Joe Doerksen was sitting on my couch when he got the call to face Nate Marquardt at UFC 58 - USA VS CANADA. After the mandatory happy-dance, we immediately formulated a winning strategy for the fight. As best I can remember, it was kick his ass...
Joe Doerksen was sitting on my couch when he got the call to face Nate Marquardt at UFC 58 - USA VS CANADA. After the mandatory happy-dance, we immediately formulated a winning strategy for the fight. As best I can remember, it was kick his ass. Weeks later, I found myself at the Mandalay Bay wandering the casino with my friend Crazy Tony who had somehow wangled his way into getting an all-access backstage pass.
Thursday was grueling. Joe rediscovered why cutting weight is not mentioned in that song A list of my favorite things. I left him on the treadmill sweating like a diseased animal and wandered the health spa, where I ran into Jorge Gurgel, Mike Goldberg, Rich Franklin and Keith Jardine, all of whom were super cool.
Friday was awesome. I was so excited for the weigh-ins, I nearly wet myself, but that may be also partially due to my bladder condition. After making weight, we ate three times. (Never order French toast in Las Vegas) and saw the movie Ultraviolet (Jeremy Horn said it shouldve been called twenty unrelated fight scenes).
I was first in line for the event on Saturday. Two old ladies threatened to tackle me if I didnt stand behind a line on the floor. After a half-hour tense standoff they finally backed down. My seat was pretty awesome. The Mandalay Bay Events Centre is a more intimate setting for cage fights that the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In the opening match, Kristof Midoux was slated to take on Tom Murphy. I thought for sure that Midoux would win avec un KO gigantesque. This, however, was not to be the case as fate intervened and Midoux suffered a training accident which, from what I hear, involved his testicles being kneed up into his abdomen. This made room for the enormous Icho Larenas, whose physique proved vastly more impressive than his takedown defense. Again and again, Murphy chased Larenas straight into the fence, took him down easily and unloaded with strikes, only to have ref Yves Lavigne stand them up again. This cycle repeated itself until the third round, when the ref finally stopped the fight leaving the TKO super-heavyweight champ smashed and bleeding from three rounds of abuse, and an accidental headbutt in round one.
Rob MacDonald was given a raw deal on The Ultimate Fighter TV show, and got another in the second prelim match, as the UFC put him in the cage with a vastly more experienced opponent. Macdonald used some good decent takedown defense in the opening seconds and Jason Lambert showed his experience by taking a moment to withdraw and regroup. Moments later, Lambert scored with a giant slam followed by a tight kimura to end the fight in the first round.
Kenny Florian was scheduled to take on Sam Stout in the third match, but fell victim to a case of old man back and was limping around the Casino all weekend. His replacement was Spencer Fisher, who cut 22 pounds in two days to make weight. Round one was all Fisher, who showed some excellent throws, including a hip toss that will go down as one of the most spectacular in UFC history. The second and third rounds, however, went to Stout who wisely avoided grappling and scored with strikes throughout the rest of the fight to win a unanimous decision.
Mike Swick was the heavy favorite in his fight with Steve Vigneault. Everyone expected to see bombs flying but instead Vingeault got caught in a Swick-o-tine in round one.
UFC matchmakers love Joe Doerksen but UFC judges hate him. After three rounds of back and forth action they give a curiously unanimous decision to Marquardt, who was the picture of class and professionalism before, during and after the fight; even applauding when Bruce Buffer introduced his Canadian opponent.
The entire island of Hawaii showed up to watch BJ Penn fight and they went insane as he came into the octagon. Round one was all BJ who beat St. Pierre senseless. St. Pierre wisely switched strategies for rounds two and three and took BJ Penn down at will. At the end of the fight, a mangled St. Pierre beat a fresh-faced BJ Penn by split decision.
Loiseau looked great in the warm-up room, but once he stepped into the octagon he lost all willingness to fight. For two rounds, Franklin chased him around the octagon like a confused condo owner trying to catch a burglar. Loiseau came out swinging in round three, but Franklin recovered and the fight quickly reverted into a predator/prey scenario; with Franklin chasing down Loiseau, latching onto him and trying to break open his turtle-shell to get at the delicious meat inside. After five rounds, and breaking both his hand and his foot, Franklin won a decision. The next day, he is seen hobbling around the hotel on crutches.
So, UFC 58 came to an end and, after riding the roller coaster at New York New York, we all came back to the Great White North to reacquaint ourselves with our pet polar bears, igloo-homes and week-long maple-syrup drinking benders.