True facts: I can usually gauge how good a UFC has been by the amount of times I shout ‘Fuck YOU!’ at the TV during the live broadcast. That makes it sound more malevolent than it is - yes, sometimes it slips out when a fighter I don’t like gets savagely concussed, but mostly it’s a celebration of some phenomenal bit of technical skill, heart or virtuousity in the octagon. That ends in someone being savagely concussed.
I’m pretty sure UFC 144 set a record for ‘Fuck YOU!’ moments, because top to
bottom I can’t think of a card that was more exciting. Edgar/Henderson was fantastic, as expected - that picture up at the top is Hendo throwing a fucking Enzuigiri (actual translation: medulla oblongata chop), which as far as I’m aware has never even been attempted in the UFC before. I’m late enough in writing this post that it’s been established that Hendo will be rematching Edgar, which I don’t hate as much as I would if you’d suggested it immediately after the fight. Yes, Edgar will have rematched his last three opponents and spent three years basically fighting the same three guys, but I didn’t want him to drop to featherweight either - if he loses against Aldo, as he very well could, that’s a stratospheric plummet from champ-in-a-stacked-division to working-up-the-ladder-in-a-division-not-everyone-cares-about. I guess this means that Pettis fights the Miller/Diaz winner for the next title shot, which is a bit unfair if it’s Miller but a great way to thoroughly establish any of the others.
Edgar/Bendo wasn’t the noisiest match, though. The highest-volume profanity came courtesy of Yoshihiro Akiyama, who has to be wondering what he’s done upset the UFC - most people on a losing streak get a chance to rectify their slide against weaker opposition, but he’s fought Bisping, Belfort AND THEN SHIELDS. Because he doesn’t give a shit, Akiyama fought like he always does - with an utter disregard for anything except doing flawless, textbook-perfect judo throws. Between his reluctance to cut weight and his unwillingness to stick to a boring gameplan he might never make waves at welterweight, but if you’re declaring him overrated on the basis of his UFC run then I hate you. Shields was solid and I’d like to see him make another run at the top, but he really needs to find a way to take people down when they’re treating his punches with the utter contempt that they deserve.
Second most-likely-to-upset-the-neighbours was Kongo/Hunt. Normally two
things are inevitable in a Kongo fight: I will make a load of jokes about
how Kongo always knees his opponent in the balls, and then Kongo knees his opponent in the balls. This fight there wasn’t time for either, and massive props to Mark
Hunt for having the tenacity to chase down (and punch unconscious) an
opponent who was openly running away. I was absolutely horrified to watch Gomi fight like an exaggerated version of his old self (head forward, loads of hooks) but glad that he won. And was sad to watch Yamamoto, but I hope Vaughan Lee can ride the momentum, pocket his submission bonus, train hard and come back as a new British prospect. In conclusion: bring back Akiyama, let Gomi fight Lauzon, and go Google ‘Kid Yamamoto Flying Knee KO’ to remind yourself of what once was. Goodnight, everybody.