We have a packed house already with the first fight about to start.
Samy Schiavo vs Per Eklund
Schiavo knocks him down with a right quickly. Eklund’s whizzer gets stuffed. Schiavo is in his guard now. Rubber guard by Eklund. 1:40 minutes to go. Schiavo gets out of a shoulder lock attempt. Back to their feet. They grapple to end the round. Good round. I have it a close 10-9 for Schiavo for being more aggressive.
More grappling to begin the second round and another stuffed Eklund whizzer. Schiavo turns up the heat and staggers Eklund with a few hard shots. Both guys seem winded. Eklund comes back with several tough Muay Thai knees, gets Schiavo to the ground and gets his back. Both hooks are in. Rear naked choke with 2:20 to go. Schiavo fights to get out of it. Eklund doesn’t have it after all, even though he has a body triangle, so Schiavo can’t turn towards the choke. Eklund gives it another shot – his arm isn’t underneath Schiavo’s chin, though. Eklund transitions to a straight armbar but Schiavo rolls through and is back in Eklund’s guard. Fantastic round. Some ineffective GnP by Schiavo to end the round. They get a big ovation from the crowd. 10-9 Eklund.
Big takedown by Eklund to begin the round. Somebody’s cut here and it looks like it’s Schiavo over the right eye. Eklund passes into the full mount with 3:45 to go. Schiavo gives him his back and is flattened out. Blind punches and elbows – and the choke is in tight. Per Eklund takes the fight by rear naked choke and he gets a huge ovation. Great fight!
Official time is 1:47 seconds of round three.
Dave Baron vs Jim Miller is up next.
Miller catches a kick and takes Baron down, getting to half mount in the process. Miller goes high and tries unsuccessfully for an Americana. Baron keep scissoring his right leg and keeps Miller from passing. Baron tries to reverse him and gets put first into a rear naked choke and then an arm triangle for his troubles. Miller lets go and goes for the choke again after Baron turns. Good submission defense by Baron so far. After a brief flurry on their feet, Miller has his back again and both hooks in. 30 seconds to go. Body triangle by Miller. He gets the choke with ten seconds to go, and that was the end of the round. Miller’s round 10-9.
They stand to begin the second round and Miller gets a takedown. After they get back to their feet, Baron hits Miller with a big right and they trade guillotine attempts, unsuccessfully. Baron is back on his derrière with Miller in half guard. Miller just can’t seem to get his foot free and pass. Now he has with 1:50 to go in the round. Miller tries to maneuver his way back into a choke but isn’t getting it properly. Crowd is dead quiet. Baron is cut somehow. Now Miller is on his back going for a weird sort of triangle and then another head-and-arm choke, but this time from the guard. Round ends. Miller 10-9. Not the most exciting fight in the world so far.
Another caught kick and a big takedown by Jim Miller. Wash, rinse, repeat. This feels like Sean Sherk vs Hermes Franca all over again. Miller keeps getting and losing Baron’s back and can’t do a thing from either the mount or the back. This one isn’t getting shown on TV if there is a God. And with 1:41 minutes left in the round, Miller finally gets the choke and it is over. Dan Henderson has been walking by every few minutes.
Official time: 3:19 minutes of the third round.
Sam Stout vs Terry Etim is next.
Etim got a HUGE pop.
They trade kicks and punches early with Etim looking slightly better. Etim lands a nice low kick and a few counter-punches but Stout is bringing it as well. Stout punches wildly while Etim’s striking is more precise. Big “Terry” chants. Etim slipped when getting jabbed and briefly went to the ground. Nothing major, though. Brutal high kick the head by Etim but Stout counters with a few stiff rights and a takedown. Round ends with Stout in Etim’s guard and a huge ovation from the crowd. One of the more entertaining rounds I’ve seen recently, even though no major damage was done. Close – I’d say 10-9 Etim.
Second round starts with more of the same. Stout is in and out well and Etim is right where he needs to be on everything. Good bodyshots from Stout but Etim stays elusive (and in a good way). Etim’s low kicks are starting to do damage. Stout keeps working his punch-punch-kick combinations but isn’t finding Etim most of the time. Etim almost gets a takedown but eats a right to end the round. Just as close but I’d give this one to Stout 10-9.
Big knee on a counter by Etim to start the round but it doesn’t faze Stout. Another Etim takedown gets stuffed. Etim is starting to check Stout’s low kicks. Stout is timing Etim’s kicks well and catches them a lot. This has been a standup war so far and both guys are still going strong. Stout keeps working his combinations but only finds air. Etim is going back to low kicks. Not a lot is happening in this round and the crowd is cheering on its guy. Sam Stout finishes the round strong with haymakers. 10-9 Stout.
I have it 29-28 Stout.
Judges have it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for Etim. Uh… ok. And no – Cecil Peoples isn’t in the house.
David Bielkheden vs Jess “The Joker” Liaudin is next. Business is about to pick up.
Neither guy is really popular in Birmingham.
