By Jaime C. Feal
A surprisingly lackluster pay per view wasn’t matchmaker Joe Silva’s fault. Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way one expects them to. Starting off the pay per view was a welterweight matchup between Matthew Riddle and Chris Clements. Riddle fought purely for the fans, often letting Clements up when he had him smothered, simply so they could stand and bang. Riddle literally fought the first two rounds for the most action possible, not the safe, standard game plan we often see. In the third, Riddle locked up a beautiful standing arm-triangle choke after Clements missed a spinning back fist. With the arm-triangle already cinched standing, Riddle leg tripped Clements down and finished the arm-triangle from side control. This was by far the most exciting fight of the night. In the next match, James Head took a split decision over Brian Ebersole in a rather boring fight. Ebersole took the match on short notice and is moving down a division to Lightweight. For this fight he was very undersized and he was unable to take James Head down. This ultimately ended up costing him the fight. The next three fights appeared to be can’t miss all action bouts, but they all winded up going the distance, including the main event.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Cheick Kongo (17-7-2, 10-5-1 UFC) vs. Shawn “The Savage” Jordan (13-3, 1-0 UFC)
The fighters begin trading jabs and feinting. Jordan is pawing with his jab but not landing. Kongo presses forward and the heavyweights clinch on the cage. Jordan is relentlessly working for a takedown but Konhgo is defending well with underhooks and a wide base. Kongo lands a nice knee then takes the back of Jordan. Kongo lands a nice shot, but Jordan spins back around. Kongo gets the back standing again and lands more shots. Jordan lands a low blow and the fight is halted. The fight resumes and the fighters trade standing with Kongo getting the better of it. Nice knee to the body by Kongo to close the frame. 10-9 round for Kongo.
Kongo lands a nice knee to the head and pressed forward. The heavyweights again grapple on the cage. Kongo employing knees to the body while Jordan looks for a takedown. Now Jordan comes back with knees to the body but Kongo responds with harder ones. The fighters separate and Kongo lands a nice straight right, and another straight right behind it. Jordan clinches up again and Kongo looks to take his back standing. Jordan gets back facing Kongo and they break. Jordan again clinching up with Kongo, doesn’t like standing with him at all. Kongo again gets the standing back, lands some good right hands. Kongo now has Jordan on the ground, tried to get a left hook in and messes up. Kongo gives up top position and Jordan gets on top. Jordan in half guard but not striking. 10-9 round for Kongo.
Kongo comes forward with some nick knees and AGAIN Jordan clinches him on the cage, much to the dismay of the fans in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Kongo continues to dominate the clinch game, never getting taken down by Jordan, while landing knees to the body throughout. 10-9 round for Kongo.
The judges score the fight 30-28, 30-27, and 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Cheick Kongo.
Middleweight Division (185 lbs.):
Hector Lombard (31-2-1, 0-0 UFC) vs. Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch (15-4, 6-3 UFC)
Lombard does not waste any time in coming forward. Boetsch lands a nice inside leg kick. Lombard absolutely stuffs a Boetsch takedown and throws him to his side. Lombard begins pouncing with punches but referee Josh Rosenthal tells him to “Watch the back of the head” and Lombard slows down and is more cautious. Boetsch gets up but eats an uppercut from Lombard. Now Hector goes for a takedown and scores with a double leg against the cage. Boetsch trying to use the cage to get to his feet and eventually does. Lombard lands a nice right hand on the break. Good leg kick by Boetsch. Left straight from Lombard. Another leg kick from Boetsch. Lombard defends another takedown. Lombard standing right in front of Boetsch daring him to exchange, trying to catch him with punches coming in. Outside leg kick by Boetsch. Right hook by Lombard. Boetsch continuing to land leg kicks while circling on the outside. Boetsch shoots for a takedown and is shrugged off by Lombard. 10-10 round.
Boetsch lands a few leg kicks, then eats a hard left straight from Lombard. Boetsch takes it like it’s nothing. Hard counter right from Lombard and then a left straight. Boetsch not showing it but the shots have to hurt. More nice counter shots from Lomboard. Hard inside leg kick from Boetsch. Good jab by Lombard. Leg kick from Boetsch. Uppercut and left body kick from Lombard. Another inside leg kick from Boetsch. Lombard hurts Boetsch with a left kick to the liver and pounces with hammer fists. Boetsch is turtled and Lombard is landing a few light shots now. Boetsch is trying to drive through signle but Lombard denies him. The fighters scramble up and down and clinch against the cage. 10-9 round for Lombard.
Boetsch lands a leg kick. Lombard with a nice right hook. Leg kick from “The Barbarian.” Lombard surprisingly passive. Crowd booing due to inactivity. Boetsch circling the outside, tries a superman punch but misses. Another leg kick from Boetsch. Crowd booing loudly now. Boetsch shoots and gets easily stuffed by Lombard. Good right hook by Lombard. Judo throw by Lombard, briefly puts Boetsch on his side. Leg kick by Lombard. Boetsch clinches his opponent against the cage and his corner tells him to go for the takedown. Instead Lombard picks up Boetsch and slams him down. Boetsch gets up and lands a knee to the body. 10-9 round for Lombard.
The judges score the fight 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 for the winner by split decision, Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch.
Interim Bantamweight Championship Bout (135 lbs.):
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (26-5, 2-1 UFC) vs. Renan Barao (28-1, 3-0 UFC)
Barao misses a left head kick. Faber charges in and eats a couple punches. Front kick misses for Barao. Cautious start by both bantamweights. Faber misses with a half-hearted head kick. Good leg kick by Faber. Inside leg kick from Barao. Nice spinning back kick to the face by Barao. Faber takes it no problem, but then Barao charges in and lands a sick combo and a hard knee to the body that gets Faber’s attention. Faber regains his wits and circles the outside. Barao with a nice left hook. Faber with a good straight right. Nice stiff jab from the Brazilian, then a snapping inside leg kick. Another straight right from Faber. 10-9 round for Barao.
Leg kick by Faber, right hand by Barao. First ever title fight for Renan Barao and he is not showing any jitters. Nice right hook by Faber. Barao gets poked in the eye and the fight is halted to allow him to recover. Fight restarts and Barao lands a flying knee to the body, followed by a left hand. Faber with a good combo. Inside leg kick from Faber. Hard outside leg kick from Barao. Another leg kick from Barao. Good right head kick from Barao. Solid right hook from “The California Kid.” Very nice right hand from Faber, outside leg kick from Barao. The fighters begin flailing away with hooks but neither lands cleanly. Hard right kick from Barao hurts Faber’s leg. Flashbacks of the Aldo fight. Another hard leg kick and left hook from Barao, Faber is rattled. 10-9 round for Barao.
New round and Faber bouncing around again. Decent straight from Faber. Bareao back to the leg kick and lands a nice one-two combo. Urijah rushes forward and lands a straight right. Faber tries to clinch up with Barao to take him down, but Barao shrugs him off. Good front kick and right hand from Faber. Straight right from Urijah. Harder straight right from Barao. Leg kick from Barao. And another. Faber starting to slow down now. Good right from Faber. Barao easily stuffs Faber as he shoots for a takedown. Good uppercut from Faber. Nice straight right from Barao. Nice left hook and a hard right leg kick from Barao. Faber tries a single leg takedown but is denied. Barao looking like the 135 lb Jose Aldo, slowly dismantling Faber with outside leg kicks. The hobbled Faber can’t push the pace, crowd boos not realizing that. 10-9 round for Barao.
The fighters continue to trade on the outside with Barao getting the better of it. He is sticking to his game plan of kicks and defending the takedown. Crowd booes because the fight isn’t very action packed. Unfortunately Faber is probably at 50% movement so he can’t give them the action they want. Nice right hand from Barao, and more leg kicks. Faber has to do something to shift the momentum. Spinning back kick lands for Barao. Leg kick and Faber winces and limps. Hard left hook to the body and head by Barao. Good jab by Faber. 10-9 round for Barao.
Nice front kick by Faber. Leg kick from Barao which Faber tries to catch but cannot. Leg kick from Barao. More kicks and a counter from Barao. Right hand to the body for Faber. Leg kick from Barao, Faber tries to catch it again but fails. Left body kick from Barao. Nice straight right from Barao. Vicious left hook from Barao, who is toying with Faber now. Superman punch from Faber. Good jab from “The California Kid.” Barao with a nasty outside leg kick, Faber hobbled yet again. Crowd on their feet with one mnute to go. Spinning back kick misses for Barao. Nice left hook from Barao. Left straight by Barao. 10-9 round for Barao.
The judges score the fight 49-46, 50-45, 49-46 for the winner by unanimous decision and the new interim UFC bantamweight champion, Renan Barao.