The 20 years of UFC celebration continues with a look back at 2009's landmark UFC 100 event...
The UFC 100 event on July 11, 2009 was a milestone for the organization, and they pulled out all the stops to make it a big one, from having the first Fan Expo and inducting Chuck Liddell and Charles “Mask” Lewis into the Hall of Fame to putting on an epic 11-bout card featuring two championship bouts and some of the sport’s biggest stars.
And while Brock Lesnar-Frank Mir II and Georges St-Pierre-Thiago Alves got the bulk of the attention as the evening’s title fights, the battle between TUF 9 coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping produced some serious heat as well, and there was plenty of action below that trio of bouts as well. From the Fight of the Night between Yoshihiro Akiyama and Alan Belcher, the Sub of the Night from Tom Lawlor, and a clash of Hall of Famers in Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar, to a victory from a young man who would soon top the pound-for-pound list, Jon Jones, there was something for everyone on this card, and here’s how we called it that night…
LESNAR VS. MIR II
Brock Lesnar may not have made many fans in the Mandalay Bay Events Center Saturday night by stopping local hero Frank Mir in the second round of their long awaited UFC 100 rematch, but if there’s one thing clear, it’s that beating the UFC heavyweight champion is going to be a tall order for anyone in the division.
“He did a good job,” said Mir, who handed Lesnar his only pro loss in February of 2008. “He neutralized the standup, got me against the cage, and I guess I’ve got something to work on.”
40 seconds in, the two engaged, with Lesnar taking Mir to the mat. Lesnar stayed close and kept his cool, making sure he didn’t get overaggressive like he did in their first fight, which would allow Mir to take advantage and lock in a submission. The crowd didn’t care for Lesnar’s patient approach, but it was scoring points for the champion as he used his bulk to tire Mir while mixing in short but effective punches to the head and body. By the time the bell sounded, Mir’s face showed the scars of battle.
Lesnar dumped Mir on the mat early in round two, but the champion let him right back up. That almost looked to be a mistake as Mir scored with some good shots and almost caught Lesnar’s neck before they toppled to the canvas with the Minnesotan on top. And despite the chants of the crowd to stand up the fighters, Lesnar was consistently working, and after another series of huge ground strikes, Mir was left with nowhere to go, forcing referee Herb Dean to halt the bout at the 1:48 mark.
With the win, Lesnar improves to 4-1; Mir falls to 12-4.
ST-PIERRE VS. ALVES
Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre made it look easy Saturday night in the UFC 100 co-feature at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. But it was far from that, as his five round unanimous decision win over number one contender Thiago Alves was categorized not only by a gritty challenger who refused to go away without a fight, but a third round groin injury that forced the Canadian superstar to dig deep in order to finish off the championship rounds.
“I’m in real bad pain,” said St-Pierre after the bout. “It (the injury) happened in the third round. It could have been a real bad night for me.”
Instead, it was a bad night for Alves, who lost the bout via scores of 50-45 twice and 50-44. But in defeat, the challenger earned the respect of fans and the champion.
“Thiago Alves was my toughest opponent so far,” said St-Pierre. “He’s gonna gain from this experience.”
With the crowd chanting “GSP”, Alves looked to silence them with kicks to the champion’s legs. St-Pierre responded with a takedown, and each time Alves tried to rise, the Montreal native had an answer. By the time two minutes had passed, St-Pierre appeared to be closing in on a submission from the back, but Alves took the opportunity to get back to his feet, and he again began attacking his opponent’s legs. With 90 seconds remaining, Alves stuffed St-Pierre’s next takedown attempt, but when he landed a few strikes and got over aggressive, ‘Rush’ put Alves on his back again. By the end of the round, the Brazilian scrambled back to his feet, but went back to his corner with a cut over his right eye.
Judging by the early second round action, St-Pierre was just getting warmed up in the first, as he pulled off a slick superman punch / low kick combo before scoring another takedown. While on the mat, St-Pierre controlled matters with not only strikes, but his always impressive athleticism, With under a minute left, the bloodied Alves took advantage of a lull to get back to his feet, but he was unable to make anything happen before the bell rang.