Bielkheden gets a takedown on Liaudin early. The Joker is backpedalling into the cage trying to use it to get back up, while the Swede fighting out of Brazil tries to pull him back into the center of the octagon. Liaudin eats a knee getting up and is taken back down. More knees – and I’m pretty sure at least half of those weren’t legal. Referee Kevin Mullhall didn’t care. Bielkheden gets another takedown and they trade submission attempts. Takedown number three for the Swede. Power punches by both men when they get back to their feet, and Bielkheden drops down to try a takedown. He ends up on his back with Liaudin in his guard. Liaudin hits a few punches from the guard and some elbows as well. Strong finish for the former Frenchman but it wasn’t enough in my opinion to take it. 10-9 Bielkheden.
Another big takedown from Bielkheden to start the round. Liaudin has a high guard briefly to control the Swede. Shoulder lock by Liaudin but Dave B. spins out. Liaudin is winded. And he is taken back down again. Armbar attempt by Liaudin from the guard but he eats a big punch that changes his mind. Liaudin is showing a great active guard at this point, trying elbows, shoulder locks and even a triangle. Bielkheden is back in Liaudin’s half guard and the ref stands them up. Takedown by Bielkheden is reversed and Liaudin ends up on top. Good defense by Bielkheden with 30 seconds to go. Liaudin isn’t connecting with much. And that’s the end of the round. 10-9 Bielkheden but not by much.
Liaudin needs to do something big now if he doesn’t want to drop another one. Bielkheden shoots and gets another takedown that Liaudin tried to prevent by grabbing the fence. Ref calls him on it. At least he knows THIS is illegal. Liaudin tries to work a high guard, presumably to get a triangle but he is cut bigtime and eating elbows and punches. David Bielkheden is going to town on him. Liaudin lets out a big scream and the ref briefly halts the action to check if he’s alright. Apparently, he tried to motivate himself. Ref stands them up and the Swede goes right for another takedown. Liaudin is working for a Kimura and close to getting it with ten seconds remaining in the fight. 10-9 Bielkheden.
This should be an easy 30-27 decision for David Bielkheden.
And the official decision is 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for David Bielkheden.
Shane Carwin vs Neil Wain is next, and this is one I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
They’re running low on time already so the guys aren’t even getting walk-ins.
Shane Carwin is not popular in Birmingham which comes as no surprise. I have a feeling they won’t like the outcom of the fight.
Both guys are throwing bombs and Carwin wants no more of them. He shoots in low and gets a takedown. Side mount by Carwin, and the punishment begins. Wain is bleeding already. Full mount by Carwin. He is going Donkey Kong on Wain’s head. And it’s over. Referee stops the fight.
Official time: 1:31 minutes of the first round.
Final prelim is coming up now with Dan Hardy vs Akihiro Gono.
Gono has a dance routine and entourage that would make Disco Inferno proud. This is getting over huge.
A guy looking just like the late Owen Hart just walked by. Just wow.
This is a stand-up battle early. Both guys are giving the other a lot of respect. Each scored with kicks and punches. This was a 10-10 round if I ever saw one. Excellent. But if I have to pick somebody, Hardy clinched it a few seconds before the end by doing a beautiful spinning mule kick to the liver. Gono tried something fancy as well but got countered.
Hardy hit Gono with a couple of brutal strikes to the head 30 seconds in but couldn’t capitalize. Gono gets the first takedown of the fight with four minutes remaining but can’t do anything with it. Overhand right hits Hardy who retaliates with a flurry ending in an uppercut. Gono tried another takedown that was stuffed. Spinning liver kick by Gono and a flurry of punches by Hardy. Hardy eats a mighty left hook but also remains unstunned. Knee by hard. Hard right by Gono. And now Hardy lands a few bringing the fans to their feet. Gono ducks a couple of power punches right at the end. Another close round. 10-9 Gono.
Both guys are going all-out without becoming reckless. Gono is cut. Gono stunned Hardy with a punch with 2:30 left but Hardy returned the favor immediately. Low kick by Hardy hits Gono’s family jewels and ref Big Dan calls for a break. Hardy is turning up the heat now but Gono is hanging with him every step of the way. Big takedown by Gono and he gets Hardy’s back but Hardy gets out of trouble. Back to the mat they go. Upon getting up, Gono hits Hardy with an illegal knee to the head and the fight is halted. Hardy is having trouble getting up. Two knees, actually. Strong finish by both guys. Gono slips and the place comes unglued. Gono jumps at Hardy with a flying knee at the end of the round but it’s too late – the fight is over. Another impossibly close round. 10-9 Hardy based on his aggressiveness.
The official score is 29-28 Hardy, 29-28 Gono, 29-28 Hardy. Winner by split decision: Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy. The fans are happy.
“Teenage Wasteland” is on – we’re about to start!
Marcus Davis vs Paul Kelly starts off the show.
Kelly is the definite crowd favorite here.
Davis got a takedown after three minutes of testing the waters and got into side mount but Kelly got back out. Davis scored with a nice high kick ten seconds before the end of the round. Uneventful but Davis was the aggressor throughout. 10-9 Davis.
