Tribute to the Troops 2014

Tribute
to the Troops 2014
Date: December 17, 2014
Location: Columbus
Civic Center, Columbus, Georgia
Attendance: 17,000
Commentators: John
Bradshaw Layfield, Michael Cole
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s that special time
of year when WWE gets to put in very little effort and bang their
chests to brag about how amazing they are for doing something for the
troops. Ignore the fact that they no longer go across the world to
do these shows or even hold them in a military base anymore and enjoy
meaningless matches, unnecessary musical performances and recorded
cameos by celebrities who aren’t actually appearing in person. Did I
mention this show has lost its shine for me in the last few years?
Let’s get to it.

Will Ferrell, the
Osbornes, Rachel Maddow, the Muppets, Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa,
Aaron Rogers, Bruce Willis, Stephen Colbert, a bunch of wrestlers and
celebrities that I either don’t recognize or go too fast to type love
the troops.
Here’s
Hulk Hogan with an American flag, walking between some troops to open
the show. Really, is there anyone else that should be doing
something like this? He talks about how great it is to live in this
country but gets cut off by Miz and Mizdow (minus Slammys and
titles). Miz says you’re welcome to everyone here for portraying a
marine in his signature role. When you think pillar of strength of
the military, you think Miz.
This
brings out John Cena to apologize for Miz, who is either drunk or has
amnesia. When Cena thinks of toughness, he thinks of the armed
forces. When he thinks of Miz, it’s something a whole lot more
metrosexual. Like Ryan Seacrest for example. The Miz compares
himself to Bob Hope and says dying children ask people to win one for
the Miz. Cena of course doesn’t believe it and polls the fans on
whether or not Miz is a big deal.
Miz laughs it off and
says that it’s Hogan in the ring with Miz instead of him being in the
ring with Hogan. He brings up the Wrestlemania XXVII loss and says
he played a more convincing soldier than Cena ever could. The brawl
is on and Mizdow ie left alone for his team. He mimes getting beaten
up by Cena and dives over the ropes on his own in a funny bit.
This
brings out Team Authority minus Rusev but plus Big Show because even
specials need to have long opening segments. The beatdown is on but
Ryback, Rowan and Ziggler come out for the save. Team Cena and Hogan
stand tall in an actual feel good moment. Hogan has been the Real
American for over thirty years and you have to have him here for
something like this.
Angelina Jolie loves
the troops and plugs her new movie Unbroken.
Goldust/Stardust vs.
Usos
Goldust
talks trash to Jey to start and eats an uppercut for his efforts.
Off to Stardust who gets punched in the face as well before it’s off
to Jimmy for a slam. Goldust gets in a cheap shot from the apron but
Jimmy stops to dance. The Usos knock the Dusts to the floor for some
big dives as we take a break. Back with Jey being sent to the floor
for a stomping from Stardust as Cole talks about how amazing Fort
Benning is.
Stardust works on an
armbar before kicking Jey in the face for two. Goldust gets the same
off a powerslam and we hit the chinlock. Jey fights up and makes the
hot tag to his brother for some house cleaning. The Umaga attack
stuns Stardust and the enziguri sends Goldust to the floor. There’s
a big dive from Jey but Jimmy takes the Disaster Kick for two. Jimmy
pops back up with a corkscrew dive for two more. Jey superkicks
Stardust down and the double superkick sets up Superfly Splashes for
the stereo pin at 10:38.
Rating:
C.
The match was fine but it’s the same one we’ve seen half a dozen
times now. The Usos continue to have great rhythm together which you
can only find in actual brothers. The Dusts on the other hand are
still falling apart, even though they’re staying sharp in the ring.
I’d assume we’ll get to the split eventually, which I don’t hate as
much as I used to.