Alves, still resilient, kept marching forward, but as soon as he moved in to land more than one punch, St-Pierre would drop him with another takedown. And late in the round, he put Alves down with a right hand, but ran out of time before he could finish ‘The Pitbull.’
The fourth round began like the others, with St-Pierre getting his takedown and keeping Alves from mounting any offense. But with two minutes gone, Alves finally turned the tables and got into St-Pierre’s guard, where he fired away with punches until the two rose with under two minutes left. Despite this being his first time into the fourth round, Alves didn’t look fatigued, though getting dropped by a right hand in the final 30 seconds didn’t help matters.
With only five minutes to turn things around, Alves’ intensity was evident as he came out for the final round, but St-Pierre was not about to let his foot off the gas, and he took the bout back to where he had dominated from the start – the mat. Alves battled his way up quickly this time around, and he marched forward, oblivious to pain and fatigue. What he couldn’t stop were St-Pierre’s takedowns, and that ultimately proved to be his undoing.
With the win, St-Pierre improves to 19-2; Alves falls to 22-5
HENDERSON VS. BISPING
Michael Bisping had the right stick and move plan heading into his middleweight bout with Dan Henderson, but when you’re dealing with the former two-division PRIDE champion, it only takes one wrong move and one right hand to end matters, and that’s what happened as Henderson knocked out ‘The Count’ in the second round of the long-awaited showdown between the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter’s ninth season.
The first minute was tense as Bisping used the Octagon to his advantage and Henderson tried to close the distance. In the second minute, Henderson jarred Bisping with a left, but the Brit cleared his head quickly and fired back. Henderson smelled blood though, and he methodically tracked his opponent down, looking for another flush shot. By the second half of the round, Bisping had his legs under him again, and he was sticking and moving effectively, despite the fact that Henderson was packing the heavier artillery. With under a minute to go, the two locked up against the fence, Henderson scoring with some knees at close range. Bisping looked for a takedown late in the round, but fell short, drawing jeers from the crowd.
Bisping was the more active of the two fighters early in round two, and he took two big right hands from Henderson well. As the round progressed, Henderson continued to stalk, but Bisping was outworking him, and when the two got close, Bisping was able to get out before any danger struck. But then out of nowhere, Henderson landed with his trademark right hand again, and this one was right on the mark, sending Bisping down hard to the canvas before a final and unnecessary forearm brought in referee Mario Yamasaki to halt the bout at 3:20 of the round.
With the win, Henderson improves to 25-7; Bisping falls to 18-2.
FITCH VS. THIAGO
Welterweight contender Jon Fitch continued his climb back towards a title shot, handing Paulo Thiago his first pro loss via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27, and 29-28 twice for Fitch, who improves to 23-3 with 1 NC. Thiago, who had knocked Fitch’s AKA teammate Josh Koscheck out earlier this year, falls to 11-1.
After some tentative early action, Fitch got down to business with a takedown of Thiago, who looked to sink in a guillotine choke. Fitch slipped free and pushed his foe against the fence, but it was Thiago who did the most damage and he again worked for a choke. After some dicey moments, Fitch escaped again, and he continued to control where the bout was taking place even if he wasn’t doing any significant damage.
The second round and third rounds played out much like the first, with Fitch in command on the mat and continually working to make something happen. Midway through the third, Thiago began to show signs of life again, but Fitch quickly nullified his attack, almost finishing the Brazilian in the closing seconds.
AKIYAMA VS. BELCHER
Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama made a smooth transition to the UFC, scoring an exciting split decision win over Alan Belcher in his Octagon debut.
Scores in the punishing three rounder were 30-27, 29-28, and 28-29 for Akiyama, who ups his record to 13-1 with 2 NC. Belcher falls to 13-5
Belcher’s advantage in size was evident from the start, but Akiyama didn’t shy away from exchanges as he traded kicks with his foe. Unfortunately, a low kick by Belcher forced a halt to the action. Once the fight resumed, both got right back to business, this time trading punches that reddened both men’s faces. With 2:15 left, Belcher dropped Akiyama with a punch to the jaw, but the Japan native quickly rose to his feet and resumed his pursuit of Belcher, landing some flush shots in the process. Belcher responded with punches of his own before bulling his opponent into the fence. After the two broke, Akiyama landed with a right hand that dropped Belcher, but before he could capitalize, the bell rang.
