QnD: • bantamweight: Yves Jabouin d. Dustin Pague, split decision • lightweight: Mitch Clarke d. John Maguire, unanimous decision • bantamweight: Roland Delorme d. Edwin Figueroa, unanimous decision • welterweight: Sean Pierson d. Kenny Robertson, majority decision • lightweight: James Krause d. Sam Stout, submission via guillotine (4:43 of round 3) • welterweight: Jake Shields d. Tyron Woodley, split decision • heavyweight: Shawn Jordan d. Pat Barry, TKO (0:59 of round 1) • women's bantamweight: Alexis Davis d. Rosi Sexton, unanimous decision • light heavyweight: Ryan Jimmo d. Igor Pokrajac, unanimous decision • heavyweight: Stipe Miocic d. Roy Nelson, unanimous decision • light heavyweight: Rashad Evans d. Dan Henderson, split decision
I went to this! I made a bunch of noise about going to the Calgary show last year, but ultimately decided against buying tickets because the card didn't look all that exciting. Instead, we got tickets to this show and promptly lost our scheduled main event (Renan Barao vs Eddie Wineland for the interim bantamweight title) and our third-from-the-top (Shogun Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Noguiera). As a make-good, we got Roy Nelson. You can decide for yourself whether this was a good deal. Your answer before the show may be different than your answer after the show.
Winnipeg is a terrible horrible awful city. It is an ugly giant dump which is both unloved and unlovable. My friend Dave had never been there before, and as we drove through town, he innocently remarked "...does it ever pick up?" No. It does not.
We got into Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon with lots of time to spare so we checked out the UFC Block Party taking place outside the arena. This was a neat enough idea - autograph signings, beer gardens, merchandise stands, kiosks and booths for radio stations and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and whatnot. We didn't stick around for very long but it was cool to see.
We got to the MTS Centre about an hour before the first prelim fight was supposed to start (I thought they were starting at 5:00 local time, but the first fight started at 6:00). The arena is newer than most that I've been to and it is actually pretty nice - much more comfortable than the NHL arenas in Calgary and Edmonton.
I had never been to a UFC show before and holy crap, have I never seen so many Tapout, Xtreme Couture, and Affliction shirts in one place. The UFC audience in general is an amazing place where jocks and nerds are finally able to come together as one. There were some of the douchiest douchebags you ever did see (including the people who sat in the row behind us). I texted my wife this and she asked whether we were nerds or douchebags. I figured we were about 85%/15% nerd.
Dave spotted UFC Canada President Tom Wright by the poutine stand, which is a great sentence. He got a handshake and said "we're working on" bringing UFC to Saskatoon.
Over 3/4 of the people were in their seats for the first prelim fight. I gather that NEVER happens. The crowd was super hot for the first fight in that WWE opening match kind of way.
I don't know how qualified I am to speak on the actual fights. We probably had a very different perspective than the people watching on TV. I know that we disagreed with the judges for lots of the fights and I was surprised to later read that Meltzer was mostly in agreement with the judges.
I thought Dustin Pague beat Yves Jabouin 29/28. The third round was Pague going for submission after submission, but I guess Jabouin took the round by... lying on top of Pague?
John Maguire wore pink tights in honour of Bret Hart. This was a really cool gesture and also someone should maybe buy him a map of Canada. He also entered the octagon to the song Maniac from Flashdance and he and his team all sported pink headbands. Fun stuff. Mitch Clarke is from Saskatoon (yay just like me) so I ws glad to see him win. I'm not 100% convinced he deserved it, but I'll take it.
Roland Delorme is from Winnipeg and this dude got a superstar reaction. Chants of "Rollie" all throughout the fight. Huge pop when he won.
I have very little memory of Pierson/Robertson. Pierson clearly won the first two and got destroyed in the third. 29/28 is fair, and 28/28 is probably more accurate.
