I learned five very important things from watching UFC 109.
1. Randy Couture, 46, is truly getting better every time I see him fight.
2. Chael Sonnen is a legit contender for the middleweight title. It’s been at least a year since I’ve been able to say that. Anderson Silva better work on his wrestling game before he faces Sonnen, that’s of course if Silva makes it past Vitor Belfort at UFC 112.
3. Ronnys Torres was robbed against Melvin Guillard. Torres had “octagon control” for two of the three rounds, which should have resulted in the majority decision.
4. Rolles is a disgrace to the Gracie name. His performance against Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran was deplorable. He looked absolutely out of shape for the fight and pretty much clueless in the Octagon. On the bright side, I give Beltran my vote for best nickname ever.
5. Tito Ortiz is an idiot! Leave it to Tito Ortiz to worm his way into the conversation for an event he’s not even participating in. After his loss to Couture, Mark Coleman, was doing his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, when Tito decided to do a little trash talking from the ringside seats. Apparently Tito was still angered that Coleman backed out of their fight, originally scheduled for UFC 106 (Coleman had aggravated a knee injury, which made it impossible for him to participate). As Ken Shamrock has said many times over the years, Tito has absolutely no respect for the fighters, like Coleman, that started the sport. In addition to Saturday’s rant, Tito has also falsely claimed that Chuck Liddell (another UFC Hall of Famer) was an alcoholic and needed an intervention. I, as well as many UFC fans, am getting really sick of hearing this guy speak. If it weren’t for legends like Mark Coleman, Tito would probably be flipping burgers right now.
Couture vs. Coleman: No big surprise. This fight went the way the majority of fans expected it to. Coleman was entirely overwhelmed by Couture’s expert planning and superior striking. Yes, Couture got the takedown at the end of the fight followed by his second ever submission, but it was his stand-up game that truly crushed the will of Coleman and likely sent him into permanent retirement. As for Couture, all signs point to him getting another title shot in either the light heavyweight or heavyweight division sometime this year. One more win in either division, and he’ll surely be at the top of the list for a title fight. I’d love to see him take on either Lyoto Machida or rematch Brock Lesnar.
Marquardt vs. Sonnen: Marquardt has definitely fallen from grace. He was supposed to be the #2 guy in the middleweight division and was on his way to a rematch against Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. Instead, he was leap-frogged by Vitor Belfort, who now gets that shot at UFC 112. To make things worse, he lost yet another title-shot opportunity when he got demolished by Olympic-quality wrestler Chael Sonnen Saturday. Marquardt has really got to go back to the drawing board. He’s at least three fights away from being a contender again.
Swick vs. Thiago: Swick is another fighter that has quickly lost contender status. He was one fight away from taking on George St. Pierre for the title, and is now on a two-fight losing streak. Solid kicks throughout the fight in addition to a well timed counter left led to Thiago’s “d’arce” choke which put Swick to sleep and won Submission of the Night honors. With the win, I think Thiago makes the argument for a shot at the welterweight belt against the winner of George St. Pierre and Dan Hardy, who fight at UFC 111.
Maia vs. Miller: This was without a doubt an un-exciting win by Maia, but he did what he had to do to get the unanimous decision. Maia got the better of the exchanges in all rounds with timely lefts in stand-up as well as properly executed takedowns. One more quality win and Maia will deserve a middleweight title shot.
Trigg vs. Serra: I really don’t know where Serra fits in the welterweight division anymore, but I’m happy to see him back on a winning streak. He’s a very personable and funny fighter with some very heavy hands. He makes for some entertaining fights as well as post fight-interviews. Serra’s overhand right to Trigg’s jaw was so hard; I’m almost sure that Trigg went bald again. It was probably a bad decision by Trigg’s, but he chose to go toe-to-toe with Serra versus utilizing his superb wrestling skills. Not good game-planning on his part and I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires from the sport to go into commentating sooner rather than later.