For those too cheap to get the PPVs, SpikeTV’s Ultimate Fight Night 3 is the perfect fix for fans of the UFC and Ultimate Fighter TV show. Apparently these broadcasts will be more often as the UFC has ramped their show and PPV schedules to coincide with MMA becoming legal in California come this March.
Along with some excellent fights.. Dana White made a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT that Royce Gracie will be returning to the Octagon to take on Matt Hughes. That is cool. I really am undecided about this fight because I know what a beast Matt Hughes is but Royce Gracie has taken on bigger beasts and prevailed. This will probably be the fight of the year. I am not expecting a lot of standup but it should have some really technical ground fighting from Royce and a lot of defending by Matt.
So back to Fight Night…
these fights are out of order because I Tivo’ed the show and jumped around. I also had to wait till I got online too see who won the Tim Sylvia and Assuerio Silva fight because my Tivo ended on time, but TNA wrestling went over its time pushing Fight Night back by a few minutes.
Lets start with Stephan Bonnar and James Irvin. This is one of those fights where I am afraid that a favorite fighter of mine might lose. In this case, I was worried about Bonnar taking on a very solid James Irvin whose highlight reel includes the sweeetest flying knee to knockout I have ever seen in the UFC, Pride or even K-1.
Needless to say.. I don’t think Stephan “American Pscho” was too worried. He was able to go head-to-head standing.. then took the fight to the ground where he was able to catch Irvin in a painful looking kimura. Even though I have seen nearly every UFC I still am scared of the buff guys.. they just look so much more intimidating and once again Stephan Bonnar showed that skill always beats muscle.
Another fight of the night pitted Chris Leben against Jorge Rivera. I was never a Leben fan and couldn’t really fault Koscheck or Bobby Southworth for their treatment of him on the show. He always seemed like a punk and still does, however the fact that Couture has taken him into his camp and started training him shows that maybe “the Natural” must know something about him that we don’t. Plus supposedly Leben is trying to turn his life around. If he is.. then the best luck to him. Anyways back to the fight.. it really wasn’t much of a fight.. they decided to throw some leather.. and Jorge just wasn’t as good as Leben at taking a punch. Leben’s solid chin and energized punches were just too overwhelming for Jorge ending with a ref stoppage in the first round.
Another fight of the night was Josh Burkman versus Drew Fickett. Fickett’s last fight was a win against Josh Koscheck via rear naked choke at Ultimate Fight Night 2. This fight was against another Ultimate Fight TV alum Josh Burkman. His last fight was at the same Ultimate Fight Night 2 show where he KO slammed Sam Morgan.
This fight was a good match-up for both fighters. Even though Fickett has a lot more fights and wins then Burkman.. this night looked like it was going to be Burkman’s night. They both came out feeling each other out with punches but eventually it looked like Fickett wanted to take it to the ground and went in for a takedown. Burkman was ready with a guillotine choke and squeezed till Fickett could take no more. This was a good night for Team Quest with Leben’s win over Rivera and Burkman’s win over Fickett.
The BIG fight of the night was Tim Sylvia against Assuerio Silva. I have to give it to Assuerio for taking on a fight such as this. Tim is a BIG MAN. Assuerio gave up almost a foot in heigth and 30lbs in weight. It is never easy when going up against someone with a monster reach and skills that Tim has. Tim has come a long way and it’s apparent by his skills that he knows what he is doing, however he is suffering from what Pat Militech was suffering from.. and that is “Boring Fighter Syndrome.”
I used to like the Tim Sylvia that came out with the big swinging haymakers and the man-handling of his opponents. There was something about it.. like he had more fire in his belly.
In this fight, Assuerio really gave him a run for his money. They traded punches back and forth.. when Tim would press Assuerio up against the cage.. Assuerio would hang onto Tim’s neck forcing Tim to carry his weight. The fight was really back and forth with neither fighter dominating the other. As bad luck would have it, my Tivo ended before I could find out the results. I later learned that Tim won it with a unanimous decision. From what I had seen, I think it should have been at least a split decision but as most fights where a belt is at stake.. the opponent really has to put on a show in order to win the decision.
This puts Tim on the road to fight Arlovski who I predict will take Tim apart. I would definitely like to see Assuerio back in the Octagon again. I really think the UFC should come out with a 205-to-225 weight class.. and have the heavyweight weightclass bump up.
I think Assuerio will do pretty well against all the other heavyweight contenders out there. I would like to see him against Rashad Evans or Mike Whitehead or Brad Imes. I think he would be a very exciting fighter when going against fighters of comparable weight and height.
Overall, it was another excellent Fight Night. The UFC is slowly nailing another nail in the coffin of boxing with these Fight Night shows and the Ultimate Fighter reality show.
2006 is going to be a great year for the UFC and an awesome year for MMA. It will definitely be a fun ride.