Wednesday night kicked off what seems like a UFC fan’s dream week with Fight Night 27 from Indianaplois, Indiana. It was a night of exciting fights with violent action, intrigue, revenge, beautiful women, a few laughs and some controversy. It sounds like all the ingredients of a great movie. So, lets take a look at four of the highlights of this entertaining card.
Dylan Andrews is Dan Dority from Deadwood
Any fan of the series Deadwood knows there were some great fight scenes in this TV western. Many of them were coordinated by Allan Graf who also co-starred in one of them. On the show he played Captain Turner, the intimidating muscle for George Hearst. He has an epic fight with Dan Dority who works for Al Swearengen in a similar capacity. The fight is a classic with back and forth action that Turner is winning, but Dority never stops battling. He is battered and just about to be finished off when he digs deep, reaches up and pops out Turner’s eye. This causes Turner to start squealing like a pig until Dority can batter him quiet. Dority battled through the pain, did not give up and found a way to survive and win.
This is exactly what Dylan Andrews did in his fight against Papy Abedi to pull out the third round TKO win. In a tough first round Andrews injures his shoulder when Abedi tossed him to the ground with a judo throw. He then battled through the rest of that round and the second one. Going into the third he has to be down on the scorecards and needed the finish to get the win. He dug deep and was using his left hand essentially to gauge the distance, landed a couple of right hands and nice left knee to the body. Abedi folded over a little and immediately pressed Andrews back against the cage. He could not get the takedown and looked tired when the ref separated them. Andrews landed a solid overhand right that backed Abedi up, who then tried to clinch again. This time Andrews stopped him and landed two right uppercuts that sent Abedi down. Andrews followed him down, raining hooks to the head to end the fight. After his win Andrews was in obvious pain and apologized for his performance. It was one of the most unnecessary apologies as it was a great display of grittiness, heart and perseverance. His lack of enthusiasm for his win also mirrors Dority’s who did not share Johnny Burns’ excitement after his victory.
Brandon Thatch is UFC’s version of The Avengers
The Avengers was one of those anticipated/hyped movies. It had so much potential and possibility, one that opened up a possible emerging Golden Age of comic book movies. There was a lot of pressure on this movie, due to the ramifications of the individual franchises attached to the movie. If The Avengers did not do well then it could have potentially damaged those movies. Fortunately, it delivered on the hype and was a huge success at the box office, setting the other movies up nicely. There is a buzz about the upcoming movies from the individual super heroes and it has a lot to do with the quality of this movie.
Entering into the UFC Brandon Thatch did not have Conor McGregor type of hype, but there certainly was a buzz about him coming into his UFC debut against the tough and talented Justin Edwards. He was coming off an impressive main event win in RFA 7 against Mike Rhodes, another rising young contender who had been undefeated going into that fight. Thatch finished him at the 2:22 mark of the first round via a rear-naked choke. He was also being hyped by Georges St-Pierre who has brought Thatch in as a training partner. These UFC debuts vary so much based on the individual as it is easy for even veterans in the sport to be affected by the brightest lights in the business.
Then you have debuts like Thatch’s that show he was ready for the UFC, thus opening up a bright future filled with unlimited possibilities. One thing that jumps out at you is his ability to finish fights; ten wins, ten stoppages all in the first round. His lone loss was a SD in his second fight. In his ten wins he has spent a total of 12:53 inside of the cage. This is how you generate a buzz and fights like this one are how you continue it. He stopped a tough opponent for the second fight in a row and made it look easy.
Thatch is a big, long welterweight at 6’2″ that moves like a lightweight. In this fight he was light on his feet and switching stances right away. They tied up in a clinch and he showed his strength by rushing his opponent against the cage. They grappled and on the break Thatch threw a knee to the body. He just missed with a kick and then came right back with another leg kick that Edwards ducked into. Edwards was ducking to avoid the right hand that Thatch extended to create this exact situation. It was perfectly executed and it dropped Edwards who bounced up quickly and tied Thatch up again. Thatch easily controlled Edwards when they grappled, his striking was at a different level and his sense of movement, timing and distance was at the level of an artist, one painting a violent moving picture with his many weapons.
Besides his artistry inside of the octagon he possesses a killer instinct. Once he got Edwards in trouble he was relentless and kept in his face until he got the finish. Again, he was not reckless or wild but in complete control. He gave you every reason to be excited about his next fight. This is just like The Avengers, we cannot wait for their next movie. Before that we will get the second Thor movie in November, and the second Captain American movie this Spring. In the Captain American movie there will be the villain Batroc The Leaper who will be played by Georges St-Pierre, the very same guy who started all the hype on Thatch. A coincidence? I think not. Also, like The Avengers movie, Thatch also displayed a sense of humor mixed in with his violence. Either that or he really did pee a little when Bruce Buffer announced his name as he informed everyone in his post fight interview.
