I was fortunate enough to watch UFC 113 over the weekend at Wolf's 1-11 in Colonie. For the record, Wolf's 1-11 is a pretty good place to watch the UFC shows, but you need to get there a good hour and a half before the show starts to get a table at the bar area that shows the pay-per-view, as it gets very busy inside. The service is friendly and the food is decent, so Wolf's has that in its favor as well. The crowd is usually pretty into it, but I feel like I'm always near at least one douchebag who likes and dislikes the exact opposite fighters as I do. I would definitely go there again to check out a show. With that out of the way, let's discuss the fights.
The big story coming out of UFC 113 is that there is a new lightheavyweight champion in Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Shogun completely destroyed my prediction of a five round decision for defending champ Lyoto Machida by brutally knocking him out about three minutes into the fight, handing Machida his first loss ever in his 17 fight career. A lot of people are saying that this is the end of Machida and his karate style being effective, but I disagree. I think Shogun just has his Machida's number. Styles make fights and Shogun's aggressive muay thai matches up too well with Machida's lunging counterstrikes and karate stance. Chuck Liddell was a beast for years, but he couldn't and will never beat Rampage Jackson. I think psychologically that Machida was damaged by Shogun, as he had never even lost a round in his career until their first fight last October. Rua just has Machida's timing and movements down pat and it really set Lyoto off his game. I'm interested to see what the future holds for Machida, as he had an aura of being unhittable and now that has been shattered. Will he still be effective without his mystique? Can he adapt his karate and lose whatever mental blocks he has due to Shogun and still be a top fighter? I think and hope that he can. As for Shogun, I would love to see him fight middleweight champ, pound for pound king, and all around badass Anderson Silva in a title match, but Dana White wants Anderson to finish off whatever cannon fodder is left in his division before that happens. Rua will most likely end up fighting the winner of the fight between Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson at the end of the month or possibly Antonio Rogerio "Minotauro" Nogueria in a rematch of their epic PRIDE fight from 2005.
The other story is that Josh Koscheck is the new challenger for Georges St. Pierre's welterweight title. He was able to lay and pray his way to victory over Paul Daley. This fight was rather tedious as Daley's ground game was rudimentary enough to keep him from getting choked out, but not enough to keep Koscheck from basically controlling the fight on the ground the whole time. Koscheck was smart enough to keep the fight on the ground, as anytime they stood it looked like Daley was rocking him. The biggest stories to come out of this fight have little to do with GSP having a new challenger; they have to do with something that happened during the fight and something that happened after it ended.
The postfight story is getting the bulk of the attention, so we'll start there. As the fight was winding down, Koscheck had Daley down and was whispering shit into his ear. As they got back up, the fight came to an end and referee Dan Miragliotta separated the two once the bell rang. Daley then went around Miragliotta and punched Koscheck in the face. Daley was immediately restrained and after the show was fired and banned for life by the UFC. While I think that was the right decision and I'm in no way condoning Daley's dangerous and reckless conduct (sucker punching someone is low class), I think that in no way should Josh Koscheck be fighting for the title.
Earlier in the fight, Daley was standing back up after being taken down and launched a knee at Koscheck's head while Kos was still kneeling, which is against the rules. The knee whiffed and Koscheck stopped, looked at the ref, then grabbed his eye and dropped down to the ground like he was shot. Miragliotta was going to dock Koscheck a point until the video replay showed that the best the knee did was skim along his hair. Basically, Koscheck saved himself from getting mauled on his way back up in a move reminiscent of Ric Flair. I know that throwing the knee is illegal and Daley was in the wrong for doing that, but Koscheck still cheated by acting like he was injured. Normally, I would give someone the benefit of the doubt in that situation, but this is the second time I've seen Koscheck do that.
Back in November, Kos was against Anthony "Rumble" Johnson and during the first round of the fight, Johnson threw a knee at Koscheck's head while he was down. Kos grabbed his face like he just went hunting with Dick Cheney and Johnson was deducted a point, even though the replay of the knee was inconclusive in regards to any contact. In the second round, Johnson was the victim of two eye pokes (something that put him out of action for a long time after an earlier fight) from Koscheck, who then submitted him.
That is two straight fights where Koscheck has faked an injury in order to gain an advantage. I wouldn't say that Kos was in danger of losing either of those fights, as he is a strong wrestler and neither Daley nor Johnson are particularly adept on the ground. However, the fact that he has done this twice in a row makes it a pattern. It is total bullshit that he is getting a title shot after pulling that act. There is no place for cheating in sports, especially in a combat sport where there is a risk for injry. Also, smack talking in a fight is considered unsportsmanlike conduct and judging by Kos' smirk after the Daley sucker punch, I think it would be safe to say that he goaded Daley into that shit. That doesn't condone Daley's actions, as he could have seriously injured Koscheck, but Koscheck is a total scumbag. Also, he doesn't really deserve a title shot. In his last three fights (in reverse order) he won a lackluster decision over Daley, submitted a prospect in Rumble Johnson, and knocked out the way over the hill Frank Trigg. Before that, he was knocked out by Paulo Thiago. On top of being a major douchebag, his recent record is not that great. He's a good fighter, but he is a cheating scumbag and I don't plan on ever buying a UFC card with him on it. Josh Koscheck, I'm not impressed by your performance.
In other news coming out of UFC 113, Kimbo Slice lost to Matt Mitrione and was cut afterwards. Good call, as Kimbo seems like a nice guy but is a wretched fighter. If he gets taken down, he lays there like a dead fish. His punching power isn't that great and he can't really take a punch either. Mitrione is a bit of a loser and gasses out after a round, but he has pretty good punching power and was able to withstand some big slams from Kimbo early in their fight. I don't ever see him rising above "prospect" status however and I think any of the decent heavyweights in the division would beat the shit out of him. Alan Belcher had an impressive submission victory over Patrick Cote and now thinks he should be considered a challenger to Anderson Silva. Alan Belcher's an idiot. His chin is suspect and if he tries to strike or take down Silva, the fight will go something like this.
That's about all I have to say about UFC 113. UFC 114 is in a few weeks, so I'll probably write something up about that as fight night approaches. After watching the Silva highlights I linked to above, I may write up something about Anderson, as he is one of the truly transcendent MMA fighters and one of the most dominant athletes of the past decade. Until then, feel free to leave a comment or something about this or any of my other entries.