After trading kicks at the start of the second round, Akiyama immediately closed the distance and took Belcher down. Belcher scrambled to get loose, but Akiyama was just as busy as he moved into side control. With under four minutes left, Akiyama got into Belcher’s guard and fired away with strikes. Eventually, Belcher got back to his feet, and despite fatigue setting in, he was still able to pick up points with sporadic punches upstairs and kicks downstairs.
With the fight still close, Akiyama and Belcher stood at close range and looked for the home run that would finish things. This resulted in brief bursts of action that saw each man getting his shots in, but with not enough oomph to get the other out of there. With 1:30 left, Akiyama - his left eye swollen nearly shut - put Belcher down a second time, and though the Biloxi product rose quickly, Akiyama scored a late takedown and secured the victory.
COLEMAN VS. BONNAR
It took 12 years, but Mark ‘The Hammer’ Coleman finally got back in the UFC win column, grounding and pounding out a three round unanimous decision over Stephan Bonnar Saturday night in UFC 100 preliminary action at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, delighting the fans who hoped the 44-year old Hall of Famer would be able to turn back the clock one more time.
He did, and while the fight was not spectacular, it did allow Coleman to win his first UFC bout since he submitted Dan Severn at UFC 12 in 1997. Between then and now, Coleman went on to build a successful career in Japan’s PRIDE organization before coming home to the UFC earlier this year.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Coleman, who improves to 16-9; Bonnar falls to 14-6.
After some tense early moments, Coleman saw his opening and hit a single leg takedown on Bonnar. While on the mat, Bonnar looked to lock up a limb, and while Coleman broke loose, ‘The Hammer’ soon found himself on the business end of Bonnar’s elbows at close range. The pace dipped throughout the rest of the round, as Bonnar worked on an arm and Coleman tried to find some daylight, but with no luck.
Bonnar’s confidence was visibly growing in round two, but Coleman put a stop to that with a takedown and a subsequent ground attack that bloodied Bonnar. The first Ultimate Fighter finalist wasn’t ready to give in though, and he continued to look for a submission on Coleman, who had no intention of letting Bonnar get back to his feet.
Bonnar showed strong takedown defense for the first 90 seconds of the final round until Coleman finally put him on his back. With the crowd chanting his name, Coleman smothered Bonnar on the mat, not allowing the Las Vegan to get any daylight. With under two minutes left, Coleman stood and looked to improve his ground position, and surprisingly, Bonnar didn’t try to scramble to his feet until there was under a minute to go, and by then Coleman nearly got his foe’s back as he looked for a choke as the final bell sounded.
MILLER VS. DANZIG
With lightweights Jim Miller and Mac Danzig both coming off losses (and Danzig coming off two straight defeats), the stakes were understandably high in their three rounder and they fought like it, with Miller emerging victorious via an exciting unanimous decision.
The verdict read 30-27 across the board for Miller in a fight that was a closer fight than those scores would indicate.
Miller’s standup was crisp to start the bout, and it allowed him to open Danzig (19-7-1) up for a takedown 45 seconds in. On the mat, Miller (14-2) continued his assault, this time with ground strikes. Danzig responded with elbows from his back, but it was Miller who did the most damage as he opened a cut on Danzig’s forehead. After a brief scramble back to their feet, the fight went back to the mat, with Danzig almost sinking in a choke. Miller fought free though, and the two proceeded to battle it out with each other on the canvas until the bell sounded.
Opening the second with a thudding kick to the midsection, Miller stuck to his gameplan of using strikes to set up the takedown, and once he got Danzig to the mat, he made the Las Vegan’s life miserable with a relentless attack of ground and pound. But if Danzig was thinking of turning in for the night, it didn’t show, as he continued to fight back with elbows from the bottom position. With one minute left, referee Steve Mazzagatti re-started the action, which was surprising since both fighters were still working, and Danzig almost made the most of it, locking in a deep guillotine that was only interrupted by the bell.
