Ufc 64: Franklin Proves Stoppable; Sherk Fulfills Dream Of Title
UFC 64: Franklin Proves Stoppable; Sherk Fulfills Dream of Title
Report by Steven Marrocco
As in his debut, Anderson Silva once again shocked the UFC crowd, treating the fans to a one sided beating of the champ, taking only slightly more time to completely dismantle him than his previous romp of Chris Leben.
If there is one word to describe Silva’s tenure in the UFC so far, it would be decisive. That was the word used by the champ to describe the challenge he faced in his third belt defense, and it would be prophetic in the outcome of the fight.
Initially, both fighters circled each other, neither stepping in to let their hands go. The crowd, having previously viewed a night filled with action on the ground quickly became restless and small pockets of fans began booing.
Then, the former Chute Boxe fighter planted his feet firmly on the mat, waiting for Franklin to close the distance. The first note of the fight came with a hard Thai kick to Franklin’s lead leg, which was promptly returned by Franklin. After exchanging a few more leg kicks, Franklin grew bolder and closed the distance with punches, connecting with a few short hooks, but walked straight into Silva’s Thai clinch.
This was the beginning of the end for the former math teacher.
Firing away with knees to the body, Silva controlled Franklin like a rag doll, pushing him into the cage and patiently waiting for openings to knee Franklin’s head. Unable to escape the clinch, Franklin did his best to make the clinch a painful experience for Silva, throwing short uppercuts and hooks a la dirty boxing, but opened himself up to knees thrown straight up the pipe by the Brazilian.
In a sequence of events eerily similar to Leben’s defeat, Silva connected with a brutal knee to Franklin’s head, sending the champ reeling backwards, obviously hurt. As Franklin was wobbling back, a perfectly timed left roundhouse slammed into his head as Silva charged in once again to assume the Muay Thai clinch.
Once again, after a few knees to the fading champ’s body, Silva pulled Franklin’s head directly into another knee that sent him plummeting to the canvas. At 3:59 of the first round, Silva had reshaped the landscape of the UFC middleweight division.
In the evening’s co-main event, Sean Sherk dominated Kenny Florian for the majority of the five round bout, winning a long awaited UFC title and establishing himself at the top of the 155 pound food chain.
In his victory, Sherk has proven once again that he is on a very short list of the best takedown and ground & pound artists in the sport. In his pre fight interview, Florian stated "once he makes a mistake, he’s cooked." Unfortunately for him, that time never came.
A victim of his own success, Florian was able to cut Sherk open with a nasty cut to the forehead from the guard in the second, but the ensuing blood that poured from Sherk’s head (quite generously) allowed Sherk to slide out of a strong armbar attempt in the third.
Unable to use his feet spin out of the danger zone against the cage, Florian ate a steady diet of elbows throughout the fight which negated his submission attempts. Sherk was simply relentless in his smothering of the TUF fighter, taking him down at will and earning the unanimous decision to win the title. "There was nothing that was going to stop me," Sherk intoned after the fight. "It didn’t matter how much blood I lost, I just wasn’t going to stop."
Breaking onto pay per view for the first time, AKA fighter Jon Fitch played it smart and survived a deep triangle choke in the first from newcomer and Shooto vet Kuniyoshi Hironaka to take control and dominate the rest of the fight. Displaying the well roundedness that has hyped him recently, he landed one two combinations followed with roundhouses to the head that stunned the Japanese fighter before slamming him to the mat on several different occasions. Walking away with the unanimous decision, he now moves into the realm of serious contender in the crowded welterweight division.
Heavy underdog Carmello Marrero shocked the crowd by putting on a takedown clinic against the huge Cheik Kongo, who offered virtually no defense and displayed a huge hole in his game. "I was at the press conference and they were already talking him up, saying that they’d already re-signed him," Marrero recounted post fight. "I thought it was a little disrespectful. So that definitely motivated me." Though he lost the third round when Kongo finally found his sprawl, Marrero looked forward to coming back and showing more of his game. "I just hope they ask me back, because I have a lot more to give," Marrero said.
For the first minutes of his bout with Spencer Fisher, Dan Lauzon looked like he might follow in his brother’s footsteps with a huge upset of the MFS fighter, as he quickly took Fisher down and landed several big punches. Posting up from Fisher’s guard, Lauzon threw everything but the kitchen sink at Fisher, but paid for his aggressiveness going into the bout’s fourth minute, as Fisher used his legs to push Lauzon off and return to his feet. Gassed from the initial expenditure of energy, Lauzon was unable to stop a flying knee from Fisher, setting in motion a flurry of punches and knees that dropped the 18 year old to the canvas and caused the ref to step in at 4:38 of the first round.
Due to a ruptured disk in Mike Nichols back, he was forced to bow out of his bout with fellow TUF fighter Keith Jardine. Disappointed in the turn of events, both fighters hoped to fight each other in December’s UFC.
Yushin Okami made an impressive debut against TUF fighter Kalib Starnes, landing a series of energy-draining roundhouse kicks to the body of the Canadian and following up with strikes from Starnes’ guard that forced a stoppage at 1:40 of the third round.
Veteran Clayton Guida survived an early armbar attempt by Justin James, spinning around the top of James’ body to alleviate the pressure on his arm, following it with two rounds of punishment from the top position. After Guida landed a series of big elbows to James’ head, James gave his back where he quickly succumbed to a rear-naked choke at 4:42 of the second round.
Armory fighter Kurt Pellegrino redeemed himself from a debut loss to Drew Fickett, making quick work of the overly aggressive Junior Assuncao, tapping him by rear-naked choke at 2:04 of the first round.
UFC Full Results: