UFC 137 Recap

Diaz’s boxing left Penn bloody and bruised.
To say that Nick Diaz stirs the UFC welterweight pot is accurate and on-point. Diaz was scheduled for the main event with a shot at the title of Georges St.-Pierre. From there, Diaz was scrapped from the card, only to be pitted against BJ Penn in what turned out to be the eventual main event. Last October 30, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz threw down in a fight that shook up the MMA scene.

The fight between Penn and Diaz was highly anticipated due to the hard-nosed fighting styles of both fighters, and the fight lived up to the hype. The first round was still very competitive with both men trading punches. Penn scored a takedown mid-round, only to be swept by Diaz. In the scramble, BJ took Nick’s back but was unable to sink in his hooks for proper back control due to the well-placed defense of the Gracie black-belter. The brief grappling scuffle displayed the top-level Jiu-jitsu skills that both fighters possessed, but the main story here was the boxing of Nick Diaz.
Rounds two and three were very one-sided, as Diaz kept an exhausted Penn against the fence. Diaz unleashed fluid combinations to the head and body, busting up Penn’s face like never before. Penn stayed in the fight though and went out on his shield, pawing punches, hoping to hit the button. The two men battled to the end but it was Diaz who would get his hand raised.
After the fight, Diaz was calling out for WW champ George St.-Pierre, accusing him of faking his injury. The aggressive tone in the cage then shifted as fight analysts Joe Rogan interviewed a beaten BJ Penn who hinted at retirement:
“This is probably the last time you’re going to see me here…I’ve got a daughter, another daughter on the way. I don’t want to go home looking like this. I’m done.”
Penn’s manager however downplayed BJ Penn’s retirement, telling MMAWeekly that may still have some fights in him before hanging up the gloves.
Diaz’s dominant performance and BJ’s supposed retirement were big enough stories from UFC 137, but company president Dana White gave even bigger news in the post-fight presser, announcing that Carlos Condit will step aside so that Nick Diaz will meet with GSP for the title on Superbowl weekend. 

In the co-main event, heavyweights Cheik Kongo and Matt Mitrione weren’t able to live up to the hype of their fight. The first two round had very little action with both men tentative to open up, possibly because of the knockout power that both men possessed. Kongo was able to seal the victory though, with two takedowns in the third round which saw him in the top-position, landing ground-and-pound which cut up Mitrione. Kongo won via UD with Mitrione taking home the first loss of his career.
The fight between Mirko Crocop and Roy “Big Country” Nelson was relatively more exciting. Both men traded heavy shots throughout the first two rounds, with Nelson finishing the second round pinning Crocop in a mounted crucifix where he was able to land a number of shots. Nelson, who went into this fight in better physical condition, went for the finish in the 3rdround, cracking Crocop with a straight right, sending him to the floor. Nelson then took the Croatian’s back, sunk his hooks in and landing some heavy punches, compelling the ref to stop the fight and sending Mirko into retirement with a loss.
Bantamweight fighters Scott Jorgensen and Jeff Curran put on a great technical MMA battle in their undercard bout with Jorgensen pulling out the victory. BJJ black belt Curran was relentless in his attacks from the guard but it was Jorgensen’s takedowns and top control that provided him the unanimous decision victory.
Keeping many Filipino fans relieved was Brandon Vera, earning a unanimous decision win against The Ultimate Fighter contestant Elliot Marshall. Former-heavyweight contender Vera entered this fight with his back against the wall and pulled out a close win after being knocked down in the third round. Marshall then attacked with a rear-naked choke then an arm bar, both of which Vera was able to slip out of. As the results of the fight were being announced, Vera’s arm was dangling at his side, showing how badly he had to brave the arm bar in order to secure a victory and, ultimately, his job.

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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