UFC 99 “The Comeback” took place earlier this evening at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany.
In the night’s main event, Wanderlei Silva looked to get back on the winning track against Rich Franklin.
In a heavyweight match-up, Cain Velasquez and Cheick Kongo squared off to help clear up the heavyweight title picture.
Mike Swick and Ben Saunders faced off in an exciting welterweight match-up.
Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy finally got the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is in a grudge match.
Caol Uno made his UFC return against veteran Spencer Fisher.
Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ made his highly anticipated UFC return against Mostapha Al-Turk.
Results and wrap-up after the jump.
- Rich Franklin defeats Wanderlei Silva via Unanimous Decision
- Cain Velasquez defeats Cheick Kongo via Unanimous Decision
- Mirko “Cro Cop” Filopovic defeats Mostapha Al-Turk via TKO in Round One
- Mike Swick defeats Ben Saunders via TKO (Strikes) in Round Two
- Spencer Fisher defeats Caol Uno via Unanimous Decision
- Dan Hardy defeats Marcus Davis via Split Decision
- Terry Etim defeats Justin Buccholz via Submission (D’arce Choke) in Round Two
- Denis Siver defeats Dale Hartt via Submission (Rear-naked Choke) in Round One
- Paul Taylor defeats Peter Sobotta via Unanimous Decision
- Paul Kelly defeats Roli Delgado via Unanimous Decision
- Stefan Struve defeats Denis Stojnic via Submission (Rear-naked Choke) in Round Two
- John Hathaway defeats Rick Story via Unanimous Decision
Marcus Davis vs. Dan Hardy: It wasn’t quite the war we were hoping for, but a pretty good fight nonetheless. Davis controlled most of the first round in the clinch and on the ground, while the only offense Hardy was able to mount was a solid elbow. Hardy got the better of Davis in second landing a wicked knee on Davis’ chin sending him to the mat. Davis fought well off his back from that point, but not enough to take the round. The third was closer with both fighters landing huge shots, but Hardy visibly inflicted more damage taking the fight on two of the judges’ scorecards for the split decision. Following the fight, it was apparent that Hardy had manufactured all the trash talk and didn’t actually have an ill will towards Davis. Davis, on the other hand, definitely took it personally and refused to shake Hardy’s hand. Tough loss for Davis.
Spencer Fisher vs. Caol Uno: The story of this fight was Spencer Fisher’s superb takedown offense. Uno shot so fast and so often Fisher was never able to get comfortable on the feet and let his hands go. Fisher did a tremendous job defending and neutralizing Uno’s grappling though throughout most of the fight. Uno finally was able to break through and mount an offense late in the third, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges. The crowd wasn’t too happy, but it was a good technical battle between two great lightweight veterans.
Ben Saunders vs. Mike Swick: This one got off to a slow start. In fact, the highlight of the first round was Ben Saunders calling Mike Swick a bitch for holding him down against the cage. Swick exploded in the middle of the second though with flurry of punches that finally dropped Saunders for the win.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filopovic vs. Mostapha Al-Turk: Are we ready to say Cro Cop’s back? Not quite, but he performed better than the last two times we saw him in the Octagon. The noticeable difference was his ability to break out of the clinch. Instead of getting pushed against the fence or on his back and pummeled, he was able to break away and get distance where he’s the most dangerous. Besides that Cro Cop didn’t do much in the opening minutes. Wasn’t really sure if he was just trying to find his range and his opening or if he was just hesitant to engage, but it turned out to be the former when he exploded on Al-Turk with a combination of strikes nearly finishing the fight. Unfortunately, when Al-Turk got back to his feet, Mirko inadvertently poked him in the eye. No one saw it and Cro Cop went in for the kill. Decent performance from Mirko, but we won’t really know if he can be a title contender until he fights a more formidable opponent, which I expect the UFC will give him next.
Cain Velasquez vs. Cheick Kongo: We learned something new about Cain Velasquez today. He has one hell of a chin. In the opening seconds, Kongo tagged Cain with two huge right hands that would have put a lot of fighters’ lights out. Cain immediately went for the takedown though, recovered, and absolutely dominated with his wrestling and gn’p for the rest of the round. The second round was almost identical. Kongo rocked Velasquez, Cain shot, got him down, and dominated the rest of the round. The third was more of the same. Cain will be somewhere in the title picture, but you gotta wonder how he’d fare against someone like Shane Carwin who has great wrestling as well and a big size advantage. I say they should fight next so we can find out. As for Kongo, not sure where he goes, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a Kongo-Cro Cop rematch.
Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva: Unless there was a better fight in the prelims, this was easily the fight of the night. Both Franklin and Wandelei fought their hearts out. For the most part, Franklin was getting the better of Wanderlei in the striking. Wandy seemed a lot more tense and rigid than normal while Franklin was loose and relaxed picking his shots. Wandy had moments of his own though in the second and third rounds. He stunned Franklin sending him back to the cage and went in for the kill. He likely would have finished the fight if he would have caught him clean with one his bombs, but it didn’t happen and Rich survived.
I thought it was a really close fight that could have went either way, but the difference maker in the judges eyes may have been how gassed Wanderlei looked in the last two rounds. For Wanderlei, that’s really the story coming out of this fight. We knows his strength & conditioning training is some of the most grueling in the business, so you would expect him to be in great shape. Joe Rogan mentioned he had heard Wandy had a difficult time with the weight cut and had to drop 12 pounds in the final 24 hours to make weight. He speculated the cut may have been why Wanderlei appeared so exhausted. It’s not something we’re used to seeing, so I’m inclined to think Joe may be right. And if that’s the case, that’s a big problem. If he’s having trouble fighting at 195, how is he going to fight at 185? Where does he go? Back to 205? I don’t know, but that will definitely be the big question coming out of this fight. Any chance of him fighting Anderson Silva probably just went out the window too. We’ll see.
As for Rich, it’s a great win, and we’ll likely see him back up at light heavyweight next. Against who? I can’t think of any home runs, but someone like Keith Jardine is always a good go to guy when one quality light heavyweight needs to fight another.
Final thoughts: Well, the event was pretty good but it didn’t turn out as good as it looked on paper. Or maybe my expectations were too high. I don’t know. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it, especially for an overseas card, but I suppose I expected a little more action. I thought Davis and Hardy would to go to war and bang it out, but spent much of the fight on the ground. Fisher-Uno was good from a technical standpoint, but they neutralized each other so often it wasn’t the most exciting of fights. Swick-Saunders only got good when Swick finished him. The eye poke put a bit of a damper on Cro Cop’s victory. Velasquez-Kongo was pretty good if you like one-sided beatdowns. It breaks my heart to see Wanderlei lose again, but him and Franklin put on a great show so there’s nothing to complain about there. I’m not sure how well the German crowd reacted to it. There was a lot of booing in the first three fights, but hopefully if nothing else, the event showed all the detractors in Germany that MMA isn’t is the blood sport they thought it was.
Submission of the Night: Terry Etim
Knockout of the Night: Mike Swick
Fight of the Night: Rich Franklin & Wanderlei Silva
Bonus info courtesy of MMA Junkie
Live Gate & Attendance
Live gate: 12,800
Attendance: $1.3 million
Live gate courtesy of MMA Junkie