1. Clay Guida vs. Nate Diaz - 4
2. Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim - 3
3. Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones - 4
4. Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva - 5
5.Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn - 8
This is the first MMA review on Never Hand Over. Basically, I'm tackling this and using our scale in the same way I do professional wrestling, our ten-point system is the degree to which we recommend you watch something. Typically, anything around the 5-6 area and above are to be considered serious recommendations--that is, things you need to seek out, either via buy, trade, or illegal download. I hosted a huge party for UFC 94 at my apartment. We watched the fights in HD on my gigantic plasma TV and ate tons of pizza, chips, chicken wings, etc. It was a unanimous success.
I love Clay Guida--phenomenal energy, attitude, etc. He won the opener in a three-round fight that ended in a split decision. Clay pushed the pace the first two rounds, relying on his superior wrestling and strength. Nate won the last round with his use of striking, throwing a lot of jabs and shots that went unanswered. I can't recommend this fight, though; while Clay looked aggressive per usual, he never looked like he had Diaz in serious trouble, and that pesky, mush-mouthed Diaz was his usual squirmy self. The next fight was a disappointment. I like Karo, the "Heat", not necessarily for his fighting skills, but more so for his controversial, cocky persona. He got owned by the lanky Korean in the first round, but managed to maintain enough control to eek out better scores by the judges in the following two rounds, winning a split decision in an uneventful fight you can avoid.
Stephan is just goofy, having the charm of a sideshow act, as he's good for amusement as a somewhat competent striker that can take a lot of punishment and usually does. Jon "Bones" Jones came in as a relative unknown, but with a 7-0 record, putting on a really impressive performance. It's almost worth seeing for Jones alone, as his takedowns were some of the quickest and most effective seen in awhile. Bonnar was a sweaty mess, his chest hair an eyesore, and getting showed up by a guy ten years younger further cemented Bonnar's status as an undercard attraction at best. Lyoto Machida, what can I say, except welcome to the big time, brother! After beating guys like Ortiz, Sokoudjuo, Franklin, and Hoger (insert laughter here) Machida is getting a reputation as a world class ass kicker. He and Thiago were both 13-0 going into the fight. But, it only took one round, literally, as Silva was knocked unconscious by ground and pound at 4:59. I'd suggest seeing this fight, for historical significance, as the sky is the limit for Lyoto, and he put on a dominating performance here over another very talented fighter.
The main event, what can I say, expect Penn can now go fuck himself. I say that in response to Penn's crude comments directed towards Pierre on the UFC Primetime telecast. In all seriousness, I respect Penn a ton, but he talked so much hurtful, disrespectful talk, about how Pierre didn't have any spirit, etc. that I rather enjoyed seeing him eat all of his words. Like Gerorges said, he didn't feel he needed to talk, to try to convince himself of anything, he simply knew he was better and was going to won. That I can respect! And win, he certainly did, absolutely controlling and physically dominating Penn for four consecutive rounds until Penn and his team called the fight off (how's that for spirit?). I remember my dad telling me a story of watching Ali vs. Foreman, and last night, I said to the crowd in my living room that watching GSP fight in his prime is the equivalent of watching our generation's most talented, gifted, fighter.
Overall, while the scores don't represent a blow-away show, it was a big one, and even without getting to see any of the undercard fights due to time constraints, I honestly feel I got my money's worth. Of the five fights aired, I'd only recommend the last two, to the general fan or enthusiast, and the Clay Guida fight if you're a fan of his like me. In February, we'll be getting not one, but two, UFC events on SpikeTV (as well as the re-airing for the Oct. '05 show headlined by Tanner vs. Loiseau) so that should make MMA fans extremely happy. Go punch something...