market as a legit contender. He did move to 11-0 and dominated the fight with multiple mounts of Nakamura. Nakamura is tough and resilient but was simply too small to compete at 205. Keep in mind, Nakamura went the distance with guys like Kevin Randleman, Rogerio Nogueira, Shogun Rua and Murilo Bustamante. It’s time to throw Machida in with someone who can really push the pace.  

FIGHT FIVE: TYSON GRIFFIN by UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 29-28 2x) over THIAGO TAVARES  

What a great fight for two rounds!

It was a tactical battle that went back and forth throughout. Griffin won the 1st with top control for much of the round. Griffin had an answer for every submission attempt by Tavares. I thought Tavares took the 2nd by slapping on two rear naked chokes but Griffin stood up in both cases, holding up Tavares for a total of 1:30. On the second choke attempt, Tavares was dropped on his head and got a huge mouse under his left eye. The third round was very difficult to score. The round was dominated by the clinch for roughly three minutes. I’d have to watch the 3rd again to be angry that Tavares got zero respect in that round from the judges. Tavares suffers his first loss.

FIGHT FOUR: RICH CLEMENTI by SUBMISSION (rear naked choke) over ANTHONY JOHNSON 

This was an intriguing matchup. The fight was put together on short notice. Clementi is a 155-pounder at 5-foot-9 and the 6-foot-2 Johnson trims a lot to get to 170. They fought at a catch weight of 175.

Johnson landed some big bombs in the first and floored Clementi with a shot, a minute into the fight. Clementi weathered the storm and had a big 2nd as Johnson gassed. Clementi got Johnson’s back at 3:40 of the second and eventually cinched in a rear naked choke for the win at 3:05 of the round.

“I was excited just to step in here. Fuck it, I’m here to fight,” said Clementi. “He came in overweight and got tired. The next time you’ll see me at 155 tearing up the little guys, not this behemoth. I heard him gargling (when the choke was slapped on). I just hoped the big bastard would give up soon.”

FIGHT THREE: JEREMY STEPHENS by UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27 on all cards) over DIEGO SARAIVA

This wasn’t the best fight. It was dominated by Stephens holding top control for much of the fight with Saraiva unsuccessfully trying to submit him from the bottom. Saraiva did enough to win the first round but didn’t get the nod on any of the cards. 

The fight highlight was turned in by Stephens, who was in a triangle choke at the end of the first, twice lifting Saraiva high into the air and slamming the Brazilian to the mat. 

“This is a dream come true. I held my head high (after UFC debut loss to Din Thomas),” said Stephens. “I thought I was done (with the triangle choke in the first). It was tight, I just kept pounding him out. I’m coming hard in the 155 division. I’m coming baby.”

FIGHT TWO: CHRISTIAN WELLISCH by SUBMISSION (via heel hook) over SCOTT JUNK

This was a lackluster fight. Wellisch spent the first two minutes avoiding Junk on the feet. Looking for the takedown, Wellisch finally got Junk to the ground and submitted him within 10 seconds. The “Hungarian Nightmare” got Junk’s heel and eventually had the big man screaming in pain before tapping at 3:19 of the 1st.

Wellisch corrected a glaring mistake that cost him his first UFC fight against Cheick Kongo. He had Kongo in an armbar but chose not to dislocate the arm.

“I like submissions. It’s a big part of my game,” said Wellisch. “I was a nice guy not to go for the disclocation with Cheick. I thought I was being too sportsmanlike. I didn’t make that mistake this time.”

FIGHT ONE: MATT WIMAN by UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 29-28 2x) over MICHIHIRO OMIGAWA

This was an excellent back and forth fight. Both threw with reckless abandon on the feet. The second round could’ve gone either way. I was surprised the first didn’t go to Omigawa on all cards. Wiman dominated the third to pull out the fight.

“Wherever (the fight) went I wanted to beat him worse than he beat me,” said Wiman. “He’s so tough. It’s my best victory yet. I got something to say to Roger Huerta. Tell him to quit dodging me. We got something started. Let’s finish it here.” 

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One Comment on “A NIGHT OF UPSETS AT UFC 76!!!!”


  1. […] Junkie | UFC Mania | MMA on Tap | Sprawl ‘n Brawl | Steve Sievert | Observer | Yahoo Sports| Steve Cofield | F4W […]


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