Lester Holt loves
the troops.
The cast of the Voice
loves the troops.
Florida Georgia Line
performs.
Tom Brokaw loves the
troops.
Divas Battle Royal
All
of the Divas are here in either Christmas themed attire or at least a
Santa hat. It’s a brawl to start with Emma quickly being eliminated.
Rosa and Summer have a dance off as the rest of the match just
stops. Thankfully they get together and eliminate the pair but
Cameron stops to check her compact. Naomi takes it away and holds it
out, making Cameron stop to look at herself again, giving Naomi the
easy elimination.
The Bellas throw Alicia
out, leaving us with the Bellas, Paige, Naomi and Natalya. Paige
busts out some mistletoe but the Bellas kick her to the floor. Naomi
tries to jump over Nikki in the corner but gets planted with an
Alabama Slam. Brie eliminates herself by missing a baseball slide,
allowing Naomi to dump the other two out for the win at 3:45.
Rating:
D+.
This is there so the girls can look good in their outfits and nothing
more. It wasn’t entertaining for the most part but thankfully they
kept this very short. This is a tradition for the show and at the
end of the day, it’s one of those things there for the fans and
nothing more.
Video of the roster
visiting the troops.
Sgt. Slaughter tells us
to stick around.
Dean Ambrose vs.
Bray Wyatt
This
is a Boot Camp match, meaning a military themed street fight. Sgt.
Slaughter does the introductions for old times’ sake. Ambrose comes
out in a camouflage hat to really suck up to the fans. It’s a brawl
to start of course with Dean hitting his dropkick against the ropes.
Bray comes back with a slam as we’re waiting on the weapons to come
into play. Dean comes back with what looked like a bulldog to send
Bray outside, setting up the suicide dive.
They head to the
camouflaged posts before Dean hits him with what looked like a tool
box. Since there aren’t enough weapons in the ring, Dean goes
underneath to find some chairs, one of which he wedges in the corner.
Bray comes back with a kendo stick shot and hammers away on Dean’s
ribs. Some right hands get two on Ambrose as the announcers debate
G.I. Joes.
We
take a break and come back with Dean fighting out of a cravate but
eating a right hand to the face. A big kendo stick shot gets two and
Bray slowly kicks away. Bray misses a big shot though and Dean takes
the stick away. Wyatt seems to like the idea but doesn’t like the
beating Ambrose gives him as much. A White Russian legsweep and
middle rope elbow with the chair get two for Dean so he starts
looking for more toys. He picks a table but takes too long setting
it up, allowing Bray to Rock Bottom Ambrose through the table for
two.
Wyatt busts out another
table but stops to get in Slaughter’s face, allowing Dean to get a
breather. Slaughter takes off his boot as Dean comes back with the
rebound clothesline. The steel toed boot comes into the ring and
goes upside Bray’s head to knock him onto the table. Dean heads up
top for the elbow through the table for the pin at 14:30.
Rating:
C+.
This was violent enough to be entertaining but the gimmick was just
there to tie things together. In other words, this was a basic
street fight with nothing special other than the last spot of the
match. Nothing much to see here, but these two have done so much
that it’s hard to find something new.
We recap the opening
segment.
Jamie Fox and Cameron
Diaz love the troops and plug their new movie Annie.
The Kardashians love
the troops.
Here
are Lana and Rusev to what should be better heat. She says the fans
are lucky to be in the presence of the greatest US Champion of all
time to make them a bit angrier. The fans shout Rusev down with the
