Joe Stevenson vs. Nate Diaz
This was pretty much a win or go home scenario for Joe Stevenson, and although Nate needed to win as well, I don’t think the UFC will boot him anytime soon due to his marketability as an asshole. This fight was pretty much a wrestling match from beginning to end due to Stevenson just smothering the Nate and stuffing everything he tried to do. Stevenson seemed close to a guillotine at one point in the fight, but Nate has good jits and was able to roll out of it. The decision was 29-28 all around, which I thought was fair, but the bottom line is that Stevenson is just stronger than Nate and was able to control him throughout the entire fight.
Ross “Me Shoulder Popped Out” Pearson vs. Andre Winner (Ultimate Fighter Season 9 lightweight final)
This fight started out and ended pretty much the same way, in the clinch. Both of these guys were intent on fighting on their feet, not really taking any chances, and it showed. It made for a very technical and, as one would expect, boring fight. This fight was either man’s all the way up until the last minute of round 3, when Pearson connected a few times, just enough to steal the fight. Pearson is your lightweight ultimate fighter, but I feel that if he fights anyone in the UFC who can push him, his style of fighting won’t get him very far.
Chris Lytle vs. Kevin Burns
This fight started out like every other Lytle fight: He wanted to have a stand-up war. Luckily for Lytle, Burns was happy to oblige, and they stood up for the entire fight banging it out to the bitter end. In round 1, Burns clearly had a slight edge in the standup, along with the junk kicks — he lit up Lytle’s cup on two separate occasions in round 1, and continued the wiener assault throughout the fight.
In round 2, you could clearly see that Burns was starting to gas out, and it was about midway through the round when it became clear that he would be running on fumes for the remainder of the fight. Lytle realized this and picked him apart on their feet, then finally landed a right that opened Burns up like a faucet. The stand-up dominance continued in the 3rd, and eventually earned Lytle the fight by decision.
DaMarques Johnson vs. James Wilks (Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Welterweight final)
This was a fight that I think we all expected to be pretty evenly matched, but from the opening bell it was pretty clear that Wilks was the better man. For a guy who’s already a pretty big welterweight, he really manhandled the lone American in every aspect of the game. On their feet he outpunched him, and when it went to the ground Wilks seemed like he was putting on a grappling clinic, throwing every move in the book at Johnson. We got to hear Rogan say omoplatta more than once — which of course means everyone in our crew took numerous bar shots, ’cause that’s the way we roll when we watch fights. Eventually, Wilks was able to take Johnson’s back and, with only 10 seconds left in round 1, secure the rear naked choke and pick up the contract.
Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida
Holy crap, this fight was an absolute banger. From the opening walkout staredown to the concluding bell, this fight was a classic slugfest. Both fighters brought what they do best and did it effectively. In round 1, both fighters decided to stay on the feet and in the first minute Sanchez unloaded on uppercuts and straight punches that clearly had Guida rocked and nearly finished. Clay took a solid roundhouse kick clean on the chin that most thought had knocked him out, yet he somehow regained his composure, as he always does, and went on autopilot into a takedown.
In round 2, Guida came out and overpowered Sanchez, taking him down at will and scoring points with the ground-and-pound. Although Sanchez is a great grappler, it was clear that he wasn’t comfortable on his back. Clay never managed to pass guard in this round, but was clearly controlling the fight and won the round… despite taking some wicked elbows from the guard that we haven’t seen since Anderson Silva hammered out Lutter with them. From this point on, Guida was bleeding from a lot of places in his facial area, at least one of which was clearly on the top of his caveman dome.
Round 3 started at a feverish pace much like the other rounds, and although everyone expected Guida to take the fight to the ground and win a decision, he chose to stand up, only attempting one takedown in the first half of the round, which was easily stifled by Sanchez. Diego continued to score points on the feet, knowing that he had won the first round by a margin. When Guida finally managed to take Sanchez down, it was too late, and Diego had wits enough to sit up and hold Guida’s arm in a kimura attempt, which lead to the end of the fight.
One judge gave the fight to Guida, which I didn’t understand, but in the end it’s Diego Sanchez who will get the first crack at the belt once BJ and Kenny decide who is champ in August.