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Ten years ago today then. 11th July 2009. Where were you when this went down? What are your memories of that night/fight week etc? Did you watch live? I’ve got really vivid memories of this show. Especially of shitting myself in the run-up to the event because Setanta went tits up that Summer and it was up in the air for a time if it would even be televised in the UK. The UFC rights ended up on ESPN UK but this show fell between the television deals. All was right in the end though as it bizarrely aired for free on the RacingUK channel or something. Over the last week I’ve been watching the whole show back in stages. July 11th 2009 Las Vegas, Nevada - Mandalay Bay The lead-in to this was electric. The Countdown was one of the best they’ve ever done and the press conference and weigh in had the anticipation for this show through the roof. I don’t think MMA has ever been hotter than it was in 2009/10. Matt Grice vs Shannon Gugerty Round 1: Gugerty gets a takedown within a minute and Grice never gets up. Gugerty controls him well and snatches a guillotine in the scramble. It looks like Grice is out of danger but then Gugerty adjusts the grip and it’s a wrap. Grice doesn’t tap, he goes OUT. Winner - Shannon Gugerty by submission. Round 1, 2:36. I didn’t really remember Gugerty but he looked good here. Grice of course went on to have one of the all-time undercard classics against Dennis Bermudez in 2013. That sadly turned out to be his last fight before his career was cut short due to serious brain injuries from a car crash. Tom Lawlor vs CB Dollaway Yes, Filthy Tom is here. Round 1: Two guys from the TUF glory years. Dollaway was a finalist on season 7. Lawlor was on TUF 8 where he provided one of the greatest moments in the show’s history, knocking out the ‘unknockoutable’ Dave Kaplan in the house. Anyway, the fight begins and...well, ends. Dollaway shoots in for a takedown and Lawlor catches him in a guillotine and he goes out. For the second straight fight on this card, a man goes unconscious in a guillotine choke. Winner - Tom Lawlor by submission. Round 1, 0:55. This was a win-win for me. Love Lawlor, can’t stand Dollaway. TJ Grant vs Dong Hyun Kim Round 1: Good grappling early, with Stun Gun getting the better of it. His Judo is on point and he’s opened up a cut on Grant with his ground and pound. I’d go 10-8 for Kim here. Pure dominance. Round 2: Kim controlling the fight with his takedowns and top game again. Grant stays out of submissions and tries to attack off his back but Kim is just overwhelming him. Grant gets a point deducted for an illegal upkick. So another 10-8 for Kim. Disaster for Grant. Round 3: Grant has a bit more success this round with his striking but it’s fleeting and he’s soon on his back again eating Stun Gun elbows. Another Kim round and it’s a shutout. With the two 10-8s I’ve got it 30-25 Kim. Winner - Dong Hyun Kim by unanimous decision. 30-26 across the board. Not the best fight but a really strong performance from Kim. I used to really like Grant. He had a bad night here, it was largely on account of Kim being in top form too though. But Grant was one of my favourite undercard scrappers in this period. Proper tough bastard, solid grappling and could be a technician or a brawler. I predict a lot of shit wrong but I remember there was 3 prelimers from around this time that I used to always big up as future threats to the gold. Rafael Dos Anjos, Max Holloway and TJ Grant. I got 2 out of 3 and I think Grant had a good chance at making me 3-0, especially when he dropped to 155. But his career ended right when he was due a shot at then champ Benson Henderson in 2013, due to ongoing problems with concussions that he was unfortunately unable to come back from. A real shame and looking back now, I think he might’ve beat Bendo as well. UFC 100 wasn’t his night though. Jon Jones vs Jake O’Brien Jonny Bones in his prelim days. At this point he was only 21 years old, 8-0 in MMA and only 2-0 in the UFC. He was merely just a prospect, although he had turned a lot of heads with his flashy points win over Stephan Bonnar in his fight before this at UFC 94. O’Brien was a solid and logical next test for Jones on paper. 11-2, a strong amateur wrestler (152-9 record) and had been in with the likes of Cain Velasquez, Andrei Arlovski and Heath Herring. Round 1: Jones looking good early, throwing shit from odd angles and defending O’Brien’s takedowns. He’s so wild and raw here. You don’t know what he’s going to do or when. Jones is passing the wrestler test with flying colours so far. O’Brien is having zero luck taking him down. He’s landing some punches and he’s coming forward a lot but Jones is landing nice kicks and jabs and you can just see him getting more comfortable as the round draws to a close. Jones 10-9. Round 2: Jones coming out with a jumping knee and a headkick within the first 10 seconds. Christ. He’s feeling it now. O’Brien is starting to look a little bit bamboozled. And that doesn’t help matters. O’Brien is wobbled and Jones puts him away with a modified guillotine choke. Winner - Jon Jones by submission. Round 2, 2:43. Jones improves to 9-0 in MMA, 3-0 in the