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By Rich Hansen, MMA Torch Contributor:
8:45 PM (all times Central) - I have a killer headache tonight, so instead of full play by play, you're getting highlights and snarky commentary. The broadcast starts at 9 PM Central, and my head hurts so bad that my filter will be turned OFF tonight.
9:00 - And we are LIVE... I already miss Bruce Buffer.
9:01 - Don Frye: "It was like prison sex. It was hard, it was sweaty, it was violent, and there was a lot of noise." Unfortunately, I have no idea what he was referencing.
9:04 - Shark Fights is brought to you by COORS LIGHT. Somewhere in Minnesota, Brock Lesnar is toasting the screen (and ripping the heads off of puppies with his teeth).
9:07 - Stand and remove your caps as Anthony Johnson sings the national anthem (no, not THAT Anthony Johnson). All 42 people in attendance remove their caps and salute Don Frye's shirt.
9:11 - Shark Fight's version of Bruce Buffer needs to have someone check the levels on his mic. He's harder to understand than Barack Obama when the teleprompter is broken. First fight, Bradley versus Rees. The undercard ran long. This fight won't start until at least 9:17. This should be a swing fight, not a PPV opener.
9:13 - Frye just described something as a "brick shithouse." Unfortunately, once again I have no idea what he was referring to.
9:14 - Johnny Rees is known as "The Hater Hurter."
9:16 - Both guys wearing identical trunks and buzz cuts. Great. I remember a Wisconsin - Illinois hoops game where Illinois wore orange jerseys at home, and Wisconsin wore their normal road reds. It was a nightmare. At least you could tell the teams apart because the Badgers were the team that went to the left at the beginning, but won once they started going to the right. Sorry, this should be a political free zone.
9:18 - I failed to mention that Don Frye's mustache is about 17 inches tall. And he needs a lozenge.
9:20 - Bradley has north south on Rees, and is really close to finishing this.
9:21 - Bradley just won by RNC. Or as Ron Kruck called it, a guillotine. Oops. Bas and Frye have already blown past entertainingly bad and are well on their way to train wreck bad. Hopefully it was just because of the identical trunks that the fighters were wearing.
Paul Bradley defeats Johnny Rees via RNC 4:28 into round 1.
9:24 - 3 minute video of people saying "thank you" to the military and victims of 9-11.
9:26 - Tarec Saffiedine vs. Brock Larson is next. Saffeidine trains at Team Quest. Don Frye just confused Belgium with Holland. Bas set him straight. Kruck says that Larson has had a long career HERE in the UFC. Just because HDNet got credentialed doesn't make this a UFC PPV, Ron.
9:30 - Ding. Ding. Bas is surprised that both fighters are southpaws. Ah, research.
9:32 - Frye insists that Larson needs to keep his chin tucked. Easy to say, coming from a man with no neck. I kid, I kid. Don't kill me Don, I love you. Larson has been hugging Saffeidine's right leg for about a minute here.
9:36 - Saffeidine wound up on top, and has won the first round. You know how Maria Sharapova grunts every time she hits a tennis ball? Well, Saffeidine barks like a large dog every time he throws a punch on the ground. It's nowhere near as erotic as Sharapova's grunts, though. Larson is tired.
9:38 - When the Don Frye character is turned off, the result is a commentator who knows his stuff. Whoda thunk it?
9:40 - Very little action, but what action there has been has been in Saffeidine's favor. So why the hell did he just throw a flying knee? Jesus.
9:43 - The first three minutes of round 2... Circle circle circle, flying knee caught, single leg push into the cage, no takedown. Fun. And by fun, I mean anti-fun. After Larson lost the single leg, Saffeidine controlled the rest of the round. 10-9 Saffeidine again, 20-18. Symbolically, I'd like to score it 7-6 instead of 10-9, but that's not the way it works.
9:44 - Larson looks bad. I mean Fat Oprah with the brillo pad hair bad.
9:46 - I don't have the quote handy, but I remember Larson long ago telling Dana White that he (Larson) shouldn't be stuck on the prelims anymore. Well, he's right, he should be stuck fighting in the next Shine Fights WW tournament.
9:48 - Don and Bas are making fun of France. Bas' French sounds like Cornholio. Don Frye: "I heard that Italy and Spain went to war and France surrendered."
9:49 - Fight is over. It wasn't Lentz - Winner bad, but it wasn't good, either. 30-27 across the board.
9:54 - Villasenor versus Villefort next. I just noticed that I am out of beer. Word on the street is that everybody in the entire country ran out of beer tonight because Don Frye drank it all. Villefort making his way to the cage to a tune with more auto-tune on it than 'Gay Fish' had.
9:57 - V and V really look like they dislike each other. Ding. Ding. Frye says the act like they owe each other money. So, doesn't that mean they're even? Also, every country in Europe owes each other money, and they all seem to get along fairly well. I'm just sayin...
10:01 - Villefort spent most of the first half of the round on top in side control. Most of the second half was spent in Joey's half guard. 10-9 Villefort. This fight isn't exactly helping my headache. My headache is so bad that I'm thinking about sending the wife to Walgreen's to fill her post=childbirth percocet prescription for me.
10:05 - Even though Joey got up, he looked small and can't wrestle. A bad combination. Maybe 170 would be a better weight class for him? Villefort knocked Joey down with a punch, although it may have been a slip on the Coor's Light logo. I would play a Coors Light drinking game tonight, but Don Frye has all the alcohol with him. ALL the alcohol.
10:07 - Last minute was spent by Bas describing his training with his old training partners. Which is fine, because Villefort's been on top the entire round. He's like the ground version of Frank Edgar. Lots of movement, but not really doing a ton of damage. It's very effective, though. 20-18, easy. Joey is going to need to finish the fight. Strikeforce can't be happy about this.
10:11 - Don't get me wrong. Villefort and Saffeidine both look(ed) great tonight, and I am excited that the younger, lesser known fighters have impressed. But this card hasn't been very exciting so far. I mean, as bad as I feel tonight, it could be worse. I could be Ricky Hatton...
10:14 - More of the same in the third round, except that he got Joey's back for 30 seconds of it. Easy to score 30-27 fight. The announcers are completely right wondering why the hell the UFC let him go after just one loss. He looked great. That said, thank God Joey Villasenor wasn't the MW Champion of the promotion, or Frank Hyden would insist that Joey won the fight.
10:18 - Including the prelims, 2 submissions, 5 decisions. I think Paul Daley is up next.
10:21 - Don Frye is having fun, and his fan boys are having fun listening to him, but he's embarrassing the sport tonight. For every drop of insight, we get a gallon of, well, him. That said, he and Bas making fun of the Double Rainbow guy made me grin. Making fun of Double Rainbow Guy, good. Talking about beating your old lady, bad.
10:23 - Three times now the announce crew has said that this is Daley's first fight since the Koscheck fight. I know Australia is far, far away, but it was a real fight, not a WWF house show fight that you can ignore. They also said that Paul Daley forfeited 10% of his purse to... Paul Daley. I'm sure Jorge Masvidal hopes that is not true.
10:24 - The pacing on this show has been wonderful. This is how a PPV should be paced. If you are charging your home audience, then the commercials must be held to an absolute minimum, Dana. Don Frye just said that Daley has no value. That's how you sell a fight, buddy (I love taking announcers WAY out of context...). Still waiting for Masvidal to throw a second strike, and we're three minutes in.
10:31 - Bad, boring round. Daley looks 25 pounds heavier than Masvidal. 10-9 Daley. Masvidal won't have to worry about getting Daley's share of the FOTN bonus, because unless the F stands for FAIL, this won't be FOTN.
10:35 - Either Dan Hardy will get the powers that be to change the rules so that wrestling is not allowed in MMA, or Daley's gonna have to learn how to wrestle a little bit. A guy that big shouldn't be taken down so easily by Masvidal (no slight to Masvidal). 10-9 Masvidal, 19-19. Daley is throwing more stuff, but isn't finding his range. When you throw everything at the same speed (as hard as possible), your opponent can get the timing down. It's like a pitcher throwing 99 MPH but straight. You need to change speeds. Prediction. If Daley loses the third round how he lost the second, he'll bitch about wrestlers not wanting to fight.
10:38 - Somewhere in Copenhagen, Martin Kampmann is wishing he had a hot tub time machine, because there's no way he would lose to THIS Paul Daley.
10:41 - Daley spent 90 seconds on his butt, staring at the referee the whole time. Tells you what you need to know about Masvidal (gets him down, does nothing), Daley (refuses to fix the holes in his game), and the ref (doesn't like standups).
10:43 - Failed single leg leads to Daley throwing bombs from top, but then Daley gets up and walks away, like Herring vs. Nogueira in Nog's UFC debut. Works well, though, as he ends the fight by landing bombs. Masvidal lost the fight in the last 90 seconds. This should be 29-28 Daley. Yep, although one of the blind monkeys gave all 3 rounds to Daley. Apparently Don shared the alcohol with one of the judges.
Paul Daley defeats Jorge Masvidal via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
10:50 - Assassin vs. African Assassin next. Someone on BE suggested that Alexander should be sold as the Nebraskan Assassin. I refuse to make any jokes about their gas tanks. I, like them 25 minutes from now, am too tired to do so.
10:51 - Shit. That pledge didn't last long.
10:52 - Pre-taped Greg Jackson interview. Bathroom break.
10:55 - The guy with the dreads will be referred to as Soko tonight. I don't feel like remembering where all the "U"s in his name go.
10:57 - I like both these guys, so I might not be so snotty through this fight. Or maybe I'll point it in the direction of Mister Drinky.
11:00 - Soko has a 6 inch reach advantage. There's only one way Houston wins this fight, and it involves conditioning.
