The UFC usually attempts to put on a big show every Independence Day. This year was no exception as they once again brought out the GOAT, Anderson Silva, to face the young upstart, Chris Weidman. The card was hot from top to bottom with strong prelims and a packed undercard. Kennedy and Gracie put on the weakest showing in an otherwise above average card for the UFC. UFC 162 may be their strongest card this year even despite the strange behavior from the now former champion. Let's check out the highs and lows.
Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver
At first glance, Dennis Siver vaguely resembles a tiny Brock Lesnar and Cub Swanson opens the fight with some howl and scowl. Siver enjoys the most success in the first round of the fight with a dominating ground game. Cub eventually neutralizes and somewhat buckles Siver with a hard leg kick, but Siver dominates position for the majority of this one.
Round Copy scores the first round 10-9 for Siver.
The second round begins with some kick exchanges. Swanson hits a glancing cartwheel kick with about 3:08 to go in the second round. Swanson picks his strikes carefully and continues to punish Siver's legs and body. This eventually leads to Siver shifting his focus to his torso and legs, and Swanson uses this to hit a vicious uppercut. Siver drops to a knee, grasps Swanson, and forces his way back to his feet. Swanson uses Siver's momentum against him and flips him like a $20 PS4. With about a minute left in the round, Swanson lands in side control and moves to mount. Swanson works for an omoplata in the final 20 seconds of the round but doesn't get it. This was a great round.
Round Copy scores the second round 10-9 for Swanson.
Siver is looking tired going into round 3. He's a huge lightweight and his fatigue shows. Swanson still looks quick and fresh whereas Siver is bulky and clearly slowing. Swanson spends the first couple of minutes picking his shots across Siver's body and landing frequently. Siver connects with a charging right hook 2 minutes into the fight and several more follow. Swanson is spamming the shit out of the Y button right now and all of his blows are hitting. One drops Siver and Swanson finishes the fight at 2:24 in round 3.
This was a fun fight between two fighters, each displaying remarkable improvement in different areas of their game. Siver's wrestling looked nice and he was able to win the ground war, but attrition prevented him from maintaining a steady pace. Swanson showed some fantastic ground defense and fought intelligently.
Mark Munoz vs. Tim Boetsch
This was a fight booked to be a war between two of the craziest knockout artists of the middleweight division. Munoz is coming off of a decision loss against heavy holiday eating, and Boetsch was last seen cut, eyepoked, and suffering a performance altering injury. The two are both top ranked fighters in the division, but like the Highlander there can be room for only one.
If you asked anyone how this fight would have gone, most people would have guessed explosion via jawbone. So naturally it became a ground battle with Munoz mostly dominating Boetsch.
The first round was a back and forth takedownapalooza between Boetsch and Munoz. Aside from a couple of submission attempts from Boetsch, it was all Munoz.
Rough Copy scores the first round 10-9 for Munoz.
Munoz kept Boetsch pinned against the cage for most of the first two minutes of the second round. Boetsch attempted to keep the pressure up on the feet, but Munoz was able to just manhandle him. This was when Munoz got Boetsch down again and began to turn up the ground and pound. Munoz was working Tim Boetsch's body so hard that LMAO got back together to make a song about it. Round two ended with Boetsch's face firmly wedged between a cage and some balls. Boetsch almost loses another point just for that.
Rough Copy scores the second round 10-9 for Munoz.
Munoz gets Boetsch down again 30 seconds into round 3. Boetsch rolls with it and attempts to hit a Japanese Necktie, but he does so with all the efficiency you should expect from a barbarian attempting formal wear. Boetsch displays some decent submission work but has little chance of finishing the fight.
Rough Copy scores the third round 10-9 for Munoz.
It was impressive that Munoz was able to win so easily on the ground, but at the same time, Boetsch has never been known for his wrestling or BJJ but put on a decent enough defense to keep the fight entertaining. We learned that Munoz is better at ground and pound than some of the other established standup strikers in the division, but I doubt he's anywhere near the level of Jacare Souza, Silva, Rockhold, or other top grapplers in the division.
Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie
The height difference between these two is kind of silly. Kim Winslow is the ref. Am I the only person who expects her to break up a fight by whipping her poytail around someone's neck and flinging them off?
Forty seconds into the fight and Kennedy misses with a wild overhand right. Gracie steps in and drags Kenndy to the ground. Gracie almost has Kennedy's back but Kennedy uses the cage to escape. Kennedy isn't able to step in and land anything on the feet. Gracie gets Kennedy down again with about two minutes to go and this time takes the back. Gracie utilizes a body triangle to lock Kennedy down. Kennedy defends himself well and is able to spin around.
Rough Copy scores the first round 10-9 for Roger Gracie.
Kennedy is hitting with some leg kicks early into the second. A Kennedy takedown leads to some fierce ground and pound. You can hear the thudding sound as Kennedy's fist connects with Gracie's most cherished thoughts. Kennedy continues to dominate the round by hitting body knees while Gracie is against the cage. We see the second takedown of the round from Kennedy about 3:30 into the round. Kennedy has turned this into a test of conditioning that he's winning.