USA chant so Lana puts up the Putin photo. She issues something like
an open challenge and here’s Daniel Bryan to interrupt and fire up
the crowd all over again.
Bryan
says the thing the Russians don’t understand about Americans is that
they never back down. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5’5 like Bryan
(that’s a bit low) or 7’2, Democrat or Republican, we fight no matter
what. If Rusev and Lana don’t like that, they should go back to
Russia. Lana laughs him off and Rusev invites Bryan out to the
floor. Daniel asks if Rusev wants to do all this right in front of
the troops. The thing about Americans is they’ll come from anywhere
to defend their freedoms. A few troops start jumping the barricade
and two repel from the ceiling to surround Rusev. Bryan gets in the
ring but Rusev bails.
The vast of the Today
Show loves the troops.
Larry the Cable Guy
loves the troops.
Florida Georgia Line
performs again.
Team Cena goes over
their game plan (an actual piece of paper labeled “game plan”).
Video on Hire Heroes.
Ryback/John
Cena/Erick Rowan/Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane/Luke Harper/Big Show/Seth
Rollins
Ryback
and Rollins get things going with Seth being powered back into the
corner. We hit the wristlock on Rollins before it’s off to Rowan for
a big (red) slam. The good guys keep their control until Seth decks
Ziggler with a right hand. Dolph is able to escape a delayed suplex
from Harper though and tags in Ryback for a delayed suplex of his
own, complete with FEED ME MORE, for two. Ziggler comes back in with
a dropkick but it’s off to Rollins to take over again. The running
DDT gets a quick two on Seth but everything breaks down with the bad
guys standing tall as we take a break.
Back
with Big Show throwing Ziggler around before it’s off to Kane. The
announcers talk about Kane attacking the Bunny with JBL talking about
how great a moment it was. Instead of letting the potential new fans
say “what are they talking about? That sounds kind of
interesting.”, Cole is right there to explain that it’s just a guy
in a bunny suit to kill the idea dead.
Rollins comes back in
and stomps away but Ziggler gets in a shot and DIVES over for the tag
to Cena. Harper comes in as well to take the finishing sequence but
Rollins breaks up the AA attempt. Kane breaks up the STF and it’s
secondary finishers a go-go. The AA plants Show and Cena AA’s Harper
onto Big show, but makes sure to shove Show out of the way so he can
pin Harper at 13:37.
Rating:
D+.
You know, they almost had me here. They had me buying into this for
just a second but then I lost the little hope I had. I can’t believe
it, but for a second I thought Big Show might actually do a job here.
Thankfully reality set in as Cena made sure to shove Big Show out of
the way after the AA and having Harper land on him so harper could
take the pin. I was getting worried there for a second.
Hogan comes out to
celebrate to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+.
I didn’t get as annoyed with this show as I have in the past but it’s
still not really necessary. Back in the day when the actually went
to Iraq and Afghanistan, the show felt like something special and
unique. Now it feels like a star (pre-recorded cameo) studded house
show with four matches and little effort. It also doesn’t help that
this makes eleven hours (counting Sunday’s pre-show) of WWE in four
days. If you watch all the shows like WWE implores you to do, the
burnout hit somewhere around the middle of Smackdown last night. The
show wasn’t bad, but it came and went and I won’t think of it again.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

