Ali Bagautinov def Tim Elliott via Unanimous Decision
The fast and explosive Russian lit Tim Elliott up for three rounds in result of a unanimous decision for the UFC 167 main card. I had Bagautinov being able to put Elliott away, but the head movement of Tim really stopped that from happening. Elliott tried to use his reach by picking Bagautinov apart from the outside, while using lots of feints and head movement to avoid the power. However, Bagautinov was able to land often enough to really counter that. It was really a game of cat and mouse the whole fight as Elliott kept Bagautinov moving backward, but the explosiveness of Ali, the mouse, won him the rounds. 1-0 on the main card.
Tyron Woodley def Josh Koscheck via 1st Rd KO
WOW! What a performance by Tyron Woodley as he knocks out Koscheck in a bout many thought would be a slow-paced grindfest. The quickness of Woodley and the power he possesses in his counter punches absolutely shocked Koscheck. I fully expected Koscheck to be able to out-work Woodley and use his wrestling, but Woodley cancelled that out early by getting back to his feet, slipping Koscheck’s big right hand, and countering with a blistering combo that put his lights out. Wow! 1-1 for me on the main card. 8-1 overall.
Robbie Lawler def Rory MacDonald via Split Decision
A hard earned decision victory for Lawler shuts down the hype train for Rory MacDonald and puts the favored Robbie Lawler among the top 5 in the division. Many, including myself, saw this fight to really favor MacDonald wrestling and grappling skills, but man was Lawler ready for that. Every chance Lawler had he hit MacDonald with something. That really seemed to be the gameplan; to make MacDonald for every time his hands are down, every time to shoot for a takedown, and every time he wasn’t defending himself. Lawler’s stand-up looked sharp as he didn’t really have much of a problem covering the reach disadvantage, and overall out-fought Rory MacDonald for a deserving decision in a fight I thought would be dominated by the Canadian. 1-2 for me on the main card.
Rashad Evans def Chael Sonnen via 1st Rd TKO
Another surprising result to a fight many thought would go all three rounds. The two wrestlers battled in out in their own realms for the first part of the first round, but once Evans was able to get ontop, the entire fight took a turn for the worse for the Oregon-native. Evans was simply too big and too strong for Sonnen, and unleashed hell on him via elbows and punches. Sonnen was unable to get out, and the ref stepped in to save him. I thought for sure this fight would’ve been more competitive given that Sonnen is hands down one of the best wrestlers in MMA, but the size and athleticism of Rashad completely shut that down. A big win for Evans as he shuts down Chael Sonnen. Sadly, I fall to 1-3 on the main card, but 8-3 overall.
Georges St. Pierre def Johny Hendricks via Split Decision
Wow… that’s all I can say after this fight. Wow at two things; wow that Hendricks came out like the champion he deserves to be, took the fight to GSP, and proved to everyone he has what it takes to be the best in the world. But also wow that GSP still managed to sneak away with the victory. GSP was fully prepared for Hendricks’ left haymaker as he kept his right hand high and used more head movement than I’ve ever seen from him, but that still didn’t stop Hendricks from nearly landing at will with it. Then comes the next part, the wrestling. GSP looked sharp in the first 10 seconds when he took Hendricks down easily, but a huge stunning elbow against the cage really seemed to turn the tide. In the post-fight interview, GSP said he was unable to see out of his right eye, and I’m willing to bet it was from the big elbow he took from Hendricks when trying to take him down a second time in the first round. Nevertheless, these two fought their hearts out, or atleast GSP did, for 25 minutes in a wild fight. GSP couldn’t control Hendricks’ pace, as neither man could really control the distance.
This was way more of a brawl than I thought it would be, and that seemingly favored Hendricks. However, the judges disagree with the majority, including Dana White, and gave the decision to GSP. Georges did have his moments; he did seem to land a larger volume of strikes, scored a few more takedowns, and had Hendricks stunned at one moment in the fight. But when you compare that to Hendricks who landed way more power, did way more damage, still managed to score a number of takedowns, and hurt GSP way more times than GSP hurt him, you wonder how in the hell Hendricks isn’t champion.
I fall to 1-4 on the main card, but I’m not discouraged in the least! These fights were awesome, the finishes were awesome, the night was closed by an awesome performance from Johny Hendricks in a fight many thought would be a shut-out. I end up going 8-4 through-out the whole night, with a perfect 7-0 record on the prelims.