Illegal Knee Mars UFC Live 4 Prelims

I’m writing this as the facebook live stream… happens (streams?) and they’ve all been very good fights!  Lately the preliminary live stream has been so good, it’s put pressure on the main card to deliver. This is especially true of tonight’s event, which will see two replacements fight in the co-main event, as both Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Nate “The Great” Marquardt are out. Nate Marquardt’s late exit at the weigh-in lends extra focus on the main card, while people wonder why Dana White not only pulled him from the event, but posted a brief video clip saying he was out of the UFC. On to the live stream…

Michael Johnson fought in the opener in his first fight back from his loss in the final of The Utlimate Fighter to Jonathan Brookins. He had a test in front of him in the form of Hawaiian (and Chris Leben-trained) fighter Edward Faaloloto. The fight was a battle, and I think it’s fair to say that whoever landed the first big strike would have won. Johnson landed that strike, and finished the fight in the first round. A candidate for inclusion in the televised card, if there’s time for sure. In fact, I was certain this would be the first fight they’d consider… until I saw the next two fights.

The second bout featured Ricardo Lamas vs Matt Grice. Another battle, another first round finish as Lamas took advantage early, striking and getting Grice to the ground, ending the fight with a TKO of Grice with 19 seconds left in the round.

But it was Charles Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz that got the crowd boiling over. It was a back-and-forth battle, striking and jiu jitsu. They were pretty evenly matched, and this looked like another wild bout that could go either way. Both men showed they had skills on their feet and on the ground, throwing up and escaping submissions, reversing… it was the best fight so far, and the first two ended with knock-outs!

I was sure as they started the second round, I was watching the fight of the night, but then things took a turn… Oliveira rocked Lentz and as Lentz was working his way back up, but was still clearly on his knee, Oliveira threw a knee to the head that connected and hurt Lentz. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg immediately saw it. The crowd immediately saw it. The ref did not call it. Stunned, Lentz was easy for Oliveira to finish off by rear-naked choke.

The crowd went nuts. Booing. Chanting. Yelling.

The cameras showed a guy from the commission talking to the ref before the decision was announced. The ref was overheard making a BS excuse, saying they were fighting and didn’t admit in that brief moment to making the error.

The decision was announced amid booing and Rogan entered to talk  to Oliveira. Before the interview, Joe announced that he had spoken to the commission, and they were going to review the knee.

There really isn’t anything to review. The knee was clearly illegal. The fight should have been stopped there. I can’t believe the ref didn’t see it. Nothing the ref said in the brief moment the cameras caught him talking to the commission rep indicated he hadn’t seen it. I just hope, for his sake, that ref has a good day job to return to. More immediately, I hope he has an escort out of the building!

In the fourth preliminary bout, TUF alum Rich Attonito fought a close battle with Daniel Roberts for the fist two rounds, and clearly took the third round to win by unanimous decision. Attonito had Roberts in trouble a few times in the bout, but couldn’t finish him. It was an exciting fight, but compared to the rest of the prelims, the slowest one thus far…

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Joe Lauzon fight since he lost to another fighter I like to watch, George Sotiropoulos by kimura. Well, it must have made quite the impact on Lauzon, because he came out fast and knocked Curt Warburton down, jumped on top of him, delivering impressive strikes and tried to lock in a kimura on Warburton, who was working on getting to his feet. Lauzon lept up, pulling Warburton down by the kimura and yanked it in, sealing the submission. As they would say in Lauzon’s hometown, it was a wicked kimura!

Joe “Daddy” Stevenson took on Javier “Showtime” Vasquez in the next preliminary bout, marking his debut as a featherweight. Although the fight started out looking like it would be a spectacular match, for some reason (Joe Rogan hypothesized that Joe Daddy was not in a great place in his career), Stevenson didn’t show the aggression that was expected, and this three-rounder went to decision, with Vasquez the victor.

Manny Gamburyan took on Tyson Griffin in the final streamed prelim. An active fight, Gamburysn took Griffin down in the first round, threatening submissions, including a guillotine choke, but the round ended before he was able to get the submission. The second round contained good stand-up action, which included some nice kicks by Griffin. However, twice Griffin connected low, and twice time was stopped while Gamburyan recovered. The second happened with 10 seconds left in the round, so he only took a few seconds off before finishing the round. The third round was an active one. Tyson showed aggression and ring control as he attacked Gamburyan, who fought back with some submission attempts Griffin was able to avoid. The decision went to Griffin.

It should be noted that the ref from the Oliveira vs. Lentz fight turned up to ref twice more, to the obvious surprise and dismay of the vocal crowd. I’m kinda surprised he worked at all again this night myself. Joe Lauzon got his submission so quickly that the ref didn’t have an impact, but I thought he was overly active/vocal during the Tyson vs. Gamburyan bout.

This was such a strong group of prelims, the main card will have to really impress to earn any bonus money tonight! So far my picks: Fight of the Night: Griffin vs. Gamburyan / Knockout of the Night: Michael Johnson /  Submission of the Night: Joe Lauzon

UPDATE: Turns out I was watching Fight of the Night in the short fight that was Oliveira vs. Lentz. Dana White gave them the bonus after the event, and I can’t say that I totally disagree. No one asked about the ref at the short post-event press conference. No one asked about Marquardt either…

After watching Mitrione’s walk-off knockout I was sure that would be KO of the night. Needless to say, it went to Kongo’s amazing “I was just knocked out twice now let me swing” knockout of Pat Barry.

I think it’s fair to say that the main card did not disappoint!