Kelly is starting to open up after being very cautious in the first round. Davis tried to corner him and go to town on him but Kelly would have none of it and scored an impressive takedown. However, Marcus Davis switched to a guillotine and got the submission. Impressive win!
Paul Taylor vs Chris Lytle is next.
They throw bombs from the very get-go with Taylor being cut 30 seconds in. Lytle is bulling Taylor against the cage. On paper, going toe to toe with Lytle is probably one of the dumber things you can do but Paul Taylore has proven he can hang with the banger. They did about equal damage, Lytle was better in the positioning game while Taylor was more aggressive. Another close round – 10-9 Taylor.
The second round begins just like the first did, only with Lytle getting a takedown. Lytle tries a guillotine but to no avail. Big kick to Taylor’s body. Now Taylor gets a takedown. Right back up. The striking belongs to Lytle so far in this round. Low kick by Taylor hits the cup and both get a chance to catch their breath. More punches are exchanged with Lytle looking more effective. Takedown attempt by Taylor is stuffed. Clinch and separation to end the round. 10-9 Lytle.
Lytle with several shots to the body and head – Taylor looks hurt. Or exhausted – take your pick. Referee separates them three minutes in. Lytle slipped and went down but popped right back up and got a takedown. Taylor’s head movement has been great but it’s obvious both guys are exhausted. Both guys are taking big shots and it looks like Taylor had Lytle wobbly here. This was Taylor’s round 10-9.
Taylor should be winning this one 29-28. Great fight!
Official scores: 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 for Chris Lytle. I was wrong.
Sokoudjou vs Luiz Cane is next.
Both guys came out swinging for this one. Sokoudjou apparently hits really hard. At least, it sounds like it at ringside. Sokoudjou is dropping his guard rather often. I wonder if that’s an indication of him gassing. Cane is still fresh and hot Sok with a HARD body kick. Sokoudjou had the more effective striking. This should be his round 10-9.
Cane lowkicked Sokoudjou, so everybody’s getting a short break. Flashbacks of the fight against James Irvin pop up. Great jumping kick by Sokoudjou. The fans are getting impatient. Cane catches him with a knee and a few punches. Two minutes to go. Another knee to the head, a few punches and Sokoudjou goes down. Cane throws 16 unanswered punches to the head before the referee stops it. Late stoppage.
Official decision: 4:15 minutes of the second round via TKO.
Sokoudjou was winning the fight up to that point.
Keith Jardine vs Brandon Vera is next and Jardine is the clear crowd favorite.
Jardine gets a takedown almost immediately and is working im Vera’s full guard. Vera, on the other hand, is working on a kimura. Jardine is cut already. They are getting stood up as not much happened on the ground. In theory, this is good for Vera. Vera drops Jardine. Then Jardine drops Vera. Jardine hits Vera with several punches to the head to end the round. 10-9 Jardine.
Jardine gets kicked on the kneecap and is favoring his leg. Vera catches one of Jardines kick, takes him down and in on top in the full mount. Not good for Jardine. Knees to the body by Vera. Jardine escapes. They exchange head and body kicks. Jardine ends the round chasing Vera. Close round – probably 10-9 Vera.
Jardine got another kick to his left knee which is starting to look like hell. Both guys are trying to land but neither is very effective at it. Jardine catches one of Vera’s kicks and lands one of his own. Left cross to Jardine’s face. Jardine goes for a takedown but doesn’t get it. He does, however, get Vera’s back standing and hits him with blind punches. Jardine tries to finish strong. Should be his round 10-9.
This will either be 29-28 Jardine or 30-27 Jardine. First round was fine but the fight got progressively worse with every passing second.
Official decision: 29-28 Vera, 29-28 Jardine, 29-28 Jardine. A Vera win would have been a travesty of justice.
The first two minutes were both testing each other. Bisping catches one of Leben’s kicks and shows one of his own. A few knees from the plum on Leben who is cut already. Bisping landed a couple of hard shots to Leben’s face but got stuffed on his takedown attempts. Still, he did more damage during the round. 10-9 Bisping.
Leben slips but clips Bisping on the way back up. Bisping bulls Leben against the fence but backs away. Both guys attempt to land shots on each other with neither landing anything dangerous until Bisping got kicked in the groin. Bisping is cut, too, now. Leben looks tired already. So much for taking Bisping into the deep water. Leben lands a couple of really good shots at the end of the round. Leben 10-9.
Third round is more of the same. Leben keeps coming forward like a zombie. Two hard lefts from Leben hit Bisping. This is Leben’s round so far. Takedown by Leben. If he keeps Bisping down, he wins the fight. They are back up. A few seconds before the end of the round, Leben drops his guard and invites Bisping to take his best shots. Which Bisping does. While they don’t do damage, they do hit. Did Leben just throw away the win? Leben 10-9
This one should go to Leben 29-28. Let’s see what the judges say.
The scores are 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 Bisping. OK… I probably seriously suck at judging.
In any case, they should have Leben and Bisping coach TUF.
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