PG WEEK: Tribute to the Troops 2013 on NBC

The
PG Era Rant for Tribute to the Troops 2013 (NBC Edit).
Okay,
no need to say what happened the last time we left our “heroes”,
because as WWE loves to point out, tonight’s show is FOR the heroes.
From
Lewis-McChord Joint Base in Tacoma, WA.
Your
hosts are Michael Cole and JBL.

We
open with Daniel Bryan on his way to the ring. Our troops need to
work on their YES.
But
as he fires up the crowd, we get the opening credits and a look back
at our last 10 Tributes. It includes footage of surprise troop
family reunions that NEVER get old.
I
take it back; the troops have been YES-ing right along with Bryan all
throughout the credits. But before we can get too much into the
spirit, the Wyatt Family heads to the ring.
Daniel
Bryan v. Bray Wyatt. Bray throws Bryan around, but Bryan comes back
with kicks only to run into a back elbow. They must be in an
airplane hangar – acoustics are bad and Bray’s blowing steam. Bray
works Bryan over in the corner and Hammer Throws him. Bray punches
Bryan in the corner and charges, but Bryan flips over and gets his
comeback. Bryan with YES Kicks, including the roundhouse, and he
goes up top for the Ram Jam. Harper and Rowan race in for the DQ at
1:43. It’s 3-on-1 against Bryan, but CM Punk races down and urges
them to bring it. He races past Rowan, low bridges Harper, and dives
onto both of them before pulling Bryan up. And now Vickie Guerrero
emerges from the back to break it up. She ejects Bray from ringside
and changes the match. HOLLA! (takes drink)
Luke
Harper & Erick Rowan v. CM Punk & Daniel Bryan. Joined in
progress with Punk and Bryan working Rowan over in the corner. Bray
was allowed to stay at ringside after all. Rowan lands a back elbow
on Bryan. Harper in, and he drops a pair of elbows for two. To the
chinlock, as we look over a C-17 in the backdrop. Bryan fights out,
but gets clobbered. Rowan back in, and an elbowdrop gets two. Neck
crank follows as everyone can see their breath. Even JBL has to
admit it. Bryan fights out but runs into a fallaway slam. Rowan
misses a falling something, and hot tag Punk. A series of
clotheslines staggers Rowan, as does a roundhouse kick, so Punk
finally sends him down with a springboard clothesline. Running knee
in the corner, and the duck-under spinning neckbreaker follows. Punk
calls for GTS and succeeds in getting him up, but now Bray runs in
for the DQ at 2:52. 3/4*
So who’s next to make the save? How about John Cena. Cena cleans
house and saves Punk and Bryan as a standoff happens. Hey, here’s
Vickie again. HOLLA! (takes another drink)
Bray
Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan v. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and
John Cena. Joined in progress as Bray crushes Punk in the corner and
does the inverted look. Harper in, and he hooks the Gator Roll on
Punk. They have people watching from on top of a helicopter. Punk
gets to his feet, but Harper pushes off only to get hit with the
spinning neckbreaker Punk does. Harper bounces everyone off the face
corner and suplexes Punk, but he doesn’t get anything because Cena
distracts the ref looking for revenge. Rowan in, and he gets a
reverse powerslam into a backbreaker for two. If you go to the
dot-com, Michael Cole interviews the Governor of Washington. Anyway,
Bray in as he traps Punk in a neutral corner and puts him on it, but
Punk headbutts Bray down and gets a diving bodypress. Harper in, but
it’s hot tag Cena and Cena goes into Comeback Mode. He taunts Rowan
with You Can’t See Me and drops the Five-Knuckle Shuffle on Harper.
Harper slides out of the AA, but the STF is on, and Rowan has to
save. Everybody’s in the ring now, and Harper’s left alone at the
end to get hit with GTS, Running Knee, and AA for the pin at 4:00.
*1/2
I know I missed quite a bit in the matches that was during the
break, so don’t really give too much to my ratings.
Clips
of celebrities saying thank you to the troops: Bruce Willis (born on
a US base in Germany) and Ryan Seacrest this time.
Later
tonight, Jeff Dunham and Daughtry.
Michelle
Beadle (the other woman in the ridiculous AJ temper scandal)
interviews Army Ranger Col. Hodges, the head of the base.
Santino
Marella is in the ring to introduce Daughtry (as only he can).
Daughtry
performs their new song “Waiting for Superman”.
We
see Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, the head of the Infantry Division of the
base.
Fandango
v. R-Truth. So apparently this is like a Saturday Night’s Main Event
where everything goes from most to least desirable. That’s the only
explanation for why we haven’t seen Jeff Dunham yet. Fun fact: this
is twice now I’ve wanted to type “Duh-nam” and caught myself.
Truth with a headlock takedown into a reversal sequence, and Round
Two ends in Truth getting crunk or something. High hiptoss by Truth
has Fandango groggy. A big uppercut and Truth rains down punches in
the corner but gets thrown off. Fandango with a clothesline, but he
runs into leg lariat. Truth adds a series of clotheslines, followed
by a sitout front suplex for two. Axe Kick misses as Fandango bails
and gets a rope-pull kick, but he runs into Little Jimmy to get
pinned at 1:48. Truth celebrates with the troops.
More
celebrity thank-yous: Alec Baldwin and Will Ferrell (“Stay classy,
US Armed Forces”).
The
Bella Twins introduce Jeff Dunham.
Dunham
(and Peanut) mis-perform the Night Before Christmas, as a commentary
on 2013. Big Show appears and says it’s his turn and he has to cut
them off. YAY BIG SHOW!
Big
Show v. Damien Sandow. Sandow comments on how ridiculous the show
has been so far and says his New Year’s Resolution is to win the
gold. Sandow tries a waistlock, but yeah right, so Show bumps Sandow
down. Big headbutt follows, then a STINKFACE OF DOOM. Yes, that
happened. Show rips off Sandow’s shirt and does the CHOP OF DOOM to
him. Sandow chops away to no effect as Show just stares at him
incredulously, then plants him with a chop. Clotheslines follow,
then an avalanche and shoulderblock. It’s chokeslam time (“USA!”),
and he calls to the fans before loading up the right hand and
connecting for the pin at 2:04. But BRYAN’S music plays as Punk,
Bryan, and Cena return to YES all the way with Big Show. The locker
room follows with YES FOR EVERYONE. Even Cole and JBL join in. The
roster fills the ring and shakes hands with troops at ringside.
Everyone is YES-ing (well, except the unconscious Sandow) as we end
the show.
Not
commenting, not recapping, not statting, just saying: thank you,
ladies and gentlemen who allow me to stay alive. Thank you.

