Whether you came for the tightly packed main card or to see the 2 title bouts and clash of the titans, UFC 169 did not fail to entertain tonight. The fights tonight were full of almost every emotion and i’m sure you will agree!
Abel Trujillo vs Jamie Varner
The 1st fight of the night had me on my feet literally the whole fight. You could see the passion from both Trujillo and Varner was waaay past boiling point and boy did they give us a show. With almost equal stats, these men knew they had to go all out to win the fight. The tempo of the fight was fast and wild with both men being caught at various times with train speed blows, yet somehow managing to recover for revenge. After round 1 we knew the fight wouldn’t get to decisions and thanks to Trujillo we didn’t have to wait long. In a brutal, blow by blow, slanging match we saw Varner smother Trujillo and back him up to the fence and then Trujillo dug DEEEEEP and came back with an almighty right hand that landed Varner flat on his face. It was spectacular!!! Trujillo winner by T.K.O
John Lineker vs Ali Bagautinov
Following the adrenaline filled opener, the next fight calmed us down and drawed on our attention spans as we saw the Russian Bagautinov slowly wear down his opponent Lineker. From the start Bagautinov dominated control and made calculated moved on Lineker making sure he wasn’t caught out. Blocking takedowns, checking body shots and reversing leg locks, kept the russian on his toes and took the fight the distance. Judges scored Bagautinov the winner.
Frank Mir vs Alistair Overeem
Clash of the Titans!!! One of the most anticipated fights of the night, these two heavyweights had a lot on the line tonight with Mir wanting to prove his relevance in the sport is still valid and Overeem wanting to put the fear back into his division. Both fighters have very heavy handed techniques which made endurance and stamina a must have in this fight. Following his time in Thailand we saw Overeem enter the octagon a reformed man. You could tell from his style and approach that he had scaled back on the aggression and timed his offence perfectly. From the 1st round we saw Overeem take the lead with a takedown attempt but Mir managed to regain himself. After 3 rounds it was obvious that Overeem had done enough to take out Mir who put up a good fight but just didn’t manage to follow through his submission attempts. Winner by unanimous decision was Overeem. He even called out ‘retired’ heavyweight Brock Lesnar after hearing a rumor he was returning to the UFC….. We shall see!!
Now onto the 2 title fights.
Jose Aldo vs Ricardo Lamas
The featherweight title bout has been covered heavily all across the MMA world and both Ricardo Lamas and Jose Aldo had their work cut out and we both on top form tonight. Throughout the rounds we saw Aldo suss out Lamas early on and landed some significant leg kicks and combos to wear Lamas down. It was great to see two fighters get into the mentality of assessing moves instead of going in wild. At times Aldo took control and could have got the win, he almost ended it with a guillotine submission but Lamas managed to get out. In the final round Lamas warmed up and dominated the round, taking Aldo to the ground but in the end it wasn’t enough to take the belt. Jose Aldo is still the Featherweight Champion by Unanimous Decision.
Barao and Faber
A perfectly matched up headliner by 2 talented fighters, one of the biggest matches in both their careers. Faber was coming off a winning streak and a complete style overhaul. He had majorly improved his technique and came into the fight strong. Barao the ever talented fighter also came in with his signature style, dominated with leg kicks and taking advantage of Faber’s recovery time. In the 2nd round Barao managed to strike Faber and take him down to the ground and what happened next is one of those moments you wish you could rewind and change. Barao was on top, Faber with his back up head tucked down taking a barrage of punches to the head. Ref Herb Dean was assessing the situation and decided that due to the force of Barao he wanted a reaction. He allegedly said to Faber to ‘give him something’ as in a sign to say he was alright. Faber proceeded to give him a thumbs up HOWEVER Herb misread the sign and decided to stop the match, thinking Faber wanted out. Along with the rest of the world Faber then sat up at looked at Dean like’ I’M FINE, WHY DID YOU STOP IT’ while Barao samba’d nearby. It was an unfortunate error that Herb acknowledged yet led to Barao retaining the Bantamweight belt. In my opinion Faber was defending himself perfectly, his elbows was tight, defending his head and you could see he was still aware and alert so Dean shouldn’t have got involved. Barao looked at Dean while punching Faber which could have put him off but i believe Faber still had a long way to go before stoppage was even an option…. (I’m still Team Herb though!!)
Overall an amazing display of MMA and the politics of sport will no doubt lead us to a rematch and more examples of great sportsmanship.