Did you miss Thursday's airings of "UFC 127 Countdown: Penn vs. Fitch" on Versus and SpikeTV or want to re-live it all over again? (You can also watch the full video of UFC 127 Countdown here). If so, we here at Bloody Elbow have you covered with our full recap of the show, which took a look at UFC welterweights B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch as they prepare for their title clash this Saturday at "UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch" in Las Vegas.
Fitch says it's a huge deal to fight Penn and that the only way to become a legend is to beat a legend and Penn is a legend. Penn says he took the fight with Fitch because Fitch is that good. Now he wants to see it for himself.
We see highlights of Penn's quick win against Matt Hughes at UFC 123 and then Fitch's unanimous decision win over Thiago Alves at UFC 117. Fitch says as long as he keeps getting better on a daily basis, it's going to lead to victory over Penn and then victory over Georges St. Pierre or Jake Shields.
We see Fitch getting himself a huge custom truck as a "year-end bonus." It's all black. I would not want to be inside that thing in the summer.
Fitch has a valuable ally in his camp, we're told. Coach Dave Camirillo trained with Penn at the beginning of Penn's career. Camirillo says he knew Penn was destined for greatness. Fitch says Camirillo is going to know more about Penn than anyone else. We hear about more of his history with American Kickboxing Academy. Penn says he thinks he'll be the one picking Fitch apart because he knows how the AKA guys train.
Stay with us after the jump for more from this UFC countdown show.
We hear more about Penn's fight with Hughes. Justin McCully says it was almost insane how that fight went down. Penn says he was offered the fight against Fitch as he walked into the locker room following the Hughes fight. He says he likes fighting at welterweight because now he can focus on his technique and not cutting weight.
Joe Rogan says if Fitch gets on top and works his ground-and-pound, it could be a long night for Penn. "No matter where I take the fight, I'm constantly looking to finish," Fitch says. Fitch says he wants to make people feel like they've been through a meat grinder. Penn makes fun of this strategy. Fitch astutely notes that you can't make mistakes against Penn.
We hear about Penn training with Floyd Mayweather Sr. Penn says Mayweather helped him with his defense and footwork. Rogan says because Fitch is so tenacious, Penn has to be in tip-top shape. Penn admits he doesn't know if he can win a decision against Fitch, but if he gets him, he's done.
Following a break, it's time to move on to the fight between Bisping and Rivera.
We hear how both these men have power. Well, that's quite a statement there. Both men talk about the trash talk between them, but it's difficult to understand due to the use of expletives and the constant bleeping.
Now it's time to go to Rivera's home life. He talks about his rough upbringing in Milford, Mass. He says it was his job to defend his brother and sister and he was always doing something he shouldn't be doing. He says grand theft auto was his thing (and not the video game, boys and girls). Rivera says he was arrested for the first time at "16 or 17." He had his first child at age 18 and it stressed him out because he was too irresponsible. He got locked up again at age 19. His says a moment that changed his life is when his father came to see him and couldn't stop crying. "That's when everything changed." He started training right after his 25th birthday and it gave him something to channel his energy into.
Now it gets heavy. He tried to repair his relationship with his daughter but, at age 17, the birth control she was taking caused her to have major blood clots, leading to her untimely death. Rivera went to the hospital but never got to talk to her. Rivera is in tears talking about it. "It was horrible. I don't wish that upon anybody." Rivera says he looks back at what he did with her with a great deal of regret. He says he spent time he should've been with her either in the gym or partying. "I honestly look forward to the day I can see her again," he says.
We're back from a commercial break and we're still with Rivera. His fight with Nissen Osterneck was his first following the death of his daughter. He says the only thing he thought about coming to the cage was his daughter. Rivera says he was done after the first round but then his heart kicked in. He went on to win a split decision. He followed that up with TKO wins over Rob Kimmons and Nate Quarry.
Rivera says he no longer has the fears he used to have before. He wants the spirit of his daughter to shine.
We're back from commercial with Bisping. We see highlights from his UFC 120 fight with Yoshihiro Akiyama. Rivera questions Bisping's power, asking who was the last person he knocked out. "I think it'll be standing until I punch him. He's not going to want to do that anymore," Rivera says. Bisping says this is his fight to win. It's his time and his year, he says.
With another commercial break down, it's time to move to the lightweight bout between Sotiropoulos and Siver.
We see highlights from Sotiropoulos' fight with Joe Lauzon at UFC 123. Siver says he's not impressed by Sotiropoulos' eight-fight win streak. Siver says Bruce Lee videos inspired him to learn kickboxing. "It turns out that I have God-given brutal knockout power," Siver says. The way the translator sounded while say this made me laugh out loud. We see highlights from his UFC 122 fight with Andre Winner, a rear-naked choke win. Sotiropoulos says Siver is well-rounded and tough.
They talk about Siver's spinning back kick and we see highlights of some of its victims. Both men want to be the first UFC champion from their country. Sotiropoulos says this is going to be like two dogs going after a bone and he's going to get it.
Well, that's a wrap for tonight's show. By far and away the best stuff about this show was the segments about Rivera and his daughter. It almost had me in tears. Very powerful stuff. Other than that, it was a ho-hum countdown show. The Penn-Fitch segments were OK, but nothing too spectacular, and the Sotiropoulos-Siver segment was too short to be very effective. That said, I'd still give this a high recommendation because of the Bisping-Rivera part.