by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Randy Couture started the wave. Matt Serra carried it through UFC 69. And now Gabriel Gonzaga picks up where they left off by crushing the #2 heavyweight in the world, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, stunning him with a devastating high kick to win by knockout at UFC 70 in the United Kingdom on Saturday night.
Stepping into the Octagon, Gabriel Gonzaga seemed very confident in his skills and looked ready to compete with Cro Cop from the opening of the round. Just about everybody counted Gonzaga out of this bout before it even started, but he quickly changed some opinions when he caught a body kick from Mirko early on and put the Croatian on the mat. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt opened up a barrage of elbows from inside of Cro Cop’s guard putting a couple of cuts on his head.
With less than a minute to go in the first round, referee Herb Dean stood the fight up and surely everyone in attendance and watching at home was just waiting for Cro Cop to uncork some of his legendary stand-up attack. The exact opposite is what happened seconds later as Gonzaga unleashed a huge right high kick that floored the Croatian, buckling his leg underneath him, leaving him laying motionless on the Octagon mat. The knockout secured yet another huge upset (something we’ve all become used to as of late) putting Gabriel Gonzaga in line for a UFC heavyweight title shot against Randy Couture and putting Cro Cop back to the drawing board to wonder just what happened.
The undercard for UFC 70 was largely uneventful with the exception of the fight between the UK’s own Michael “The Count” Bisping and “The King of Rock and Rumble” Elvis Sinosic. Bisping came out to a huge ovation from the hometown crowd, getting so excited before the fight began that he almost forgot to stop to let the cage-side referee check him out before the bout began. Sinosic looked calm and composed and while his record isn’t great, he always comes in ready to give a good fight. Bisping came flying out of the gate, but didn’t immediately dominate the stand-up so the fight ended up on the ground.
Bisping then unleashed some of the most devastating ground and pound this side of Fedor Emelianenko and cut after cut opened on Sinosic’s head. It seemed like the fight might be stopped from strikes on the ground, but time ran out with Sinosic bloodied and beaten on the mat. The second round started with another standing exchange, but it was the Australian who landed a big knee that put Bisping down and sent the British crowd to their feet, gasping for breath.
Sinosic, still reeling from the first round, did manage to take Bisping’s back and almost lock in a rear naked choke, but the Brit reversed position and took over once again. This time he landed punch after punch and a very winded Elvis Sinosic could do nothing but cover up and wait for the referee to stop the bout. Michael Bisping remains undefeated and climbs further up the UFC light heavyweight division.
Andrei Arlovski picked up another win, working his way back towards UFC heavyweight title contention, when he got a unanimous decision over highly regarded Pride fighter, Fabricio Werdum. The first round saw Arlovski land a few good punches and leg kicks that seemed to confuse Werdum. It looked early on that Arlovski would finish the fight with strikes as Werdum came nowhere close to landing a takedown and the Belarusian hit shot after shot on the feet.
Unfortunately the first round was the only truly eventful round in the entire fight. The second and third rounds mostly consisted of Werdum circling Arlovski and the former UFC heavyweight champion not engaging, surely avoiding the potential ground fight with his opponent. After three rounds, Arlovski picked up a win, but not without the crowd in the United Kingdom booing him for his lackluster efforts.
Cheick Kongo got back to his winning ways after a disappointing loss some months ago to Carmelo Marrero by defeating Brazilian fighter Assuerio Silva. Kongo dominated the stand-up, landing some huge combinations, many of which would probably have put down a number of heavyweights, but Silva persevered showing great determination to survive.
The majority of Silva’s offense consisted of taking Kongo down at will, but doing absolutely nothing once the fight hit the ground. Joe Rogan made comments throughout the bout that he was largely ineffective on the ground while Kongo was just a decent training camp away from being a legitimate threat in the heavyweight division, if he could pick up a ground game.
Three rounds later, the judges scored a majority decision in favor of Cheick Kongo, putting another victory on his UFC record, while Assueiro Silva moves to 0-3 in the Octagon and possibly out of the organization for a while to search for a will to win.
In a preliminary bout that aired on the Spike TV broadcast in the United States, Terry Etim remained undefeated by choking out American fighter Matt Grice in the first round of their bout. To Grice’s credit, his ground and pound was absolutely devastating and during parts of the round it looked like he could stop the fight at any moment as he dropped bombs. Etim eventually got the fight back to the feet where he eventually locked on a guillotine chock that seemed to finish Grice, but the former Oklahoma wrestler escaped only to get caught in the same move just seconds later, this time truly leaving him unconscious in the Octagon. Etim picks up a win and will surely be seen in the UFC again.
The main card bout between Ryoto Machida and David Heath, which Machida won by unanimous decision, did not air on the Spike TV broadcast in the United States.
Overall, UFC 70 was somewhat of a disappointment, with a very boring fight as two top-ten-ranked heavyweights in Arlovski and Werdum went to a decision, while Cheick Kongo and Assuerio Silva did much of the same outside of the Frenchman’s fantastic stand-up.
The biggest shock of the evening of course was the ending when Gabriel Gonzaga stunned the world by knocking out the heavily favored Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in the first round. Gabriel Gonzaga definitely earned Fighter of the Night while he also earned a UFC heavyweight title shot. Fight of the Night goes to Michael Bisping and Elvis Sinosic for both going out and giving everything to win. Sinosic should be commended for his performance even in losing, while Bisping relished fighting in front of his hometown crowd.
UFC 70 Complete Results
-Gabriel Gonzaga def. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic by KO (head kick) at 4:51 of Round 1
-Andrei Arlovski def. Fabricio Werdum by unanimous decision
-Michael Bisping def. Elvis Sinosic by TKO (referee stoppage due to strikes) at 1:20 of Round 2
-Lyoto Machida def. David Heath by unanimous decision
-Cheick Kongo def. Assuerio Silva by majority decision
-Terry Etim def. Matt Grice by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:38 of Round 1
-Junior Assuncao def. David Lee by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:55 of Round 2
-Alessio Sakara def. Victor Valimaki by TKO (referee stoppage due to strikes) at 1:44 of Round 1
-Jess Liaudin def. Dennis Siver by submission (armbar) at 1:21 of Round 1
-Paul Taylor def. Edilberto Crocota by TKO (referee stoppage due to strikes) at 0:37 of Round 3