Rough Copy scores the second round 10-9 for Tim Kennedy.
Both fighters are drenched and heaving. Kennedy wins some sparse early striking and Gracie wins a hard fought takedown. Kennedy spends most of the round pinning Gracie against the cage. So far this has been the slowest round in a fight without much offense. Gracie needs to either condition himself better or consider a different weight class and Kennedy seemed just good enough overall to get by. Kennedy didn't lose, but it wasn't an impressive win either.
Rough Copy scores the third round 10-9 for Tim Kennedy.
Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira
Edgar can generate offensive output like nobody else so it should be interesting to see what he can do in a three round confrontation instead of a championship bout. Oliveira out comes to what sounds like Portuguese Meat Loaf. I don't know what this song is but he just five starred it.
Edgar opens the round with a hundred punches and takes Oliveira down. The two get back up and exchange some shots until Edgar hits a second takedown. This repeats itself for most of the round. Three minutes in and the two are connecting with occasional single shots. Edgar hits five takedowns total this round and lands a number of body shots, but Oliveira lands the the more powerful hands and knees when he connects.
Rough Copy scores the first round 10-9 for Frankie Edgar.
Oliveira attempts to summon the ghost of Bendo's body kicks at the beginning of the second, but I'm pretty sure Edgar knows to block that out of instinct after their first fight. He catches the leg and hits a combo of his own. Oliveira hits a leg kick that looks like the most painful strike of the fight thus far. Edgar pushes through Oliveira's offense again and takes him down. Edgar is constantly changing his angles, moving his head, and getting in and out of Oliveira's range. Edgar closes out the round with another huge takedown directly into a tight guillotine choke.
Rough Copy scores the second round 10-9 for Frankie Edgar.
Lots of punching to open the final round. Edgar starts throwing right hands around the 3:30 mark and doing some damage. Edgar gets Oliveira down yet again and finishes the fight with some well defended ground and pound. Both competitors were able to keep up a frantic pace from start to finish and I felt like either could have taken it with a well timed shot.
Rough Copy scores the third round 10-9 for Frankie Edgar.
Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman
This fight saw referee Herb Dean decapitated by a mob of Brazilians after Mr. Silva stabbed Dos Santos. Just kidding, that was soccer
Chris Weidman came to the fight this Bud Light sponsored Independence Day weekend to return the middlweight title and all of the jobs it creates to the American people, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Weidman hits an early takedown and memories of Silva Sonnen 1 flashed before a million "USA" chanting eyes. Weidman hits some hard punches and goes deep for a heel hook. Silva escapes. Silva back against the cage and drops his hands. He taunts Weidman and gets a two piece. Silva goes full "come at me bro" while moving out of the way. Weidman casually reminds Silva that he too is invited to throw some punches. Silva closes out the final minute of the round telling Silva where to try to hit him. Weidman doesn't want to play Silva Says. Weidman's corner tells him to punch a fucking hole in his chest between rounds.
Rough Copy scores the first round 10-9 for Weidman.
Round two is a bizarre spectacle. One man is attempting to rob a man of his consciousness while the other looks like he's recreating Saturday Night Fever through interpretive Muay Thai dancing. Chris Weidman used this chance to unleash his secret weapon. Here's how it happened.
As we all know, Silva is a counterstriker. He avoids shots, sometimes goads opponents into making mistakes, and picks his shots carefully. A lot can be said about Silva's hubris being his downfall in this fight, but Weidman brilliantly exploited a flaw in Silva's fighting style as pointed out by Jack Slack in his "Killing the King
" article on Anderson Silva. In it he notes a major difference between boxing striking and MMA striking. Boxing striking often employs combinations thrown from the same hand, whereas MMA striking is typically a left, right, left, right back and forth style. Silva's style involves rolling away from punches to avoid most of the impact and land his counter shots. As Slack says...
"Boxers often double or even triple up the same hand mid-combination, which makes it difficult for the defender to turn side to side as Silva does.
Very few opponents have doubled up punches from one hand against Silva. I am not saying that doubling up would allow a fighter to knock Silva out — there isn't a simple answer to an iron chin. However, there is a reason why elite boxers rarely roll with every punch as effectively as Silva does; boxers are not as predictable and one-note in their offence."
Silva's Matrix like movements are because he literally knows exactly what you're likely to throw at him. Weidman begins the knockout combination with two sharp left jabs. Silva began to roll away from the right that followed, but here's where Weidman differed from others in his attack. Instead of following with another left, Weidman threw a backhand right that connected well enough to throw off Silva's timing. This one little motion left Silva's jaw wide open for a tremendous left hook directly to the night night spot.
That was a brilliant and dramatic ending, but the fact that Silva didn't look like he remotely cared about fighting anymore somewhat cheapens it. Silva's post fight interview largely indicated that he does not want a rematch and that his heart is no longer in fighting. He still has several more to his contract, but this may be the last time we see him fight for a belt. He leaves with Usher Raymond. He's going to need to hear Confessions live tonight.