Brain Clutter

August 26, 2007

UFC 74 Respect (Review) – Couture vs. Gonzaga / St. Pierre vs. Koscheck / Cote vs. Grove / Huerta vs. Crane / Stevenson vs. Pellegrino

Filed under: american idol, MMA, personal, UFC — brainclutter @ 1:23 pm

Watch UFC 74!UFC 74 – Respect was a slobber knocker of a fight night, where the combatants not only displayed “respect” to each other, but each victor demanded it in his performance!

The night began with Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360 (damn you, Jessica on medium difficulty) and Alexander Keith’s (pale ale). By 8:30pm, we decided to head on over to The Fox and the Hedgehog to grab seats for the pre-fight interviews. Nachos were ordered, as well as Strongbow and Guinness, while we settled in for a night of great fighting.

Here’s my review, fight by fight, punch by meaty punch of the best Ultimate Fighting Championships of 2007:

Randy Couture (Heavyweight Champion) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga – WATCH VIDEO

In his first title defense since rocking the giant, Tim Silvia, Couture had quite possibly the toughest fight in his career ahead of him. Gabe Gonzaga, “the man who KO’d Cro Cop,” matches up very well against the champ… on paper that is. He holds a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) and is proficient in muay thai and boxing. Couture’s conditioning is second to none in the UFC, especially for his age (44). “The Natural” is also an esteemed greco-roman wrestler and one of the best dirty boxers around.Couture Victorious!

Physically, these two heavyweights were evenly matched, so it really it all came down to heart… and a broken nose. From the get go, Couture was all over Gonzaga like stink on sweaty handwraps. It didn’t take long for them to get into a clinch after exchanging a few blows each, and as you well know, that’s Randy’s favorite place to be. Very quickly, Couture picked up the challenger and slammed him hard onto the mat. In the process, Randy’s head crushed Gabe’s nose into a bloody ruin… Gabe started to bleed profusely but managed to survive until the bell rang so his corner could try patch it up.

It never got any better for the young challenger, even though he very nearly took the champ’s head off with a high kick. Gabe spent most of round two in the clinch finding it harder and harder to breath as his chest and face were smothered with deadly intent. He spit out blood numerous times even asked for a time-out because he was unable to see. Herb Dean allowed the match to continue at Gabe’s behest. Round three saw a huge high kick land on Randy’s jaw, which didn’t even phase him and the fight eventually went to the ground where Couture achieved side mount, postured up, and pummeled Gonzaga. The official result was TKO by ref stoppage.

Randy, The Natural, Captain America, Couture emerged as though from a slaughterhouse with both fists raised. This man, 44 years old, 5-time champion, recent defender of his latest title was victorious. This man shocked everyone again, though in the end it seemed as though a win was never in question. This man took perhaps the toughest title challenger he’s faced to date (16 years his junior) and beat him down like a rag doll. This is a man I hope remains the champion for a very long time because his heart, personality, dedication, and skills are the model of everything MMA.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh KoscheckSt. Pierre Victorious!

What do you get when you take the former UFC welterweight champion, fresh off the biggest loss of his career to Matt Serra and pit him against a world-class wrestler and newfound striker who just delivered Diego Sanchez the biggest loss of HIS career? You get one hell of a fight, though a bit more one-sided than expected.

To be honest, I didn’t actually believe GSP when he claimed he’d out-wrestle the wrestler in pre-fight interviews, and apparently neither did Josh. However, Georges came into this fight with a head full of steam and quickly asserted himself against Koscheck on the ground with a very early takedown. The majority of round one was ground and pound action giving advantage to the recently acquired jiu jitsu brown belt, although, there was a late reversal by Josh to end the round. Round two began with another successful takedown by Georges but this time he managed to do some damage and very nearly submit Kos with a kimura.

By this point you could tell Josh was getting frustrated. Had he concentrated too much on his stand-up to try match GSP in strikes, while neglecting his groundwork? It appeared so, because he was being completely dominated. Round three saw both fighters exchange blows for the first couple minutes and Koscheck’s first takedown attempt. It didn’t quite work out for him as St. Pierre managed a brilliant feat of balance on one leg and a great sprawl, which led into a reversal. Josh was on his back for the third time in as many rounds and he never managed to get himself back up.

