Jiri, Valentina, & the return of Rocky D.
Here we are at the big UFC Singapore show! We’ve lost a bunch of fights, including RIZIN-vet Manel Kape, but the main card retains some major quality. As I commented last time, this is a damn big card to put in Asia and it’s really interesting Dana and his cohorts decided to do so. It seems to me they view ONE as a bigger threat than it seems, probably because of the major infusion of Bezos bucks with the Amazon Prime deal. There are a bunch of Amazon Prime ads during the event and now I’m a bit confused as to the plan, but I’m not a rapacious businessman. In any event, the citizens of Singapore are stoked with a killer card, even if it’s an early morning wake up.
At top of the card, other RIZIN-vet Jiri Prochazka goes after the LHW title in a showdown with old man Glover Teixeira. You’ve got to think Jiri takes it, but Jiri also takes hella risks that Teixeira can capitalize on. Brutal fighting machine Valentina Shevchenko’s next victim is Taila Santos in the co-main, and the big big rematch of Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk comes before that. In their first fight, Joanna wound up looking like the dude from Mask and I was watching through my fingers like it was Lawler vs. McDonald 2. Hopefully’s no one’s head inflates tonight. Before the big show, I’m watching C.H.U.D. and it’s pretty damn good.
We’re nearing the main card and for the prelim action I’ll just give a shout out to Hayisaer Maheshate for the nasty KO of Steve Garcia. Dirty.
What else? Dunno. I was watching hockey. Gotta see who the Avs get in the Stanley Cup. (I’ve been a hockey fan for like two weeks.) Oh, Jake Matthews just dismantled Andre Fiahlo. Big win for him.
The main three is starting now and I am fully paying attention. First up is the rematch and I really have no idea who’s got this one. I was a big JJ fan when she first won her belt, but she’s gotten a little annoying in the intervening years. Her talking incoherent shit with Claudia Gadelha during TUF will always be precious however. Also seems like JJ’s coach Mike Brown has been on a losing streak lately, so I'll pick Zhang.
Joanna whipping up on Zhang in round one, until Zhang gets a take down and drops some nasty shot on JJ. Wild back and forth and Zhang is on top. Zhang definitely looking bigger and stronger on the ground and dropping elbows. Absolute barnburner of a first round. Wow. Round two going a little slower until Zhang drops Joanna with a spinning back forearm to the dome! Jeezus. Definitely don’t need a trilogy here. JJ’s on the downslope and Zhang is moving up. Big definitive win.
Now it’s time to watch Valentina kick the shit out of someone for as long as she wants. Oh wait, Joanna just retired! Probably a good move honestly. Good luck to her going forward.
I’m starting to get weird feelings about this next one. Will this be the fight that Valentina is just bored of winning all the time? Probably not. We’ll see.
Wow, okay, so Valentina has some trouble in round one! After clinch-fighting for half the round, Valentina messes up a throw and winds up on the ground and defending a choke for two minutes. Valentina looks uncomfortable and spends much of round two on her back. Santos is for real and it looks like my weird feeling was accurate (through at least two rounds). Round three starts well for Valentina but she gets taken down and almost choked out. The super dominant champ could be down 0-3!
Champ smarts and Valentina smashes Santos’s eye with a head clash and Santos can’t see while Valentina stays outside and peppers her with shots. It’s 2-2 at best and should be 1-3. Valentina needs a finish or questionable judging to pull this one out. Valentina coasting in the final round for a 2-3 loss, unless we get the aforementioned questionable judging. We’ll see which it is. Sort of a Ronda Rousey feeling in that one, with such a dominant fighter being totally outmatched on the ground. Like Valentina was exposed. Split decision to Valentina with a 49-46 in there. No fucking way. Definite rematch. Valentina making all kinds of excuses in the post-fight presser. Serious Rousey vibes.
And finally the one we’ve been waiting for. Jiri the Bushido demon gets the UFC title us weebs have been bestowing on him for years now. Teixeira threw a little spanner in the works by beating Jan, but really it just seems even more likely that Jiri takes the title now. We’re about to find out. I’ll say round two Jiri KO. What is this shit walk out though, Jiri? You should come out to Noh music or something.
Teixeira walks out to GNR and I’m changing my pick. Just kidding, but this is like a hundred million times better.
I can’t write about this fight, I’m too wrapped up watching it, but Jiri was getting King Mo’ed there for a minute. Glover is definitely winning the fight and owning Jiri on the ground. Jiri styling in round two until he slips and Glover jumps on his back for the last minute. Jiri getting tired and gets his head split open with an elbow. Wild fight. Both of these guys grinning like idiots to start round three. Great stuff.
Jiri able to avoid the takedowns and pounding on Glover in round three, until he makes kind of a dumb error and goes for a sub and gets turned around. Jiri gets taken down earlier in round four and might have some problems. Jiri survives and even turns the tables a bit. Round five and I haven’t got a clue what the scorecards look like, but it could be whoever wins this one wins it all. Jiri getting tagged several times in the round and looks wobbly on his feet. He’s looking for the knockout and getting lit up in return. WHAT THE FUCK! That was just startling! Jiri gets the choke in the last minute of the fight as he was very probably about to lose on the cards. Wow. New champ. 🙏🕉
Jiri’s anti-fight-IQ style ain’t gonna keep him alive forever, but goddamn will it be fun while it lasts. Great event with all three of the top fights meeting or exceeding expectations. Despite my (mostly) never writing about them and generally talking shit, that’s the UFC special right there, boy. A whole mess of killer, high-quality, meaningful fights that no other promotion can match. UFC brings it to Asia and stomps all over ONE for the night. Chatri’s fuming as they sell out his usually dark and empty venue. Sakakibara’s feeling fatherly PRIDE about Jiri as his unsavory antics push RIZIN further into irrelevance and eventual dissolution.
Speaking of which, did you hear about the massive hugest biggest-ever kickboxing fight in the history of the world? Yeah, you can’t watch it. Sorry. If you’re lucky maybe you can catch it on youtube the next day. Nah, probably not. It’s really big though, trust me. ✌️
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