Octagon and that was his first UFC finish. Wonder what became of him. Jim Miller vs Mac Danzig OK, I’m looking forward to this. Don’t recall seeing it before but I remember watching the main card live and seeing all the blood splattered on the canvas and thinking the shark from Jaws must’ve done a run-in on the prelims. Well this is the fight where all that claret came from. Miller was young and fresh here. Only 25 years old and 13-2 with his only losses being decisions to Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. Danzig had won TUF 6 in late 2007 but had struggled since, going 2-2 in the UFC. Round 1: Miller with an early takedown. Rogan and Goldy are hyping Danzig’s grappling as if Miller is chopped liver on the mat. I forgot how much they used to love their TUF winners. Elbows from Miller and yep...that blood is flowing. It’s pissing out of his head and spraying all down his right arm as Miller takes him down and just beasts him. This looks like a Ric Flair match in the 80s. More elbows. Miller’s back is so covered in blood he looks like a giant spare rib. 10-8 Miller for me but back then they probably scored it 10-9. Round 2: Danzig’s corner told him between rounds that Miller wants no part of him in the striking. Yet Miller comes right out and blasts him with a sweet body kick and punch combo. This is not a good day at the office for Danzig at all. He’s outgunned everywhere and his face looks like it’s falling off. Then he gets taken down again. He keeps trying for a kimura but Miller’s too good of a grappler for that and just continues the punishment from the guard. Miller shoots in and Danzig actually secures a tight guillotine at the end but the time runs out. Another Miller round. Would’ve been another 10-8 if not for that late choke. Round 3: Danzig looks more fired up now but Miller’s catching him with better stuff. Miller takedown again. At this point the canvas looks like the crime scene round OJ Simpson’s gaff. Miller is mauling him. Just a miserable night for Danzig. Miller takes his back with about a minute left and is going all out for a rear naked choke. Danzig escapes and is on top throwing punches but the round ends. Winner - Jim Miller by unanimous decision. And now it’s Hammer Time... Mark Coleman vs Stephan Bonnar Right. This was basically Coleman’s last shot. The UFC signed him in 2008 and it’s pretty much forgotten now but he was originally supposed to face Brock Lesnar at UFC 87. Coleman got injured and Brock ended up fighting Heath Herring instead. Small mercies, eh? He finally fought in January 2009 at UFC 93 in Dublin. And had a weird fight with Shogun where both gassed horribly and Coleman got knocked out. He was also 44 years old at this time so this fight really had the feel of a ‘win or go home’ situation for Coleman. At the time I really thought this fight should’ve been on the PPV main card myself. With it being a milestone event, sticking a legend on the main card made sense to me. I still think it probably warranted that PPV spot, to be honest. Round 1: Doesn’t take long for Coleman to go for a takedown. And he gets it. Bonnar keeps gripping the cage with his toes, which goes unpunished but Rogan highlights it. Bonnar tries for a leg lock from the bottom but The Hammer’s having none of it and controls him from the top. “COLEMAN, COLEMAN” chants from the Vegas crowd. “For the old school guys, Mark Coleman was THE MAN back in the day. You have to realise, this guy literally redefined how people approach this sport.” - Joe Rogan Coleman holds onto the legs while Bonnar cuts him with elbows. He’s landing a lot of elbows here. Bonnar 10-9 for me. He did all the damage while Coleman mostly just held him. Round 2: Bonnar lands some shit early but Coleman eventually drags him down to the mat and absolutely lays him wide open with an elbow. The Godfather Of Ground & Pound! Bonnar’s a mess. So it wasn’t just Miller-Danzig painting the canvas red after all. Bonnar keeps elbowing from the bottom but Coleman is staying on top and lands some more shots at the buzzer. Coleman 10-9. Round 3: Coleman is GASSED now. He’s still throwing but he’s moving at a snail’s pace. He guts through it though and eventually gets the takedown. He doesn’t do a great deal from the top but he stays busy enough to stop the fight being stood up. In the final minute Coleman takes his back and is working for a choke but they’re in a fucked up position and he doesn’t have the hooks in. Coleman 10-9 again. Winner - Mark Coleman by unanimous decision. It wasn’t a great fight but it was certainly dramatic and all the blood and the crowd being so into it and the feel-good story of Coleman getting that moment in the UFC again, it was something to see. Onto the main card. Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Alan Belcher This was Sexyama’s UFC debut. And what a way to debut, opening up the UFC 100 main card! Akiyama’s class entrance is edited. Get fucked. In more positive news, I remember this being a really good fight. Round 1: Belcher kicking loads to start things off, while Akiyama is going solely for power strikes. Belcher kicks him in the bollocks, forcing a lengthy time out, which kind of kills the moment. For Akiyama and the viewer. They get right back at it though and, despite getting knocked down briefly, I feel like Akiyama is getting the best of a lot of the exchanges. He knocks Belcher down right on the buzzer and Belcher pops back up looking pissed off. Fun round, that. And it’s Sexyama 10-9. Round 2: They mix things up and we get some sweet grappling to kick this round off now. Akiyama in top position but Belcher is constantly moving and attacking off his back. This is such a fun fight. Back on the feet and, understandably, they’re both starting to feel the pace. Close but Akiyama 10-9 again for me. Round 3: Both throwing heat but Belcher looks the fresher of the two at this point. Akiyama lands some big digs every now and then but Belcher is outstriking him this round. This in the last minute being the highlight... Akiyama scores a late takedown but Belcher gets back up and the time runs out. Belcher 10-9. So I’ve got it for Akiyama 29-28. Winner - Yoshihiro Akiyama by split decision. Cracking fight. I recall a lot of cries of robbery after this but I’m not having it. If you had it for Belcher I wouldn’t argue against that but it really could’ve gone either way. Jon Fitch vs Paulo Thiago Very vague memories of this one. I remember that for some reason, this fight actually went on last on the night. This actually had to follow Lesnar vs Mir 2. Don’t know why they did that but I’m going off the order on the DVD. Fitch was in a rebuilding phase here. He’d initially gone 8-0 in the UFC to earn a title shot. But in the Summer of 2008, he got schooled by GSP at UFC 87. He beat Akihiro Gono in his rebound fight and this was fight #2 on the comeback. Thiago had debuted at UFC 95 in London with a shock first round KO over Fitch’s buddy Josh Koscheck. Round 1: Within a minute of the fight starting, Thiago catches Fitch in a guillotine off a takedown attempt. Seems it’s the night for guillotines. He spends a good half of the round trying to lock it in properly but Fitch gets through it and eventually pops out. Fitch does his thing for the rest of the round. Thiago 10-9 for the guillotine. Round 2: Fitch with a cool trip takedown and he gets to Fitching his way through the round. He takes Thiago’s back a couple of times and is working for a rear naked choke to no joy. Crowd is dead. This wasn’t the fight to follow a Brock and GSP double-header. Fitch 10-9. Round 3: Fitch takedown. The Fitchfest continues. Honestly, there’s nothing technically wrong with this. And as much as I liked to have digs at Fitch, he was undeniably one of the best welterweights of this period. Probably the #2 actually. But he was very rarely much fun to watch. It’s not a grappling thing - there are plenty of grapplers I love watching - it’s a Fitch thing. Anyway, takedowns, control, takes back, time runs out. Fitch 10-8 for me. Winner - Jon Fitch by unanimous decision. Moving on... Dan Henderson vs Michael Bisping Oh here we go. These two were coming off coaching TUF 9 here. Team USA vs Team UK. And Bisping had talked a whole bunch of shit going in. The Yanks absolutely bloody hated Bisping at this time, and a lot of UK fans weren’t keen either. I was quite new on this forum at the time but I clearly remember opinion being very divided on Bisping. This place was probably actually skewed more towards negative feelings on him than positive actually. What a difference a decade can make. First thing that’s always hit me when I see footage of this fight is how skinny Bisping looks. He actually looks ill. He’s said in a few interviews that he trained like an idiot for this fight and really overdid it. You can say that’s an excuse but he does look pretty skinny and almost frail here. Round 1: Hendo, as always, the aggressor. Bisping is looking to hit and move. So much of the talk going in was about Henderson’s wrestling but it quickly becomes clear that Hendo isn’t looking for any takedowns. No. He has no interest in that. In one of the first exchanges he hurts Bisping and it seems like Bisping was spooked from Hendo’s power from that point on. He basically backpeddles most of the round as Hendo lunges after him with haymakers. Bisping lands the odd counter but the power discrepancy is so obvious. I’m watching with the benefit of hindsight of course but even on the night, after the first few exchanges it just felt like a matter of time. Bisping actually shoots for a takedown towards the end of the round and Hendo laughs at him and lands another right as the horn goes. Hendo 10-9. Round 2: Bisping’s Scouse cornerman was screaming between rounds that he was walking into Hendo’s right hand. Observant one. Bisping moving well early here but Hendo has zero respect for his punching power and just keeps walking through his strikes and clobbering him. Bisping starts to score a bit more and the commentators are just saying how it’s been a much better round for him when... Winner - Dan Henderson by KO. Round 2, 3:20. Maybe the most memorable KO in UFC history, that. There’s been better knockouts technically, prettier knockouts artistically. But you’d be hard pushed to find a more brutal one punch killshot than that, with that kind of drama and crowd investment going in. Georges St Pierre (c) vs Thiago Alves - UFC Welterweight Title It sounds mad now but at the time of this fight I was actually fancying Alves to knock GSP out and take the gold. In 2007-2009, he was a Muay Thai wrecking ball, a leg kicking machine and had really good takedown defence. It was also the pre-USADA days and, while we don’t know for sure, Alves in 2009 looked like his piss would’ve glowed in the dark and blown any lab up. We also weren’t a million miles removed from GSP getting KO’d by Matt Serra, so the thought of Alves getting it done didn’t seem so crazy back then. Round 1: Alves comes out aggressive right out the gate. And within the first minute GSP has taken him down. Uh oh. Alves being fresh and strong here early on, he’s able to make it a struggle and get back to his feet a couple of times but GSP is fucking relentless. He takes Alves’ back for a spell and then strikes with him just enough to keep him guessing, then takes him down again. GSP 10-9. Round 2: GSP with some lovely combinations on the feet before landing a takedown again. GSP was a master at this. He’d strike with you just long enough to make you think ‘oh, we’re striking now’, then he’d scoop you up and slam you on your back. He keeps Alves down almost the entire round and Alves looks knackered and confused. GSP 10-8. Round 3: Alves is going for it now, throwing some big punches but none are connecting clean. He manages to stuff a takedown so GSP stands with him for a bit then switches back to grappling later and takes him down again. They stand for the last minute or two and GSP drops him with a sweet one-two! He beats Alves up from the guard to end another one-sided round. GSP 10-9. Round 4: More bad news for Alves as GSP just mows him down with another big takedown early in the round. He goes for a failed submission, allowing Alves to take top position but he takes very little damage and escapes to his feet. Another takedown from Georges and Alves spends the end of the round fighting off a rear naked choke. GSP 10-9. In the corner between rounds... GSP: Man, I pulled my groin. Greg Jackson: I don’t care. I don’t care, Georges. This is where champions are made. You understand me? HIT HIM WITH YOUR GROIN! 😆 Round 5: Alves needs a KO to win. It’s a total shutout to this point. Some nice strikes early then it’s more takedowns from GSP. Alves is still trying but he looks well frazzled. He’s out of ideas and that KO shot just isn’t happening for him. Alves finally manages to get to his feet one last time but it’s too late. The fight is over. GSP 10-9. Winner - Georges St Pierre by unanimous decision. No mystery there. Probably could’ve gave two or three 10-8s in there. I’ve said it before on here but this might’ve been the best version of GSP we ever saw. He had more spectacular performances and finishes and stuff but, on this night, he looked damn near unbeatable. I wish we could’ve somehow seen GSP vs Anderson Silva around this time. Main event time. Brock Lesnar (c) vs Frank Mir - UFC Heavyweight Title Of course, Mir had submitted Brock in their first fight in 2008. And Mir was such a cock in the buildup to this fight. He always was anyway but he was even more of a smarmy, condescending prick for this one. This quote from the Countdown is one that’s come up on here a few times over the years; “He has to be working on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu defence. See, right there that shows the mindset of where he would be - working his defence. You think I’m working on BJJ defence? I’m working on the intricacies of details of manoeuvres that he still doesn’t even know the names of.” - Frank Mir Round 1: Brock lands a hard right hand and gets a takedown, as Mir unsuccessfully tries a leg lock. Brock holds him down by the throat and just controls him. Tell us about those intricacies again, Frank. Some proper nasty shit here from Brock as he wraps one arm around Mir’s neck, traps his head and arm and just smashes his smug face in with his free arm. He’s really busting Frank up here. And it’s as magnificent to watch now as it was live 10 years ago. You can tell Brock is really enjoying this. Lesnar 10-8. Round 2: Mir landing some strikes to start the second and, like he always did when strikes started flying, Brock looks a bit flustered. Mir lands a hard jumping knee but it backfires as Brock just bulls him to the ground and now he’s on top again. And there’s no fucking about. He traps Mir against the fence and starts punching the absolute fuck out of him. Mir is done. He’s in the foetal position, covered in blood and taking bomb after bomb. Herb Dean has seen enough. It’s over. Winner - Brock Lesnar by TKO. Round 2, 1:48. “TALK ALL THE SHIT YOU WANT NOW, MOTHERFUCKER!” Beautiful. Big Bad Brock then flipped the booing crowd the old double middle fingers and cut the show closing promo; “Frank Mir had a horseshoe up his ass. I told him that a year ago. I pulled that sumbitch out and I beat him over the head with it! WOOOOOH! I’m gonna go home tonight, I’m gonna drink a Coors Light, that’s right a Coors Light, because Bud Light won’t pay me nothing. I’m gonna sit down with my friends and family, and hell I might even get on top of my wife tonight. See you all later.”