The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Combative Commentary - UFC 82 Review

Posted by Blake Murphy on March 4, 2008

This article has been submitted by Kyle “The Anti-Virus” Norton

Other than the main event, UFC 82 – Pride of a Champion lacked marquee bouts especially when compared to the recently announced UFC 84 card That being said, it was a great night of fights. The middleweight division crowned an undisputed champion, a new heavyweight contender emerged, and the welterweight picture got cloudier than ever.

Silva v. Henderson for the UFC and Pride Middleweight Titles
The main event of UFC 82 can most definitely be considered a super-fight. Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson were the number one and two ranked middleweights in the world and two titles were on the line, the UFC and Pride straps. Early in the first round, it was evident that both fighters respected their opponents striking ability, as they were slow to engage. After a brief exchange, Hendo took a body lock and Silva, taking him to the ground where he would control from half-guard and side control for the remainder of the round, working short hammer fists and scoring well with the judges. In the second round, the fighters engaged more readily and it was a big mistake for “Dangerous Dan.” Henderson got dropped with a combination of knees and punches and “the Spider” quickly jumped on top to finish the fight. It appeared Henderson was staying safe in half-guard until he turned away from Silva, giving up his back. The BJJ black-belt quickly secured Henderson’s back and ended the fight with a slick rear naked choke, making Anderson Silva the undisputed middleweight champion of the world and quite possibly the best pound for pound fighter in the world, as well.

Kongo v. Herring
In a clash of potential heavyweight contenders, Heath “the Texas Crazy Horse” Herring took on Cheick “Punch me in the stomach and break your hand” Kongo. Many fans were expecting a great stand-up war, which apparently Herring did as well. This was not the case, however, with Kongo scoring a number of double-leg takedowns. The fighters reversed and scrambled on the ground a number of times with Kongo coming out on top for the first two rounds. Knowing that the fight was close on the scorecards, Herring came out and dominated the third round from side-control, landing big knees to the body and some good punches. In the end, Herring took a deserved split-decision victory, saying afterwards that he had not expected to fight on the ground at all and didn’t train for it. One interesting note, Cecil Peoples, yet again, came out on the wrong side of the split-decision by awarding Kongo the victory. I’m not sure how long it is going to take the UFC to bring in proper judges but this guy needs to get his prescription checked.

Leben v. Sakara
Chris Leben and Alessio Sakara stood toe-to-toe and absolutely banged… for almost a whole round. Sakara was clearly the crisper striker of the two but Leben absorbed his best shots and continued to move forward and throw heavy leather. You can’t teach a fighter to have a granite jaw, so Leben should thank his freakish genes for this victory. He took a great deal of punishment for just long enough to land a bomb of his own, ending the fight at 3:16 of the first round. Leben isn’t the most technical fighter but he certainly gives the fans what they want to see, brawls.

Tanner v. Okami
Evan Tanner returned to the Octagon from his two-year bender to a very tough test in Yushin Okami. Okami looked better in his stand-up than he ever has in the Octagon with crisp punches from the outside. Tanner’s ring-rust was evident as he had a very difficult time with Okami’s patient striking game. The second round was again marked with strong one-two combinations from Okami until the fight entered the clinch. Tanner bullied Okami up against the cage where the lanky Japanese fighter grabbed a hold of a very tight Muay Thai clinch. Tanner tried to punch his way out, giving Okami space for a devastating, fight ending knee.

Fitch v. Wilson
Jon Fitch and Chris Wilson opened up the night and it was a relatively patented Jon Fitch performance, although he looked a lot less impressive than most expected. This was a tough fight for Fitch because he had a lot to lose and nothing to gain; even though Chris Wilson is a very tough and experienced opponent, he is unknown to UFC fans. I will say that Fitch looked OK in this bout. Wilson took the first round by using his reach and connecting with strong punches and kicks from the outside. In the second round, Fitch scored a number of takedowns and controlled on the ground but was unable to do any real damage. The third round was again a striking exchange, which was close but Fitch may have connected with better shots. To close the fight, Fitch scored a final takedown only to end up in a triangle choke with time expiring. All judges scored the bout in favour of Jon Fitch for a unanimous decision victory. In his post fight interview, Fitch called out the UFC welterweight champ(s) and requested a title shot, which he should reasonably get considering his 8-0 record in the Octagon.

In under card action, Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck scored stoppage wins over tough fighters that didn’t really do much for their status as contenders in the welterweight division. Also in the welterweight division Luigi Fiorvanti defeated Luke Cummo by decision. Andrei Arlovski may have fought his last UFC fight, scoring a 2nd round TKO win over previously undefeated Jake O’Brien. Lastly, in yet another decision in his UFC career, Jorge Gurgel defeated John Halverson who is now 0-2 in the Octagon.

A Look Ahead
Who the hell is going to (want to) fight Anderson Silva? Silva is an absolute animal and just destroyed the one man who was widely considered his largest threat by far, in two rounds. The only middleweight that I see as being a threat to Silva’s reign is WEC champ, Paulo Filho. Even though they are both Zuffa contracted fighters, I don’t know if we will see that bout happen because the undisputed Silva is great for the UFC hype machine. Okami is another option for the UFC, which would be a good fight for Zuffa because it is low risk and would be a PPV main event.

The UFC was probably praying for Kongo to win his bout because it would give them a legitimate contender for the heavyweight belt. With the Herring win, however, Kongo sees his title shot evaporate and Herring emerges as a pseudo-contender even though he has lost to Nogueira three times already in his career. It looks like Werdum could now be in line even though he is 1-1 in the UFC and 4-3 in his last 7 fights because there is a real lack of contenders in the heavyweight division now that Randy Couture and Andrei Arlovski have decided to leave the promotion.

Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck both got back on track with wins over decent opponents. Jon Fitch should be without a doubt the number one contender for the UFC welterweight strap with a huge logjam after him. Diego, Koscheck, Karo Parisyan, Marcus Davis and Matt Hughes could all put themselves into the title picture with a few good wins, so things are looking as exciting as ever in the welterweight division.

Also of note, the UFC made a huge (not!) announcement during the event. The first ever UFC heavyweight champion, Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, will be the next man to take on Brock “Phallus Chest Tattoo” Lesnar at UFC 87 in Minnesota on August 7th.

This article has been submitted by Kyle “The Anti-Virus” Norton

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