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Sunday, July 12, 2009

UFC 100 Making History review

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- Brock Lesnar VS Frank Mir

- George St. Pierre VS Thiago Alves

- Dan Henderson VS Michael Bisping

Mixed martial arts clearly became a significant form of both mass entertainment and - as Bruce Lee put it - an expression of the human body, the latter being, no doubt, the original field of operation of these ancient traditions, now living and breathing through competitive events around the world. Though many may consider men who enter the proving grounds little more than hired human pitbulls to rip each other apart for hard cash and radical amusement, I tend to utterly reject this rudimentary view, concluding that professional level mma is the combat of highly disciplined human spirits, opposing each other for the duration of the bout, probably ending up as unified in the process as we could conceive, simply through their magnificent shared experience of being in a cage where the damage one suffers is the wit one failed to exhibit. That is how, in my opinion, the mma fighter fights against herself/himself.

Japanese people compete to gain an insight of their own current abilities through the collision process of their skills with that of other's. To me, the ultimately glorious moments of mixed martial arts are not of those of KOs and submissions. They are of those of hugging the formal rival at the end of the bout, circulating the most honest, uncompromised, pure respect each fighter deserves simply by stating themselves on the proving grounds, regardless of the results. The ensuing peace between fighters after a good collision is such a palpable, legit sensation that it never got old so far - and won't ever will.

This is a review of the latest UFC event to date, UFC 100 - Making History.

Introductory thoughts about the more significant lineups

The night delivers three focal events, including two Championship collisions to make the event live up to its ambitious title. The Welterweight belt is on the line as UFC Welterweight Champion George St. Pierre defends his title against Thiago Alves, while UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar looks to avenge his only loss to date, a submission he suffered to Frank Mir back in UFC 81 Breaking Point.

George "Rush" St. Pierre seems to be a fighter of a league he is the only representative of, as his scientific approach to the game consorts with exceptional athleticism and inner discipline, while the Champion is widely recognized as one of the best wrestlers the sport have seen so far. GSP crushed the exceptionally gifted BJ Penn and have stated afterward that the training he went through was actually way more tougher than the fight itself was. Thiago "The Pitbull" Alves is next in line to resonate a Challenge towards the Champion. The talented, passionate Brazilian established himself as a force everyone in the division must reckon with, harvesting considerate attention via the crushing of UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes in UFC 85 Bedlam and the sound beating administered to Josh Koscheck in UFC 90 Cote VS Silva.

The Heavyweights surely will render a memorable night, as well. Though the UFC debut of Lesnar did not turn out the way he hoped it would, he defeated Randy Couture in UFC 91 Couture VS Lesnar and emerged as the current UFC Heavyweight Champion. Frank Mir is the number one contender for the belt, coming off a truly impressive victory over Minotauro Nogueira in UFC 92 - The Ultimate 2008. Will Mir be able to stop the Beast once again, or, will it be Lesnar to emerge triumphant and claim revenge?

A middleweight showdown between former two times Pride! Champion Dan Henderson and Michael "The Count" Bisping is also coming your way. Coaching the latest season of the Ultimate Fighter reality TV show to date, Bisping managed to form solid motivation in rival coach Dan Henderson, invoking intact desire in the crafty veteran to administer a lesson for the Brit which won't likely be forgotten soon. Granted that the knockout Henderson guarantees won't cause memory loss for the The Count. Bisping promises a knockout, as well, stating that if Henderson has half a brain cell, - which, according to the Brit, is debateful - then he will come to the fight with the toughest traing regime behind his back. Neither fighter have been knocked out- or been knocked down before, and both seem very determined to dismiss this fact thoroughly.

Yoshihiro Akiyama VS Alan Belcher

Though Akiyama is a brand new face in the UFC, he is a crafty veteran of the sport who enjoys absolute superstardom in Japan. Akiyama, as a true icon in his home country, decided that he wants to measure himself up to fighters representing the most prestigious mma organization. Taking on Alan Belcher is a superb test to determine how the debutant's game relates to the general pace and style cultivated in the Octagon.

Akiyama looks pretty good in the first round, showcasing exceptional speed and a readiness to initiate. Belcher does a nice job evading the accurate assaults, delivering counter maneuvers effective enough to balance the match out again, as Akiyama shows no fear of being the aggressor. The American delivers an inadvertent kick to lower quarters, which, following a short recovery, is answered by the Japanese via a couple of effective connections.

Belcher delivers a chin shot to send the debutant to the canvas, yet Akiyama is back on his feet in a second, inviting the American to the clinch. The Japanese shines more while they are separating. Being aware of this, Belcher turns the heat on, goes for some risky attacks, including a kick, by which he finds his leg getting caught. The consecutive strike to the head by the Japanese, albeit not too powerful, proves to be enough to send the American to the ground via sheer momentum. Akiyama has the opportunity to administer a short sequence of ground and pound with mild efficiency, then the opening round comes to its conclusion.

In the second round, Akiyama quickly takes the fight to the ground and is able to hold the opposition on canvas height, yet he fails to deliver relevant damage or submission attempts. Belcher is able to escape from the ground while there are two minutes remaining from the round. These two minutes do see two warriors whom have little if any intentions to explode. The period comes to its end via a balanced stand up sequence characterized by a steadily average excitement factor, though Belcher is able to land some solid leg kicks on the Japanese icon during the last seconds of this period.

The match goes into the third and final round. Akiyama and Belcher are still hanging in there. The Japanese has a takedown he can not administer further damage from, while Belcher keeps punishing the left leg and goes away as the fighter who have dealt the more of the damage once the exchanges are over. The American even performs a quite impressive superman punch, bouncing off the fence and connecting, right during Akiyama is busy taunting his rival. Watch the replay though: it seems like Akiyama lets himself get hit deliberately. It seems to me like a gesture, stating: "come on, hit me, let the audience see how I take the best shot you have to offer." Belcher's unorthodox preparation for the move - the way he gains momentum via pushing himself up against the fence and sling-shooting himself from it - seems to solidify the legitimacy of this notion even further.