Energized by the crowd, Miller and Danzig both came out fast for the final round, with both landing hard shots before locking up against the fence. After a brief stalemate, they separated and picked at each other with strikes in an effort to end the bout with one shot. Danzig landed the heavier blows, briefly jarring Miller with a punch to the head and a knee as the New Jersey native shot in for the takedown. With under two minutes left, Miller got Danzig’s back and looked to finish, but the game Danzig fought out of a rear naked choke and fired away with ground strikes as the crowd erupted until the bell.
JONES VS. O’BRIEN
In submitting Jake O’Brien tonight, rising light heavyweight star Jonny “Bones” Jones upped his pro record to 9-0 with a disciplined attack followed by his trademark flash, once again impressing his growing legion of fans with the maturation of his MMA game.
The action was fast-paced from the start, with O’Brien (11-3) trying to make something happen with haymakers followed by takedown attempts and Jones doing the same with counters and effective use of the Octagon real estate. And while Jones was revealing some of his flashy strikes, none were really hitting the mark.
That wasn’t the case early in round two though, as the 21-year old Jones attacked O’Brien with a jumping knee to start the frame. But as O’Brien showed his resilience, Jones settled into a more conservative and steady groove, choosing to wait for O’Brien to overcommit. With under three minutes left, a spinning back elbow appeared to rock O’Brien and force him to shoot for a takedown. Jones stuffed the takedown and locked in a guillotine choke, ending the bout via tapout at 2:43.
KIM VS. GRANT
Korean star Dong Hyun Kim remained unbeaten in welterweight action, improving to 12-0-1, 1 NC with a workmanlike three round decision win over TJ Grant.
“I knew I could dominate on the ground, so I wasn’t afraid,” said Kim. “A lot of people don’t know that I’m good at grappling.”
Grant (14-3) kicked the action off with a takedown, only to see Kim reverse his position moments later, eventually ending up in Grant’s guard. From the top, Kim used strikes to score points, while Grant looked for a submission from the bottom. With two minutes left the fighters stood, but Kim brought it back to the mat with a thudding throw. Grant again scrambled to his feet, but when the bout returned to the canvas, it was Kim in control.
Grant closed the distance quickly to begin round two, but Kim stood cool under pressure, nearly catching Grant in a guillotine choke. On the mat, Kim continued to control matters with strikes from inside his opponent’s guard. Grant kept looking for openings for his submissions, but Kim was crafty as he eluded danger. The bout was halted momentarily as Grant was penalized for an illegal upkick, but even a last minute return to the feet didn’t help Grant’s cause.
The third round was more of the same from both men – with Kim scoring the major blows thanks to a throw and his ground and pound, and Grant trying to make something happen from his back, but to no avail. When the final bell rang, the three judges’ scores of 30-26 for Kim were academic.
LAWLOR VS. DOLLAWAY
After an entertaining walk to the Octagon that included Ultimate Fighter alum Seth Petruzelli on a leash as the song ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ played, Tom Lawlor delivered when the bell rang as well, submitting CB Dollaway in less than a minute.
In the battle of former college wrestlers, Dollaway (9-3) drew first blood with a takedown 30 seconds into the fight. But Lawlor – who was fighting at middleweight for the first time - responded like a pro, immediately sinking in a guillotine choke. Moments later, at the 55 second mark, Dollaway was out and Lawlor (6-1, 1 NC) had the biggest win of his pro career.
“His head was out there and I just kinda fell into it,” said Lawlor of the finisher. “My cornerman said don’t go for the guillotine unless you know I have it. I guess I knew I had it.”
GUGERTY VS. GRICE
In the opener, California’s Shannon Gugerty kicked off the evening’s festivities with a first round submission win over Matt Grice in lightweight action.
Once the bout began and Grice took Gugerty (12-3) to the mat, the intentions of his foe were evident, as he tried to lock in a guillotine choke. The second time around, Gugerty nailed it, putting Grice (10-3) out at the 2:36 mark of the opening round.