UFC 161 has been hit with injuries and fight changes much like UFC 149 was around this time last year. But for some guaranteed entertainment you turn to the BE GIFathon. Before every UFC PPV or Fox event we (Mookie Alexander, Dallas Winston, and Zombie Prophet) highlight finishes from six fighters competing on that particular show. Generally speaking, we use "oldies but goodies" and showcase the combatants in their early days.
Today on the GIFathon you'll see:
Rashad Evans vs. Bryan Pardoe (2004)
Mookie Alexander: Rashad Evans' 3rd pro fight, a TKO win over Bryan Pardoe in California, also doubles as the last time any of his fights has ended in the 1st round. A bit of a surprising tidbit there, isn't it?
Dallas Winston: There are a few fighters like Bryan Pardoe who will never be remembered or really even acknowledged (maybe for choosing the nickname "Pain Inducer"), but it's hard not to respect them. It sounds harsh, but this type has basically served as cannon fodder for A-list fighters in smaller promotions. Pardoe has tackled the likes of Frank Shamrock, Keith Jardine, Rashad, Emanuel Newton and Don Frye. Just a minor shout out to the soldiers in the trenches who'll never taste any glory. Oh yeah, I'm supposed to describe the gif: Rashad beats the crap out of him here.
Roy Nelson vs. Michael Buchkovich (2006)
Mookie Alexander: I admittedly did not watch too many of Roy Nelson's early fights, but I went through several of his fights to see him actually submitting people instead of knocking them out with his right hand. Make no mistake about it, his striking (offensively and defensively) was pretty bad early on in his career, and his recent love for punching people in the face has done wonders for him. Before submitting Michael Buchkovich, Nelson gets a trip-takedown right into side control, something consistent in several of his older bouts. Once he has his opponent on his back he takes over from there.
Dallas Winston: "Big Country," sans curly mullet and looking all clean-cut and presentable, shows how crafty his takedowns can be, and also the myriad advantages of getting double under-hooks or, in this case, a full body lock. Note how integral Nelson's under-hooks are throughout this whole sequence. First Roy hooks his opponent's left leg and uses the leverage from the body lock to hit an outside trip. He wisely swings his right leg over the instant he hits the ground for an immediate pass to side control.
Now, back to the under-hooks: Pardo has double over-hooks, which is not ideal defense when side-mounted. Nelson anticipates Buchkovich releasing his right over-hook and uses strong wrist control to control the arm and pin it to the canvas, allowing Nelson to pursue the crucifix position by trapping Buchkovich's right arm under his left knee. Sensing the danger, Pardoe bucks hard enough to create space to pull his trapped right arm out, but Nelson -- like all elite grapplers -- is a step ahead. Because Roy had held his under-hook on the right side as well, he goes from side control to a low mount, which puts him in position for a head-and-arm choke. Pardoe has to pick his poison: roll onto his back and fight off what will be a deep arm-triangle, or give up his back. Obviously, he opts for the latter and Roy taps him with the mata leao. (Maybe I tried to compensate here for my brilliant analysis above.)
Pat Barry vs. Rickard Nordstrand (2007)
Mookie Alexander: Before Barry chopped down the Swede with vicious leg kicks, it should be noted that Nordstrand kicked him directly in the groin on multiple occasions. Seconds before this finish Barry returned the favor, which was practically justice served given what Nordstrand did to him.
Dallas Winston: Pat Barry's right shin says hello twice to the outside of the Swedish kickboxer Rickard Nordstrand's left quadricep. It's somewhat interesting that the initial chop is a block-and-counter to Nordstrand's left cross, which is kind of ballsy. "Inte mer" is "no mas" in Swedish. FYI. And Pat, as always, is nothing but a gentleman.
Jake Shields vs. Ray Cooper (2004)
Mookie: We've beaten up on Jake Shields enough, so here's a submission win over Ray Cooper that doesn't have a second of his striking and 100% of what he does best.
Dallas Winston: Ray "Bradda" Cooper is a Hawaiian bad-ass of yesteryear. Though a tad undersized for welterweight, he'd already decisioned gritty Shooto vet Jutaro Nakao (who triangled Pat Miletich in SuperBrawl), submitted Antonio McKee with an armbar and TKO'd Jeremy Williams (who'd beaten Yves Edwards). This was also a rematch, as Cooper's other big win was a majority decision over Jake the year before, and for the vacant Shooto welterweight strap that was up for grabs after Naoki Sakurada retired. This isn't even a Stacking Pass by Shields -- Cooper seems to get a high guard and curiously tries to back-roll out, but Jake's basing down with a wide stance so it's easy for him to take the back and finish. There were some sweet scrambles and grappling exchanges in this match, but Shields just swarmed Cooper relentlessly.
Stipe Miocic vs. William Penn (2011)
Mookie: I don't know why the referee needed to wait for Miocic to punch Penn one more time after he's clearly out of it, but this is Ohio, and they are ... different. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the knockout and the delayed reaction tree toppling fall of William Penn. Interestingly enough this is Penn's last loss, as he's won his last 4, including a KO over former UFC heavyweight Josh Hendricks. Yikes. Heavyweight is so thin.
Dallas Winston: Miocic by face punch. He'd generated a buzz in his 6 pre-UFC fights for finishing each one with vicious strikes despite his wrestling credentials; one of which was via leg kicks, which might be a valuable tool to revive against Big Country.
James Krause vs. Guilherme Trindade (2012)
Mookie: James Krause has longed for a chance to compete in the UFC, and in the 5th of 7 straight victories, he recorded his vicious knockout of Brazil's Guilherme Trindade on a Resurrection Fighting Alliance show.
Dallas Winston: This beating transpired on the Resurrection Fighting Alliance 4: Escudero vs. Griffin card. Krause sets up the high kick with a little back-and-forth ploy in which he switches between feinting high with his left hand and stepping forward like he's going to drop levels, but comes high with the roundhouse kick instead. Trindade backs up in a straight line when Krause presses again and gets caught with his hands down.