UFC Fight Night 34 is in the books, and I had to wake up in the middle of the night to do play-by-play for it. I was ready to tap out after a few of the undercard fights, but the event rebounded nicely over the final five fights and it turned out to be a decent card overall. Eight of the ten winners picked up their first UFC victory, and the winners of the co-main and main events set themselves up well in their respective divisions. Anyway, let's get onto things.
Tarec Saffiedine - After a bit of a slow start, Saffiedine took over the fight in the middle rounds and was in full control of the fight. His striking looked excellent and he appeared to have more power than usual. The decision win will have him teetering on the edge of the top 10 at welterweight and should line him up for a much bigger name the next time out.
Hyun Gyu Lim - While he did lose the fight, he earned a ton of credibility with fans for the way he fought through a battered leg. He even came out in the fifth round and put a beating on Saffiedine, almost winning the fight before the final bell. Saffiedine might have been a little too-much-too-soon for him, but the huge welterweight definitely has a bright future in the UFC.
Tatsuya Kawajiri -That was the relentless Crusher I hoped for when they signed him. I wasn't sure if he was still able to be that effective at 35, and Sean Soriano put up a good fight early. But Kawajiri took over and got the sub early in the second round. And how about that post-fight interview? I'm still not sure what he said, but this man should be doing commentary with Rogan and Goldberg immediately.
Max Holloway - He got battered a bit early by Will Chope, but he showed a lot of patience and took over late in the first. It was funny listening to Chope's corner tell him he won the round. Uh, no. It didn't matter anyway as Holloway came out and stopped him in the second. It's hard to believe Holloway has seven UFC fights under his belt already considering he just turned 22 last month.
Brian Stann - He's obviously going to get some heat for messing up the scoring in the Kyung Ko Kang fight and saying that he had to get a stoppage to win. But for the other 99% of the show, I thought he did an excellent job. He did his best to make dull fights interesting and didn't harp on the same stuff over and over. He also didn't go overboard propping up big underdogs, which is something that always bothers me. Stann also handled the Kang thing with grace on Twitter after the fight, admitting his mistake and not trying to defend himself. Well done, Mr. Stann. Well done.
Fight Pass - The full library isn't available yet. Oh well. I signed up for Fight Pass to get live fights I couldn't get anywhere else, and that's what I got today. The stream was perfect for me - no gaps, no sign-in issues, no problems at all. I was very impressed. They did set up two streams - one for the undercard and one for the main card - which confused some people, but that was because of broadcast rights (the main card was on TV in a lot of countries). Dana White even addressed that on Twitter and said they'd change it, so that's one less thing for the haters to complain about. Overall, I was very happy with it.
Tarec Saffiedine -Yes, you're reading this right - he's in both categories. This is the first time I've ever done this, but Tarec deserves it. Even though he won, he had Lim done like dinner in the third and fourth rounds. He could have finished the fight any time he wanted to, but he just...didn't. He didn't go after the leg as much as he should have in the third, and he laid on him for a large portion of the fourth. I know he was tired, but come on. It almost cost him dearly in the fifth when he got clipped late. He's got to show more killer instinct than that against the wolves of the division or it's going to bite him in the ass down the road.
Luiz Dutra -His elbows were directly to the back of the head, and he's screaming at the referee that they weren't? Really? I feel bad for a guy that goes out like that, but I feel worse for Kunimoto. I highly doubt Dutra gets another shot, and I wouldn't blame the UFC for going in that direction.
Quinn Mulhern -Stann speculated that Quinn was having vision problems and that's why he kept pulling guard against Kikuno. If that's true, fine. But he was doing well with the standup when he got the chance, and he actually lost himself the fight by sticking himself underneath Kikuno so much. It was just odd. And it will probably cost him his job.
The referees - I'm all for referees doing their job and deducting points for illegal blows or acts - something Kim Winslow needs to learn. But taking two points from Kang was just excessive and lame. And then telling Shimizu he didn't get kicked in the cup because he saw an off-angle replay on the screen? How does he know that? It certainly looked to me like he got clipped, and Stann even commented that the ones that graze from the side like that can hurt the worst. The call in the Dutra fight was correct though, so there's that at least.