Matt Brown rallied to beat Erick Silva in one of the most ridiculous fights ever. Costas Philippou put Lorenz Larkin to sleep without having the courtesy to tuck him in. And Daron Cruickshank gave new meaning to the phrase "educated feet."
All of that stuff was awesome. But this is Haymaker and over here we look beyond the pure results. Here’s what we took away from UFC Fight Night in Cincinnati:
A gentle giant
Soa Palelei seals his win with a kiss.
Soa Palelei knocks another man unconscious, gives the ref a kiss (.gif here) and then croons a few bars for Kenny Florian. Who is this guy and can we get some more of him?
It’s not enough that Palelei has won 11 straight, all (!) by knockout. No. The Aussie is a Renaissance man. He smashed Ruan Potts in the first round, gave referee Keith Peterson a kiss on the back of the head and then seranded the Cincinnati crowd with a Josh Turner tune. What is it about heavyweights and being eccentric? It’s the best.
The UFC is popular among athletes from other sports and when the UFC goes into a city with a football team you’re sure to see a smattering of players from said team in attendance. But the Bengals took things to a new level Saturday night. It basically looked like the entire Cincinnati team was there at U.S. Bank Arena — and they were going insane during Matt Brown’s main event win. It was fun to see, a team from Cincinnati supporting an Ohio guy from nearby Columbus pull off an incredible win.
It’s too bad the UFC didn’t visit the Queen City a week or two from now. Then maybe newly drafted Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron and Katherine Webb would have shown up. Ohio is apparently the new hotbed for hotshot college quarterbacks. Johnny Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns on Saturday night, which made UFC heavyweight Stipe Miocic a very happy guy.
We want an "MMA media" tattoo. On our forehead.
When you have the words "Muay Thai" tattooed on your abdomen, you better deliver and Eduardo did in a big way. Eddie Wineland was ranked No. 4 among UFC bantamweight contenders and Eduardo, a guy who hasn’t fought since 2012, knocked him out in the first round. How? With a little Muay Thai, of course.
I almost put Eduardo on the fails list, because he basically has his job title inked on his body. I’ve never seen anybody with the words "Garbage Man" or "Middle Manager" tattooed on their torso. Or arms. Or anywhere else. But Eduardo knocked Wineland, one of the best fighters in the world at 135, into next week. Therefore nothing he did Saturday can be perceived as a fail.
Eight Mile no-no
Erik Koch is one of the most entertaining guys to watch in the UFC. He’s all action, all the time. But man, he had this kick in the head coming. How do you come out to an Eminem song when the guy you’re fighting — in this case Daron Cruickshank — is from Detroit. I don’t know if that was by design or just an honest mistake, but either way that was some serious karma.
Koch’s choice wasn’t nearly as bad as Alanna Jones coming out to "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" when she fought Fallon Fox. OK, fine. It’s not even close. But a poor decision, nonetheless. I expect better from someone clever enough to call his fans "Kochheads."
Alright, I admit it. I laughed out loud when I saw the ridiculous guy wearing a Chuck Liddell mascot costume in the stands at U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday night — especially when the camera panned the crowd and mascot Chuck was doing the full "Iceman" celebration. Funny stuff.
Mascot Chuck almost got a pass, because where in the world do you even get a costume like that? That’s some serious dedication to Liddell fandom. But then I remembered that this was a grown man wearing the likeness of another actual human being. Not Superman or Batman. Not a Ninja Turtle. An MMA fighter. And I cringed. Fail to you, sir.
Great Wall of facial hair
Ben Wall looks like one of those lizards that have their neck poof out. Except it’s only his beard.
This is not just jealousy. It’s not just because I could never, not in 100 years, grow a beard like the one Ben Wall was sporting Saturday night. I wish I could, just once. But that has nothing to do with why Wall’s facial hair was a fail.
The real reason? Because the damn thing is totally out of control. Wall looks like he fell out of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel with that thing on his chin. His beard is growing a beard. Doesn’t that thing itch? I was scratching my peach fuzz when he was out there fighting Justin Salas. Do everyone a favor — especially your lovely girlfriend (and future TUF 20 star) Bec Rawlings — and get a little trim on your chinny chin chin. Thanks.
Taking off Koch’s head
Gary Copeland is a little slow stepping in to save Erik Koch, but look at those triceps.
Gary Copeland only looks like the Ed Hochuli of MMA. He’s not actually a good referee, unlike his brolic NFL counterpart. Did Copeland go to Columbus for the Arnold Classic a few months ago and somehow end up conning his way into being a referee in Cincinnati? I can’t think of a better reason why he let Erik Koch take about 100 unanswered blows to the head from Daron Cruickshank.
Maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration. But damn, Gary. Did you think Koch was going to be OK? Dude got rocked by a head kick and when Cruickshank followed up with a punch on the ground, Koch’s skull thudded against the canvas. That wasn’t enough to step in? Nah. Cruickshank had to bash Koch’s head in some more. All that Muscle Milk might have gone to Copeland’s brain.