Approaching the conclusion of the round, the Japanese's left eye swells up to the point from which his vision probably is obstructed, yet he remains able to evade Belcher's attacks of finishing potentiality, including a devastating head kick attempt that fails to connect. The judges, much surprisingly, render their split decision in favor of the debutant, Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Dan Henderson VS Michael Bisping

Neither Henderson nor Bisping were knocked out before in their respective mma careers, yet both fighters do promise that they will introduce this kind of state for the other one. The first round - quite staggeringly - starts off with a standup period in which Henderson maintains initiative and efficiency. A short exchange in the clinch at the fence then occurs, yet it spots Bisping a man on whose body vicious knees are landing upon - thus the Brit does his best to escape, which seems acceptable by the American, as he himself is going for the KO. Surprisingly, Bisping goes for a takedown attempt at the end of the first round, but finds no opening at all to command the former Olympic wrestler to the canvas.

During the break, Bisping's corner warns the Brit that he happens to circle towards the right hand of Dan Henderson and he should definitely avoid doing so in the second round. The period in question greets two, seemingly patient warriors, yet it is hard to miss how Henderson charges his right hand, waiting to unleash one of the tremendous bombs that particular limb is deservedly notorious of. Though Bisping's defensive game seems sound in the second round of the fight, he has a hard time offering significant resistance to Henderson once the former two times Pride! Champion executes his actions of persistent initiative.

Then the American suddenly switches the gears up and keeps stalking the Brit with even more persistence, landing some precise shots to force Bisping either into a risky offense, or, into a focused defense which he could look an opening from to counter outward. All these developments, one might assume, cause Bisping to fight instinctively, since he starts to move to the left while being harassed by Henderson, despite the clear instruction from his corner that it is something that he should not do against the American.

Then, at one curious moment - Henderson steps into the position to land his bomb like there would be no power in the Universe that would want to pose an obstacle for that particular strike. And there is none, indeed. Not today. Dan Henderson lands his famous right hand bomb right on the chin of Michael Bisping. Though the Brit goes out could, Henderson moves in for the safety punch, - good measure punch, as Joe Rogan states during the replay - connecting on the grounded Bisping via converting his whole body weight into a strike of precision, radical beauty and ruthless efficiency. Henderson states in the post fight interview that he is not usually like this, but he wanted to shut Bisping up for some extre period of time - and he pulled this off masterfully today. Bisping fortunately regains his composure after a while, though he has no idea of what happened. An excellent performance from Henderson and there is chance that Bisping will come back as a better fighter, now having knowledge of defeat, which often is a more influential factor to shape a warrior than a win streak.

George St. Pierre VS Thiago Alves

The story of this Championship collision is largely centered around GSP's ability to take Thiago Alves down anytime the belt defender spots possibility and summons the related determination to wage the war on the canvas. Though the Challenger deserves massive credit for delivering a solid defensive performance against GSP for five five minutes round, the Champion's versatility and precision clearly outclasses the tool set The Pitbull have brought to the Octagon today. The fact that GSP have taken down Alves nine times, shows that the Champion had more to offer in all areas of the game. In order to be able to execute a consecutive takedown after a takedown that already have happened, one must be able to close the distance once again, let alone performing the takedown itself. This clearly shows that Alves could not offer maneuvers to surprise St. Pierre, in fact, the Champion remains equal threat in the standup, landing his trademark combination snippets that do connect both on the lower- and upper sections of the opposition. St. Pierre of course forms elegant advantage of his ability of taking Alves down, delivering effective punishment each time he commands the Challenger to the canvas. Though GSP's vicious ground and pound sequences do deal a solid amount of damage, credit is due to Alves for being able to keep up with the pace, enduring what gradually becomes a fight for survival with a composure kept relatively intact after the meeting.

The fight is an evident testament of St. Pierre's ever-improving skillset, those that already do seem to be over-the-top, as it is safe to say that Alves, whom GSP considers the toughest challenge he have faced so far, virtually could not offer any relevant threats during these five Championship rounds. Unfortunately, in the third round, GPS have suffered an injury and still he was able to command the game until the match have came to its conclusion. A conclusion which invites one to wonder: who shall be the next in line to challenge this truly exceptional, analytical and remarkably disciplined warrior? As of today: UFC Welterweight Champion George "Rush" St. Pierre has only one true rival in the UFC's Welterweight Division: himself.

Brock Lesnar VS Frank Mir

Though Frank Mir is in the best shape you have seen him in so far, Brock Lesnar quickly muscles the former Champion to the canvas and administers a massive dose of ground and pound through openings Mir is unable to cover with the immensely proportioned UFC Heavyweight Champion on top of him. The first round leaves Mir with a battered face which he puts a smile on going into the second, yet Lesnar shortly emerges as being unstoppable today, getting on top of Mir again, landing shots with such speed and impact that they could very well produce escape velocity if they were powering a rocket.

Referee Herb Dean wisely puts an end to the contest, seeing that today Mir has no chance of turning this around. Brock Lesnar retains his title, having his only loss thoroughly, convincingly avenged. The Champion decides not to get rid of the evidently intense emotions that motivated him during the training sessions and through the collision, thus Lesnar harvests pronounced despise from the audience which he seemingly could not care less about. Brutal dominance by the Champion, crushing Frank Mir via the sheer, ruthless utilization of the improbable anatomic proportions Lesnar commands with staggering swiftness and astounding efficiency.

UFC 100 - Making History was a great event. Thank you for reading this review of it and see you next time.

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