Big reaction for Sam Stout. This was the only fight that ended in a submission and the only fight with any significant amount of blood.
Tyron Woodley and Jake Shields was boring as hell and Jake Shields is always boring and he sucks and I hate him and I really hope he gets Fitched.
Poor Pat Barry.
The women's fight was really good. At some point, this tubby shitcock in the row behind us - he was super drunk and talking about irrelevant shit really loudly all night - declared that the fight sucked and he'd never seen a women's fight that was any good. Some girl loudly asked "have you ever even watched any fucking fights" which was exactly what I was thinking. If you've never seen a good women's fight, you've likely never seen more than one women's fight. Anyway, shitcock said that he HAD watched women's fights, he was watching one right now in fact (he was running his mouth non-stop and not watching anything), and he didn't even know who this mouthy lady was and wasn't going to talk to her.
Davis won the fight and that was the right call, but I was more impressed with Rosi Sexton. She was fighting above her weight class (she's normally 125), won a round while spending half of it in a triangle, showed a ton of heart, and - for good measure - is the first UFC fighter with a Ph.D.
Ryan Jimmo vs Igor Pokrajac was also super boring and Ryan Jimmo has a stupid weird Uncanny Valley face and I hate him and I think he might be Baraka except Baraka is entertaining and can FINISH HIM and Ryan Jimmo's fatality would be a loooong hug against the side of the cage. I award this fight to referee Yves Lavigne but the real losers are the fans.
Poor Roy Nelson. That guy. This dude got a superstar reaction and it was amazing. Bigger than Rashad, bigger than Hendo, even bigger than beloved hometown hero Delorme. And then he stinks up the joint for the last fight on his UFC contract, losing all of his bargaining power in the process. At least it helped Miocic win over the crowd by the end of the fight.
I didn't think much of Rashad/Hendo. From the sounds of it, it came across better on TV than it did to me.
The show as a whole reminded me of going to a WWE Raw taping in Calgary, where it was fun enough to be there but about halfway through, I thought "I bet the internet HATES this show" and if they did, I can see why. There was some decent action but there were a few fights that just sucked all the life out of me. Add in the travel time, ticket cost, etc., and I don't know that I'd be in a huge rush to go to another UFC. Having said that, I expect to forget this a year from now when the next nearby show rolls around.
Oh oh OH ALSO there were two chicks fighting in the crowd whilst Ryan Jimmo's weird-looking face was being interviewed. I didn't see the start of the fight, I just saw a girl in a red dress throw a drink at someone while some dude pulled a chair away from her. It was like WWE! How did she get a chair?! I thought the floor chairs were all bolted together. Anyway this was much more exciting than watching Ryan Jimmo talk or fight or do anything.
Also I want it on the record that I ate a big bag of cotton candy at the UFC because why not?
I thought it was a pretty decent show overall, if a bit decision-heavy. Whenever I listen to Sherdog shows previewing cards, they talk about how it's hilarious how Ryan Jimmo has the fastest knockout in UFC history, and I'm beginning to learn why - though I actually think the Jake Shields fight may have been worse. (And hey, I liked Jon Fitch.) Good a time as any to piggyback and talk about that I went to the Jones/Sonnen show, which I think was probably worse than this show, even though NIGHT OF THE EYEPOKES was an amusing novelty. I've been to two shows in Jersey (Jones/Sonnen and the Miller/Diaz Fox show in May 2012) and you're pretty much dead on on the crowd, though the Jones/Sonnen crowd amusingly had a bunch of guidettes in their nicest dresses for a night on the town with their men. Fight of that night took place about three rows in front of me and my friends, and yes, that is "Born In The USA" playing in the background to make this the best thing ever. This should be, like, the state seal of New Jersey: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=686_1367344126
As someone who doesn't watch NASCAR, I think what happened wasn't great strategy, but a black eye for the sport. To me, this is no different from match fixing. I wouldn't want to watch a race where the drivers try to fix the outcome.