Somebody is gonna get knocked the f*** out!
On one side you have got the man who is considered to be the face of UFC – the franchise if you will – the ultra-popular, ultra-tough light heavyweight champion, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell. Then you have got the man who should be Pride middleweight champ (if not for a certain axe murderer) who has gained a legion of fans through his colourful comments and powerful style, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Around four years ago, these two had a fight (at Pride) and the result was Jackson handing out a loss to the Iceman (Liddell was fighting with a torn hamstring, but he didn”t say anything about it nor used it as an excuse). Fast forward to the present and Jackson has entertained fans while Liddell has pretty much bitch slapped anyone who got in his way and bagging the Light Heavyweight title while he was at it. Jackson claimed it was a time for a changing of the guard and that Liddell “hasn”t changed much” while Liddell was confident in that he has improved (and isn”t suffering an injury) and could beat Jackson. If one thing was for certain, someone was going to the f*** knocked out.
And the man who got knocked the f*** out is?
The crowd were in a frenzy – Jackson has his supporters but also some detractors while Liddell was certainly the crowd favourite. As if Dana White could tell there was going to be an early knock out, there was the introduction of a representative of the Nevada State Committee and also mentioning who the judges were (as if they were needed) and the usual Introduction. No doubt the crowd were blood lusting at this point and finally it was go time!
Chuck kept moving around, trying to goad Jackson to dash into him, like a matador with a red cape, but Jackson was no fool and kept his distance and cheekily tried the same tactic by putting his hands down and waving Liddell to charge at him, which Liddell answered with a jab that just glanced Jackson.
Chuck managed to hit a good left jab on Jackson and then it happened. There was an exchange, Liddell left his left side open, Jackson hit him with a beautifully timed left hook, Liddell went down and Jackson was on him like a wolf, with the first shot putting Liddell”s lights out and it was over – The ref stepped in and it was over at 1:53.
Liddell”s UFC dominance had come to a stop and Quinton Jackson was finally a champ. I swear I could hear howling from across the border. While the match was short, it was very sweet (especially for Rampage fans) and a rematch should definitely be on the cards. That said, a match between Jackson and Henderson is something that should be looked forward to. As for the rest of the show, the undercard was solid with either first round finishes or matches that went on longer and – while not the most exciting – were satisfying for the fans.
Best offence is defence!
Chris Leben was the aggressor in his match against Kelib Starnes and it looked like it would work for him as it had done in the past, with aggression allowing him to get some good shots in, with a kick to the liver stunning Kelib in the final round. However, Starnes – despite being on the defensive most of the time – manage to almost seemingly knock Leben out in the first round (Leben was saved by the bell) and dominated the third round enough to just about take the win.
If Chris Leben can improve his condition even more, his aggressiveness will be a killer weapon while Starnes needs to work on his offence or be more daring and attack more.
Long time coming short time staying
For Houston Alexander, it was a case of seven years and 48 seconds; the seven years being how long it took him to get to the UFC and the 48 seconds indicating how long it took for him to knock out Keith “Dean of Mean” Jardine. It wasn”t smooth sailing at the start however as Jardine landed two punches and looked to be on his way to another easy victory only for Alexander to recover, clinch Jardine and unleashed hell as he launched a flurry of blows that included a knee and two sick uppercuts, the second one putting Jardine”s lights out.
We didn”t get to see much of Houston Alexander”s strength except that his striking is good and he can take a punch. We”ll have to wait until his next match to see what more he”s capable of.
Squish him like a berry
A highlight in UFC 71, albeit a weird one, was Terry Martin coming down to Michael Jackson”s “Billie Jean” (the back story is that Ivan Salaverry said Martin dances around too much around the ring). Ivan Salaverry was accompanied by Tito Ortiz, which was sure to be a bad omen”
Both guys traded shots and ended up in a clinch that saw Martin take control from behind. Salaverry tried to execute a kumura on Martin, but Martin slammed him down and, as if that wasn”t enough, delivered hammer fists to the head for a stoppage win.
It”s heating up!
Karo “The heat” Parisyan attempted to heat things up with Josh Burkman and already when the bell sounded both of them went “swinging for the fences”. Parisyan was the better fighter in the first round, landing a wicked Judo throw and coming close to submitting Burkman.
Second round saw both men a little spent but Parisyan dominated this round, even shrugging off a jab to the head. Surprising to see Parisyan not pursue or Burkman, who -alarmingly for most of the round- had his guard down.
Again it was Parisyan who was the dominate one until late in the round when Burkman manage to take down the Judo expert with an impressive slam, but it wasn”t enough and Parisyan gained control till the final bell sounded and unsurprisingly won by unanimous decision.
Burkman needs to work on his cardio and Parisyajn needs to be more aggressive, going after openings (Burkman, as stated, had his hands down so many times).
UFC Schooling now in session
Din Thomas looked to give Jeremy Stephens a rough introduction to the UFC, but Jeremy Stephens proved he was no push over. Despite being dominated by Thomas, Stephens showed great composure, especially when he was almost choked out from behind – a place many youngsters would panic and thus end up being submitted – and even manage to escape (after a tactic by Thomas – using his legs to control Stephens arms – didn”t pay off) and unleash a flurry of blows before the bell rang.
In the second round, it was the turn of the youngster taking control, connecting with a spinning back fist and left hook and getting top position after avoiding a take down, but Thomas caught one of Stephens arms and went for an armbar and while Stephen picking him up and slamming Thomas looked impressive, it made things worse and Thomas was able to extend the arm for a win.
I give UFC 71 a B-. The matches were good, but none that could be called classics (maybe a second viewing would change my mind). Still, seeing Quinton “Rampage” Jackson finally becoming a champion (something long overdue) was awesome in itself.
Somebody is gonna get knocked the f*** out!