UFC 203 on Sunday was a strange one, with the event edging towards sports entertainment. Stipe Miocic defended the UFC Heavyweight Champion belt, Fabricio Werdum had a drama filled fight (and post fight) with Travis Browne, Phil Brooks learned the difference between professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, and Jimmie Rivera demonstrated the importance of well timed leg kicks. The crowd was fairly restless, booing throughout the night. They were particularly displeased with Bethe Correia, who was booed every time she was given the mic in the post fight interview.
Unfortunately, two fights were cancelled on this card at the last minute. Ian McCall’s fight with Ray Borg was called off due to Borg falling ill, and CB Dollaway had to pull out of his fight with Francimar Barroso after injuring his back in an elevator.
Stipe Miocic defeated Alistair Overeem after getting dropped early in the first round. Overeem managed to catch Miocic with a left hand, quickly locking in a guillotine as Miocic tried to get back to his feet. However, Miocic defended the submission attempt, despite being dazed. After a few exchanges on the feet Miocic was able to take advantage of Overeem tripping and knocked the Dutchman out from inside his closed guard.
Post fight Overeem claimed that Miocic tapped to his guillotine, but the replays were unable to confirm this. This situation forced cage-side commentator, Joe Rogan, to call for a halt to interviewing athletes who have just suffered massive trauma. Despite Overeem’s protest the Heavyweight title remains firmly in the grips of Stipe Miocic. Check Rogan and Overeem reviewing the guillotine attempt below (starts at 2:20).
The co-main event between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne was… interesting, to say the least. Werdum opened the fight with a flying side-kick to the face, and it actually connected… he continued to throw flashy kicks throughout the fight, with varied efficacy. At one stage a punch thrown by Wedum dislocated Browne’s finger. Browne called for time out and the referee obliged, which should have seen the fight called off. The most experienced referee in the game, Big John McCarthy, came out on twitter saying, “… the fight should have been called right then”, but the action resumed. The fight kind of fizzled out from there, emphasised by more boos from the unimpressed crowd.
At the end of the fight things got heated between Werdum and Browne’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. Werdum front kicked Tarverdyan in the midsection after Tarverdyan supposedly swore at him. The kick wasn’t hard, it was “… just to keep the distance”, as Werdum put it. It was kind of humorous, but not a good look for the sport. Werdum was not formally punished by the athletic commission for kicking a cornerman, but I’m sure he got a strong talking to.
As we expected CM Punk did not have a successful MMA debut, but he surely did learn a life lesson. CM Punk managed to throw one right hand… and that was about it. Mickey Gall let CM Punk come to him with the sole purpose of changing levels and shooting a double leg. Gall took CM Punk with ease and hit CM Punk with some incredibly powerful and aggressive ground and pound. This aggression may have been fuelled by the fact that CM Punk refused to shake hands with Gall at the weigh-ins.
This fight never made it off the ground. Gall is a brown belt in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, CM Punk a white belt. The skill difference was clear for everyone to see and it didn’t take long for Gall to sink in a rear naked choke. The fight kind of reminds you of those old Gracie In Action videos, what a skilled martial artist can do to an untrained person.
You have to admire CM Punk’s courage and heart for surviving as long as he did. Post fight he said that his MMA journey isn’t over and that we’ll see him again. I’m sure we will… if the PPV figures went well. Speaking to Joe Rogan after the fight, Gall called out Alex Caceres. That would be a competitive and entertaining fight.
The lesson from this fight is clear; if you’re not a professional mixed martial artist don’t think you can jump in there with a pro and do well. Here’s what CM Punk had to say after the fight…
Jimmie Rivera beat Urijah Faber in what was a lacklustre fight. It seemed as though Faber never managed to find his rhythm, probably due to the large number of leg kicks thrown and landed by Rivera. Beyond leg kicks, Rivera managed to out-strike Faber by a considerable margin. In the third round Faber accidentally poked Rivera in the eye, the doctors came in but Rivera insisted that he was fine. However, post fight he revealed that he still couldn’t see out of his eye, which is a little concerning. Rivera was gracious in victory, giving props to Faber.
|Stipe Miocic||Alistair Overeem||KO||R1 – 4:27||Heavyweight|
|Fabricio Werdum||Travis Browne||Decision (29-28, 29—27, 30-27)||R5 – 5:00||Heavyweight|
|Mickey Gall||Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks||Submission – Rear Naked Choke||R1 – 2:14||Welterweight|
|Jimmie Rivera||Urijah Faber||Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)||R3 – 5:00||Bantamweight|
|Jessica Andrade||Joanne Calderwood||Submission – Guillotine||R1 – 4:38||Women’s Strawweight|
|Bethe Correia||Jessica Eye||Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)||R3 – 5:00||Women’s Bantamweight|
|Brad Tavares||Caio Magalhaes||Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)||R3 – 5:00||Middleweight|
|Nik Lentz||Michael McBride||TKO||R2 – 4:17||Catchweight (158)|
|Drew Dober||Jason Gonzalez||TKO||R1 – 1:45||Lightweight|
|Yancy Medeiros||Sean Spencer||Submission – Rear Naked Choke||R2 – 0:49||Welterweight|