The critics have been pretty unanimous in their reviews of UFC 114. They've been especially hard on Rashad Evans. From our own Mike Fagan immediately after the event:
Bleh. That's pretty much my feeling on the main event. I don't mind that I came out on the wrong end of the fight, but the result just seems so...unsatisfying. Rashad won the fight, there's no denying that, but did he really beat up "Rampage"?
To Kevin Iole:
The fight was a letdown after literally months of over-the-top trash talking from both men. It was a tactical, technical affair that would have been a perfectly acceptable match had it been stuck in the middle of a card somewhere.
Listening to the booing from an angry crowd that was there to watch someone get concussed, it was almost like being at one of Anderson Silva's recent middleweight title fights.
Our own Leland Roling had a more measured take, but he also channeled the casual fans' frustration.
Once again, I'm completely out of step. Maybe it was all the great food at the first smoke out of the summer, but I was enthralled by the whole card.
Yes, Evans fought a smart and tactical fight that involved dominating Jackson positionally. But he also opened the fight with a cracking right hand that shocked Rampage and sent a message to Quinton that he was in the cage with a prepared and dangerous opponent. That initial shot got my endorphins cranking so much that I didn't object at all to the tactical follow up.
And in the third Jackson's near KO win had me standing on my feet and roaring for blood. Rampage didn't quite get the finish, but Evans deserves a lot of credit for surviving that.
Even the Bisping-Miller fight was compelling as we shouted at Miller to go for a take down and to stop messing around with the hated Brit.
The Brilz vs Nogueira fight was more than just a controversial decision -- it was also a technical masterpiece that pitted Little Nog's incredible BJJ sweeps against Brilz' amazing top control wrestling. I scored it for Little Nog based on the 10 point must system, but Brilz clearly won the FIGHT with his dominating second round. The 10 point must system just doesn't work for a three round fight.
And of course, the Mike Russow knock out of Todd Duffee -- taking place only seconds after my buddy Jim loudly announced he was pulling for the seemingly indestructible Chicago Cop -- was one of the most dramatic finishes in MMA history.
Hopefully Duffee will have learned that head hunting is not a strategy. Had he been mixing in some body shots, Russow wouldn't have been a threat in the third round. Duffee might want to consider adding some kicks, take downs or submissions to his arsenal while he's at it.
The fans might not have gotten the bang-fest they wanted from Rashad vs Rampage, but I found the card to be packed with drama, technique, heart and strategy. What more do you want from men fighting in a cage?