Newman on: UFC Fight Night 31: Fight For The Troops 3

Alright, so you can’t accuse me of being a guy who doesn’t listen to feedback. I know there were a few guys on the BoD who didn’t like my other MMA-related stuff namely because the shows are a few months (or in the case of the PRIDE stuff, years) old and they didn’t like so much play-by-play. So hey, I figured I’d change it up and do some shorter stuff, kinda like Scott’s ‘Quick and Dirty’ recaps (and hey, I ripped my whole style off Scott anyway so it’s all good!) looking at the UFC show from the night before. In this case, it’s UFN 31 AKA Fight For The Troops 3. I’ll still do the longer recaps because I know some people like reading them, so fuck it, if you don’t like it don’t read. Just read this instead, ha!

Couple of things you probably need to know before we get going. As a Brit these shows are on waaay late at night and so it’s crazy difficult to stay awake throughout them even if I abuse various substances. So sometimes – particularly in those seemingly common fights where the judging is a bit controversial – I may well seem a little confused and my memory might be foggy unless I’ve had a chance to rewatch. Don’t hate me, hate the body clock, dude. Secondly I freely admit I’m super-biased towards certain fighters (hi Diego!) and so often without the time to let stuff sink in I might make hyperbolic statements like when I swore that the ref should’ve stopped Diego vs. Ellenberger when Diego was beating the shit out of him in the third round. With that out of the way….

I thought last night’s show was solid enough for a FFTT card. I mean, sure the main event was weaksauce but in a way doing Kennedy vs. Natal was smarter than doing Kennedy vs. Machida because we got Kennedy winning in exciting fashion in front of tons of soldiers who love him, which made for a really memorable ending to the show. Machida/Kennedy probably would’ve been a tentative type thing with Lyoto winning which wouldn’t have pleased anyone really. Basically the only guys who got dicked over in the whole deal were Michael Bisping and Mark Munoz, and hey, I’m sure they’ll bounce back. But yeah, the card was low on star power but high on excitement for the most part.

Tim Kennedy vs. Rafael Natal

I had a worrying feeling about this one going in if I’m honest because I thought Sapo could stifle Kennedy enough to last five rounds, and make for a pretty shitty fight, but in the end I guess Kennedy’s blood lust was up due to the crowd he was fighting in front of and he ended up turning Sapo’s lights out with a lunging left hook reminiscent of Gray Maynard’s lone highlight reel KO on Joe Veres back in 2007. Really fun main event in the end, thankfully. Can’t forget Kennedy’s BADASS entrance theme either. ROOSTER!~! The big issue here to me though is this – there’s been a ton of talk online recently about the dropping PPV buyrates and TV ratings for the UFC and one ridiculous notion seems to be that they DON’T MAKE STARS and they don’t WANT to make stars and the only star they want is Dana White. Which is bullshit, sorry. Watch that documentary about the 20 years of UFC (fantastic stuff btw) and they outright say the reason they grew so much was stars like Tito and Chuck and Hughes, etc.

Now, last night Tim Kennedy came off like a star. He got a huge crowd pop for his entrance, knocked out his opponent in brutal fashion, made the fans go wild and then showed a ton of charisma in his post-fight interview. I know some find him annoying but the guy has character at least. And yet this star-making performance probably won’t be so star-making because most likely nobody was watching the show. It’s the tree falling in the woods issue. How can UFC make stars if nobody is watching these shows on FS1? But on the flip-side, people won’t watch unless they think a big star is fighting. I dunno, it’s a big catch-22 and I don’t have the answer. Great win for Kennedy, though. Give him Bisping next maybe? The heel Brit against the babyface US soldier sounds like a good gimmick to me. Sapo moves back down the card, where quite frankly, he belongs.

