UFC 133 took place on Saturday, August 6 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. The fight card was one of the most injury plagued cards in UFC history, but it did manage to go off without any last minute injuries, something that the promotion was surely hoping for after all the gyrations they had to go through to get a fight card set in stone. The last change to a fight on this card took place on July 25.
Being a few days removed from the event, itâs time to take an objective look at UFC 133.
The five preliminary card fights on this card all went the three round distance and while none stood out as spectacular fights, one of the bouts helped a former champion keep his job with the UFC. Mike Brown, the former WEC featherweight champion, was on a two-fight losing streak when he met Nam Phan in Philly. Brown delivered a beating in the first round, teeing off on Phan for almost the entire five minutes, but he was never really close to finishing Phan during the round. The second round went to Phan and Brown came back to win the third. The victory, as Brown said after the fight, âsaved my job.â
The televised preliminary card got underway with the unbeaten Chad Mendes facing off against the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert Rani Yahya. At one point the MMA rumor mill had Mendes facing UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo on this card, but that fight never came to fruition. Not to be disrespectful, but Yahya is nowhere near as tough as Aldo. Yahya is a one-trick pony, a submission expert with limited skills in other aspects of the MMA game. Mendes handled Yahya with ease, earning the unanimous decision victory, but the performance was not close to what you would expect from someone that wanted to show that he is THE top competitor in the featherweight division. The performance very well could have hurt Mendes more than helped him and if former Shooto and Sengoku champion Hatsu Hioki dominates George Roop in his UFC debut, he could very well leapfrog Mendes in the rankings.
The second televised preliminary card marked the last fight MMA in Matt Hamillâs career. Hamill looked uninspired whenever he mounted any offense during his fight against Alexander Gustafsson; in short he looked like he didnât really want to be in the cage. Gustafsson on the other hand, showed a great deal of energy and improved wrestling when dealing with Hamill. He also showed why his nickname is âThe Mauler.â Once Gustafsson had Hamill down and hurt he used strong strikes to make sure Hamill was not able to recover. The day after the TKO loss Hamill announced that he would be retiring.
The first fight on the main card featured Mike Pyle, an MMA veteran, against the 22-year old Rory MacDonald. MacDonald, is being spoken about in not so hushed tones as the future of the UFCâs welterweight division and his performance against the much more experienced Pyle did nothing to alter those perceptions.Â MacDonald was working inside Pyleâs guard when he postured up and delivered a hard punch the head of Pyle, the impact causing Pyle to roll to his knees in order to protect himself. 10 seconds later the referee moved in to wave the fight off as Pyle was eating punches and elbows and offering very little defense. As the fight ended, UFC commentator Joe Rogan said, âYou know Iâve heard him described as the next Georges St-Pierre, I gotta be honest, with all due respect, he might have more potential than that.â Some lofty praise for the 12-1 fighter, is it hyperbole?Â Itâs tough to tell at this point, but we should all be keeping a close eye on MacDonald.
The fight between Jorge Rivera and Costantinos Philippou was the only main card fight to go the full three rounds and judging by the vocal Philly crowd, it was their least favorite fight of the night.Â The split decision went to Philippou, but neither fighter impressed in this outing and it would not be surprising to see them listed as preliminary card fighters in their next bouts.
The next fight on the card saw Brian Ebersole enter the cage with an arrow shaved into his chest hair. The âHairrow,â as it is known, was soon outdone when his opponent, Dennis Hallman, entered the cage in a speedo. Within the first ten seconds Hallman took the fight to the ground, taking Ebersoleâs back. The ground battle was mostly hand fighting until Ebersole got free from Hallman with 1:50 left in the first round. As soon as he was free, Ebersole looked to do damage with his strikes and that he did, earning the TKO win at 4:28 of Round One.
After the fight UFC president Dana White awarded Ebersole a $70,000 âThanks for Getting Those Horrifying Shorts off TV as Soon as Possible’ bonus.â
In the co-main event, Vitor Belfort was able get back on the winning track after his loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 126. During the bout, Belfortâs opponent, Yoshihiro Akiyama attempted a front kick, the move that Silva used to put Belfort out, the difference being that Silva connected.Â After the kick missed, Belfort teed off on Akiyama, hurting him with a left and then knocking him out cold with a flurry of punches reminiscent of the KO he handed Wanderlei Silva in October 1998. The victory earned Belfort âKnockout of the Nightâ accolades.
The main event of the night featured Rashad Evans facing off against Tito Ortiz. When the fight began Ortiz was the first to engage, looking for a kick that Evans easily spun away from. As the first round progressed both fighters looked comfortable with their hands. With a little more than three minutes left in the first round Ortiz shot for a double-leg takedown that Evans fought off after a prolonged period of time against the cage.
With two minutes left in the round Evans let go a barrage of punches that marked up Ortiz’s face, but he hung in and created a separation with a nice knee. Evans then shot in for a double leg, lifting Ortiz onto his shoulder and slamming him to the mat. Evans immediately went to work with his hands, spending the remainder of the round looking to assault Ortiz from top position.
When the second round began Ortiz looked like he was a bit leery of exchanging hands with Evans. Evans then shot for a takedown and landed in a guillotine choke, but he was able to slip his head out. Evans then spent the majority of the round working in side guard, delivering a number of strikes to the head of Ortiz.
As time ticked down in the second round Ortiz found himself on his knees with his back against the cage and while knees to the head are not legal to a downed opponent, knees to the body are and that is exactly what a patient and focused Evans delivered, crumbling Ortiz to the mat. Evans followed the brutal knee with some ground-and-pound that left the referee no choice but to wave the fight off at the 4:48 mark of the second round.
While UFC 133 may have started off slow, the main card made it well worth watching.