11:02 - Don Frye thinks everyone who engages in a staredown doesn't like each other. Crowd is chanting HOUSTON, HOUSTON. Not because they like Alexander, but this is Texas after all, and they have a test tomorrow.
11:03 - Soko dropped Alexander and almost got finished. Soko is crushin Alexander, who grabbed a single leg for the first time him his life and held on for dear life. Someone needs to tell Frye and Kruck that what a fighter being OUT means, because while rocked, Houston isn't out.
11:06 - A 10-8 for Soko was averted in the last minute when Alexander got a reversal. Yes. Houston Alexander, on his back against a top notch judo player, swept Soko and wound up on top. Alexander ends the round with a couple of headbutts. Both guys are gassed. Alexander walked to the wrong corner, and Soko stayed on his back for 10 seconds.
11:08 - Soko has only won two fights that have gone past the first round, and one of them was a DQ. I say that for no real reason.
11:08:03 - Houston Alexander wins by TKO.
11:09 - Alexander dropped him with an uppercut and a knee, and then threw about 45 strikes on the ground in a 30 second period before the referee stopped the fight. We as MMA fans need to hope that Bob Reilly and his ilk don't get their hands on this tape.
11:13 - And that's without factoring in the handfuls of dreadlocks, and the headbutts from the top to end the first round. There was a whole lot to like in this fight, and in the big picture a whole lot to purge from the sport. Like, Soko, for example. Maybe it's not too late for him to take up soccer or working in a factory.
Houston Alexander defeats Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou by TKO.
11:19 - Main event is next. Jardine vs. Prangley. Cue video. Prangley: "I got to make a statement tonight if I want to get back to the big shows." Interesting way to thank Shark Fights for putting you in the main event. And, last I checked, he's actually a title holder for the promotion.
11:21 - Jardine looks really damned intense walking out to the cage.
11:25 - Again, I really hope that Bob Reilly doesn't get hold of this. Don Frye is doing his best to reinforce all the negative stereotypes people have against MMA. It's one thing to be a jag with your friends, or in a small public forum (like me, here). But Jesus Christ man, sober up and be a damn professional. Stop marking out for your own gimmick and represent the sport, you jag.
11:27 - Prangley is the Shark Fights LHW Champion, but this is not a title fight. Kruck did not elaborate the fact that their title means nothing to Jardine, because all he wants to do is leave Amarillo with a win and a UFC contract.
11:30 - GREAT action. Jardine with wicked leg kicks. Then a clinch and MASSIVE knees from Prangley. Jardine's bleeding and down. Jardine throws up his legs for an omoplata, and winds up with an armbar. He has it locked multiple times, but Prangley escapes (somehow) each time. Winds up with Jardine on his back, bleeding. Fantastic action. Jardine going for an inverted heel hook, let's it go, and back to standing. HUGE right hook by Jardine. Best round of the night, and it's not even close. Impossible round to score, but let's go Prangley. Barely.
11:33 Jardine was late getting off his stool as they worked on his cut. Texas
11:35 - And the pace has slowed considerably. 90 seconds in, no action.
11:36 - Prangley knocks Jardine down about three minutes in. Back to his feet, grapple against the cage, and back to the middle of the cage. 90 seconds left in the round.
11:38 - 20-18 Prangley, but could be 19-19. Jardine has a bad cut on his left eyebrow. Probably needs to finish Prangley in the third round to avoid a fifth consecutive loss.
11:40 - Both these guys are UFC caliber fighters. They could both be, say, #2 or #3 fight on a Fight Night card.
11:43 - Prangley's doing nothing this round, as if he is sure all three judges have him ahead. That *could* be a mistake. Jardine is fighting at his normal languid pace. He's under the impression that this is an 11 round fight. This round sucks so far. Not because of the action itself, but neither guy is doing anything even though they both have compelling reasons to go for it.
11:45 - Jardine figured it out with one minute left. He fought like a maniac during the last minute of round three, and had Prangley in real trouble. It's indefensible that he didn't fight the entire round at that pace. I have it 29-28 Prangley, but the first round could go to Jardine.
Trevor Prangley defeats Keith Jardine via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29,29-28).
Overall a decent but less than good night of fights. The highlights were the last two fights. Alexander and Soko are each about 9 wins away from relevance, but they can entertain. Soko is more predictable than Keith Olbermann, though. If it gets to the second round, he loses, period. He could fight a 2 year old, and if the 2 year old gets out of the first round, the 2 year old is going to finish it in round 2.
The main event was a very good fight. Jardine and Prangley are both good enough to be in the UFC. This was the most entertaining Jardine has been in years, but he still lost. There was no controversy here, the right guy won the fight. As for Prangley, I bet he wishes he could get a do over on the Tim Kennedy fight.
Soko - Alexander won FOTN. That's a poor decision. Jardine vs. Prangley was a much better performance. But because Alexander had a massive comeback (and it was awesome) that people will remember, that swayed the minds of the people in charge.
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