Alexis Davis vs. Liz Carmouche

First off, good but not great fight between the two women. I guess I’ve started to expect a spectacular fight every time from the girls and that’s probably unfair, but hey, they’ve delivered so far for the most part. The big story here for me was the overvaluing of Liz Carmouche by practically all parties (including the betting sites who had Davis as a big underdog and allowed me to win some money!). Now, I won’t pretend to be a beacon of knowledge when it comes to WMMA, but the fact is that prior to her July win over an undersized Jessica Andrade, Carmouche had never beaten a fighter with a winning record. She’s been pushed by the UFC because she put on a great fight with Ronda Rousey and she’s got a likeable and marketable personality, but it doesn’t mean she’s a top five talent or anything. Davis meanwhile has wins over the likes of Shayna Baszler and Amanda Nunes and has generally looked really good every time I’ve seen her fight. So yeah, no idea how she was the underdog.

The fight was basically won by the fact that Davis was able to control the pace, walk Carmouche down and land a lot of leg kicks that wore Liz down. Carmouche didn’t seem to have much of an answer for it although she did cut Davis quite badly in the second round, and that was the fight basically. A big win for Davis over one of the most recognizable fighters in the division, but whether this means a big push for her I don’t know as she doesn’t seem that charismatic even if she’s clearly a talented fighter. This probably puts her one win away from a title shot though and with a champion like Rousey, it probably doesn’t matter who you put against her, it’ll draw eyeballs. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Davis in a title fight in 2014. Carmouche meanwhile? Sarah Kaufman sounds like a good fight next as she lost her previous fight too.

Yoel Romero vs. Ronny Markes

I figured this would end with Romero winning by knockout just because Markes is largely a one-dimensional grappler and Romero on credentials alone is arguably the best wrestler in UFC history. I didn’t think it’d go as long as it did though and once again it showed that wrestling credentials don’t necessarily mean all that in MMA as Markes was able to get Romero to the ground at one point. The fact that Markes, with his largely rudimentary stand-up, was able to last three rounds suggests that Romero isn’t quite ready for the elite-level 185lbers yet, which is a bad sign in a way as he’s already 36. With that said I personally think it’s more about the damage you’ve taken in your career rather than your chronological age and I actually think Romero will be fine for a few more years at least. Knockout was really nice and Romero showed some absolutely brutal power. If more people were watching the show then he’s likely a recognisable star, but well, you know. Fight was perfectly acceptable if not great or anything like that. Knockout was awesome though and can be used on highlight reels for a long time to come.

I think the fight that was scrapped from UFC 164 – Romero vs. Derek Brunson – would be fine next, particularly if they can get it onto a card quickly, say the undercard of UFC 169 or something like that. Romero needs cage time badly and I think despite Brunson looking excellent on the prelims on this card, Romero probably handles him comfortably. With more cage time the guy could definitely make some waves at the upper end of the division. Markes looked more aggressive than usual in this fight and he’ll still prove to be a difficult foe for fighters who can’t stop his takedown, but he still needs a lot of work on his striking. Most likely another appearance on the undercard of a Brazil show is next for him. Maybe a match with Sapo would work?

Jorge Masvidal vs. Rustam Khabilov

I was expecting fireworks here and while we didn’t really get that, I thought this was an excellent fight that really could’ve gone either way. For me the difference seemed to be Khabilov’s aggression, particularly on the feet. While he didn’t land all that many big strikes or hurt Masvidal outside of that insane spinning kick in the third round, he did push the pace throughout and kept Masvidal backing up for the most part, which counts a lot with the judges. Masvidal clearly had Khabilov’s grappling well-scouted as he was able to avoid the much-vaunted suplexes and Khabilov never managed to keep him grounded when he did take him down, but I didn’t think he did enough on offense to warrant the victory. I don’t think the loss hurts Masvidal much as a lot of people suspected Khabilov was probably an elite-level talent going in and by not being blown out, Jorge didn’t lose much stock. Khabilov meanwhile probably needs to be careful against any opponent who can counter-strike better than Masvidal as he looked very wild on the feet and hittable at points.

