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UFC 97 – Redemption April 19, 2009

Posted by crarence in MMA, PPV, Sports.
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I sadly got home late tonight to catch UFC 97 and I debated buying the PPV, worried that I had missed the co-main event. I was equally excited about Liddell vs Rua as I was to see Silva vs Leites, and I would have broken something if I paid for half of the main card’s star attractions. Thankfully, I only missed the first two fights, though I regret not seeing the beast that is Cheick Kongo in action.

– Krzysztof Soszynski put on a great show, submitting his opponent Brian Stann with consummate ease. It’s rare to see a fight stop by kimura but Krzysztof made it look easy.

-Even though the Liddell vs Rua fight only went one round, it was an exciting fight. If there was any doubt about Rua’s conditioning, his first lightning fast head kick (even if it was blocked) put my doubts at ease. During the first half of the fight, Rua went for a lot of leg kicks, even exposing himself to a few of Chuck’s punches. Rua took some glancing blows but managed to dish out some counter shots of his own. Then, in a rare moment in MMA history, Chuck was taken down and controlled for a bit. No real damage was done, but given Chuck’s legendary take-down defense¬† and recovery, it was pretty impressive.¬† During the last minute, Rua landed a looping punch that knocked Chuck off his weakened legs, whereupon Rua landed something like 6-7 devastating hammer fists. Mario Yamasaki saved Chuck from more damage, and now the Ice Man’s future in the UFC seems over.

-Even though the Silva vs Leites fight was long and boring, I can’t really blame either fighter. Leites turtled up and went to the ground whenever Silva started mounting any offense, to the disgust of the crowd. But what did the crowd expect? Silva is arguably the top striker in MMA – trading blows with him is going to lead to your head getting knocked off. And Silva was no fool either. Despite being a BJJ black belt, Silva never went to the ground with him, as Leites’ BJJ skills were superior (as Joe Rogan put it, Leites eats other black belts without breaking a sweat.) Silva started working on Leites leg with vicious front and side kicks, and his pin point accuracy was astounding. At some points, Silva was even reaching and punching Leites in the leg, show casing how lightning fast he could be.

So while the main event was disappointing, Silva managed to still show off his skills, and all the prior fights I caught had been fast-paced and exciting, especially the Liddell vs Rua match.