Finally I have a minute to write my review.
First off let me say that i think it is absolutely awesome what the UFC did for the Marine Corps. Their sponsorship (and vice versa) is very much appreciated. The Marine Corps was right to get on board and promote the UFC. It is what being a Warrior is all about.
Before I forget...I might be on MSNBC this January. They did a documentary on the UFC that I was interviewed for and my predictions are perfect...as you might see if they select my piece of the video!
My overall experience was great. Watching a UFC live is every bit as entertaining as a football game and more so that baseball. Though the overall matchups on this card were not that spectacular, I still had an exciting time. I was able to meet the likes of Dana White, Dean Lister, Jason Lambert, "JJudo" Gene Label, and Diego Sanchez. I sat right behind Diego's parents (you can see me for a split second in the live clips just before the fight and after the knockout right behind his parents) and had the pleasure of escorting them to the VIP section after having a 20 minute conversation with them in the waiting line. Just like regular people, they came out into line and sat down 1 hour early!! I introduced myself and then it dawned on us 20 minutes into it, that they could get in VIP. Being the senior rank in line I decided to escort them. VERY, very gracious people. Like Diego himself, they are very humble.OK...The fights!!!Logan Clark vs. Steve Byrnes
Steve Byrnes was a Marine before his UFC career began. Though he was not horrible, he may have wanted to stay Marine. He had the power and control of the fight but every move he made to finish the fight came from his MCMAP training, and as I said to the MSNBC guys, MCMAP and MMA do not match up. You will lose in MMA if you soley rely on MCMAP training. Steve was able to take Clark down and control the ground, but he almost never threw strikes! His attempts at an achilles leg lock (many MANY times) were embarrasing. That was the MCMAP showing through. He did not control the body of Clark in the attempts, and there is no way in hell a professional will submit from the achilles lock. You better be willing to break that ankle! Over all, Clark deserved the win, and Byrnes has some work to do.Keita Nakamura Vs. Brock Larson
This was a very entertaining close fight. I do not have much to say except both these boys can scraap. I thought the call to give the fight to Larson was incorrect in that he seemed to sustain the most punishment, and ground control was equal. I think the decision was crowd based. You do not give a new Japanese UFC fighter the win over an American in a very close fight, in front of a bunch of Marines. That may be harsh, but that is how I felt watching it.Dave Menne Vs. Luigi Fioravanti
This fight was very good, and it was finally a good showing by an ex-Marine. Luigi dominated every aspect of this fight. You could see the heart of Dave Menne leave him as the fight continued. I do not have any specifics on the happenings, but luigi pressed Menne the whole time and beat him up pretty good. It is nice to see someone not tainted by MCMAP.Alan Belcher Vs. Jorge Santiago
The fight between Santiago and Belcher was perfectly scripted. They were on their feet the majority of time, and Belcher could handle the takedowns of Santiago. As most fighters in the American Top Team tend to do, Santiago began to wear down toward the third round. This fight I was particualrly proud of because I had been yelling for Belcher to kick Santiago more. Fianlly in the third round Belcher started to wear out the tired Santiagos leg and I began to yell "to the head, to the head." About 1-2 minutes of punishment to the leg later, Belcher finally brought a kick to the side of the head which caught Satiago perfectly for the knockout. Loved it!!! It is always nice to talk about fighting with friends and have them witness your instincts proven to be accurate!Victor Valimaki Vs. David Heath
Many people thought this fight was entertqaining. The antics of Heath showing off were definetely interesting, however I prefer to see fighters like Vera and Sanchez who are focused and humble, not cocky and half-ass. Heath won the fight and deservedly so but he will amount to nothing. Being a light-heavyweight, with guys like Lambert, Forrest, Rashad, Bisping, Tito and Chuck, will ensure Heath and his game playing will remain an undercard.Marcus Davis Vs. Shonie Carter
As a person I cannot stand Shonie Carter. As a fighter he is washed up. As a warrior with heart, all props go to him. Shonie put his heart on display this entire fight. He should have been knocked out in the first round and in the second was sure to fold. He was so tired from the punishment by Davis we all thought for sure he would go out. However, in the thrid round, Shonie came back and put on a show. You could see he wanted to fight well before his fellow Marines but was not the better fighter. He never quit and perservered to the end. I gained a new respect for him that night.Drew Fickett Vs. Karo Parisyan
