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By Wade Keller, MMATorch Supervising Editor
RANDOM THOUGHTS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
-During the intro to the event, Mike Goldberg looked like he hadn't slept in a week. Or else his make-up case was stolen. He sounded fine, though. In fact, I'd say it was among his better announcing performances in recent years.
-Brandon Vera looked confident throughout, but it wasn't the type of buzzworthy performance that turns a fighter into a draw. Most casual UFC fans who only have a passing familiarity with Vera's spotty record in recent years aren't going to be clamoring after this fight to see Vera against top 205 guys. That said, his performance here (combined with his larger track record) obviously earned him a top contender opponent next time. He'll need to either win in more spectacular fashion or beat someone of established name value to become a PPV draw and household MMA name. By contrast, the buzz for Todd Duffy will be much greater, deserved or not, based on his massive display of punching power and record-setting quick KO in the prelim fight that aired later on the PPV.
-The Demian Maia vs. Nate Marquardt fight was a throwback to the early UFC days where they billed a lot of fights as "striker vs. grappler" in instances where each fighter had a distinct advantage in stand-up or ground fighting. This one didn't end like Royce Gracie's fights did, though. Is it that Ken Shamrock was no Nate Marquardt or was it that Demian Maia is no Royce Gracie? We'll find out after a few more fights for each fighter. Mark it as a big lesson for Maia.
-Joe Rogan really complimented Marquardt for not throwing a punch on Maia before the referee stepped in to stop the fight, but after he clearly knew he had it won. I wonder if that was Rogan establishing his opinion on Dan Henderson's extra punch against Michael Bisping, or if Rogan believes it's okay to punch someone an extra time after you know you've won but before the ref steps in if that fighter irritated you with pre-fight comments?
-Great great camera shot of Anderson Silva after Marquardt's KO of Demian Maia. That's the type of memorable post-fight image of the champion reacting to a challenger's impressive win that sells tickets and PPVs. UFC should use that image in their fight hype for the likely Silva-Marquardt rematch down the line.
-Did Bruce Buffer forget Jake Rosholt's name or did his mic go out or something else? There was that long, awkward pause when Buffer announced the winner: "Jake... ... ... Rosholt!"
-It's tough seeing Keith Jardine's reacton after losing. Does anybody look more crushed than he does after a loss? The loss further solidifies him as a "gate keeper" at best after appearing, after the Chuck Liddell fight, to be a potential champion level fighter. The Liddell win has lost prestige over time, too, with it clearly being the end of Liddell's career as a top tier fighter when Jardine beat him.
-I wasn't comfortable with Ed Herman coming out for the second round, and it didn't sound like Rogan was, either. When someone's limping like that at the end of a round, I really think for the long-term of health of the fighter and the obvious possibility of the injury leaving him vulnerable for a worse injury, someone should have stopped him from continuing, be it his corner, the referee, the doctor, the athletic commission, anyone. The severity of his knee injury got much, much worse because of that one kick he threw. Some of the "blame" goes to Herman who probably should have adjusted drastically his approach and not thrown a roundhouse kick that, by definition, puts tremendous twisting torque on the support leg.
-Was that the first time UFC supplied an interpreter for between rounds commentary from a non-English corner? I like the decision.
-There are a lot of fights - good fights, even - where you feel like you haven't really learned how good either fighter is at certain areas of his game. Couture-Nogueira showed just about every facet on offense or defense of both fighters.
-If you didn't hear commentary, a great piece of info from Goldberg with 1:20 left in the fight was that Brock Lesnar was shouting instructions at ringside to Couture. It was attributed to the wrestling fraternity, and I believe that, but you wonder if there wasn't a touch of Lesnar preferring to move Nogueira out of the contender list.
-I had Nogueira-Couture at 30-27. It'll be interesting to hear which round one of the judges gave to Couture.
-I thought the announcers, who are prone to overstatement and overhype by nature (especially Goldberg), undersold how good the Couture-Nogueira fight was. I had it at easily four stars and a Fight of the Year candidate, all things considered. I was about as sure as sure gets that Couture was seconds away from losing three times (twice on submissions, once on punches). I was very happy with how that fight played out. You couldn't have scripted that to be better and more dramatic for a 30-27 fight in the sense that Couture almost lost several times, but looked totally respectable in the process because his escapes were Houdini-worthy, and then he ends up on top at the end. Plus, for those who have dreamed about this fight for years, it delivered both the stand-up and the ground fighting that you'd have wanted to see from both men. A dream match that absolutely lived up to its billing. Now if only they had created a "Legends Title" as an excuse for this to go five rounds.
-We almost made it through a whole UFC PPV without Mike Goldberg saying "class act," but it slipped out in reference to Nogueira after the final fight.
Mike Goldberg on Krzysztof Soszynski: "They thought at one point he might be the next Hulk Hogan in professional wrestling."
Joe Rogan: "That just shows what a sportsman Nate Marquardt is. He decided not to punch Demian Maia after he was down. He thinks about it and he pulls back. He knew he was out and he stepped away from him. That just shows what a great guy he is. In the heat of battle he saw he hurt him and pull away."
Todd Duffy right after his win: Hey, that's called hard work, hard work baby. That's all it takes... That was an appetizer. I wanna eat, Dana, Let me eat."
Mike Goldberg on Keith Jardine: "This is his eighth straight top ten opponent."
Joe Rogan in response: "He's fought animal after animal."
Mike Goldberg on Keith Jardine: "He's unorthodox even in the staredown."
Joe Rogan in response: "Even when he touches gloves. That throws people off, man."
Joe Rogan: "Thiago's stepping heavy on that front leg and Jardine's got an eye on it like it's a steak."
Joe Rogan on Jardine: "Who do you get to imitate that guy sparring?... A chimp? Teach a chimp karate."
Thaigo Silva after his win: "UFC is my life."
Mike Goldberg on Aaron Simpson in round one: "This could be a future superstar."
Joe Rogan on Couture: "If he can win the title again at 46-plus years of age, they're going to build monuments for this dude."
Joe Rogan: "Minotauro is 33 years old, which is a year younger than Randy Couture was when he started his MMA career."
Mike Goldberg: "But when you look at fight mileage... He's a new Bentley with 150,000 miles on it."
Joe Rogan on Nogueira: "The conventional logic is that the Frank Mir fight was an aberration."
Joe Rogan on Couture: "We've talked so many times about this man's age, but we've been doing it for so long it seems stupid. We were doing it back when he was 40."
Minotauro Nogueira: "I want the title belt. If you guys give me a chance to fight Lesnar, it would be my pleasure."
Randy Couture on whether he'll fight again: "I'm here. I'm ready to fight. I feel the best I've ever felt."
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