THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It was considered a dream match-up, but did it live up to expectations? That was what I was hoping to find out by watching UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.
The show began with the preliminary fights as Matt Mitrione faced Joey Beltran in the heavyweight division.
This was a really enjoyable encounter. Mitrione got off a few good shots at the start until Beltran tagged him with a right before he took the fight to the ground.
From there both men gave us a good back and forth striking battle, with Mitrione showing how much he’s improved since his time on The Ultimate Fighter.
Meathead came out on top here as he took the unanimous judges decision.
It was down to middleweight for the next fight as C.B. Dalloway faced Joe Doerksen.
After a great striking display in the previous fight we saw a good display of ground work, with Dalloway going for an in-arm guillotine as soon as they went down. Doerksen didn’t panic though as he chose to relax to see how things would play out.
When nothing came of that Dalloway released the hold and went for a normal guillotine, and after they rolled on the mat a few times Dalloway synched in the hold completely, with Doerksen tapping out to give C.B. the submission win.
Then it was on to the UFC debut of K-1 legend Mark Hunt as he went up against Sean McCorkle in a heavyweight encounter.
The blink and you’ll miss it affair saw Hunt take the guard when the fight went to the ground, only for McCorkle to attack his arm and take him out with an evil looking arm bar. I have to admit I winced a little when I saw Hunt’s arm go as he tapped out.
Action from the lightweight division followed as Thiago Tavares faced Pat Audinwood.
Audinwood looked like he was in a whole different weight division because of his size advantage, but it didn’t help him when Tavares took him down with a couple of big slams.
Tavares then controlled the fight on the ground and took home the impressive submission win when Audinwood tapped out to a standing in-arm guillotine.
The main show began with more lightweight action as Melvin Guillard took on Jeremy Stephens.
This looked like it was going to be an explosive encounter, especially when Stephens put Guillard on his backside in the first few seconds.
But after Guillard got back to his feet immediately it became obvious what sort of battle we were going to get, and although both fighters connected with some good blows, especially Stephens’ liver shot in the third, this fight will probably be remembered for the two low kicks in the second round.
Guillard took home the split decision in a fight that could have gone either way.
The lightweight action continued as former champion Sean Sherk went up against Evan Dunham.
This proved to be a very intriguing encounter. Dunham looked like he was going to get the win a couple of times in the first with a guillotine, but the Muscle Shark managed to escape both times and opened up a nasty cut above Dunham’s right eye with a left elbow from the ground.
The back and forth action continued as the fight progressed with Dunham going for more guillotines, and as the fight entered it’s final few moments Dunham began to tee off at will, rocking Sherk a number of times.
Once again the judges were called into action as they gave Sherk the split decision, a decision that clearly didn’t sit too well with those in attendance.
It was up to the welterweight division for the next fight as Matt Serra faced Chris Lytle.
No ground work to speak of here, and hardly any kicks as well as these two began to swing for the fences as soon as the fight began, and that was how the fight played out for the entire three rounds, with each rocking the other with big shots, and Lytle’s repeated rights busting Serra open above his left eye.
There was more work for the judges and all three scored the fight in favour of Lytle.
The co-main event saw Antonio Rogerio Nogueira taking on Ryan Bader in the light heavyweight division.
An interesting battle saw some great action early on as Bader went to work with the ground and pound, with one vicious right bouncing Little Nog’s head off the canvas.
The rest of the fight was mainly a striking battle with occasional visits to the ground. Both men had their moments, with the fight ending with Bader looking for some more ground and pound.
The judges were certainly earning their pay as they gave Bader the unanimous decision, probably edging it with his ground and pound work.
The main event saw Frank Mir taking on Mirko Cro Cop in the heavyweight division.
Let’s be honest here. This was the worst main event I’ve seen since the Anderson Silva debacle in Dubai.
For fourteen minutes we had a fight between two men who just didn’t want to commit to anything. It felt more like a sparring session, and given the pedigree of these two that was inexcusable.
Then Mir connected with a big right knee that sent Cro Cop crashing. The referee quickly stepped in, giving Mir the barely deserved knockout win.
In conclusion – for once I’m not going to say that everything about a UFC show was great.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some good performances here, but there were also some lacklustre ones as well, and the main event was shockingly poor. It was as if Frank Mir and Mirko Cro Cop just couldn’t be bothered.
So in all an okay show, let down considerably by the two world class fighters in the main event.