This match went to decision where Georges was the clear winner. Both fighters showed signs of mutual respect afterwards and one thing became clear… GSP is back and ready to work his way up to another title shot. This is a pretty big loss for Josh but it will probably benefit him greatly as it showed him humility in his ground game, which will eventually lead to becoming a better fighter in the future.

Patrick Cote vs. Kendall GroveCote Victorious

Another French-Canadian emerged victorious with Ultimate Fighter 4 finalist Patrick Cote defeating Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Kendall Grove. This match was likely designed to feed Grove, a rising star in the UFC, another victory on his road to the middleweight championship. However, things didn’t quite go according to plan.

Grove proved impossible to take down in the traditional sense due to his height (6’6″) and balance so Patrick was forced to try for other strategies. Late in the first round, Cote popped Kendall with a right hook behind his left ear as they were fading out of a clinch. This punch rocked Grove hard and he staggered backward and crumpled like a puppet masterless marionette. Cote saw his chance and took it, lunging for his dazed opponent. He quickly achieved full mount and TKO’d him with right-handed bombs to the side of the head as Grove gave up his back.

I’m not going to lie… it was nice to see trash-talking Kendall get his chops busted by a good ol’ Canadian boy. Maybe this will get him to take his opponents a bit more seriously in the future.

Roger Huerta vs. Alberto CraneHuerta Victorious!

Alberto Crane, only the second American to win the World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu championship was up against UFC rising star, Roger Huerta, who is one hell of a brawling greco-roman wrestler. With Crane’s credentials, I was actually kind of worried for my favorite lightweight, even though it was only his first official UFC bout. As the rounds progressed, I became a little less worried, however, the threat of an instantaneous submission attempt was constantly palpable.

What I love about Huerta is his athleticism and aggression. This guy is always ready to rumble and he’s like the Energizer Bunny… he keeps going and going. He’s very good on the ground, but sometimes, his aggressive tendencies land him in some compromising positions, which was my biggest fear during this match. He gave up his back, arms, and legs numerous times, which is a very dangerous thing to do against a BJJ master. Fortunately, his heavy fists did much of the work for him during this match, as well as his timely escapes from sticky situations. Early in round two, Huerta managed to close up Alberto’s left eye with a barrage of punches from a postured stance in his opponent’s guard. This is when things went downhill for Crane…

Even if his vision was working at capacity, he just didn’t have the steam to keep up with Roger. Crane’s takedown attempts in round three were only marginally successful, and that’s because Huerta smelled the blood and wanted to stay close and finish the job he started on his opponent’s melon. Eventually, an exhausted Alerbto Crane went down by TKO due to ref stoppage as he was being head punched into next week.

Huerta stood up, took a single deep breath, as you or I might after walking up a short flight of stairs, and appeared ready to go another three rounds without breaking a sweat. This guy is very entertaining to watch!

Joe Stevenson vs. Kurt PellegrinoStevenson victorious!

Ahhh, the purple-haired Batman, who is “a wrestling legend… in his home town,” (Goldberg introduced him as such!) vs. Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, winner of Ultimate Fighter 2’s welterweight final. For all the trash talking Kurt did pre-game, he sure didn’t deliver during this match.

I’m not going to lie… I was mostly eating nachos and downing Guinness during this fight, so I don’t have a very detailed fight review to share. All I really remember is that it went the distance, with Joe Stevenson winning by unanimous decision after numerous guillotine choke attempted and a highlight reel quality suplex.

——————————-

I was very happy with the match ups and results of UFC 74, and I’d rank it as the best UFC of 2007. I’m looking forward to September with UFC 75: Champion vs. Champion (Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson), UFC Fight Night on Spike followed by the season premiere of Ultimate Fighter 6, as well as UFC 76: Knockout (Chuck Liddell vs. Keith Jardine). That’s one HELL of a month if you ask me!

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1 Comment »

  1. […] UFC 74 Respect (Review) – Couture vs. Gonzaga / St. Pierre vs … […]

    Pingback by Randy Couture Workout for MMA Conditioning | FightStuff.info — January 17, 2010 @ 6:23 am


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