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Big fun in the Big Easy – UFC comes to “Nawlins” and burns it to the ground




I’ve been involved in covering MMA for a long time now. I was an invited guest to the UFC Media dinner slash Ultimate Tank Abbott video debut. Let that marinate. That was way back in 2003. I sat ringside with Josh Gross at King of the Cage in 2002 watching Dan Bobish and Mike Kyle bludgeon each other, until a bloody mouthpiece landed on the table between us. I’ve been able to write what I want, when I want and I never made it a job. I’ve written for some of the biggest sites, and never once drew a dime for my time. It’s because of that, that I can write opinion pieces, and in cases like today, write as a fan.

I love New Orleans, and I love MMA. Put them together, and apparently you get what happened last night at UFC Fight Night. Of the 12 fights on the packed card, ten were finished inside the time limit and it was literally a game of can you top this, as highlight reel finishes ruled the affair.

In the main event, Dan Henderson turned back time yet again, and taught Tim Boetsch a very valuable lesson. Do not chase the man with the right hand, he’ll land it, scramble your brain, and separate you from consciousness. Boetsch charged at Hendo, and ate a wicked right hand, and was then swarmed for the 30 second finish. For Henderson, it’s further proof that he has a lightning bolt for a right hand, and is as dangerous as they come. For Boetsch, its back to the drawing board, as his first stint in the main event, well, didn’t go how he’d planned.

In the co-main event, Ben Rothwell finished Matt Mitrione with a front choke, that had Mitrione tapping faster than a morse code operator on speed. The fight itself was a masterpiece from Rothwell, his post-fight antics however, not so much. I know people love personality…but he channeled his inner Bob Sapp and cut a promo that ended with the worst fake laugh I’ve ever heard. To make matters worse, rather than dropping the mic and walking out. He came back, broke character and answered questions from Anik. Die with the lie, never drop the persona. Chael Sonnen should open a damn clinic and teach these guys how to get themselves over. He’d make a fortune.

Louisiana native Dustin Poirier thrilled the fans with a walloping of Yancy Medeiros in the first frame of their fight. Dustin looks every part the threat to everyone at Lightweight, and he’s had back to back amazing performances since coming back to 155 pounds. He looks like a world beater at 155, and I really want to see who’s next for him. I’m a big fan of Dustin’s and he is becoming a star.

Anthony Birchak faced off against Joe Soto, in his first fight since his title shot loss to TJ Dillashaw. Soto has now twice ventured inside the Octagon, and on both occasions, been knocked out cold. Not sure what the future holds for the talented Soto, but it could be where he needs to grow as a fighter outside of the UFC, and come back at a later date.

Whether you call him Alex Caceres or Bruce LeRoy, he got absolutely smashed in New Orleans last night. He ran into a buzzsaw named Francisco Rivera, and he was on the business end of a 21 second KO loss. Rivera immediately caught Caceres with a series of shots that ended the fight and was a fantastic rebound victory for Rivera, who had dropped two in a row.

So, Shawn Jordan and Derrick Lewis had what can best be described as a spectacle in the Octagon in the first round. Huge missed haymakers, repeated takedowns by Jordan, and Lewis showing an overall skillset that would have him, “in the mix” for the WSOF championship. In the second round however, Jordan did the seemingly impossible, unleashing his version of “sweet chin music” ala Shawn Michaels, and dropped Lewis in a heap. From there, it was swarm, rinse, repeat, and celebrate. The slow motion replay was an amazing display of dexterity from Jordan, who was aptly described by Brian Stann as “that fire stump.” Hats off to Jordan for bring his HBK-Best to the proceedings.

Joe Lauzon trained fighter, Joe Proctor waged a back and forth battle with Justin Edwards that could have gone either way, had it gone to the scorecards. It didn’t. With two seconds left in the fight, Proctor secured a Guillotine Choke and forced Edwards to tap, the latest such submission in a three round fight in the history of the UFC. It was an awesome submission, and a damn good fight to kick off the UFC prelims.

All in all, it was an amazing night of fights, and I honestly don’t remember a show where I had to much fun watching it. The fighters all showed up and put it on the line, and win or lose; they left it in the cage.

Next week the circus stops in Mexico City, and we’ll be blessed with a unification clash for the Heavyweight Championship between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. With any luck at all, the mojo from the Crescent City, sticks with the Octagon south of the border.

images via UFC

Dan has been writing about the sport of MMA for the last 15+ years. During this time, he's met amazing fighters, and awesome friends sitting cage-side covering MMA. The memories and relationships are payment for his passion. Dan got his start as a featured writer for and now serves as owner and co-host with Evan Shoman and Dion Harrison of The Crimson Canvas Podcast, on the Fight Booth Podcast network. Dan is also a part time contributor to with pro wrestling, and MMA articles. He thanks Dave Reno for the opportunity and for years of friendship and support.

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