The UFC made a successful return to Canada Saturday night with "UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun 2". Airing live from the Bell Centre in Montreal, the card saw a title change hands and a number of entertaining bouts featuring a variety of finishes. Sunday mornings always bring fresh answers to the all-important MMA question: What did we learn?
Alan Belcher Putting It All Together
Belcher ruined the return of Canadian son Patrick Cote last night with a rear-naked choke in the second round. In a back-and-forth opening frame, Belcher threw kicks, high and low, before being taken down to the mat by Cote. The Canadian locked on a kimura from half-guard, and when Belcher grimaced in pain it looked like Cote might force the tap. But Belcher escaped and after a scramble ended up on top, advancing to side control where he worked for the remainder of the round.
In the second frame Cote seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges, but in working for another takedown against the cage, Belcher used a body lock to face-plant Cote into the mat and then quickly took his back. From there he sunk in the choke on the dazed Canadian, and got the tap at 3:25 of the second round. Belcher has now won four of his last five in the UFC and improved his overall record to 16-6-0.
Kimbo Slice Continues To Improve — But It Does Not Matter
While the evolution of Slice into a well-rounded fighter continues, he was still thoroughly dominated by a relatively inexperienced Matt Mitrione. The fighters traded in the first, and whenever Slice connected he was greeted with a Mitrione grin. Slice lifted Mitrione for a couple of powerful slams, though he ended up in a triangle for his efforts. Slice worked briefly from side control but Mitrione finished strong, even gator-rolling for an anaconda choke to close out the round.
In the second round Mitrione punished Slice’s legs and seemingly took away his will. Ultimately Mitrione achieved the mount position where he rained down strikes, transitioned to an Americana attempt, and returned to punches until referee Dan Miragliotta showed mercy in halting the bout at the 4:24 mark. Mitrione looked solid in his second UFC triumph, while Slice showed again that while he may be a fan favorite, he does not have the toolbox to make a real dent in the Octagon.
A Lone Canadian Wins For The Home Crowd
Unfortunately Canadian fighters did not fare well at UFC 113. Cote’s loss was just the tip of the iceberg. In the first fight of the night Jason McDonald’s leg was broken as he was taken down. Then Tim Hague and T.J. Grant both succumbed to unanimous decisions. Jonathan Goulet lost via TKO to Marcus Davis, while Sam Stout dropped a split decision to Jeremy Stephens in an exciting back-and-forth battle.
However, Joe Doerksen, the biggest long shot to win, filled the void for the Canadian faithful. The veteran survived being dropped by a left hook from his opponent, Tom Lawlor, in the first round, returning to his feet only to look extremely shaky on his legs. Lawlor picked his shots, relentlessly looking for the finish, but Doerksen survived the round.
In round two Lawlor caught a kick and looked for the takedown, but in a scramble against the fence exposed his neck. Doerksen latched on a rear-naked choke to elicit the tap at the 2:10 mark. Of Doerksen’s impressive slate of 45 wins, 33 have come by submission.
Josh Koscheck Gets The Next Shot At St-Pierre
The two trash-talking titans finally entered the Octagon to settle their war of words, and the bout was not without controversy. Koscheck resisted the temptation to stand with Paul Daley, and smartly used his superior shot to take him down in each round, neutralizing the Brit’s big left hand. While Daley used improved ground skills to continuously recover to half-guard and avoid submission attempts, Koscheck cruised to a unanimous decision victory.
In the first round the bout was halted when it looked like Daley had landed an illegal knee to a downed Koscheck as the fighters separated to stand, but replays showed only a glancing blow that belied Koscheck’s histrionics. As the bout ended with Koscheck on top, the two fighters seemed to be talking to each other, and after the bell Daley followed Koscheck and sucker-punched him from behind before being subdued by referee Miragliotta. In a nutshell, the lackluster fight had more fireworks beforehand and afterwards than during.
In his post-fight interview the crowd booed Koscheck even in victory, and ever the villain, he incited the Montreal crowd further by predicting the Pittsburgh Penguins would defeat the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL playoffs next week — and then went one step further by promising to defeat Georges St-Pierre as well.
Shogun Gets His Hand Raised, Free Of Controversy
The rematch everyone was clamoring for was far more one-sided this time. Mauricio Rua decimated Lyoto Machida, ending Machida’s undefeated Octagon run to become the new light heavyweight champ after only 3:35 of action. Machida’s adjustment was to put Rua on his back, and he utilized two takedowns to shift where the fight took place. But both times Rua landed on his back he quickly returned to his feet where he stalked Machida relentlessly. Though he seemed to stagger Machida with a couple of shots during the round, the key blow was a right hook to the temple that dropped the Black House fighter. Rua then followed him to the canvas where he mounted and delivered punches until Machida was knocked out cold.
The dominant victory righted what many felt was an erroneous decision for Machida in their first bout, and more importantly, allowed Rua to fulfill the potential he brought to the UFC after Pride dissolved. He is now the kingpin of arguably the UFC’s most compelling and competitive division, one where the belt changes hands more than any other.
The article originally appeared on MMA Spot.