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An Informed Opinion on UFC 74

TUF fighter Joe Lauzon posted his thoughts on Saturday's UFC fights. Here are some excerpts:

Joe Stevenson vs Pellegrino
The fight went pretty much how I thought it would. Both guys were happy to throw until getting caught with a good punch and then showing how wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu should be blended. I thought it was a great fight from start to finish and absolutely loved when Stevenson suplexed Kurt while keeping the back control and then moving to back control from the turtle. Joe ended up winning a unanimous decision, despite having his jaw broken in the first round. Yes... he broke his jaw and still fought on to win a decision with a badass like Kurt Pellegrino. I think we will be seeing Joe and BJ fight very soon.

Note Lauzon's appreciation for the technique of "showing how wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu should be blended." Both Stevenson and Pellegrino are complete MMA grapplers, good at takedowns, submissions, reversals, in the clinch and especially transitions.

Roger Huerta vs Alberto Crane
This is another fight I was interested in seeing. Again, both guys are lightweights. I thought it would be a close fight as Crane is a wizard on the ground, as he showed.

Roger proved to be just too much for Crane showing excellent submission defense, great striking both on the feet and on the ground, superior cardio and the best use of the large video screen I have ever seen. Once again, Roger has one of the most entertaining fights of the night.

Again, note Lauzon's admiration for Crane's technique. To some watching the fight it may have appeared that Crane just got creamed, but he was threatening LOTS of submissions. I really admire the way Huerta kept going into the lions' den. Unlike Guida who avoided grappling with Aurelio, Huerta had the confidence in his submission defense and the will to WIN the fight, not just get the decision. Huzzah's to Huerta.

Georges St. Pierre vs Josh Koscheck
We all know it, but it has to be said: GSP is a freak. Koscheck is a ridiculous wrestler and was taken down by someone that never wrestled in high school or college.

I thought going into the fight that GSP was going to take Kos down, as he took down Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg and BJ Penn in their fights. GSP also beat in ADCC (which is basically the Olympics of Submission Grappling) a guy that beat Kos in wrestling his senior year in college. Add in the fact that GSP moved really well on his feet and sets up his takedowns well and you have a tough fight for Kos. Kos was swinging for the fences and was taken down in the first round with a double leg. It could maybe be chalked up to carelessness in the first round, and Kos adjusted in the 2nd round. This time, GSP got in again and took him down with a single leg. For the third round, you could hear Kos corner telling him to take GSP down. When he tried, GSP was able to get his legs wide and work out of a deep single leg (much like he did against Matt Hughes while in a deep body lock). This kind of marked the end for Kos as he had GSP on top of him for the 3rd straight round. It was a good fight, but GSP just showed how he is an absolute animal.

I think Joe is missing one thing here -- in the first round, GSP got the takedown off the first, last and only kick that Kos threw in the fight. He set it up by feinting the superman punch and pounced the first time Kos threw a kick. Great way to take a weapon out of your opponent's arsenal. It wasn't until later in the fight that Kos -- afraid to try more leg kicks -- was swinging wildly. Also I really admire GSP's shrewd use of setups. As the fight went on he had more and more options to attack and Kos had less and less. Agree with Joe that GSP stuffing Kos' final takedown attempt was the end.

Randy Couture vs Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga
I was hoping this fight would go from bell to bell the way the opening minutes went. Both guys were throwing punches and rocking each other, working takedowns and just putting in on one another. Randy showed why he is the champ and lifted 250 pound Napao over his head with a high crotch and landed on top of him. During the takedown, it looked like their heads collided a little bit and caused the cut on Napao's nose. This was the beginning of the end for Napao. Napao needed all the cardio he could get to keep pace with Randy who is known for outworking guys in the cage. Add a broken nose and having to deal with swallowing blood and its only making things more difficult, never mind when you are fighting Captain America.

I can't believe idiots on the web are already saying that Napao isn't top ten and was overrated. He's a great fighter, he just ran into a better one. The key to me was Randy's ability to dictate that the fight would happen in the clinch.