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UFC 61: Undercard eclipses main events.

By Rob Sayers | July 8, 2006

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By Rob Sayers

UFC 61 had 2 very hyped main events. Neither fight lived up to the expectations created by the UFC marketing department. Fortunately, the rest of the event manged to help redeem this card.

Yves Edwards vs Joe Stevenson

I had Yves picked to win this fight mainly because he’s a well rounded guy who can win a fight anywhere where I felt Stevenson didn’t have much of a chance on his feet. My predictions were looking good for a while as Yves managed to prevent takedowns or quickly get back up. Edwards delt some good damage standing up and even attempted an umaplata on the ground. Things went bad however once he was taken down against the fence with Stevenson in his guard.

Stevenson launced an assault of strikes that didn’t appear to land very often with the exception of an elbow that cut near the top of Yves’ head creating one of the biggest pools of blood in octagon history. The fight is paused and the cut is checked, the doctors allow it to go on. The fight continues in a similar manner until the bell. Between rounds however the doctor stops it giving another tough loss to Edwards and giving Stevenson his first UFC lightweight win.

Frank Mir vs. Dan Christison

This fight was a bit back in forth. All things being equal, neither fighter was extremely impressive. However, being that we have a TUF2 figther against the former heavyweight champ, Christison’s stock faired better after this fight I think. Mir’s classic conditioning showed again, although appeared to be worse than before, he looked overweight and plain out of shape. He took the unanimous decision, but where can he possibly go from here?

Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock

I find it amazing that the UFC was able to hype such an uncompetitive fight. I don’t know a single person who felt that Shamrock had more than a fleeting chance at winning this fight. Tito went in and did what was needed by landing a big slam takedown and forcing Shamrock to eat 5 or 6 unblocked elbows before Herb Dean stopped the contest early in the 1st.

The crowd there (as well as everyone else in the casino) felt the stoppage was early. You can clearly see on the slow motion that Ken took a hard hit with that first elbow and did nothing to defend the rest. Sure it could have gone a little longer, but to what end? To let Ken take more damage? I think Herb Dean did an excellent job as stopping a fight is a fine line, you don’t want to piss the crowd off by stopping it early, but you dont want to allow a fighter to take more damange than needed. It’s a job I don’t envy.

And all that talk of a third fight. For the love of God, please no.

Dana’s Announcement

Dana did an excellent job mentioning the crowd being pissed before the announcement, as it actually caught me a bit off guard. The announcement was that PRIDE Middleweight Champ Wanderlei Silva will face UFC light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell in November. I’m sure a lot of people are excited about this, as I certainly am. I will save my prediction for later, but let’s just say I’ve been called a Chute Boxe fanboy in the past.

Josh Burkman vs. Josh Neer

Best fight of the night. A very competative match between two exciting fighters in the welterweight division. Stand up was fairly even with Neer having a slight edge. Burkman scored a few decent slams and in the end did enough damage to win the unanimous decision.

Andre Arlovski vs. Tim Sylvia

I fully expected this fight to be like the first. But Andre was a bit more cautious than before and didn’t let his hands go enough to really do damage. And again we see Sylvia’s improved foot work and head movement. Despite Arlovski being much faster, Tim was able to counter again and again. When all was said and done, Arlovski had not done enough to convince the judges and lose the decision. This fight leaves me questioning how good AA really is. He has a long list of wins in the UFC heavyweight division, but givin the state of the division during his reign, one has to ask was he just waiting for a better than average fighter to come around and expose the holes in his game? I suppose we’ll see if he’s able to take the long road back to title contention.

Topics: All Topics, Rob Sayers, UFC | 2 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

2 Responses to “UFC 61: Undercard eclipses main events.”

  1. Bill Outlaw says:

    Call the police because we as fans got robbed. Its a shame that the spike tv events are better than the ppv. We as fans deserve better especially if it cost 39.95 .

    Bill in Baltimore

  2. Scott White says:

    Best fight: Joe Stevenson vs. Yves Edwards

    This fight for me brought everything I was looking for. Yves Edwards looked strong early on and worked some great standup as he got in good combinations and a few headkicks. Joe Stevenson then showed a lot of heart when Edwards rocked him and he was able to recover and take it to the mat and bring Yves to his world. He worked some vicious ground and pound and opened up a nasty cut. I don’t think I’ve seen that much blood littered on the canvas before. Yves showed tons of heart continuing on but ultimately the doctors made the right call.

    This fight to me proves that at 155 Joe Stevenson is the real deal. He should be a force and with this win over Yves he should move closer to a title shot. It’ll be interesting to see what the UFC does with Edwards now that he is 0-2 since returning to the octagon. This may be his ticket home.

    Worst fight: Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz

    I had high hopes for this fight. For the past month or so I was quite excited and my blood really got pumping after the UFC 61 Countdown on Spike TV. I was expecting this to be one hell of a battle with Tito winning obviously. When the fight was first stopped, I, like everyone else was pretty pissed and thought it was an early stoppage but when you watch the replay you clearly see that Ken Shamrock took the first one flush and was rocked and then he took 6 unanswered elbows.

    After the fight Tito said he’d love to do it again. Personally I do not want to see this happen. I think Shamrock just needs to hang up the gloves and pursue other things. If they do set this fight up I hope it isn’t set as a main-event. I will order the pay per view if it is just one of the regular fights but if they try to market this as the main-event again I’ll pass.

    In the end the fights weren’t that good but what made it all worth it was something else. I had heard days earlier that Dana White was possibly going to make an announcement so it was in the back of my head since Wanderlei Silva said he’d be at the event. I can truthfully say that even though I thought it may happen I didn’t get my hopes up. When Dana White did in fact announce it I was going crazy. A lot of people seemed to have no idea who Wanderlei Silva was but when fight time comes you know they will! This is a standup move by Dana White as he is giving the fans something they have been asking for, for the past few years.

    This move is also very smart for PRIDE Fighting Championships. What better way to market your best fighter in the USA then have him go up against the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell. Once that fight is finished they’ll really be able to market Silva in the States when he headlines the USA Pride shows. Very smart move by both companies. Now I just hope that Dana White can bring over some Pride heavyweights to strengthen the division. In the post-fight press conference Tim Sylvia stated that he’d love for the UFC to bring some guys over so he could test his luck against the likes of Nog, Cro Cop, Fedor, Sapp and more. Once can only hope!

    So in the end I give this event a thumbs up, not for the fights but rather for the announcement as it is a mma fans dream come true.

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