Diego Sanchez sounds like a nice fight for Masvidal next as it’d be interesting to see how he’d deal with Diego’s wildness and aggression and I think both guys are around the same level in the division – somewhere in the top fifteen but just outside the top ten. Khabilov needs a tougher test next time and so I think the Maynard/Diaz winner works. With Diaz we’d see how he’d deal with an aggressive boxer, and we’d also find out if Diaz has improved his defense in terms of avoiding being thrown around by a stronger guy, and with Maynard I’d like to see whether Khabilov could take him down with those suplexes and if he couldn’t, what he’s like off his back. Both guys have a bright future in the division in my opinion and while I’m not sure if I’d have awarded them FOTN (I might’ve been tempted to go with Chiesa/Smith) this was excellent.

Colton Smith vs. Michael Chiesa

This was perhaps the most underwhelming battle of TUF winners we’ve ever had and I wasn’t at all surprised with the outcome. I think TUF 16, which Smith won, was the weakest season of TUF that the UFC has ever put on, and in Smith they probably have the weakest of all the winners, too. Basically anyone with good grappling defence is likely to beat him as his stand-up just isn’t UFC-level and while he did come close to finishing Chiesa with the choke in this fight and didn’t come off like a boring one-dimensional wrestler for once, it’s not like he’s going to be able to take anyone down at will as his wrestling background just isn’t as strong as say a Gray Maynard or a Frankie Edgar. The fact that this was actually an entertaining, back-and-forth fight may save Colton’s UFC career for the time being, but personally I don’t feel that he’s a UFC-level talent and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him wash out after another fight. As for Chiesa, he showed a ton of holes in his game too but I think those holes are going to be easier for him to close than the ones that Smith has, and the biggest difference is that Chiesa is always going to be a fun “action” fighter and so the UFC are much more likely to keep him around. I mean what does Smith have going for him outside of active military service? And Zuffa already have two better fighters in Kennedy and Carmouche with the same background. Fun opener, though! The throw Chiesa hit on Colton to set up the winning choke was particularly impressive.

The Prelims

I didn’t see Larkin/Camozzi so no comment there. Medeiros and Brunson – surprisingly enough – both picked up great highlight reel wins and looked fantastic. Yves Edwards I think is probably done and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s his last UFC fight. Dude has a TON of mileage on him – remember he was busting up Aaron Riley’s jaw in 1999! Amanda Nunes looked phenomenal in taking out Germaine de Randamie with absolute ease. Nunes/Jessica Eye sounds good to me next or hell, do Brazilian vs. Brazilian on the main card of a Brazil show with Nunes/Jessica Andrade. Bermudez/Siler was a ton of fun as is any fight involving DENNIS THE MENACE!~! and it’s time to give him a tougher test next time out methinks. Rivera/Roop had me in stitches as it took so much punishment for Roop to go down and I hope he never gets cut as win or lose he’s usually exciting and when he DOES get KOd he goes down in comical fashion. Despite this Rivera still seems persona-non-grata to me, sorry. And finally Green vs. Krause was just odd. I personally felt that Krause was looking for a DQ win as that final kick looked to me like it hit the belt-line, and shit, who am I to argue with Big John McCarthy? The fact that Krause instantly leapt up to protest the call like he was Cristiano Ronaldo begging for a penalty after taking another blatant dive was also suspect. I think a rematch is due though due to the controversy.

Overall?

A fun night of fights. If you missed it you didn’t miss that much, but it was worth a watch and no dull fights is always a bonus. UFC probably got what they wanted for the most part with Kennedy, Romero and Khabilov winning although they probably hoped Carmouche would beat Davis. In hindsight though they ought to be glad for Alexis winning as Carmouche has already had a title shot and it makes for a fresher contender to feed to Rousey at some point. If you missed this DO NOT MISS SATURDAY’S CARD. Vitor/Hendo is a quality main event but even if you haven’t heard of the Brazilians on the undercard there’s some FANTASTIC talent there. Thatch, Ponzinibbio, Jason, Sarafian and Mutante are all awesome and there’s the added awesomeness of FEIJAO on there too.

Hope you enjoyed this more than the play-by-play ish. Peace out.

Scott Newman:
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The Oratory
TJR Sports