I enjoyed UFC 133, top-to-bottom. It wasn't a barnburner; it certainly wasn't as epic as UFC 132 or 129, and it lacked any truly brilliant fights, but it had some fairly entertaining bouts and quality moments.
Most notably, I was extremely impressed with Rashad Evans' finishing of Tito Ortiz. Ortiz was being solidly beaten but was still in the fight until the point where he got crumpled by the huge knee which led to the finish. Tito had scrambled out of side control into a front headlock, was trying to disengage and ended up in the "jiujitsu starting position". If you've ever been to a jiujitsu class pretty much anywhere in the world, you've seen this position with both guys starting on the knees before slapping hands and grappling. It's pretty much the dumbest thing ever since it bears no resemblance to any real-life fighting situation. Well, except tonight. Rashad saw Tito in this kneeled position and had the great presence of mind to launch a massive knee to the body, in a spot where I think 90% of fighters would have just lobbed fists at Tito's dome and 9% of remaining group might have illegally kicked him in the face. I'm always on the lookout for someone using quick, on-the-fly thinking in MMA and Rashad showed tremendous fight IQ here.
It is interesting to see Tito's transformation as a heel, or at least a polarizing personality, to a very sympathetic figure. I was in the building for his shocking upset over Ryan Bader and the place just erupted when Bader tapped to that guillotine. Tonight, Tito was humble in defeat, wished Rashad the best, and simply vowed to come back a better fighter. Dare I say it, but...classy!
I was amazed to see Nam Phan take an absolute schoolyard beating from Mike Brown for like 4 full minutes and come out and actually win Round 2. It's one thing if you get creamed by a punch, get flurried on, take lots of damage and manage to come back (a la Frank Edgar/Grey Maynard II), but to get beat on from a dominant position with basically just one hand to shield himself from what felt like hundreds of punches raining down on him for four minutes...wow. By the way, it is a travesty that two of the three official judges scored that round 10-9 for Brown. If one guy takes another guy down and hits him like 100 times, and the bottom guy literally does nothing except cover his face, that is a 10-8 or even a 10-7 round. Period. MMA judges are terrible. It's mind-blowing that there exists a sport where you could actually replace officials with fans or members of the media and improve the level of officiating.
Brag: I made some money on Alexander Gustafsson. Thought process went something like, "oh, -150, I should bet $500 on him." Think about it some more, as the fighters are walking out. "Wait, how the hell is Matt Hamill possibly going to beat Alexander Gustafsson? I should bet another $500." Think about it some more, "okay, so Hamill has basically no power, Gustafsson has lots of power, Hamill's only real path to victory is lay-and-pray and I don't really even think he's going to get him down once." *Scramble to get another $500 in as Bruce Buffer intros the fighters.*
Rory MacDonald. Jeebus, this kid is good. A lot of people I know who were in the Vancouver fight scene remember this kid from when he was underage and needed his parents' permission to fight in pro shows. He beat some very respectable pro fighters around town (including one guy who drops by the gym once in a while to tool the shit out of me) but now Joe Rogan is screaming his name and saying he might be better than GSP. Wow.
I'm not sure what is less surprising, Chad Mendes winning an easy unanimous 30-27 decision (does he do anything else?) over Rani Yahya, or Vitor sleeping Akiyama. Does Joe Silva's thought process go, "hey, Akiyama is a slow and undersized middleweight, and he has a propensity to get into firefights to the detriment of his skill set. Let's put him against a career light-heavyweight who possesses arguably the fastest and most powerful hands in the division." How the fuck did this fight ever get made?
Nick Pace vs. Ivan Menjivar was the fight of the night. You should find a way to watch it if you haven't.