If you were able to tear yourself away from college football long enough, you were in for a treat on Saturday night. UFC Live 6 on Versus was broadcast free to those who have the network on their cable/satellite package and not only featured a nice fight card, but a Bantamweight Championship bout. That's right, Dominick Cruz was defending his belt and you didn't have to pay $44.95 to see it happen.
The following is a break-down of all the main card action.
Matt Wiman defeated Mac Danzig by unanimous decision. It was a very evenly matched fight. Both guys did almost equally well on their feet, as well as on the ground. They each got take downs and did some ground-and-pound work as well. I thought Wiman was stronger early in the fight, while Danzig seemed to come on later. Danzig was actually going for a submission as the fight came to an end, but Wiman got the nod.
Anthony Johnson TKO'd Charlie Brenneman with a head kick in the first round. Let's be honest for a second. Unless you live in his home town, had you even heard of Charlie Brenneman before he came out of nowhere to beat Rick Story earlier this year? Me either, but the guy definitely earned another look in the UFC with that performance. Johnson is one of the scarier guys in the welterweight division, though, and Brenneman was up against it in this fight. From the start, Johnson's wrestling was a problem for Brenneman. Brenneman didn't like Johnson's strikes, so he shot, but only ended up giving up position to Johnson anyway. After getting kneed heavily to the body on the ground, Brenneman got up and took more abuse. Johnson landed a spectacular kick to Brenneman's face that dropped him like a bad habit. Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight and even though Brenneman looked like he was still coherent, I think the writing was on the wall already.
Stefan Struve submitted Pat Barry with a triangle choke in the second round. This fight featured the shortest and tallest heavyweights in the UFC. It was a weird match-up in my opinion and, knowing Barry's weakness on the ground, matching him up with a 7-foot-submission machine like Struve didn't seem like it was in his best interest. Still, Barry had a puncher's chance and when it comes down to it, he's one of the best punchers in the sport, so I had a little bit of hope that it would be a good fight. It was during the first round. Barry was fairly effective at delivering his patented leg kicks. I just found it strange that Struve didn't seem to be looking for a take down. He did in the second round, though, and got Barry in a triangle pretty quickly. Barry stood up and tried to slam Struve, but that always just makes a triangle worse. Barry tapped soon after.
Dominick Cruz defeated Demetrious Johnson by unanimous decision and is still the UFC Bantamweight Champion. Most people didn't think much of Dominick Cruz when he earned a title shot with Brian Bowles. Now they don't think much of Bowles. Cruz is a different cat, but like him or not, he causes serious problems for pretty much everyone in the 135-pound class. He's got a big reach advantage over almost everyone he fights and knows how to use that to his advantage. It's gotten to the point where I don't really pick against Cruz anymore, but Johnson is an exciting fighter, so I was hoping for some fireworks regardless of how it turned out. Cruz is used to facing really quick guys, but Johnson seemed to take that to another level. He was able to close the distance at times and land some strikes, but Johnson took him down with a beautiful trip mid-round. Nothing came of it, but it was an interesting first round to score. Cruz continued to out-point Johnson, in my opinion, but he wasn't able to completely control him on his feet like he has all of his other opponents in recent fights. In the third round, Cruz took Johnson down with an unreal suplex, then looked like he was going to end the fight with a rear naked choke, but Johnson persevered and got out, got back to his feet and landed some great strikes before the round ended. Cruz looked like he was tiring in the fourth round, while Johnson continued to push the pace. Johnson looked close to doing something dramatic, but Cruz was still doing the most damage and ahead by rounds. Johnson threw everything he had at Cruz in the final round, but the champ was just too big, too long and too good. Johnson got suplexed and mounted again, but attacked until the final bell. It was the best use of a title shot I've seen in the bantamweight division in quite a while, but Cruz has proven to be an all but unsolveable puzzle. It may take Jose Aldo coming down in weight to finally see a change.