Great fight! This was the second best fight of the night. Very entertaining, bloddy and hard fought on both sides. I was about to get very upset at Parisyan. What people watching Spike did not see is that Parisyan almost threw in the towel due to his cut. It was mostly upsetting because we all knew he could continue. He was winning the fight and just needed to show heart. He wanted to quit and his corner would not let him. Many people may doubt that about Karo, however he WANTED to quit! You could here his cornerscreaming at him. Karo was telling them to throw in the towel and the corner would not let it happen. They were winning the fight and they knew it. I am glad Parisyan continued, but Fickett was seconds away from a forfeit victory.Jeff Joslin Vs. Josh Koscheck
I was very suprised at how boring this fight turned out to be. Koscheks last showing made me think it would turn out much differently. It is hard to watch the pure wrestlers revert back to their old form. It is great that they can produce good takedowns, but they need to learn to take a page from Tito's book and throw better elbows on the ground. Koscheck controlled Joslin the entire time but could do nothing with it. He won a points decision based soley on his explosive takedowns. Not interesting at all.Diego Sanchez Vs. Joe Riggs
WOW, WOW, WOW!!!
What an unbelievable fight. I told the MSNBC boys that I was there at the event to see Diego beat Riggs, and I was greatly rewarded. Having to fight Riggs at all is an insult to Diego. Riggs has been more down that up lately and Diego is an undefeated contender. After beating Parisyan you would have thought Diego would get respect. Not at all. Even now after a quick knockout he still gets none. The reason Dieg is the next champ is his focus, fighting instincts and technical talent. Many people were turned off by his Alessio fight, but that is what sold me on him. Alessio was not going to be taken down and he ran away from a real fight the entire 3 rounds. Diego chased him and did all he could to press the fight that Alessio ran from. I was impressed at Diego's heart and perserverance in that fight, and have seen it every time since. He took Riggs out with a beautiful left hook right to the kisser, knocking Riggs down, and then followed up with a perfectly timed knee while Riggs was getting up.
People debate whether the timing was lucky and if Dieg was going for a knee to a downed opponent. It is again another show of the lack of respect people have for Sanchez. He has done nothing to earn that type of criticism, and has always shown a killer instict to press the action when his opponent is vulnerable, yet he gets that type of flak. It was a perfect finish for the first knockout of Sanchez' career. A beautiful reward for my loyal support!!!On Meeting Dana White...
Dana is a class act who loves to chat with the audience. I was able to speak with him about Brandon Vera, Pride fighters coming to the UFC, and on Sanchez getting a title shot. Though he was not completely open (and how can he be on everything) his hints tell alot.
I first asked Dana about Vera vs. Sylvia and he confirmed that the fight agreement is in the works. He knows this is the fight everyone wants to see. I believe the problems with the contract stem from Vera having only one fight left on his current contract which Vera would like upgraded before taking the belt (which he will). Dana told me to look out for 2007 which he promises will be the best year in the UFC yet. He said they are getting lots of exciting fighters from elsewhere. He did not confirm who they were, but I told him that Vera and Cro Cop wold make an excellent match to which he simple smiled and winked while stating "I agree." He said many others were coming and I told him I had heard rumors of the Pride fighters coming to the UFC and another smile while saying it will be a good 2007. When Sanchez won over Riggs I shouted to Dana that Sanchez is his next champ at 170. Wide eyed after witnessing the quick, unexpected knockout he simple shook his head and said "WOW!" All UFC fans know Dana would love one of his TUF competitors to hold a belt, and soon. It would boost interest i the show which degraded greatly with "The Comeback." I would expect Sanchez to get one more fight, then the title shot provided he is successful.
This was my first UFC experience. Free, exciting, and a great time. I loved it and again thank Dana, the UFC, and the Marine Corps for putting a show like this on.