Kelvin Gastelum is Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men
We have seen Kelvin go from the last pick on TUF 17, to go on to be the winner of that season. He now has followed that up with an exciting first round finish in his debut at welterweight. This has all been accomplished at the age of twenty one. If you watched him on TUF then you saw how nice he is as a person. In fact that was a factor for Uriah Hall in fighting Kelvin, he liked Kelvin so much it was hard for him to hit him. The smiling, laughing, getting sheepishly embarrassed when meeting Ronda Rousey version of Kelvin disappears when he steps inside of the octagon. At that moment we see the stone cold killer and the best version of that recently in the movies is Mr Anton Chigurh. Friendo.
Chigurh is like some force of nature wreaking havoc in the movie No Country For Old Men. He is a quiet efficient killer taking people out quickly and moving on. He is the monster of that movie. Before this last season of TUF, Dana White told the world about a monster in the house that had everyone scared. He was talking about Uriah Hall. He was wrong about Hall but right about there being a beast. That beast turned out to be Gastelum, and he looked it in taking out Brian Melancon in the first round.
This was his first fight at welterweight and he looked awesome. He was even quicker and maybe has more power for this weight class. He is a strong well rounded fighter. The thinking has been that he is good at a lot of things but not great at any one thing. It is beginning to look like he just might be great in all areas. He has a strong wrestling base, excellent jiu jitsu, and his standup just keeps getting better. He works hard and is constantly improving. Combine that attitude with his talent and young age and the future looks limitless for him right now.
It is not his physical abilities that separate him from other fighters, it is his mental approach in the fight. He rocked Melancon on the feet in this fight and sent him to the canvas. Gastelum did pounce and follow him to the ground but he did not do it recklessly or throwing wildly. Instead, he quickly took the back, sunk in the choke and finished the fight. During his interview he talked about how dangerous Melancon is and how he did not want to give him a chance to recover. He saw the choke and locked it up. This showed a veteran like presence inside the octagon. More than one fighter has gassed themselves out trying to finish a tough opponent in similar circumstances. This was an example of an efficient, effective and scary finisher.
It will be interesting to see what the next challenge will be for Gastelum inside of the UFC. One thing you do know is that he will be prepared to take them out. He may be smiling and laughing outside of the octagon but when those cage doors are closed, a scary, finishing beast of a fighter emerges. One that reminds you a lot of Anton Chigurh. Dana was right about the monster and his name is Kelvin Gastelum, and friendo, get used to it because he is just getting started.
Carlos Condit is Seth Bullock from Deadwood
Throughout the three seasons of Deadwood, Seth Bullock seemed perpetually angry. Even when he was happy he seemed pissed off. Condit has always had that quality as well. Condit also seems like he could be a sheriff gunslinger from the Old West, he has the right mentality for it. Both Bullock and Condit are tough and they find a way to win. They also had a partner that helped keep them focused and on track. For Bullock it was Sol Star, and for Condit it is Greg Jackson. Jackson is the man calmly giving him advice and instruction in between rounds and during the fight. This fight with Martin Kampmann reminded me of a combination of two of Bullock’s fights on Deadwood.
The first is from the first season when Bullock sets out after Wild Bill Hickok’s killer, Jack McCall. While pursuing McCall, Bullock is attacked by an Indian who ambushes Bullock. The indian has the upper hand and Bullock is dazed, but he does not give up and he finds a way to survive. A lot of people would have just died in that situation but not Bullock, and certainly not Condit. In this fight Kampmann had Condit in trouble in the first round but Condit did not get discouraged. Instead he kept coming, he kept working and found a way to win. Not just a win but a definitive finish, his 27th in 29 victories.
It was the finish remeniscent of another Bullock fight on the show between him and Otis Russell. Russell is Alma Garrett’s father and shows up to essentially fleece her. He has used her before to settle his debts and sees her good fortune as a way to do it again. Bullock’s answer for his antics and plans is to put a vicious beating on him. One that was very similar to the one Condit put on Kampmann in this fight. Condit picked him apart for the final rounds of this fight and left Kampmann’s face battered and bloody. It was a definitive finish and win for Condit, one that solidified his spot at the top of list of current welterweight contenders. Depending how the GSP vs. Johnny Hendricks fight goes he could get the winner. His performances in his fights against them make it easy to argue that point. There is a much more intriguing fight out there for the number contender spot and that is against Matt Brown. That fight could end up like the epic battle between Al Swearengen and Bullock on Deadwood. Just like Swearengen and Bullock, Condit and Brown have been on a collision course. Lets hope when they do make that fight it is a main event because it will need more than three rounds.
It was another exciting night of fights for the UFC on Fox Sports 1. So far this pairing has worked out beautifully with two action packed cards and some great coverage of it. With UFC Fight Night 28 and the debut of TUF 18 next Wednesday the action just keeps coming.
Article via Dwayne Wolff
Deadwood photo credit – HBO
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