UFC 61 Recap

The opening bout of the evening was Yves Edwards vs. Joe “Daddy” Stevenson. Coming into this fight I had picked Yves Edwards to be the winner. I didn’t think Stevenson would be able to handle Edwards striking but he proved me wrong. Edwards had a good first round working his strikes where we saw him land a few lefts along with a good head kick. At the end of the round we even saw Edwards attempt a triangle and an omaplata.

In the second round Joe Stevenson showed us he is the real deal at 155. He put Edwards on his back and worked some vicious ground and pound. Stevenson was able to land a huge elbow which opened up a nasty gash on the top of Edwards head. The blood was literally pouring from Edwards scalp. He showed great heart deciding to continue after he was taken to his corner in the middle of the round to check the cut. Once the fight started up again Stevenson continued to ground and pound Edwards until the bell. Afterwards there was a pool of blood left on the canvas. The doctors checked the cut between rounds and decided to call the fight. Stevenson was given the win due to a doctor stoppage (cut).

Next we saw former UFC HW Champion Frank Mir take on Dan “The Sandman” Christison. This fight really lacked explosiveness. Both fighters looked tired and sloppy throughout the balance of the fight. Each guy had their moments in the fight whether it was the odd combination or submission attempt but otherwise it was a fairly embarrassing showing for both guys. Mir ended up pulling of a unanimous decision. This fight showed the Frank Mir is a shell of his former self. He no longer seems to have what it takes to get himself back to the top. Before the motorcycle accident Mir weighed around 240 lbs. Now he looks out of shape and overweight as he is walking around at 262 lbs.

Finally the fight I had been waiting for was on. No more staged shoving matches and trash talk. They were finally ready to get in there and get it on. I can say that I was pretty pumped to see this fight. Just reading all the pre-fight interviews and seeing the countdown on Spike TV had my blood pumping. I, like everyone else gave Shamrock no chance whatsoever. Just like everyone thought both guys entered the octagon and quickly took to the center. Shamrock started the action by charging in with a flurry of shots. Tito Ortiz was unphased as he clinched with Shamrock and landed a few knees. Ortiz then shot in, picked Shamrock up and slammed him to the canvas. From here he pushed him up against the cage and began dropping elbows. The first one landed flush and was followed by about 5 more unanswered blows. Herb Dean felt that was enough and called the fight off.

Afterwards Shamrock was pissed and felt the fight was called prematurely. I much like everyone else at the time was pissed as well but when you watch the replay Shamrock clearly takes around 6 hard elbows and does nothing to defend them.

With everyone in the arena clearly upset Dana White entered the octagon to address the crowd. Dana mentioned that he knew everyone was pretty upset and he felt he could cheer them up. Next thing you know Dana White breaks news the PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell will be facing off in November. I went absolutely nuts when he said this and it was awesome to see both guys in the octagon giving each other a good old stare down. Dana White gains a lot of respect in my books for pulling this off. Fans have been begging for a few years now and finally it’s going to happen. Kudos to the UFC and PRIDE for pulling this off.

Next to hit the octagon was Josh Neer and Josh Burkman. I can honestly say that I was having a lot of trouble focusing on this fight as I was so amped up from Dana White’s announcement. From what I saw in this fight Neer was able to work a bit of standup and at times he was even taunting Burkman. Burkman showed the better wrestling and ground skills as he slammed Neer hard a few times and worked from there. In the end Burkman did enough to garner the unanimous decision.

The final bout of the night was for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. I was expecting this fight to end up exactly how the first two went. Either Arlovski quickly drops Sylvia with that overhand right or Sylvia gets in that short right but I was wrong as the fight actually went the distance. The fight never hit the ground once. Both guys just stood there traded. Sylvia showed great footwork as he was able to avoid quite a few of Arlovski’s big shots. When all was said and done Sylvia did what he needed in the fight and was able to pick Arlovski apart and earn a unanimous decision.

In the end even though the Shamrock-Ortiz fight didn’t live up to the hype, I felt Dana White did a good job making up for it with the huge announcement of Liddell vs. Silva. Share your thoughts…

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