Sunday, September 26, 2010

Caffeine Binge Recovery: UFC 119, Dream 16, and Other Random Ramblings

I'm always up for a MMA-filled weekend (any weekend with two or more major MMA events) such as this one. Plenty of caffeine cocktails on deck (that's a unique blend of various energy drinks) to get me throught the long, enduring hours of late night mixed martial arts watching, and plenty of web surfing in between.

My caffeine-induced weekend started with Dream 16, early Saturday morning. I set my cell phone alarm for 1 am and made sure there was a cold glass of my special caffeine cocktail within easy sipping range. Although skeptical about the card, I rarely ever miss a Dream event and knowing the potential on any Dream card, I wasn't about to miss out. However, two long hours of Dream 16 fighting proved only enough to aid the summoning of an excruciating caffeine headache. To say the least, I was not satisfied with the outcome. I think it's safe to start predicting the end of Dream and the dismantling of their parent company FEG (Fighting and Entertainment Group), but luck always finds the Japanese promotion and if Chinese investor PUJI Capital comes to their rescue the sinking ship could float a little while longer. Some Dream 16 observations:
  • If I weren't talking MMA right now, I'd otherwise be embarrased to share my eagerness to see a man fly through the air in pink tights, but when that man doesn't hesitate to break arms in submissions and waves two middle fingers as his own personal flag, the word "excitement" takes on a whole new meaning. This is the image of Dream Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki who took on former Pride lightweight contender Marcus Aurelio. To sum it up, Aoki won a unanimous decision by holding on for most of the fight. For a guy who's had a lot to say about wrestlers in the sport, winning spider monkey style seems very contradictory to me.
  • Former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi has only lost once on Japanese soil and wasn't about to change that Friday night when he met Tatsuya Mizuno in the Dream Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Final. Expect the expected -- Mousasi stopped Mizuno with ease, securing a rear naked choke that my little sister couldv'e escaped, to become Dream's first Light Heavyweight Champion.
  • I was hoping to see a renewed Chase Beebe, but the former WEC Bantamweight Champion's display of one-dimensionality only proved that "improvement" is not a word in his vocabulary. Simply put, Beebe has no stand-up game -- offensive or defensive, and this was clearly demonstrated in his match against Hiroyuki Takaya who put on a ground-and-pound clinic to force the stoppage at 1:45 in the first.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Gegard Mousasi for Dream Light Heavyweight Title

* * *

Riding a stimulant-driven binge, I managed view UFC 119's preliminary card on Spike and the pay-per-view version on On Demand with only a few hours of sleep since my late night with Dream 16. After loading up on more energy drinks, I was excited to view the free prelims on Spike TV and was very much pleased with the outcome. Matt Mitrione remained undefeated in what was only his third Octagon appearance against a far more experienced Joey Beltran. The fight was a relentless exchange of power strikes from both fighters, ending in a unanimous decision for Mitrione, who also took home "Fight of the Night" honors. Then, C.B. Dollaway capped off the free programming with a first round "Sub of the Night"-earning guillotine choke over Canadian submission specialist Joe Doerksen. I highly doubt we'll see Dollaway on the preliminary card in his next fight.

The excitement soon faded along with my caffeine buzz. The pay-per-view card was a sore dissapointment. If the UFC had subtitled this event, "UFC 119: 'Pointless and Irrelevent'" at least then I would've been prepared for the worst. Here's my UFC 119 notes:
  • Melvin Guillard won a close split decision in his battle with Jeremy Stephens. Both entered the match with two fight winning streaks, and needed the win to get off the bubble. Guillard and Stephens are two lightweight fighters who have come close to contention status but somehow always seem to come up short. No one spilled their beer watching this bout, but hopefully it sets up something more exciting for Guillard's next match-up.
  • I finally came to for the Sean Sherk vs. Evan Dunham, and I didn't need a caffeine shot. This was the perfect stylistic match-up with two aggressive fighters -- Sherk looking to step bank into the UFC lightweight mix after a fifteen month layoff against Dunham, the young, undefeated phenom who easily ran through virtually all of his opponents. Both fighters really mixed it up, especially Dunham, who hit Sherk with everything but the kitchen sink and sports a mean guillotine choke. This fight could've gone either way. I even think I saw Cecil Peoples flip a coin afterwards to give thesplit decision to Sean Sherk.
  • And here's where the pointlessness begins. Nothing against either fighter, for both Matt Serra and Chris Lytle are hightly respecable fighters. However, their quickly vanishing youth and lack of star power should place them on fight night and preliminary cards. Nonetheless, Chris Lytle managed to control Serra in all three rounds to earn a unanimous decision win.
  • Many will probably disagree with me here but I must've gone blind during most of the Bader-Noguiera match because I missed the fireworks. A few sparks flew in the first round, and couple of here-and-there moments dotted the last two rounds, but the in the words of B.B. King, "The Thrill Was Gone." I just wasn't impressed with either fighter, or maybe it was the caffeine fading again? At any rate, Bader controlled the fight to take home the unanimous decision (I think Peoples and Family got this one right).
  • Can you say "irrelevant, pointless, unimportant, insignificant?" If so, you're probably talking about the main event at UFC 119. Frank Mir vs. Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic was a joke, and I knew this going in. So, why I got myself excited to see such a meaningless fight, I do not know. But, what I do know is UFC matchmaker Joe Silva needs one of my caffeine cocktails because he needs to wake up. The crowd booed all the way up until the one midly satisfying moment -- a devastating Frank Mir knee, followed by twin punches to put an end to the fight, our sour dissapointment, and my aching caffeine headache.  Official stoppage at 4:02 of round three for Frank Mir.
Perhaps the more exciting moments of UFC 119 occurred outside of the Octagon. Count on "Meathead" to provide his own innocent sense of post-fight humor:

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